There’s a few things I wish someone had been around to tell me when I first started working here in Disney. Nothing massively important of course – they tell you all that in the various manuals and training days you do once you get here- but just a few tips that I’ve picked up along the way.
So without further ado, here’s a list of things I’d tell someone if they asked for advice on working in Disney. I know I’ve gone into a bit too much detail in places but maybe someone will appreciate it!
1. Don’t buy expensive black shoes for work. In fact, don’t bother putting any effort into getting specific black shoes at all. Disney insists on 99.9% of workers here wearing their security shoes which are provided to everyone on the first day of work. Don’t buy expensive shoes – they will not get worn and it won’t be worth it.
2. Sort out your expenses forms, Navigo refunding, etc before the 10th of each month. It’s handier to get Service Paye out of the way earlier anyway, but they don’t mention that if you go after the 10th, your refunds won’t be included until the following month’s pay.
3. You get free passes for friends and family only after working here for one month. Disney will not give you any passes whatsoever until you’ve reached that 31 days mark! Your contract also has to be a minimum of two months to get it – if you’re a day off two months Disney can (and frequently do) refuse to give you a pass. It’s annoying and yes, it most definitely does happen.
4. No matter what you do, you will get paid by cheque for the first and last month of your contract. That means for a two month contract, you can’t get money straight into your account. Disney say that they “recommend” cheque as the most convenient method, but they don’t mean for you – they mean for them. I tried the bank account thing, it was far more hassle than it’s worth.
5. Whilst I’m on the topic of cheques – cash them one at a time. Go to La Poste – they’re used to people with broken French asking to change cheques. If you’re armed with your IBAN No and Swift Code you can try and get the money put into your account but when I tried, they couldn’t locate “Bank of Ireland”, so again, assume you’ll be dealing in cash and cheques until proven otherwise.
6. Fly into Charles de Gaulle. The Disney shuttle bus costs 25 euro each way and regardless of when your flight is, you’ll end up spending far longer than you want waiting around Beauvais due to terrible shuttle schedules. When you factor in price difference in travel (we get Navigo passes so trains to CDG will be next to nothing and Disney refund most of the flights anyway) it just isn’t worth it. Always ALWAYS go for CDG. I made the Beauvais mistake and I’m currently trying to sort it…
7. Make friends with the people who land in Fantasia the same time as you. Your roommates will literally be the people who are queuing next to you for registration so you’re better off finding people you like there and then. If you want to be with someone, conveniently place yourself next to them. It worked for us 🙂
8. Buy your Navigo pass as soon as you land in Marne La Vallee Chessy. The passes are monthly and work from the 1st – 31st of each month, regardless of when you buy it. That means that if you buy the pass on the 10th of June, it won’t last til the 10th of July – it’ll just stop working after the 31st meaning you lose out on 10 days of travel.
9. Also in regard to Navigo passes – get it for zone 4 and 5. In summer the pass works for all of Paris regardless, so even though you’re paying less, you still get to travel into the centre for free. You won’t go out in Paris as often as you think you will. Trust me on that.
10. Don’t bother buying a month’s load of food or bringing tonnes when you arrive. Most of us just ate in the heavily subsidised Disney staff restaurants, so all we ever needed in the house was food for breakfast and the odd dinner.
11. Transfers are a frequent occurrence in Disney. You could be written down as working in one place and suddenly find yourself sent elsewhere. It happens to everyone, it’s just something that we have to put up with.
12. Don’t stress if your French isn’t perfect. At the end of the day, you’re selling ice creams/souvenirs at Disney. They hired you for your English as well as your French. It gets far easier if you just relax about it instead of stressing when you don’t understand every little thing they say…
13. When you are doing your shopping, Val d’Europe is your easiest option. It’s a bit of a trek, but the shop – Aucun – is massive and has everything you’ll want. Plus Val d’Europe is the nearest place for a pharmacy, decent clothes shops and Fantasia is located there.
14. If you get a choice at all, aim to live in Boiserie. It’s the same price as Plaeides but the apartment is bigger (Plaeides is more of a dorm) and this whole “more parties” thing is just a rumour. Both are much of a muchness when it comes to soirées.
15. You can have guests stay over. They say you’re not allowed but nobody will care if someone stays on your couch for a night or two.
16. Don’t buy the internet. It’s 15 euro for the month and you’ll never be able to connect. I spent most of my first month trying to use Skype and getting frustrated by the whole thing. There’s free networks (someone will have the password – it gets around the houses fairly fast) that connect far quicker than the internal wifi. In the end, even though I’d bought the wifi code, I just swapped over to the other network. You won’t look back.
17. Aim to fly home late afternoon/early evening and on a weekday. The reception isn’t open much at weekends and if you have to drop in your keys at the end, you won’t get your deposit unless you do so during reception opening hours. They’ll mail you your deposit instead and apparently that takes weeks (they’re ridiculously slow at administration) and cashing French cheques at home costs more than you’d think (so it goes for other countries anyway, I’m assuming Ireland follows the same lines…)
That’s pretty much all I’ve got right now! If I think of anything else I’ll add it in.