Okay, so first off, I'll let you know that I'm writing on what I know. In 2004, I lived in a three bedroom Vista Way apartment. 3803. In 2006, I lived in a two bedroom Chatham Square apartment, 29303. Obviously, I've been in others, but I don't know too much about them. Both apartments I lived in had two bathrooms.
In Vista, there was one full bath near the back for the back two bedrooms to share, with an extra sink outside so you could brush your teeth or whatever while someone showered. Ours never worked, and I don't think it ever got fixed. The water wouldn't shut off unless you did it juuuuust right. The other bathroom in the three bedroom was inside the first bathroom. It only had a shower, and not a tub.
In Chatham, both bedrooms had full baths. If I remember from my friends' apartments, three bedroom apartments also only had two bathrooms, but four bedrooms had three bathrooms. Their bathrooms are quite bigger I think. I had the more private bathroom that was through my room. They only bothersome part of it was that the closet was through the bathroom, so if your roommate was in the shower or something, you couldn't get to your clothes.
The kitchen was pretty small, but had everything you really needed to make basic foods: Microwave, oven, tea kettle, dishwasher. As far as utensils, it had most of the basics: silverware, spatula, measuring cups. Some basic, and often random and mismatched pots, pans, cookie sheets, colanders and cake pans. Also, if you do any sort of cooking besides the basic college foods (mac and cheese, frozen pizza, etc), then you're going to want to buy your own equipment. I know I had to buy muffin pans, and a cheese grater... Their carving knives are worthless if you plan on cutting or chopping anything. They barely survive as steak knives. They have cups and bowls and plates and saucers and what not. I believe they have to have at least eight in each apartment, but if there are more, they don't take them out. I know in my apartment we had tons.
The living rooms were pretty roomy, considering how much I ever used them. Chatham was nice because they have a little built-in desk where you can set up your laptop, so when the wi-fi was down (I admit, I stole it from other people in 2006), you could go plug it in in an emergency. There's a couch, and a love seat, or maybe just a chair, I can't quite remember. There's one coffee table, and one end table, but we used out end table to put our TV on, when we had one.
The kitchen table is also kind of in the living room in both apartments. At Vista, I think the table was round. At Chatham it was square. There are... I don't know, four or six chairs.
The bedrooms each had two twin beds, two night stands, and a dresser. The curtains at Vista were venetian blinds, and at Chatham were vertical.
I think that covers pretty much what each apartment has as far as amenities. As far as choosing which one you want... Yes, I would say Chatham is a little quieter, and Vista is a little more party-y. This doesn't mean parties don't happen in Chatham and that quiet people don't live at Vista, but because of their reputations, it is true that more and more people are choosing their preference, and therefore making the rumors more and more true each time. Also, the reason Vista seems louder is because the buildings are closer together, so you hear everything happening all around you. I'm also pretty sure the walls at Vista are made of paper. I believe this because I've personally seen someone's hand go through one. It didn't take much.
Chatham has one pool, and Vista has two. Chatham's is much nicer than either of Vista's, but Vista's are more social. I lived in a Chatham apartment facing the pool, and I never saw more than two or three people there, but at Vista's, everytime I walked by on my way to work or something, there were always tons of people there. Just depends on what you're into, I suppose. Vista also has a hot tub, and Chatham doesn't. There are rumors about how social the hot tub is though, so everyone recommends staying out of it.
Vista has once central mailroom, while Chatham has several located around the complex. If you're all the way across Vista from the Mail room, it can be awfully frustrating to get mail. Also, this applies to both complexes: be careful ordering large packages if you don't have a car. I lived in 3803 in Vista, which is waaay in the back. Let me tell you, hauling some of the things my mom sent all the way from the club house was beyond frustrating.
Vista has several washers and driers on the ground level of each building. Chatham has several laundry buildings. This means that if you're like me, and you wait until ever T-shirt, sock, and towel is in your hamper before you decide to do wash, you have quite a load to haul part way across Campus. The laundry rooms are also way hot, compared to the ones at Vista which are outdoors, and therefore better ventilated. An added bonus at Chatham is that if you run out for detergent or something, they have little single use packets available in the laundry rooms. I don't think they probably ever get used though, because most likely you won't go through an entire tub of detergent over your whole program.
If you do not have your car, Vista's bus system is better. True, they are the same bus system, but for most (but not all) routes, the buses go Chatham-->Vista-->Park/Resort. So it cuts 10-15 minutes off your transit time. Just something to think about. If you have a car, Chatham's probably a little nicer, because there's better parking, and I think it's a little quicker to drive to most of the parks from Chatham than from Vista, but I haven't really tested that theory.
Chatham apartments each have their own balcony (or on the first floor, porch.) This isn't a huge deal, but if you're a smoker, or... I don't know, someone who likes to sit on balconies, or someone that likes to sit outside when they talk on the phone, it's something to consider.
So also I've seen asked what they should bring, and what they should not bring. Here's my list:
- Clothing. Trust me on this. Do not bring as much as you're planning. However much you're planning to bring, it's too much. Keep in mind, five or more days a week, you're going to be wearing your costume. And trust me, lots of nights, after you've worked 8, 9 , 10... 15 hours, you're not going to want to get all dressed up. If you go out at all, it'll probably be comfort over fashion. And sweats are your friend. I never bring enough PJ pants, considering lots of my hanging out is done in them.
- Bedding. If you're flying down, you probably want to get this when you get down here. Comforters and pillows take up so much space, and if you don't listen to me about the whole bringing-too-many-clothes-thing, you'll probably need to take my advice now. There's a bus to Wal-Mart everyday, or if you're super nice to me (and buy me some gas/coffee/lunch/something pretty), I'll gladly take you to the mall, Target, Ross, wherever your house goods of choice might be. Same goes with towels, bath mats, curtains, etc, etc. It's also a good way for you to get to know your roommates, by going on a shopping trip together to get things together. That way you also don't end up with three toasters but no coffee pots, or something like that.
- Also, along the lines of Clothing. Make sure you bring at least one business casual outfit, even if you don't plan on taking classes. They are very strict at Traditions, and will send you back to change if you don't meet the Disney Look. My roommate in 2006 got turned back for wearing below-the-knee pedal pushers. You know, the kind that look like business pants, but shorter. She had to go change into full-length pants. They catch everything, flip flops, tank tops, everything. If you are a Lifeguard, you can count on needed black sport sandals, the kind with a back strap, or all white sneakers. You can assume this for Recreation, too, although you might end up in an arcade or something where they have different shoe requirements. Most other locations will require all black or all white shoes. Crocs do not count. Trust me on this one too.
- Extras. This is kind of a list of things I've bought and used during my programs that they may or may not tell you about in their list, but that I used all the time.
Alright... That should be a good list for now, I would say. Sorry it was so long. I know there's been tons of questions floating around, and I hope this clears at least some of them up. Again, if you have any specific questions, please ask me. I probably know the answer, I just didn't think of it.
- Lamp. I'm kind of messy, and I hate having to turn off my light and stumble in pitch black over to my bed. Lamps are amazing.
- Dry Erase Board. I always kept one by my bed to put reminders on. I've also seen big ones in other people's apartments where people put their weekly schedules on there, and their phone numbers. One of my 2004 roommates also kept one on her door, to leave phone messages on, since she didn't have a cell phone.
- Curtains. I had to go buy a curtain in 2006 because my bed was next to the verticle blinds in our room, and I would roll over in the night and hit them and they would rattle and wake me up. Also nice if you work late and want to sleep past 9am. It is the Sunshine State after all.
- Night Light. Actually, I kept this in the bathroom. Again, because I hate waking up at night and stumbling across the room to pee, but I didn't want to turn on my lamp and wake my roommate, so just a dim little glow to find the bathroom was nice.
- Bath Mat. They don't give you one, but they're nice, especially when I was living in Vista and our tub leaked.
- Bath Robe. Pretty much a communal shower nessesity.
- Shelves. I don't think I have to explain this one. They're good for putting things on.
- Printer. Trust me, at some point, you'll need one, and you won't have one, and you'll be sad.
- Digital Camera. How I survived my first College Program without one, I have no idea. But know that you will be in more pictures during your program than any other time in your life. Guests will want to pose with you. Going to Denny's needs photographic proof. You have to have pictures of you in your costume. There are lots of pictures going around.
- Back Pack. Seems weird, but if you want to go to the parks before you go to work, you'll want to bring something to haul your costume around in.
- iPod. Walking around in the parks is totally fun, but sometimes you need to be alone, even when you're at the parks.
- However, please please please do not wear your iPod when you're playing in the parks with your friends. It's unbelievably rude. It's a pet peeve of mine. I think it's so inconsiderate, and if you really don't want to be hanging out with me, don't. But don't tag along and listen to your music the whole time to block me out. I have a friend that does that everytime, and now I won't go to the parks with him if I can avoid it.