Central Florida ymca family Center at the Walt Disney World Resorts

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Central Florida

YMCA Family Center at the Walt Disney World Resorts®
Lake Buena Vista


Sherberth Road

Parent Handbook

Dear Parents:

We welcome you and your family to the YMCA Family Centers at The Walt Disney World Resort. We are delighted that you have chosen our program for your child. We are committed to providing a loving, educational and fun experience for all children.
The YMCA Family Centers are designed to meet the needs of working parents and their children by providing a safe, stimulating and wholesome environment with a plus. Our mission is to help your children develop positive identities, values, social skills, and commitment to lifelong learning. The mission of the YMCA of Central Florida is to improve lives of all in Central Florida by connecting individuals, families and communities with opportunities based on Christian values that strengthen Spirit, Mind and Body.
The YMCA Family Centers at The Walt Disney World Resort is to provide quality, affordable care for your children. It is not just a business to us; it is our mission – a vital part of our commitment to the community. Delivery of high quality child care is an approach that includes unique programs to make sure kids stay motivated – intellectually, socially, emotionally, and physically.


The YMCA Family Center’s care will seek to:

  • Create a safe atmosphere that helps develop self-confidence and builds character through promoting the values of caring, honesty, respect, empathy and responsibility.

  • Help each child develop relationships with others and learn to work together in a cooperative manner.

  • Involve and serve parents and families in significant ways that build upon their strengths.

  • Use innovative curriculum that supports child-centered and child-directed activities.

  • Create an environment where staff members are partners with parents and other caregivers, working together to help kids grow up healthy, happy, and strong.

This handbook will assist you in understanding the philosophy, policies, and procedures of The YMCA Family Centers. Please read the handbook carefully and retain it for future reference.

Again, welcome to the YMCA Family Centers at The Walt Disney World Resort!


YMCA Disney Family Center Team

At the YMCA, character development and values are a part of who we are. We reinforce the values you teach at home. The YMCA is committed to embracing and demonstrating character through the modeling of our core values: caring, honesty, respect, responsibility, faith and empathy. Our goal is to challenge the children and staff to believe in and act on these positive values.

Caring: to love others, to be sensitive to the well being of others, to help others
Honesty: to tell the truth, to act in such a way that you are worthy of trust, to have integrity; making sure your choices match your values
Respect: to treat others as you would have them treat you; to value the worth of every person, including yourself
Responsibility: to do what is right, what you ought to do; to be accountable for your behavior and obligations
Faith: to have confidence or trust in others
Empathy: to identify with and understanding another’s situation, feelings and motives

Central Florida YMCA Family Centers at the

Walt Disney World® Resort

The purpose of the Central Florida YMCA Family Centers at the Walt Disney World® Resort is to improve lives of Central Floridians by connecting individuals, families and communities with opportunities based on values that strengthen Spirit, Mind and Body. The Central Florida YMCA Family Centers at the Walt Disney World® Resort will achieve this by providing high quality, flexible and affordable child development services, enhancing work and family life and building a strong sense of community.

Vision Statement

Central Florida YMCA Family Centers at the Walt Disney World® Resort provide a high-quality, safe and stimulating child development environment that:

  • Allows parents to balance work and family lives with the support of high quality, flexible and affordable child development services.

  • Encourages children to achieve their highest potential through healthy, innovative, educational and fun child development programming.

  • Fosters the values of Caring, Honesty, Respect, Responsibility, Faith and Empathy among staff members, children, parents and families.

  • Supports family growth and learning through the spiritual, physical and mental development of all family members individually and together.

  • Practices diversity by encouraging children to learn about their own backgrounds as well as the backgrounds of others; allowing children to see themselves represented in books, artwork and toys; continually exposing children to materials and ideas that eliminate stereotypes; and celebrating the creativity that comes from many points of view.

  • Extends the range of play and learning experiences through an emphasis on outdoor and natural learning environments allowing for healthy development in fresh air and sunlight.

  • Commits to hire the most qualified professionals, secure the highest level of accreditation for infant and early childhood education, and maintain administrative stability necessary to create and sustain a quality child development center.


Parents are a child’s first and very best teachers. The YMCA Family Centers involve parents through family events, participation in parent advisory groups, lunches with children, informal parent-staff discussions and conferences. The Family Centers encourage parents to visit at any time. Conferences may also be arranged by appointment. Open communication is essential. The YMCA Family Centers will conduct Program Surveys once a year. Your feedback is appreciated.

Communication with Families

Family daily activity sheets keep parents involved in what is happening at the center. Parents are encouraged to participate with their children in home activities that correspond with the activities at the center.

Parents visit with teachers briefly every day at drop-off and pick-up times. Because of the demands on the staff at the beginning and end of each day, it is difficult for them to engage in extended conversations at these times. Please reserve lengthy and/or sensitive discussions for pre-arranged appointments.

Please notify your Family Center if you are going to be away for several days and if your child will be in the care of someone else. This sometimes affects your child’s behavior. Also, it is important for us to know who is responsible when you are away. Throughout the year, if there is anything unusual going on in your home, please let the Center Director know of exceptional activities. Even though your child may not seem to have been affected, it may show up in her/his behavior at the Family Centers.
Your child may be a bit timid and shy at first, so encourage your child to get involved with the program activities. As you gain feedback from your child throughout the year, please keep us informed. We need to have open communication between the program staff and the family as to how your child feels and what he/she likes/dislikes. Discuss the day’s activities as you drive home at the end of the day.
Parent participation and input are welcome. Additionally, in order to maintain strong parent-staff communication, please make sure you check your parent mailboxes daily. The children, staff and Director appreciate your creativity, ideas and leadership in activities.

We appreciate hearing from you, including general suggestions and feedback. Your input is encouraged and will be considered during the year as well as for future planning. Additionally, a formal evaluation will occur each year.

Parent Involvement/Board/Committees

Your child’s continued development while in our care is a top priority, and this development is best accomplished through a strong partnership between you, a member of our parent group, and our team of childcare providers. Parents are encouraged to take an active role in their child’s education. To further enhance that partnership, we have established a Parent Advisory Board.
We want parents who use the Family Centers to be aware of the Parent Advisory Board. The Board includes parents whose children are enrolled in the Family Centers, representatives from the Walt Disney World Resort, and representatives from the Central Florida YMCA.
If you have an issue that you feel has not been satisfactorily resolved through Family Center management, you may take it to the Parent Advisory Board. The board is responsible for raising and/or considering parent concerns and for providing non-binding recommendations to management regarding possible opportunities for improvement. Please refer to the concern process below.
Concern Process for Parents
Our vision is to provide a high-quality, safe, and stimulating environment for your children. In order to meet that vision, and to help us grow, we need your involvement and feedback. We take your concerns and feedback very seriously and make every effort to address issues within our Centers. In order to assist with this, we have outlined a process and provided contact information for parents to share concerns or feedback easily. We also welcome any new ideas or positive feedback. Please feel free to share it with your teachers, the directors, or senior management.
The process:
An informal concern is initiated by discussing a situation with the parties involved.

  • STEP 1: The concern may be shared by the parents with the appropriate teacher. Every opportunity should be given to the teacher to address the issue first. If the issue has not been resolved, a parent may follow the chain of command outlined below:

  • STEP 2: A Program Director may be contacted if the parent is not satisfied. They may be contacted by phone, face to face, or by email.

  • STEP 3: If the parent wishes to continue to address the issue, the parent may contact the Senior Program Director, the District Executive Director or the VP of Early Childhood Development. They may be contacted by phone, face to face, or by email.

  • STEP 4: After addressing the issue with the VP of Child Development and if the parent is not satisfied with the resolution the concern may be reviewed by the PAB (Parent Advisory Board).

  • STEP 5: The parent may contact the PAB Chairperson or Secretary to schedule time at an upcoming PAB meeting. The PAB would hear the concerns and make recommendations to the MAC (Management Advisory Committee). The MAC consists of management from the YMCA and Walt Disney World and provides advice and recommendations regarding the operations of the center. PAB chairperson will contact the parent to provide an update of the recommendations that have been shared.

Lake Buena Vista Center:
Program Director: Deanna Lopez dlopez@cfymca.org

Senior Program Director: Michelle Foley mfoley@cfymca.org

Sherberth Center:
Program Director: Erica Catania ecatania@cfymca.org

Program Director: Milagros Maderas mmaderas@cfymca.org

Both Centers:

District Executive Director: Nicci Bucher nbucher@cfymca.org

Vice President of Child Development: Shannon Matthews smatthews@cfymca.org

Parent Advisory Board: Noel Myerson


Parents are an integral part of our program so the following goals and objectives have been established to ensure strong family connections:

Goal 1 – To build a partnership with families.

  • To strengthen the family unit in the community.

  • To involve families in the program’s planning and evaluation process.

  • To listen to and discuss families’ questions, concerns, observations and insights about their children.

  • To communicate regularly with families at arrival and departure times about how things are going for their child at home and at the program.

  • To schedule regular conferences and/or home visits.

  • To discuss with families ways to handle children’s challenging behaviors.

  • To help families gain access to community resources.

Goal 2 – To support families in their parenting role.

  • To demonstrate respect for a family’s approach to child rearing and their feelings about sharing the care of their child.

  • To celebrate with families each new milestone in their child’s development.

  • To incorporate family rituals and preferences into the daily life of the program.

  • To offer workshops/training on child development and other topics of interest to families.

  • To help families network with one another.

Goal 3 – To support families in their role as primary educators of their child.

  • To encourage family involvement and participation in program activities.

  • To provide families with strategies to support children’s learning at home.

Goal 4 – To ensure home cultures of children’s families are reflected in the program.

  • To encourage children’s awareness of and interest in home languages spoken.

  • To seek family members’ assistance in learning about children’s home culture.

  • To interact with children in a style that is respectful of their home culture.


We believe the success of our programs (and ultimately your child (ren)’s experience) lies in the quality of our staff. Our staff members are carefully selected based on their experience, education, talents and interpersonal skills. Our staff meets regularly for in-depth training and discussion, covering such areas as program goals, emergency procedures, group work, curriculum planning, philosophy, goals and objectives, policy procedures and training. Our Family Center staff brings with it a multitude of experiences and backgrounds. All of our staff has undergone a thorough criminal background screening, and are to complete First Aid, CPR and Child Abuse Prevention training while employed by CFYMCA. Above all else, our staff has one thing in common – a love for working with children.

Teacher/Child Ratios

The program is sufficiently staffed to meet the needs of and promote the physical, social, emotional and cognitive development of children.

YMCA ratios State ratios

Infants 1:4 1:4

Toddlers 1:5 1:6

Two’s 1:7 1:11

Three’s 1:12 1:15

Pre-Kindergarten 1:12 1:20

State voluntary pre-kindergarten (VPK) – 1:11, 2:20 for the 3 hour, 180 day program.
School-Age 1:15 1:25


The Family Centers are administered by a highly-qualified group of educators. The Center Directors hold the Director’s Credential for the State of Florida.

Licensing and Accreditation

The Central Florida YMCA Family Centers at the Walt Disney World® Resort are licensed by the Department of Children and Families, State of Florida (FS402.26 – 402.319). The Family Centers meet all requirements of this licensing process and are open to visits by licensing personnel and parents. The license is renewed annually. Representatives of the Department of Children and Families may check the status of children’s records, including their confidential files and medication forms. Therefore, for us to be able to serve a child, it is essential that all documentation for that child be complete and current.

The Family Centers are committed to high-quality programming and are seeking accreditation through the Accredited Professional Preschool Learning Environment (APPLE). The centers meet all criteria outlined in the YMCA Childcare Quality Check and seek to achieve the Gold Seal Certification for Quality Care. Periodically, we ask parents to evaluate the program or participate on a review team.

APPLE-accredited programs demonstrate a commitment to providing a high-quality program for young children and their families. While the APPLE accreditation process examines the total program, the greatest emphasis is placed on the quality of interactions between staff and children, and the developmental appropriateness of the curriculum. Health and safety, staffing, staff qualifications, physical environment and administration are all reviewed during accreditation while primary consideration is given to the nature of the child’s experience.

The YMCA Family Centers have also partnered with the Early Learning Coalition in each respective county, as well as other state and local agencies to ensure best practices and top quality services are practiced in the centers. As a result, the centers continue to adapt to the changing needs of child care, keeping up with cutting edge curriculum and service delivery to our families.


Sherberth Road – 407. 396. 3001

3261 Sherberth Road

Kissimmee, FL 34747

Open 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 pm

Lake Buena Vista – 407. 938. 0680

2800 East Vista Boulevard

Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Open 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Days of Operation

365 days per year – The Family Centers are open every day.


  • Ages 6 weeks through 12 years old - Children are eligible by birth date.

  • Infants – 6 weeks through 12 months

  • Toddlers – 12 months through 24 months

  • Two Year Olds – 2 to 3 years of age

  • Three Year Olds – 3 on or before September 1

  • Pre-kindergarten – 4 on or before September 1

  • VPK – 4 on or before September 1 and register with local Early Learning Coalition

  • School Age – 5 on or before September 1 through 12 years old


Children transition to the next class after their birthday. Children pay the new rate when they transition to the new class. A child must be completely toilet trained to move into a three year old class.

Child Care Services

The Family Centers provide the following early care and education services:

  • Primary Care

  • Back-up Care

  • Club Y (School Age Care)

Primary Care

Primary Care is defined as regular, ongoing care each week. Parents must pay for the number of days they request whether they use them or not.
Parents pay the fixed amount for these days. If you need to work extra days, you can request in writing additional days of care. At least 24-hour advance notice is required for additional days. The front desk may approve additional days as needed. Requests for additional days must be paid for when requested.
If your supervisor requests you to work additional hours during your scheduled day, you must call the center at least one hour prior to your scheduled pick-up time to notify them of the delay in picking up your child. You must pay for the additional time your child remains at the center.
The purpose of the Family Centers is to provide child care for Cast Members to use primarily while they are working at the Walt Disney World® Resort. Utilization of care as compared to hours worked will be evaluated by WDW basis throughout the year.

  • Parents must sign-up for either the Sherberth Road Family Center or the Lake Buena Vista Family Center.

  • Parents must complete a separate enrollment form for each child. Parents who are not willing to complete the forms will not be able to use the center.

  • Parents must determine what kind of care they require for each child:

  • Primary Care – regular care of at least 1 day per week.

  • Back-up Care – “just-in-time” care for 15 days per year.

  • School Age Care - (after school, weekends, school holidays and summer care)

  • After the complete enrollment application is received, the Center notifies the parents of the child’s status.


All of the forms must be completed for registration to be finalized. Each child must have a complete health form on file signed by a physician, and all immunizations must be recorded and up-to-date. The Registration Packet must be completed for all children receiving Primary and Back-up Care. School age children (age 5-12) are not required to provide the immunization record since it is maintained at their school.
A completed application includes:
Application for Primary Care

  • Pick-Up Authorization

  • Child Emergency Information

  • Developmental Screening Permission Signature

  • Permission to Photograph Child Signature

  • Know your Child’s Day Care Center Signature

  • Parent Handbook Receipt Signature

  • Supplemental Information About Your Child

  • Copy of child’s birth certificate

  • Children’s Health Exam

  • Immunization Record on HRS form

  • Copy of Walt Disney World Resort ID Card & Pernr Number

  • Proof of relationship if not parent

  • Family Center Scholarship Application (if applicable)

  • Registration fee per family for applying for Primary Care

  • Payment Contract

All documents in a child’s file are considered confidential records and are not disclosed to outsiders, except officials of the Florida Department of Children and Families, Child Care Licensing Program, without the parents’ or guardian’s written permission.


  • Cast Members request a child care schedule that complements their work schedule.

  • Part-time and full-time slots are available.

        • Full time slots are 4-5 days per week.

        • Part-time slots are 1-3 days per week.

  • All children are placed on a fixed schedule unless the Cast Member provides proof of a variable or flexible (flex) schedule from their work location manager.

  • Flex schedules include different days or hours from week to week.

  • Cast Members who qualify for a variable or flexible schedule must submit their schedule request by noon on Wednesday before the scheduled week beginning on Sunday.

  • Variable and flexible schedule requests must be in writing and may be faxed to the center.

  • Variable and flexible schedule requests are not taken over the phone.

Fixed Schedule

  • Parents schedule the days and times for as far into the future as possible if their schedule is consistent.

  • Fixed schedules have the same days and hours each week.

  • You may add days to your schedule commitment on a space available basis.

  • You may extend your daily hours up to the closing time of the center, if your shift is extended, but you must pay the appropriate fee.

  • All permanent changes must be provided by the 15th of each month to become effective by the first of the following month.

  • Schedule changes will be made on a space available basis.

Variable Schedule

  • A variable schedule consists of consistent days, with different times from week to week.

  • Variable schedules are offered to Cast Members only.

Flexible Schedule

  • For work schedules that vary hours and days from week to week, Cast Members commit to a fixed number of days (four to six) per week. The actual days and times may vary.

  • Cast Members required to work a flexible schedule at Walt Disney World may request a flex schedule.

  • Flexible schedules are offered to Cast Members only. Spouse schedules are not considered unless they are Cast Members.

  • A limited number of flex schedule spaces are available.

  • If you are approved for a flex schedule, parents provide their written schedule to the Center by noon on Wednesday.

  • You may add days to your schedule commitment on a space available basis.

  • You may extend your daily hours up to the closing time of the center, if your shift is extended, but you must pay the appropriate fee.

  • All permanent changes must be provided by the 15th of each month to become effective by the first of the following month.

  • Schedule changes are made on a space available basis.

Number of Days

  • Parents commit to a fixed number of days (one to six) per week.

  • Parents must pay for the number of days they request whether they use them or not.

Priority Enrollment

The Family Centers reserve the right to adjust the priority based on the needs of children and/or their age distributions. Applications are accepted by the following priorities:

  • The Walt Disney World® Resort Cast Members’ children.

  • Children of Family Center staff not assigned to parent’s classroom.

  • Operating Participants’ children.

  • Other applicants.

Waiting List

An established number of Primary Care slots are available within each age group. A waiting list is maintained and parents are informed when a space is available that fits the child’s schedule. Because of the complexity of our enrollment, including part-time, variable, fixed and back up slots, children will be placed into slots as they become available. Children are not assigned a number on a waitlist since the complexity of requests and needs change often.

Parents must provide written notice of a child’s withdrawal from the Family Center at least two weeks in advance. If parents do not notify the Center that their child is withdrawing, a two-week tuition withdrawal fee will be assessed and billed to the parent. When a withdrawal notice is given, the 2 week period begins the following week (starting on the following Sunday) for the duration of a 2 week period. A full week is considered Sunday through Saturday.

  • When the health, welfare and safety of other children or staff are at stake, the Family Centers reserves the right to suspend/or terminate family services immediately. In addition, the Centers reserve the right to suspend or terminate services to a family in the event that a member of that family is inappropriate and/or threatening to staff or participants in the program. This will be determined by the management team as well as representatives from the Central Florida YMCA Senior Leadership Team.

  • If a child does not attend the Center for two weeks and the Center is not notified of the absence, the child will be removed from the Center.

  • If a parent is terminated from the Walt Disney World® Resort, their child (ren) may remain in Primary Care at the Family Centers for up to ninety days at market rate.

Request for Additional Days

If you need to work extra days, you can request additional days of care on the Request for Additional Days Form at least 24 hours in advance. The form is available at the front desk. The front desk may approve additional days. The approval for additional days is not a permanent change. Additional days must be paid when requested and are non-refundable.

Request for Extended Hours

If your supervisor request you to work additional hours during your scheduled day, you must call the center to notify them of the delay in picking up your child after the scheduled time. The Extended Hours Form is completed and provided to the teacher for your signature when you pick up your child. You must pay for the additional time your child remains in the center after the scheduled pick-up time. If you do not call for an extension to your scheduled time, with a one hour notice, you will be required to pay the late pick-up fee. The approval for extended hours for one day is not a permanent change.

(See the “Drop off Early and Late Pick up Fee” section)

Request for Permanent Changes

  • Requests for permanent changes in days and/or hours must be provided to the Enrollment Coordinator by the 15th of the month so they can be processed for the following month.

  • The Enrollment Coordinator on a space available basis approves changes.

  • Children who are presently enrolled in the Family Centers and request a change in number of days will receive priority over children not yet admitted.

  • Changes from one Family Center to the other Family Center must go through the Change of Status process.

Registration Fees

The application fees for Primary Care are:

  • $25 per Cast Member’s family for Primary Care

  • $40 per non-Cast Member’s family for Primary Care

Primary Care Tuition

Daily Primary Care tuition rates for Cast Members paying the Cast Member Standard Rate is based on the age of the child and the number of hours of care per day. Cast Members receiving financial assistance pay reduced rates. All billing issues are handled by the business manager. Please do not approach teachers with billing issues. Call the business manager with billing concerns.

Children attending the Center from four to ten hours per day represent the most common daily rate.

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