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Unread 21 Sep 18, 03:34 AM  
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sweetemotion
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Why you should do the Disney Cultural Representative Program

I finished my crp almost three months ago now and to anyone who might be thinking about doing it, or if you have sons/daughters who would like to, then Id highly recommend it. When I first arrived I thought Id be the oldest person there, but there is a really good mix of ages from 18 to early 30s. Id applied a couple times before being accepted as did many other people I worked with. Being persistent was more than worth it and Id really recommend getting as much experience as you can to improve your chances. Disney generally seems to like people in the creative arts, so anything to do with performing arts, drama, music, art is a plus. And if you have experience in tourism of any kind, hospitality, food and beverage. This isnt to say you cant get on the program without this experience but the people I did my program with seemed to have a lot of this in common.


The 13 months I spent in the states/Disney was by far the most amazing experience. People can tell you how good their year was but its really something you have to experience yourself to know what its like.

There are two options, one is merchandise and the other Food & Beverage. I was in Food & Beverage, and knowing what I know now I would only do the program again if it was F&B. A lot of people liked Merch but you find that returners are always in the restaurant.


You will start off in a non tipped position then generally after about 3 months transition into tipped. Non tipped is around $10.50 an hour and tipped is $5.50 an hour. I know that $5.50 is only about 4 an hour but the states has a tipping culture and this is where youll make up your money. Generally youll earn more than minimum wage from tips alone. And while $5.50 seems so low, Disney pays more for a tipped position than most other restaurants. My manager told me the minimum wage for waiters in the states is around $2.30 and hasn't risen for years.


What about discounts? The good part.

Youll receive whats called a main gate, this is yours to enter the parks with, there are very few block out dates for cast members but typically theyll be for magic kingdom on New Years Eve/Christmas Day and honestly Im okay with that! With space mountain being at a 500 minute wait on nye and the park at capacity at 11:30 I was more than happy to avoid it!


Passes for friends and family: along with your main gate you get three guest passes. These are yours, your guests cannot keep them. You keep the three guest passes for the whole year. You can use up to three passes collectively 16 times a year. So if you only have one guest to take into the park it still counts as one of your 16 uses. If youre lucky enough like me to start your crp in the middle of the year youll get 16 uses for the first 6 months and 16 for the other. I never used all my guest passes. Despite people who Ive not spoken to for years wanting to suddenly be friends, I didnt waste them!


Discounts: food discount is 20% standard. Every now and then certain restaurants will have 40% off but theres a time period for this and then the list will change.


Merchandise is 20%


Parking is free


Hotel discounts vary from 30% to 50% depending on whats available.


Disney family holiday celebration: every year from October to February Disney gives its cast members extra discounts for the holidays.


60% off hotels - including Hilton Head/very beach/aulani


40% off March (I took advantage of this a little too much)


Youll also receive an envelope with coupons. 30%, 40%, 50% off food. A free photo pass print out, an extra 10% at cast connections (cast member outlet store), Disney holiday tree ornament and an extra discount at company d (another cast member store)


Oh, and discounts on cruise line! Which is amazing


Throughout the year youll also receive extra comp tickets which you can use for your guests visiting and save your 16 uses of your guest passes.


Also youll get an extra 10% discount at the character warehouse, saving you the tax, which is great for when they have Dooneys!


So basically, your family are going to love you if you do this program 😂


In my year at Disney I had a bucket list as most people do and I managed to do so many things! Its amazing I found time to work at all haha! You'll want to work as much as you can during the busy periods (Candlelight) and when its quiet they'll give out ADO's (additional days off) and this is where you'll do some of your traveling.

During my time at Disney I managed to stay at 11 hotels, almost one a month. 7 of them were club level so I managed to stay at every club level in Disney.

On my birthday I watched hallowishes from the Club Level lounge in the Poly.

I managed to eat at: Artist point, trails end, grand flo cafe, citircos, narcooses, ohana, california grill, the wave, crystal palace, jungle skipper canteen, boma, jiko, flying fish, boatwrights dining hall, ale & compass, chef art smiths homecoming, d-luxe burger, earl of sandwich, frontera cocina, house of blues, morimoto asia, paradiso 37, planet hollywood, the boathouse, the edison, the polite pig, wine bar george, blze pizza, yak & yeti The hollywood brown derby, biergarten, san angel inn, monsieur paul, teppan edo, tokyo dining, tutto italia, be our guest.

I managed to go to the spirit of aloha and hoop de doo.

I did the wild Africa Trek, afternoon tea at the Grand Floridian, had a once in a lifetime meal at Victoria & Alberts. Drank in most hotel lounges. Trader sams will always be my favourite.

I managed to attend starlit splash, which is an event that Disney puts on just for its college program and international program participants, after hours. I did yoga at sunset in front of Cinderella castle at 6am before the park even opened and was completely empty. I attended my first halloween and christmas parties. I watched my Disney best friend perform in the Candlelight Processional alongside Neil Patrick Harris. I bought my first Disney Dooney and Bourke, I left with five. In total I managed to buy 9 bags overall. I have an addiction. It's hard when you live next to a designer outlet ok!

My parents came to visit in September and we had the best two weeks together. I miss them so much!

In November (last year) I stayed at Vero Beach.
January I went on a road trip to Savannah, Georgia and Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. We stayed at the Disney resort there.

In February I went to Disneyland - with free admission! and finally stayed at the Disneyland hotel. We got tipsy in Trader Sams and decided to buy overpriced robes. I ate at the blue bayou and the carthay circle. We rode the mary poppins horse. I got back to Orlando and two days later set sail on my first ever Disney Cruise to the Bahamas! The most amazing experience of my year I think.

In March I spent four days in Mexico with a friend I met out here in Canada. I got to see one of the ancient wonders of the world, chichen itza, my friend got bitten by a scorpion. We ate tons of food and drank margaritas on the beach.

In April I went to Vegas, for my sisters wedding, and finally saw my boyfriend after 9 months. We went to the Grand Canyon for the first time, and won $250 on the orange is the new black machine.

In May I stayed "home" to pay for the past four months.

In June I went to New Orleans, we ate tons of beignets, had a mint julep which I threw away as it was disgusting. We went on a swamp tour, and a plantation tour. Checked out some voodoo stores.

July my year came to an end, and I cried more than I ever thought I would. Leaving Disney was hard enough, but most of all it was the friends I was leaving behind, and the ones who'd left already that was the hardest part for me. The people I met on this program are by far some of my closest friends, my family. We spent almost every day together. And although there can be drama at times, once you leave you only remember the good times.

I had 7 suitcases full of stuff by the time I left. I left most of them with a friend in Orlando, and the day after moving out of housing I flew to Los Angeles. I spent a week staying at my sisters apartment as she now lives there. And amazingly she is a 5 minute drive away from the Disney animation studios. My Disney ID still worked at the point, so I spent a day wandering around the Walt Disney Studios by myself, it was weird. No one ever stopped me to ask if I worked there, I could go in all the buildings, around the sound studios. And I managed to buy some merch in the Employee store.

I met up with some friends from Disney and we hiked the hollywood hills to the hollywood sign. After my week in Los Angeles, I flew to Vegas for one night, and started my two week camping trip through G Adventures. We went to Zion NP, Bryce Canyon NP, Canyonlands NP, Capitol Reef NP, Arches NP, Moab, I stayed overnight in Monument Valley and got to sleep in a hogan, Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, Lake Powell, Lake Havasu, London Bridge, we visited snow cap on route 66 the inspiration behind the movie cars. Then we drove up the coast of California, San Diego, Santa Monica, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz and San Francisco. We ended our tour by sailing under the golden gate bridge at sunset.

I met my sister in San Fran and we spent four days there. I like San Fran but it is by far the dirtiest place I have ever been. I flew back to Burbank with my sister, stayed at hers for another 2 nights to pick up the luggage I left and flew to Washington D.C. I met a friend here and we explore the city for four days before going to Philadelphia, my new favourite city in the US. After 2 days in Philly we went to New York for five days.

I said goodbye to my friend James and flew to Toronto.


I arrived back in Canada the start of August and had the easiest time at immigration. Im currently on a working visa here. Had two Canadians before me in line to see an officer and we were just waved through! No questions asked.

Spent a few days in Toronto and spent 3 weeks at my boyfriends parents house on the lake before going back to whistler to find a new job! Then starts the long process of permanent residency, wish me luck!

Sorry for the long long post. I just had the most amazing year, and wanted to give a better idea of what you can do while on the program. If you have any questions please send me a message and I'd be more than happy to answer them for you!
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Unread 21 Sep 18, 06:44 AM  
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Cherrypie
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Wow that sounds amazing - am hoping my 3 dds do the crp or icp at some point - they all dance so its a good tip about the performing background they can play on that. Good to hear of the friends and family passes too x
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Unread 21 Sep 18, 06:57 AM  
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firsttimemouse
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Wow what an amazing time. Thanks for posting.
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Unread 21 Sep 18, 07:00 AM  
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Rac20
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Thank you for sharing. It sounds like an amazing experience!
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Unread 21 Sep 18, 07:24 AM  
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That sounds amazing thank you for telling us about your time with Disney.
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Unread 21 Sep 18, 07:25 AM  
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Sounds like you had a life changing time 😃 my dd has dreams of doing this and is currently working alongside her studies and saving like mad x
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Unread 21 Sep 18, 07:37 AM  
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Right were do i sign up. Will they take a 43 year old lol lol.
What an incredible life experience and Thank you for sharing it.
Good luck for the future.
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Unread 21 Sep 18, 08:10 AM  
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Sounds absolutely wonderful and I wish its something I had done now. Oh well, Ill activity encourage my children to do this if its still an option when they are old enough... only another 17 years to wait 😂
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