- Open a bank account!
If you don’t have one in the US already, open a bank account as soon as possible. The easiest one will probably with Partners Federal Credit Union. There’s a branch at Disney University and a smaller one at Epcot Cast Services. This means you have the ability to store your money securely (I found the default Citibank card very unsafe and annoying; they were hit with card fraud a number of times and they were incredibly hard to contact — I never spoke to a real person when dealing with them) and also tuck your savings away in a savings account. Read through the terms and conditions of signing up, and you’ll need to put in about $30 to get you started.
- Buy at Property Control!
Across the parking lot from West Clock is Disney Property Control. This is where old and damaged products go to die. There’s one side for stock that they want to get rid of, undamaged at a significant discount. Then the other side is for damaged or unsellable items. And trust me, at Disney, some things you wouldn’t find a problem are unsellable. You can also buy basics like fruit, milk, giant loaves of bread… you name it!
- Have a talent.
Ok this one is rough if you don’t have one that’s marketable. I’m one of those people. How many times have I wished during this year I had practiced drawing more so that I could take commissions?! But yeah, if you’re able, open up commissions on Deviantart or something and that might get you a Christmas Party ticket or something…
- Don’t drive everywhere.
I guarantee you, about a month into your program, you will become disillusioned with the bus service. I heard people complaining about it when I first got here and swore I wouldn’t be that person. But I am. Because it sucks sometimes. They’re late, they leave early, they pass your stop, they pull away as you bang on the door, they break down, they’re slow, you name it. But they’re free. I work at Epcot, which is the quickest bus route. It goes straight from Vista to Epcot cast services and then back to Chatham and the Commons before Vista again. The trip from Vista to Epcot takes about 20 mins, 15 is your bus driver is enthusiastic. But I know so many people who drive to work every day. The worst part of the day is if you live at Vista and have to wait about 40 mins to get home. Which is nothing compared to commutes I’ve made in the past! So save the gas for a trip to the Keys.
- Picnic at the parks
Disney food is ridiculously expensive. When you go to an actual normal restaurant after dining at Disney, everything seems so cheap. So instead of getting a quick service meal every time you go to the parks, eat before you go and pack snacks or a lunch to have with you. You’re allowed to take food and drinks in, no problem!
- Sign up for extra hours/extend
On the hub, you can sign up for extra hours by going to the labor service centre under the work tab. If you don’t have much to do that week, sign up and see how many hours you can get. Another option is to extend your shifts. This is hard to do if you work a lot of closing shifts (and CP does stand for Close Parks as everyone knows…) but whenever you can, do it. While we may not get the 6th day premium, if you work more than 8 hours in the day or 40 hours in the week, every hour is overtime, depending on your location.
More coming soon…