How Much Does It Cost To Do The Disney Cultural Representative Program For UK Applicants?
One of the questions most people ask when applying for the Disney Cultural Representative program is how much does it actually cost?
The fees involved before evening arriving in Orlando seem to put a lot of people off. There’s only one piece of advice I can give you regarding this, and that is: the Disney Cultural Representative Program is so worth the small amount you pay beforehand! The application process is a lengthy one to begin with; in total my application took almost 11 months. Yes it’s a long time, but at least it will give you some time to save some money beforehand. Right?
Here is a breakdown of what I spent in total from submitting my application to arriving in Orlando.
The yummy jobs office is located in Epping, Essex. Therefore all pre-screens are always held here. I was rather lucky with this one, as I live (lived) in Essex. This was actually my second time at pre-screen interviews, and the first time I had my dad drive me on the day. Needless to say I was really tired during my interview and felt this had a negative impact. So I spared no expense the second time around. I booked a hotel called “The Bell” for £65 for the night and my wonderful parents drove me there the night before.
For anyone coming from further afield, especially Scotland and Ireland, it will cost more, but if you are successful you won’t regret it!
Epping is accessible on the London tube via the Central line.
Unless you live very close to Central London I would highly recommend booking a hotel for the night. It will ensure you get a good nights rest but also other applicants usually stay at the same places, which means you’ll get to meet your potential future co-workers too!
The Disney headquarters are located in Hammersmith. I booked a hotel for the night within walking distance called “The Sapphire Hotel” for £69. My train journey to and from London was £25 each way.
Program Fees & Background Checks
Once you have received your offer from Disney you’ll then have a limited time to submit your background check and pay your program fees. My background check at the time was £80. The program fees you will submit through the DORMS website and will be around the $225USD mark
Booking Your Visa Appointment
Shortly after you’ve submitted your program fees you’ll receive an email containing a link to your I-797. This is an important document that you’ll need t show the immigration officer when you go for your visa appointment. This is Disney’s petition for you to get your work visa.
After you receive this you can start booking your visa appointment. For anyone from the UK, you’ll be looking at the United States Embassy in either London or Belfast.
At this point in my application process, I was living in Canada on a Working Holiday Visa, and really didn’t want to have to spend lots of money just to go home for a few days. Just in case anyone else happens to be in this situation – you can apply for a U.S. visa in any country OTHER than the United States.
I got my visa at the consulate here in Vancouver. If you are applying for your Q1 visa outside of your home country, you will need to provide the Embassy or Consulate with a valid work permit (for that country), or reason why you are applying for your visa at that location.I had to provide my Canadian work permit to the immigration officer.
My time at the consulate wasn’t the greatest, as they didn’t accept my photos. They had a photo booth in the Consulate, but it only accepted cash and I had none. After leaving the consulate to find my boyfriend to get cash and then going back through security I find the photo booth doesn’t accept $20 notes. Luckily for me a lovely family gave me two $10 notes – lifesavers! Word of advice – get decent photos taken for your visa, do not take any chances.
I made my visa appointment online – and paid the fees online too. My Q1 visa cost $190 CAD and the courier fee was $19 CAD. My photos were $15 CAD.
When purchasing medical insurance for your Disney Program there are two options recommended for UK applicants, STA Travel or 7 corners. You have the option of purchasing insurance for 12 months, or 3-4 months. After your first 3 to 4 months in Disney, you’ll be enrolled onto the Disney medical insurance.
I chose the second option and bought 3 months worth of insurance. I chose this as Disney deduct a fee from your wages and have a clinic onsite at Epcot Cast Services. My insurance for three months was £153.
As I’d been in Canada for 8 months previous to moving to Orlando I was also covered by my two-year travel insurance.
Arriving In Orlando
The next thing you’ll want to book is your flight – the most exciting part! I booked a one-way flight from Vancouver to Orlando via Toronto. U.S. immigration is done the Canadian side so when I arrived in Florida I was able to walk straight out of the airport. Your flight fees will vary depending on where in the world you’ll be coming from. I flew Air Canada for £270. I booked the Mears shuttle from Orlando International Airport to my hotel for the night before check-in. ($90)
Funds for your first couple of months
When you arrive in Orlando your first week or so will be mostly seminars and meetings. In the first two weeks you’ll earn little to no money before you start your job so you’ll want to have some money saved if you want to do anything fun. You won’t be able to enter the parks until you have traditions class and if you want to purchase a Universal Annual Pass you’ll also need money for this. FYI I maxed out my credit card during my first three months, but that was for luxuries!
These first few weeks are not cheap. Your first Wal-mart shop will be for bedding/cleaning products/bathroom accessories/kitchen utensils etc. I lived in Vista Way during my program and was a ten-minute walk from the Dollar Store – I loved it – it saved me so much money.
In total I took around $1200 USD but if you can you should take more.
Costs In Total
These costs were correct at the time but I know prices fluctuate and the program fees seem to have risen. So this is just a guide as to how much you’ll need to budget. I have used a variety of currencies in this post – so I’ll summarise a total cost in all three.
Including all of the costs posted above here are the final totals:
GBP Total: £1891
USD Total: $2647
CAD Total: $3,025
So in total this looks like a lot of money, but let’s say your application takes 12 months from the time you submit your resume – that’s approx. £40 a week! The Disney Cultural Representative Program will give you so many opportunities and open many doors. It is more than worth the price and – as cheesy as it may sound – will give you memories to last a lifetime.
I hope this post has been helpful and given you some insight into what you’ll need to plan for – if you need any advice please leave a comment below or send me an email and I’ll be more than happy to reply!