The idea of packing your life into a suitcase for a year long contract at Walt Disney World is a daunting task. When I went on my first contract to be a Cultural Representative through Disney International Programs, we had a Facebook Group that allowed folks to meet and greet…and also to share tips on what we needed to bring.
Some of the ideas were great….while others made me question life!
Here’s the packing list for new Cast Members who are on the Disney International Program.
Just as a reminder, it’s “comprehensive” to the level of my packing ability as a guy who knows how to use Amazon and Walmart.com!
Keep all these in a single binder for easy access during travel.
- Transportation voucher (Mears)
- Passport (with the Visa stamp inside)
- The original and a copy of your DS 2019 form
- Disney Offer Letter
- Flight Information and tickets
- Proof of medical insurance
- Printed receipt of your payment of the Program Assessment Fee
- Photocopies of passport;
- Page with your name, photo and passport number
- Page with your visa stamp
- Proof of travel insurance
- Social security card (if you’ve worked in the US before)
- Onboarding paperwork
- Laptop Charger
- Camera Charger
- Phone Charger
ODDS AND ENDS
- Adapter to US Plugs (if required for those outside of North America)
- Memory Cards
- Arrival Cash
- USA Bank Account *
- I’ll go into more details on a related article, but know that you’ll get paid with checks before Direct Deposit starts.
Please note that Walmart.com and Amazon.com are available, so having things set up to arrive BEFORE your “arrival date” is the best option. Packing towels and other items in your suitcase takes up room that can be better used for items that will help with the impending home sickness in months 3 and 4.
- Sheets (Single Bed)
- Pillow Case
- Travel Size:
- Shampoo & Conditioner
- Shower Gel
- Toothpaste & Toothbrush
- Face Wash, etc
- Shaving stuff
- Shaving stuff
- Hair stuff (gel, clips, etc)
When I went down for my contract, I left Vancouver in December and arrived in Florida in 75 degree heat. Remember to pack for your arrival and not your departure. It’s also important to know that the Orlando Premium Outlets are within walking distance of the residence, so getting cheaper clothing is easier than I realized.
Just bring enough for three days
- Socks / Tights
- Business Attire for Traditions (Check out the location of “Disney University” on Instagram for ideas)
- Gym clothes
- A Raincoat
Personally, I like shoes (and hats)…but they do take up a lot of space in luggage. Wear runners on the plane, pack sandals and a pair of shoes for Traditions.
- Re-usable bag
- Side-bag (satchel / laptop bag)
- Don’t be afraid to call the International Program office directly and ask for tips. They’ll know the up to date information and will be able to provide you with a timeframe of your first few days
- Don’t take a ton of clothes. Most of the days, you’re in your costume anyway. What I learned early was that it all depended on your work schedule as to what you actually wore during your days.
- Rain gear – don’t be TOO COOL for protecting yourself from rain. It’s going to rain and it’s important to act like a local! Sandals are great during rain, but you’ll want a good umbrella & jacket.
- Pack stuff that you’ll want to remind you of home. I’m from Canada, so I brought a Team Canada hat and shirt, along with a care package of ketchup chips and random things that I knew that I wouldn’t find in Florida.
WHAT DID I BRING THAT I NEVER USED?
- Black Dress Pants – Bring Kahki’s instead
- Books – I brought the Walt Disney GIANT autobiography…and it was HEAVY! There’s a library for Cast Members, so don’t worry about books or movies
- Bug Spray – It smelled weird and if we needed something, there was usually something at work that we could use as a community item.
WHAT DID I WISH THAT I BROUGHT?
- More memories from home. Printed photos, dream-board items
That’s my list! Did I forget anything? Was there something that you think should get more weight when you’re packing? Let me know in the comments below!