As I write this, it’s check in time for new arrivals and check out time for those who have finished their programs.

The newbies arrive, all fresh-faced and eager to meet roommates, be assigned apartments, go to Traditions, and learn all about working for Disney. Their joy and excitement is apparent and to be celebrated.

With a new check in system currently in place, the waiting time has been cut down dramatically. In 2013, when my daughter first checked in, we waited 2-3 hours for her to complete the check in process and go to Casting to have her role bestowed upon her. After that, race over to the apartment to move in. Today, it’s about 10 minutes to check in, right at the apartment complex at which they’ll be living, then over to Casting that day or next.

Parents are no longer allowed to wait at a parent-designated area during check in. In the past, DCP would lay on coffee and some trays of cookies during the wait. A tour of a typical apartment in Vista Way was given. In more bygone days, the Disney Vacation Club would have someone on hand to provide information (did you know, your CP’s status can render you eligible for a 15% discount if you purchase vacation club ownership while they’re in the program?). It was fun, it offered parents a chance at camaraderie and the answers to questions that no one had previously provided.

Today, we answer those questions here and on our Facebook page. (Yay, us!) When Disney blocked parents from check in, we made arrangements with the Chick Fil A next door, who welcome us with open arms and make us comfortable while we sat and chat and munch away.

That camaraderie is needed. Not because we’re helicopter parents. Not because we’re living vicariously through our CPs. And not because we’re overbearing. It’s because we care. We’re excited. We want to be able to support our CPs. And while that support is certainly needed during the early days’ learning curve, it’s even more necessary at the end of their program, when they come home.

For many, that’s when things get sad, and quickly. It’s called Disney Depression and it’s a real thing.

Reality hits and hits hard when they’re back home, away from the bright lights of the big Mickey. While our CPs are working, and often with busy schedules, there’s a special feeling in knowing that you can go to the Parks on your days off, or before or after work, and experience the Magic every time. Home doesn’t always offer the same thrill, does it? Just think about how we feel at the end of a vacation. There’s a reason the bus to the airport is nicknamed the Tragical Express.

So, as we celebrate the new CPs arriving, have a care for those returning home. Especially those who are suffering from Disney Depression. It will take time, and maybe visits with friends made on the program to keep them going, before they assimilate back into the realities of home, school and real life.

Reality, what a concept – Robin Williams.

by Laura Schwartz

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