Ok....so I made this a little sooner than anticipated. I blame Becca's MouseCast for a temporary boost in my excitement for a summer in WDW. Enjoy! (Apologies for the small child screams)
Monday, 28 February 2011
Friday, 25 February 2011
Over the last few days there seems to have been a sudden rush of comments and such like about the vlogs, blogs and my photos. I'm loving the comments and as always if you have any questions or suggestions feel free to get in touch.
Organisation for a London ICP Meet Up on 20th April seems to be well underway. I must say it will be nice to not have to do 5 hours+ of driving and to also know where I'm going! Relevant links are all on the Facebook group.
This week I've also managed to finally find some time to listen to Becca's MouseCasts which are fabulous. I've been informed that I will be featured in the next one so that will be something to listen out for. You can find her MouseCast here so once you've finished reading this go have a listen if you haven't already.
Today I had a moment of inspiration for a mini-series of sorts. I'm not going to say too much about it other than watch this space (just in case it doesn't work out) but there is an idea in the works.
The closer the summer gets the more I have been craving American food and this week this has taken the form of the sandwich. There is something about sandwiches in the US that is so much more satisfying that ones we make at home here. So I made one with fresh bread, mayo, wholegrain mustard, ham, cucumber, lettuce, tomato and cheese. Yummy! I can't wait to go to Downtown Disney and grab some food from Earl of Sandwich. The sandwiches there are full of awesomeness. Click here to peruse their delicious menu. My personal favourite is "The Full Montagu" which is freshly roasted beef, turkey, aged swiss and sharp cheddar cheese, lettuce, roma tomatoes and the Earl's mustard sauce on an artisan baked loaf. I substitute horseradish for the mustard and it tastes soooooo good. *cue stomach rumbling*
I can't talk about food without mentioning two places that for me are American institutions (at least when it comes to me and my family visiting WDW). The first is IHOP (International House of Pancakes) which, not surprisingly, is famous for its pancakes. Check out their menu here. If you're not a pancake fan they do serve other stuff as well. Last summer they had some really good flavoured lemonades that were to die for. The second place is Perkins which is to pies what IHOP is to pancakes. Their menu can be found here and they typically have a seasonal pie. I'm not much of a pie person but theirs are amazing. They (as do IHOP and many other American restaurants) serve much larger portions than restaurants do at home so I often end up taking half a main course home with a slice of pie which makes the meal twice the value. Don't be afraid to ask for a box in US restaurants. It's common practice and will save you money. Certain things reheat better than others so I tend to pick my meal accordingly or prioritise eating the bit that I don't think will reheat so well (i.e. fries).
All this talk about food is now making me hungry. I do have a special vlog planned that I'm sure anyone who applied for the ICP will enjoy. I'm hoping to get the next vlog sorted within the next couple of weeks. Apologies for it probably not being sooner but life at Uni is a bit hectic at the moment.
Wednesday, 23 February 2011
MM stands for many things, such as Mickey Mouse, Magical Milestones and 2000.
That's right my vlog series, Suzie's Disney Adventure, has now had over 2000 views. It may still be a little fish in the big pond that is YouTube but it's 2000 more views than I thought I'd get when I started making them last year. One of the ultimate compliments was hearing people singing the theme tune at me in the middle of Birmingham during the ICP meet up last weekend. Once again I was asked if it's me singing and the answer is yes, although I did change it so it sounded high pitched. It's also me playing the guitar. So now you know!
Today saw 2 things of interest happening in the Magic Kingdom. First, Mickey's new home was officially announced complete with artists renderings of the adapted Exposition Hall. Rumours are also abound as to whether Mickey will converse with guests like he does in Disneyland. It was also announced that Mickey's meet and greet will feature Fastpass which will, I'm sure, please many a guest that is used to waiting in a long line to get to meet the big cheese.
The other development was over at the Haunted Mansion. If you've been on the attraction then you're probably familiar with the Hitchhiking Ghosts at the end of the ride. The ghosts and the mirrors have apparently been covered over with black and their images are being projected onto the cloth so that they're floating home with you. Rumour has it that this is temporary while more exciting changes are happening with the ghosts.
The awesome peeps at Inside The Magic have filmed the altered ending so here's the video:
Do I need to do anything about getting a visa and how much will it cost me?
Panic not fellow ICPs you don't need to do anything visa-related until the nice people at Yummy Jobs send you the relevant documentation. If you're still worried, don't be. The current typical wait time for a visa appointment is 3 days and the current typical processing time is 4 working days (3 in Belfast) so theoretically you don't need to worry until about 2 weeks before your departure date.
As for cost the first one is calling to arrange your interview. Calls are charged at £1.23/min so expect a reasonably pricey call. DON'T call from a mobile because it will be even more expensive!
Cost #2 is the appointment fee (also known as the MRV fee. This is currently $140 and is paid over the phone when you make the appointment to go to the embassy. They only accept Visa, Mastercard and Amex so be prepared for that.
#3 is the Sevis fee which I believe is currently set at about $35. You pay this online prior to your interview.
#4 is the courier fee. When you apply for a visa you hand your passport over to the embassy and it can only be returned to you via courier. They currently say that fees begin at £14.50 and are payable by debit or credit card only. They have various delivery options and the more specific you are the more expensive it is. Last year I went for the basic service and had my passport back within 2 days of leaving the embassy (just so you know). For any more visa specific info either visit the US Embassy Website or contact Yummy Jobs (although check the information documents they provide first!).
Do the apartments have WiFi and how much does it cost?
The apartments themselves have a wired internet connection. Use is included in the rent (unless you want to upgrade the speed) but you will need to take your own ethernet cable with you. If you want WiFi in the apartment then you'll need to get a wireless router (which you can buy from Walmart). Some of the complexes have WiFi in the pool/clubhouse areas. I know Vista Way definitely does but I'm not sure about the others. I highly recommend that you take your own laptop with you (if you have one) because it is not always convenient to use the computer labs due to working late/long shifts.
Saturday, 19 February 2011
Actually, today has been full of excitement because it was the day of the ICP meet up in Birmingham. I spent over 5 hours driving but it was worth it to meet 20 of the lovely people that I get to work with this summer.
Birmingham is very disorientating and I did have trouble finding my way back to the car afterwards - oops! For those that are interested we gathered at the station (thankfully the distinctive ICP hoodies made everyone fairly easy to spot) before heading to watch Tangled in 3D.Apart from some initial projection issues during the trailers most people seemed to enjoy the film and then we headed briefly to the Disney Store before gaining more people and heading to Nandos for some food. Cue some table shuffling to make sure we all could sit together. After that it was a short walk to Wetherspoons and then back to the station via Starbucks.
Meeting everyone was a lot of fun and I got to see a little more of Birmingham than I had before and, for the most part, with the added benefit of not getting lost.
Unfortunately there was a distinct lack of vlogging though with the exception of a few snippets of me in the car beforehand. Suziefail!
I am now completely exhausted and am ready for bed. So with that I shall bid you all adieu!
Friday, 18 February 2011
Last night I was busy waiting for the new episode to upload and came across a site called Yesterland
Yesterland mainly focuses on Disneyland and the attractions, shops, parades, etc that are now in the archives of human memory. While most of the site is dedicated to Disneyland itself there are also some nice bits specifically about WDW.
There are some really great things in there including:
- Nominating the old Skyway stations as locations for beer terraces.
- A great quote about CMs using the Epcot Icon Tower as directions to the toilets.
-Photos of 'The World According to Goofy'
It's definitely worth a read. There are some great photos in there of the DL and WDW of the past and it's great to see how things have evolved.
Go check it out!
Thursday, 17 February 2011
Well, not a Carousel, more like a Vlog. That's right a new episode is currently in progress! I've been promising one on Star Wars Weekends for a while now and it's on its way!
It's now 36 hours until I hit the road and head towards the big ICP meet-up in Birmingham which of course means even more vlogs are on the way.
Wednesday, 16 February 2011
Disney seems to be kicking all the promo material for this year's theme up a gear at the moment and videos seem to be being added to their DisneyParks youtube account on a near daily basis. I am really loving their videos at the moment though.
They released two videos today. One about the Disney Cruise Line and another about Star Wars Weekends. The DCL one is in the style of a classic Goofy Cartoon. you know, the ones where he shows you how to do something by doing it in completely the wrong way.
The Star Wars Weekends one has Minnie recreating a classic movie moment from Star Wars: A New Hope, along with everyone's second favourite droid R2-MK.
I don't know who the team(s) is/are behind these videos but some of them are really good. They seem to be embracing a tongue-in-cheek quality which is nice.
So a couple more questions have come up on the various forums and facebook groups so here they are along with my answers.
Do I need to book a Mears Shuttle to take me from the airport to check in at Vista Way?
No, you don't need to book one. Mears has several desks In Orlando International Airport near Baggage Reclaim and you can just turn up on arrival. With a discount voucher the trip costs about $14 and you can pay by card or cash. Some people think about getting a taxi which is more expensive and splitting it between 3 or 4 of you. I wouldn't recommend this. US taxis can be quite small in terms of baggage space so it could get quite cramped in there. The Mears shuttles are fairly comfortable (last year we were in a coach) and have a huge amount of baggage space. The desk is really easy to find. You just look for the signs and it is located next to Disney's Magical Express. The buses are located a few seconds away from the desk so there's no worries about carting your bags all around the terminal.
I've been offered a role in .... what's it all about?
Disney World has so many roles on offer that it would take me ages to explain them all. Here's a brief overview of the three most popular ones:
Attractions: You get to work on the rides and/or shows.
Merchandise: You're working in the shops, serving guests, restocking that sort of thing.
Quick Service: This is what is known to most people as Fast Food. You could be bussing tables, constructing meals/ice creams/etc or you could be working in outdoor foods selling bottles of drink/ice creams/etc.
So I'll be honest, part of me was on a slight downer about going back to Disney. I know you're probably all thinking WHAAAAAT!?!?!
It wasn't the going back to Disney that had me down. More, the fact that some of the incredibly awesome, magical people that made last summer so amazing weren't going back with me. Some didn't get in and some didn't apply and some are still out there right now (you know who you are). So tonight, while I was busy being a good mouse and playing Epic Mickey using lots of paint some of the super amazing people found out the results of their Summer Alumni applications (This is for former CPs to go back and work for the summer, live in housing like before etc) AND these super awesome people got in AND they got in to do attractions. This news has completely made my day and now I'm bouncing around the room like Tigger. I am in such a good mood right now :D
Tuesday, 15 February 2011
Saw this on Bethan's blog (click here) and promptly decided to do it myself!
1. You find yourself humming songs like “It’s a Small World,” “A Pirate’s Life for Me,” and “It’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” to yourself.
Not very often.
2. Friends and family say, “What, you’re going back to Disney World AGAIN? Don’t you ever take vacations anywhere else?”
3. You often speak in Disney code. “I’m debating on getting the DDP this time and whether we want to stay at AKL or the Poly. I’m pretty sure we’ll go to MK on the first day to take advantage of the EMH.”
True, my code includes CM lingo as well tho.
4. You have dreams about being in Disney World.
True. Although not as many as you might think.
5. You’re seriously thinking about moving to Orlando.
Yes. I'm allowed to move there for 3 months at a time. No plans to move there for longer than that tho.
6. … and you’ve thought about getting a job at Disney World.
Done and done again.
7. You’re thinking about decorating your kitchen in a 1950′s theme, a la “50′s Prime Time Cafe.”
8. Heck, you’re dreaming up ways to give your whole house a Disney inspired theme.
9. You’re also wondering how Mickey Mouse topiaries would look in the backyard.
They're cool but again...no
10. At least one of your children is named after a character from a Disney movie.
N/A and it wouldn't be deliberate if I did.
11. You wear your Disney shirts as much as possible.
I do but they're part of my wardrobe.
12. You spend your days lurking on Disney World forums and daydreaming about your next Disney vacation.
13. You bought into the Disney Vacation Club.
True. Members since 1995.
14. You keep buying new Disney World tour guide books.
Used to. Now not so much.
15. You constantly listen to Disney music.
No. Although I go through phases with music. Last Disney music on repeat was TLM Broadway soundtrack.
16. You spend hours planning your Disney World trips so that you can hit all your favorite attractions without ever waiting in line.
No. You gotta go with the flow (Fantasmic is the exception)
17. You stay in shape… so you won’t have aching feet when you do all that walking in Disney World.
No. It's all about the comfy shoes. makes the world of difference.
18. You got married in Disney World.
N/A and probably wouldn't
19. You have to go to Disney World AT LEAST once a year.
True. Sometimes twice. Very rarely Disneyland gets thrown in too.
20. But even that’s not good enough any more… you have to get your Disney fix at lease TWICE a year.
Only when lucky and with no uni obligations. I did live there for 3 months tho so I'm sure that counts as going more than twice.
21. You watch videos featuring Disney World attractions on YouTube.
True. Mostly ones I haven't been on at all or are now extinct.
22. You’ve pretty much stayed at all the resorts and can give an expert opinion on the merits and drawbacks of each one.
Do you KNOW how many Disney resorts there are?? I've stayed in a fair few though ... Grand Floridian, Contemporary, Wilderness Lodge, Villas at Wilderness Lodge, Old Key West, Saratoga Springs, All Star Music and Movies, Villas at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Vero Beach, Grand Californian, Hotel New York, Sequoia Lodge
23. Cast members recognize you on sight and know you by name.
Depends on the area but yes.
24. You’re actually thinking about writing your own Disney World travel guide.
I did start one once. I might restart once uni is over.
25. You get insanely jealous whenever friends go to Disney World without you.
26. You spent your honeymoon at Disney World.
Possibly. My parent's did though so I'm sure that counts for something.
27. You don’t see the point of traveling around the world, since you can experience the best of all the countries at Epcot Pavilions without all the hassle.
No. The world is a beautiful place that cannot be replicated. I do love the Epcot Pavilions though.
28. You know where all the hidden Mickeys are.
I know a few and I have a book that tells me the rest.
29. You see hidden Mickeys outside of Disney World, too!
Do you know how often 3 circles are put together like that? They're everywhere!
30. You have a blog or a website dedicated to Disney World.
Not just Disney World but yes.
Go on...you know you want to answer these questions too!
Sunday, 13 February 2011
As you have probably seen in the previous 2 posts I've started linking to my online photo gallery. The link to the whole gallery is on the right hand side of this page.
I did try using Flickr but found their 200 photo limit a bit frustrating, especially in terms of longterm blogging. All the pictures on my gallery are my own photographs so please do not use them without my permission. If you do want a copy of any of them or wish to be able to use them then just leave me a comment here or on twitter and I'll sort it.
(Please note that I will only give out usernames and passwords to protected albums if you are personally involved with those particular photos or videos.)
I should also point out that I do try to be considerate of others when I take pictures during shows. I deliberately don't use flash photography, partly because it doesn't work when you're not next to your subject and partly because it can destroy some of the Disney magic (key example is during Under the Sea at Voyage of the Little Mermaid). As a result of both that and my cheap camera sometimes the pics aren't great and for that I apologise.
Firstly, apologies for being very blog happy at the moment. I think being ill for the best part of a week will do that to you.
If you keep up with all the latest goings on at the parks you'll know that a lot has been happening in the kingdom of magic recently. Since the new year they have introduced a new show which acts as a nighttime preshow of sorts where photographs are projected onto Cinderella's home (or It's a Small World at Disneyland). Check out this video from the amazing peeps at Inside the Magic. Click here for Inside the Magic's website
More announcements regarding the Fantasyland Expansion (aka FLE) have been made including news of a coaster based on the Seven Dwarves Mine and construction is moving fast. Click here for the latest construction photos (courtesy of WDWMagic.com).
This week Mickey's Toontown Fair closed it's gates for the last time. Yes Mickey's Toontown Fair has followed in the footsteps of its predecessors Mickey's Birthdayland and Mickey's Starland and soon it will form part of the new and improved Fantasyland. It seems that the land that always seemed temporary will now become permanent. Friday 11th February was its last day of operation and by the time the Magic Kingdom opened on Saturday its existence had already faded into a distant memory. Most notable it has now been removed from the park maps. Click here to see the new MK guide map.
Photos of Mickey's House are now available to view on my gallery page. Click here to see them.
With the various info coming out of Disneyland about the Little Mermaid dark ride I'm obviously very excited about the future of MK.
I have what you might call a bit of an addictive personality. If ever a trend comes up that involves collecting in any way I tend to get hooked. Initially it was Pogs which was followed by Crazy Bones then Warhammer, Guitars, Posters, Programmes, Shot glasses and so the list continues. Some of these I still collect today, some I still own but don't collect as much and others have been left in the past. (I'm hoping it will be obvious which ones I don't have any more but just in case it isn't...I no longer own or collect Pogs, Crazy Bones or Warhammer.)
What does this have to do with Disney? Well let me tell you.
Back in 1999 Disney launched Pin Trading as part of its Millennium Celebration. I say launched because while Disney had always sold pins 1999 brought about the significant changes that have made pin trading at Disney World what it is today. This is when cast members started wearing lanyards and the pin trading stations opened around Disney World (most significantly in Epcot).
Here are some of the original pins that were part of the Millennium Celebration.
I think during that initial period I bought 1 pin. Just 1 and I didn't even buy it at WDW, I bought it at Disney's Vero Beach Resort. WDW's tagline for that 18 months was "Celebrate the Future Hand in Hand".
I can still remember the tune they gave it and to this day I think it is my favourite Disney tagline. Hence I bought the pin that demonstrated that tagline. they have since rereleased it but just in case you don't believe I bought it way back in 2000, here's a photo of the back of the pin (the newer version has a different inscription on the reverse).
For me pin trading really exploded in 2001 during the 100 Years of Magic celebration. Since then I have amassed a collection of between 250 and 300 pins (this is a guesstimate because they aren't all located in one place). I have pins from WDW, Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, the El Capitan, Celebration and the Disney Store. Some commemorate a specific place, film or event, others have character and attraction theming. One personal highlight of my collection is the series of pins that I won for participating in Who Wants to Be a Millionnaire: Play It! at what was Disney-MGM Studios.
One retired element of the pin craze from 2001 is the interactive pins. These were much bigger than the regular pins and would light-up either when you pressed them or when you entered a particular attraction or show. One pin was made for each park plus there was also a more generic pin. (Apologies for the photo quality on the picture below. The Fantasmic pin lights up but is not interactive like the others).
My collection is not limited to Disney pins and includes pins from Universal Studios, New York, Red Nose Day and more. More photos of my collection can be found here.
This year I got to experience pin trading as a cast member at WDW which took the experience to a completely different level. I also began collecting Vinylmation.
Vinylmation is fast gaining in popularity and adds a degree of mystery to the proceedings (you don't now exactly which one you get until after you've bought it). Unfortunately I didn't manage to complete a series of Vinylmation (mostly because the series I was collecting was new and had seemingly limited stock) but I did form a nice little collection of the Mickey statuettes.
Saturday, 12 February 2011
Recently I've noticed people doing a 30 Day Disney Challenge so I thought I'd have a go. I doubt that I would remember to do it every day so instead I'm going to do it all in one go. For all the ICPers and CPers (and anyone else for that matter) who haven't done this yet it might be a cool way for everyone to learn a little more about each other.
Here we go:
Day #1: Your favorite character
Dale. Chip's a close second but Dale wins because of the Hawaiian shirt in Rescue Rangers.
Day #2: Your favorite princess
Ariel. Easily the best singer out of all the Disney Princesses AND she can do it underwater.
Day #3: Your favorite heroine
Day #4: Your favorite prince
Day #5: Your favorite hero
Day #6: Your favorite animal
Horse. Disney Horses very rarely speak but manage to get their point across, are caring and really, really, funny. You can't not love Achilles, Pegasus and Maximus.
Day #7: Your favorite sidekick
Flounder. He's a guppy!
Day #8: Your favorite villain
Day #9: Your favorite original character (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, etc.)
Donald. He's not afraid to speak his mind and get angry.
Day #10: Your favorite song
Day #11: Your favorite love song
"Beauty and the Beast"
Day #12: Your favorite villain song
Day #13: Your least favorite song
"Mad Madam Mim"
Day #14: Your favorite kiss
Donald kissing the electric eel in Mickey's Philharmagic.
Day #15: The first movie you saw
The Little Mermaid
Day #16: Your favorite classic
Classic Cartoon or Feature? I'm assuming this just means non-Pixar films so I'll say The Little Mermaid.
Day #17: Your least favorite classic
Pinocchio. It's so scary I STILL can't watch it.
Day #18: Your favorite Pixar film
Day #19: Your least favorite Pixar film
Day #20: Favorite sequel
The Rescuers Down Under. "Pea Sooooup"
Day #21: An overrated movie
Day #22: An underrated movie
Day #23: A movie that makes you laugh
Lilo and Stitch
Day #24: A movie that makes you cry
Day #25: Your favorite scene from your favorite movie
So many to choose from! Ariel rescuing Eric.
Day #26: Saddest death
Day #27: Your favorite quote
"She treats me like sashimi left over from last week."
Day #28: Your favorite theme park
Day #29: Your favorite theme attraction
Carousel of Progress
Day #30: Your favorite theme park show
That's it!. There are several questions where I could easily have written 5 or 6 different answers. I've tried to give the one that has been most consistently my favourite although obviously present favourite's are always subject to new releases.
Now I challenge you to go forth and answer!
Thursday, 10 February 2011
Anyone who has been following me on twitter could tell you that this week I've been ill, which sucks. So I've spent much of the week in bed, taking painkillers every 4 hours :( The upside is that Lovefilm finally sent me a copy of Epic Mickey so at least I've had something to keep me occupied during the brief moments when I've been feeling slightly better.
For those that don't already know, Epic Mickey is a videogame where you play the role of Mickey as he is dragged into a painting (that looks suspiciously like the Magic Kingdom) by a giant blob. Your weapons are a paintbrush, paint and thinner and the aim is to escape while collecting e-tickets, pins, completing quests, saving the day, etc.
One of the really great things about the game is that it makes reference to all things Disney. If you've visited Toontown or Mickey's Toontown Fair then you'll recognise Mickey and Minnie's houses. Clarabelle and Horace (from the classic Mickey Cartoons) are there, the Dumbo ride, Mad Hatters Tea Cup and so much more. Also a lot of the videos that are used to play out/explain parts of the story are animated in a 2D comic book style which looks pretty cool. If I say anymore I'll spoil it but if you're a fan of all things Disney it's definitely worth checking out.
Yesterday, I somehow managed to pull myself out of bed (although I did regret it by early afternoon) for my first day working as a student ambassador. This basically involves me representing my uni and helping out at open days by showing applicants around, answering questions, etc. For the first two hours I was posted on directions duty which meant I spent 2 hours Disney pointing. I think it pretty much becomes built in after a week of working for the mouse! I also got to use some crowd control skills that I indirectly learned from the mouse. It seems like Mickey helps me out on pretty much a daily basis!
Monday, 7 February 2011
So today was a good day for many reasons, pretty much none of which involved any input from me. But to all my friends that had good days here's a congratulatory shout out. You know who you are!
So as I mentioned last time I recently got around t putting a load of photos on my computer. I've just started testing a new piece of blogging software so I'm going to use this as an opportunity to post some of my photos from over the summer. Come on technology, don't let me down!
That was unexpectedly photo-heavy. Unfortunately I don't personally have any photos of me in my costume at my work location :( I believe other people did take some though so they're probably on facebook somewhere if anyone REALLY wants to see them.
If I manage to take any pics of the ICP meet-up (which is now less than 2 weeks away) I shall try to post them on here.
That's all from me for today. Keep vlogging and blogging everyone!
Thursday, 3 February 2011
So for my birthday celebrations I went and saw Tangled because it came out the day before. I’ll be honest I prefer hand drawn animation to the 3D stuff but Tangled kinda merged the two so I much preferred it to the Pixar movies. I did find the songs slightly lacking. Mostly because there’s only 3 or 4 of them, one of which is repeated A LOT. Actually, the problem wasn’t the songs as much as the lyrics. REALLY Glenn Slater? I refuse to enter into a rant on this blog but I really wish Alan Menken would partner with a different lyricist. Moving on.......
I got to release my Chinese Lantern into the sky on my birthday (footage of which will soon appear on the vlog). The fact that this is part of Tangled is a complete coincidence, I was bought it for Xmas and it just seemed like a good time to release it into the night. I also got to have Wagamamas for lunch. Yummy! Last time I went was when I saw HP7 so it seems like it had been a while. I also had a very grown up birthday cake that was shaped like a caterpillar. I may actually be 5 years old!
After trying to find the cable for my camera I realised I had a card reader. I then realised the last time I downloaded any pics was back in July so I found quite a few pics from Florida on there (on top of the more recent stuff). I am actually useless!
I’ve also discovered that loads of the Fall 2011 CPs have started blogging/vlogging - yay! I met some awesome people via vlogging/blogging last year so the more the merrier. I can’t wait to sit and watch everyone’s videos.
People have also been asking me questions! Yay! I realise I’m at the risk of repeating myself from the vlog to the blog or vice-versa but I thought I’d answer questions in both places because I know some people will see one and not the other. And with that I shall answer the first few....
I’m not arriving until after 5pm on my arrival date. Will this mean that I get a bad apartment?
There are two different answers to this question depending on whether you are an ICP or a CP. here are both answers:
ICP - The accommodation is all preallocated so you could be the first there or the last and it won’t matter. I suspect they try to spread the arrival times of the people in the apartment so that 6 of you aren’t arriving at once but no-one’s official confirmed this. i.e. 3 people arrive at 2, 3 arrive at 5. You should (in theory) all have the same arrival date. This doesn’t always apply and I know people whose roommates didn’t arrive until several weeks later or who moved in to an apartment that had 5 places already filled. Panic not! Sometimes this means that you get to live with people on the CP program so you get to interact with a broader range of people.
CP - Obviously I’m not (and never have been) a CP. But as I understand it most CPs like to arrive first thing in the morning (as in at 8am) because CPs can choose what type of apartment they have (subject to availability). You also need to be in line with the people that you want to share an apartment with.
The room types available range from 1-4 bedrooms (2 people to each room) and the complexes are Vista Way, Chatham Square and Patterson Court. Vista is, on average, the cheapest and the more bedrooms the lower the rent. There are no 4 bedroom apartments in Vista (a 3 bed in Vista is cheaper than a 4 bed in Chatham). Each complex has its advantages and disadvantages and some of the complexes may not be available at all. Chatham and Patterson seem to be the most popular amongst CPs so they tend to fill up quickly.
What did you do about bedding?
Different people do different things. I’ve heard of people taking a sleeping bag and stuffing it into a duvet cover, others bring a complete set of bedding with them. I personally did some research beforehand and found that you could buy a complete set of bedding (excluding pillows) for $30-50 in Walmart and get 2 pillows for about $10. So I bought my bedding on the first night. I was worried about whether I’d have time when I arrived to go to Walmart but it’s open 24 hours and the buses run til about midnight (there are always taxis if you get stuck). Similarly I bought towels, hangers, etc there too. At the end of the program I either threw the items away or donated them. Luggage allowances are so limited these days that you need all the space you can get!