Monday, 20 September 2010

Attention Star Tours, we are clear of day guests and work lights will be coming on immediately...

I've been back just over a week now and it's been crazy, trying to catch up doing everything I've missed for three months. I've seen my friends, been to Bournemouth beach, attended a surprise birthday party and gone back to Clarks. I've just about started attempting to tidy my bedroom which is a complete state since I unpacked my suitcases but didn't really put anything away... once it's tidy I think I'll feel a bit calmer!

As promised, this is going to be my final post on this blog regarding the 2010 ICP and I am going to attempt to compare the two International College Programs I have participated in... not to establish which was "better" but rather just to show the differences.


2008: I lived at Vista Way in apt 3302. This was a wellness apartment as I was under 21 and I lived with four girls from Barbados and one girl from South America. Although I kept the same roomates for the whole program I didn't really get on with them too well as we had many differences about the air conditioning plus our shifts were completely opposite so I didn't tend to see them or hang out with them much. There was also a slight language problem as I found them very difficult to communicate with.

2010: I lived at Vista Way again in apt 1608. A non-wellness apartment this time meant there was no worry about having alcohol in the rooms. I shared with many different girls over the 10 weeks with only two of them being with me for the whole time - 2 Americans. They were great and I had a good laugh with them. Other than that, we had two English girls, a Ukrainian, a South American and two more Americans come and go. The air conditioning was always nice and cold and apart from a few gross things in the fridge, the apartment was generally in alright condition!


2008: Emporium, Main St USA, Magic Kingdom (Merchandise). An amazing location to be placed for Merchandise, it was constantly busy and there were always guests to talk to. Up sides included being able to see the parade/Spectromagic/Wishes every night, changing around different parts of the store, merchantaining and air conditioning constantly. Down sides included having different managers every day, not many friendly CPs, having to get the A bus and finishing at between 1-3am most nights.

2010: Star Tours, ICON Area, Hollywood Studios (Attractions). A Star Wars themed simulator ride, been there for 21 years with no refurbishment but was closing on 7/9/10 for a massive 8 month overhaul... so therefore it was the winding down stage of the attraction. But this meant that the Star Wars geeks were coming in their hourdes to ride it before it closed, we got a very special celebration night just for us called Last Tour to Endor which was the most legendary night EVER and I got to do some magical moments for people who wouldn't be riding it again (as it stood then anyway). Up sides included the amazing team of cast members who made up my Star Tours family, having a lightsabre as part of my costume and the lightsabre fights that ensued both with guests and fellow cast members, seeing and dancing to the Block Party Bash at least twice a week and being the only English cast member at the attraction. Down sides included the bright orange and blue elasticated ankle costume (hot and unattractive!), working outside in the heat, arguing with guests about the height restriction (although this was quite entertaining at times), the repetitive nature of the job and the Yoda rotation.


2008: I had a close friend, Victoria, who I spent most of my free time with. We hit up the parks all the time and as we both worked in merchandise we had a lot in common. It was her second program which was also good because she could tell me loads about it! I had a few friends at work but didn't really tend to see them outside the Emporium and quite a few people I knew from the flight over who I saw from time to time throughout the program.

2010: Although I knew lots of people from the flight over, I didn't see them much for the bulk of the program. I spent lots of time with Hannah and Katie but they were the only British people I spent a decent amount of time with. I made a close friend, Nick, from work whom I have already planned to go and visit in November (in America!) and I also had a lot of fun with my friends from work who I did a lot of eating food with after the shifts had finished... Ihop, Wendy's, Chick-fil-A, Buffalo Wild Wings and Orlando Ale House come to mind!


2008: With no friends who had cars, I didn't really leave Disney. A couple of trips to the Florida Mall and the Premium Outlets but that was about it.

2010: When my family came over I got to spend quite a bit of time staying at their villa rather than my abode at Vista Way. We also went on an airboat ride in Boggy Creek, went to the Kennedy Space Center and ate in Celebration. With my dear American friends who could drive, we went to lots of different restaurants plus, of course, Universal and HARRY POTTER! :D At the end of the program I also flew to Atlanta, Georgia to visit Nick and we did lots of sightseeing. So I even went to another state during the 2010 ICP!


2008: Booked the flights in March (£650) and the insurance, visa, program assessment fee and extra stuff all in May/June. In total I think I spent about £1000 before I went. The exchange rate was $2:£1 which was amazing so I was able to take more spending money over with me (about £300 so..$600). I was earning about $6.50 an hour (only £3.25!) and I earnt a total of about $2500 I think. I went straight home after the program so took home $500 (£250).

2010: Booked everything a lot earlier in the year. Flights were only £450 so total spent before leaving was only about £750. I took £300 of spending money again (but this time that only equated to about $450) but earnt more whilst at Disney, probably a total of about $3000 as I was earning $7.25/hour this time. However, due to having an extra week on the end (including my mini break to Atlanta!) I only came home with $140 (£100).

So, in conclusion... both programs were amazing, life-changing experiences and I wouldn't have done anything differently. During the 2010 ICP I had some hilarious experiences (eg: 5 people in a 3 person truck, the man who got hit on the ass by an exit door, the tv screen falling off the wall and "Does the omelette come with eggs?", "It doesn't matter!", "Rediculous!", "Don't eat the fruit!"), drove on the wrong side of the road, stayed in a Disney resort, visited another state, drank alcohol legally in the USA, went to Six Flags... and made some friends for life. I experienced memories that I will never forget.

I thoroughly recommend anybody goes and works for Disney on the International College Program but don't expect to earn any money, be happy to work stupidly long hours, deal with really dumb people and answer the same questions over and over again. In exchange you will have the most amazing summer and I think that's a pretty good deal.

Wishes can come true, if you believe in them with all your heart,
And the best part is, you'll never run out of wishes, they're shining deep down inside of you, 
Because that, my friends, is where the magic lives.

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