$500/mo in Orange Country: Feasible?
January 26, 2009 4:07 AM   Subscribe

I was hired at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California last month, and am currently living in Northwest Washington. I'll be moving in approximately two months to the Orange County area, and could not be more terrified.

This will be my first time leaving home for a period longer than a week or two, and I will be doing it alone. I'd like to ask a few questions here as my friends/family haven't been all that helpful.

1) I'd like to have a room to my own as close to Anaheim as possible for about $500 a month. I know this is outlandish, but I'm really hoping that my lack of standards will land me a deal at some point. Will this mentality find me a home? Where should I be looking? I've been monitoring Craigslist, but it's difficult to tell between the spam and people who actually have rooms for that low of an amount.

2) What is a good job to apply for while I am part-time at the resort? I was thinking of applying into either fast-food or restaurant work, given my experience, but I'd like to know what you have to say. With it being the secondary job, the hours flexibility is what really matters. I'm sure that I will be switching quite a few shifts from double-scheduling on the two jobs.

3) For those of you who moved out on your own without a partner: how does it feel living on your own for the first time? Is it as lonely as I think, or is it really not all that bad? I'll be moving into another state and won't have any friends to come visit me, and I see some very lonely nights ahead of me.

4) Anyone here on MetaFilter a current/future Disneyland Cast Member? I've been in contact with several through a site called MiceChat, and I'd like to know if there is somewhere else with a higher turnout of CM's.
posted by tj9991 to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I can only answer #3: When I was 20, I moved to Seattle from Chicago with 3 suitcases and a cat. It was one of the best things I ever did. You'll get to know yourself better and learn not depend on others so much. I feel that the experience made me grow by leaps and bounds. Explore, find new hobbies (and new friends), read...I didn't find it that lonely. It was not the first time I had moved out (I have not lived with my parents since I was 18), but this was the first time without a roommate. Good luck!
posted by bolognius maximus at 5:54 AM on January 26, 2009

I'll be moving in approximately two months to the Orange County area, and could not be more terrified.

Trust me, you can be. Or you are going to enjoy (a) an incredibly charmed life, free of the usual terrors; or (b) an incredibly short one.

I don't know Anaheim anymore, so can't speak to #1. As to #2, there have been many threads here about part-time work.

As to #3, I am going to break character and tell you to snap out of it. Many of us have gone through this (e.g., going away to college, or changing jobs), and there are lots of ways to prevent it from being lonely -- again, the subject of many threads. The first time may be the most terrifying, I guess, but it is also the most thrilling, and consider yourself lucky to be at the time in your life when you are first experiencing it!

Worry a little about getting a good place at that price, perhaps, but start practicing your upbeat cast skills as to the rest.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 6:01 AM on January 26, 2009

Sounds like you should be looking for a place with a roommate; that'll take care of the rent issue and the loneliness issue at the same time. $500 is at the low end, but certainly possible. A lot of other Disneyland cast members will probably be in the same boat; you might be able to find a place by asking around after you start work. My ex-girlfriend used to work at Disneyland, and she shared an apartment with three other Disney people. If you want to do that, though, you'd need to temporarily stay in a hotel or hostel for a while when you first arrive (this might not be an option if you are moving a whole lot of stuff).

You might also have luck finding roommates around CSU Fullerton; that's very close to Disneyland (assuming you have a car). Don't worry; you'll be fine.
posted by designbot at 6:34 AM on January 26, 2009

Another answer to #3: I left home at 16 and have lived alone, with roommates, and with a partner in the many, many years since. And you know what? Of the three, I prefer living alone and wouldn't consider anything else.

But considering your price range, it's unlikely you'll find anything here in SoCal that's not a roommate situation. At that price, you'll probably end up sharing a studio or maybe a 1-bedroom apartment with a roommate, so you'll not likely have to worry about being lonely.

And just a word of warning about SoCal rentals on Craigslist: if it sounds too good to be true, it is. There are a ton of money transfer scams in the rental section these days - do not do business with anyone who will not meet in person and accept cold hard cash.
posted by chez shoes at 7:03 AM on January 26, 2009

As others have said, $500 in OC will require roommates.

There are a lot of restaurants around DL - there are the ones in Downtown Disney, and the convention center is within walking distance from the park. My GF used to work at the Outback right there, and enjoyed it. It was usually busy, and people attending conferences are usually not tipping with their own money.

As for moving out alone, go for it! Here in OC/LA, most everybody moved out from somewhere else. I came for grad school 12 years ago by myself and never left. My GF and her friend moved out together without jobs lined up. The only thing I would warn is that living is more expensive here than most other places. Try to save up some money in case you don't get the second part-time job right away.

Good luck!
posted by Horselover Fat at 8:03 AM on January 26, 2009

Fullerton is your best bet, I think, as far as cities in the area. My dad's from Brea, which isn't far from Fullerton, but it's a horrible strip-mally OC type of town. Fullerton still has the "old" downtown look (Brea's was gutted in the 70's I believe) and is a pretty big hang-out for younger people, and it has a great night-life.

Good luck...hopefully your soul won't be totally crushed by Orange County.
posted by nonmerci at 8:48 AM on January 26, 2009

I've had a few friends who worked at Disneyland and they all had a large group of friends who worked at the park with them. It seemed like a close-knit community and my guess is that you will be able to find a group of friends there fairly quickly.

As for the apartment, I'll nth the "find a roommate" answer. There are a ton of restaurants and hotels near the park that are probably used to dealing with employees also working part-time for Disney. I would look for a second job at those kinds of places first.

To answer your questions about moving out and living alone, even if you have a roommate I think it will be important for you to be pro-active about meeting people. Get involved in a church, volunteer organization, or group of people who share a hobby of yours. If you're living alone, or with a roommate who is your only friend in the area, things are going to be rough for you. At first, this is going to be like exercising or eating vegetables you don't like, but it will be worth it later.

Best of luck to you with your new job and in your new stage of life.
posted by shesbookish at 12:24 PM on January 26, 2009

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