ESAs in CP Housing

There are several reasons a person may have an Emotional Support Animal (ESA), but bringing one to Disney can prove difficult for some. Here is my experience bringing my ESA, Violet, down to Orlando. In order to bring your support pet with you on your Disney College Program, first they must be approved by Disney’s Health Services. Fill out the Medical Accommodation Form with your doctor, send it in by fax or snail mail, and make sure you call to check that they received the form. I had to fax mine twice because they didn’t get it the first time. Then a representative from health services called me to confirm the information about my ESA. After that everything was set for our arrival!

Once you get down to Disney College Program housing, there are a few rules about ESAs:

  1. They must be crated while in the apartment alone.
  2. They are not allowed at housing events.
  3. They are not allowed in other DCP apartments.
  4. They must be quiet while in the apartment, especially during quiet hours (this mostly applies to dogs).
  5. You must pick up after them outside (again this is mostly for dogs).
  6. They must not cause any damage to the apartment or furniture.

For liability reasons, DCP participants with an ESA will live in a 1 bedroom apartment without any roommates and pay for the same rent as if you did have a roommate. I was placed in the Commons which has a washer and dryer in the apartment and wood floors. I pay a little more than I would at the other complexes, but I think it’s totally worth it.

Every ESA also gets their own housing ID with a picture. You can take the picture before and email it to the service center, or they can take the picture on your arrival day at check-in. Each time you and your ESA enter any of the complexes you will have to present both housing IDs.

When I came down for my program, there was not a lot of information to be found on ESAs in the Disney College Program. Hopefully this helps, and please ask me any questions you may have that I didn’t address.


19 thoughts on “ESAs in CP Housing

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  1. Hi Allyson,
    I just got accepted into the Fall 2018 DCP!!๐Ÿ˜„ Iโ€™m super excited, but one of my biggest concerns was my ESA & if they were able to go with me. I swear I tried doing research on it since last year & couldnโ€™t find anything. But then I came across your post & I felt a light of hope. My psychologist is currently looking over the medical form & Iโ€™m going to revisit her this week. She seemed concerned & was wondering if they would prefer to have a psychiatrist approval instead, but I have my reasons for not seeing one due to a bad experience. Was it difficult to get the approval & did they specify that it needed to be a doctor with a particular specialty? I would really appreciate a response if possible!๐Ÿ˜Š
    Thank you!!๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ


    1. CONGRATULATIONS!!! You’re going to love the DCP! I know when I got accepted I couldn’t find any information on ESA’s, so I’m glad my blog was able to help someone!
      My general practitioner and I filled out the paperwork. I think as far as Disney is concerned, they want to hear from whichever medical professional knows the most about your diagnosis and treatment. I don’t think it needs to be a specialist unless they are the one currently helping with your treatment. My biggest obstacle with approval was making sure Disney received the paperwork. I recommend calling shortly after you send it in to double check.
      Good luck on your DCP adventure!

      Oh! and just a heads up. When I was leaving my DCP, Disney had just announced that they were raising the prices for each apartment including a significant increase on 1 bedrooms (I paid $130/week, but the increase was $200/week). Don’t be afraid to look at apartments off property if you need to because of cost.


  2. Hi, I sent in my paperwork last week through fax. Did you hear back from them afterwards or how long did the process take?
    Thanks ๐Ÿ˜Š


    1. I actually had to send my paperwork in twice. I waited a month after I sent it the first time, but never heard from anyone. An hour or so after I sent in the paperwork a second time I called to make sure they received it. Then I heard from Disney about a week afterward. I was Spring Advantage and arriving mid May, so I think they probably moved me up to the top of the pile.


      1. Did having your ESA & not having roommates affect how other CPs saw or treated you? Were you still able to have a good social life even when you were busy working & taking care of your ESA?

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi, Iโ€™ve gotten approved to take my cat with me as an ESA and I was wondering if you could tell me if I had to bring her to check in with me/


    1. It depends a little bit on your situation. I did not bring my dog, Violet, with me to check-in. On my schedule I had casting immediately after check-in and I wouldn’t have had time to unpack my car and get Violet’s crate set up beforehand. I was fortunate enough to have family helping me that day, so Violet was able to stay back at the hotel while I checked-in. Then, I had to go to the housing desk and ask them to print Violet’s ID before I brought her onto property. If you plan on doing something similar, just make sure that you have sent in a picture of your cat so they can make her ID. You are able to bring your cat with you to check-in as well (and I think this is how most people do it) and Disney can take her picture and make the ID then, but I would make sure she’s in a secure carrier.


      1. Thanks for the info. I know Iโ€™m scheduled to check in at 8:45 with Casting at 9:30 so I was curious to know how itโ€™d work. I sent in a picture of her the same day I sent in proof of her shots being current so I was curious how thatโ€™d work. Thank you so much for the help!


    1. You should be able to click the link in my blog above to open a pdf version of the form. It is the same form they have been using since 2014 and was current as of May 2017, so unless they’ve updated it you should be fine printing off this form. As for fees, you will probably have to pay part of them before you’re medical accommodation will be approved. I can’t remember exactly which fees I had to pay when, but I know I paid the initial acceptance fees before sending in my accommodation request.


  4. Hey there! I’m planning on applying for the DCP for next fall and I’m trying to do as much research as possible into doing the program with a support dog. I’ve been finding some helpful information on the arrival process, but my concern especially is when he’s alone in the apartment while I’m out on a shift, or if I want to spend some time at the parks. He helps me a lot and I wouldn’t want for him to be unhappy while we’re in Disney. Can you tell me a bit more what your experience was like with that? Did you have any time to explore the parks, did your dog stay at home alright, did you have to regularly hire people to care for your dog while you were gone for a while? Maybe make friends that would dog-sit just so they could be around a dog? I have a lab and I’ve heard that sometimes shifts can last for 12 hours; I wouldn’t want him to be stuck in a crate for that entire time, and I don’t know if Disney will accommodate shift times? Sorry about all the questions, I just want to know before I apply that my support dog won’t suffer because of my dream to work at Disney. Thanks so much in advance.


    1. I understand all your worries. I had a hard time finding information before my program. My dog was ~5 years old during my program, so she was fine being crated during my shifts. My shifts were usually 7-8 hours long, but I don’t know if that is just because of my location or role as a lifeguard (any shifts longer than 8 hours, they have to pay overtime rate so my location made an effort not to schedule shifts longer than that). I was only extended for a double shift twice in my 8 months, but I was able to make arrangements beforehand.
      There is a pet boarding facility on Disney property called Best Friends Pet Care, so I recommend getting set up with them as soon as you get down there.
      There was also another lifeguard at my location with a support dog, so we were able to have play dates and help each other out. Also everyone in the Commons loved to come up and pet her on our walks. Chatham has a large field where they host events but is empty most of the time. I took my dog there with a long line to let her run around and play fetch.
      I was able to explore the parks on my days off. I know a lot of people would go before or after their shifts, but I tended to go back to my dog. If she seemed content to go back to sleep after a walk, then I would make a quick trip to the parks (I had a car so I didn’t have to wait for the super slow and terrible buses). I never made it out to Universal but that was a choice I made because I didn’t want to spend the money.
      The only reservation that I have if I were to do my DCP now is that they drastically raised the prices of the 1 bedroom apartments where all ESAs have to stay. I would look into another apartment complex off property, especially one that has a dog run area, but I don’t know how long their leases are for.
      Let me know if you have any other questions!


  5. Hi! Did you notify them of your ESA during your interview or after acceptance? I am afraid it would cause me to be rejected prematurely.


  6. Hi there! I’m taking my ESA Matilda with me and I was wondering if the apartment set up like you had a roommate? Like two beds, two night stands or did they take the extra stuff out! Thank you in advance!!


    1. Sorry for the late reply. My apartment in the Commons was set up as if I were going to have another roommate. There were 2 twin beds and 2 night stands, one dresser, and 2 lockers in the closet. I had a friend with an ESA that pushed the two beds together to make a king-sized bed.


  7. Hey! I’m about to have my phone interview and I’m so excited! I have been so worried about my ESA Gus because my friend got in and said she thought ESAs weren’t allowed. Do you know if cats also must be kenneled all day or is it different for them? Thanks so much for posting this, it has made me feel so much better! ๐Ÿ™‚


    1. I’m glad I could help. According to the guidelines for the apartment complexes, all ESAs are supposed to be kenneled while you are not in the apartment. The main reason for this is because if maintenance has to come into the apartment while you’re at work, they don’t want to be held responsible for letting your ESA out (or be attacked by a not so friendly dog/cat). Since they have so many participants in the complexes, they have to be a little overly cautious.
      Best of luck on your phone interview!


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