I’m getting ready for my second round of the international college program at Walt Disney World. I’ve accepted my role, reread my favourite Disney guides and put a countdown widget on my phone. School passes so slowly it’s painful, so I spend my days thinking about what I want to do differently this summer.
Before I say anything, I should start off by letting you know that this is not a very scandalous list. I may have lived at Vista Way, but I managed to get out in one piece (NOTE: Vista Way, despite its reputation, is not actually that wild… unless you are). This is a list that considers what I wish I had done more of or things I should have spent less time doing. It’s meant to help any fellow CPs concerned about making the most of their time in the World.
1. Missing out on May.
Canadians are lucky. We arrive near the beginning of May, which is an absolutely gorgeous month. In Ottawa it’s too cold to swim, but in Orlando it is the perfect summer weather. Not too hot, not too rainy. Unfortunately, May only lasts a few weeks. I regret any day I spent in my apartment instead of at the parks. Because it’s the first month of arrival, you need the time to settle in, make friends, get comfortable. There’s a hesitation because you don’t really know how to travel from the cast member drop off areas to where you want to go. Rush this process and don’t be nervous. As soon as June hits, so do the tourists, the tour groups, the thunder storms and 120 minute waits for rides.
2. Not visiting the water parks.
I love the Disney water parks, but once it gets hot and busy, cast members lose the privilege to visit for free (because the water parks will hit capacity, guests are priority). I visited each water park only once and this summer I want to make sure I swim with the sharks as much as possible.
3. Not bringing a raincoat/rain boots/umbrella.
Did you know it rains in Florida? Every day. Every single day of summer. And it’s not like Canadian rain, where it’s cold and light and lasts all day. It pours so hard it hurts for the hour it takes you to wait for the bus, get to work and walk to your attraction. Your shoes will fill with water and the humidity will wreck your hair. And then you get to work an eight hour shift. Be smarter than I was and go in prepared.
4. Sticking mainly to old favourites.
I rode Tower of Terror more times that I can count. I hopped back in line over and over for Expedition Everest. I made sure to go on the Haunted Mansion every time I visited the Magic Kingdom.
But I never saw the Hall of Presidents, I didn’t watch the Canada movie at Epcot and I never took a drawing lesson at the Magic of Animation. On my bucket list last summer, I wanted to try out every attraction. I failed, so this is at the top of the list again.
5. Over packing.
I am small and weak and think I need a ton of everything just to get by. This is fine when I have someone to help me, but carrying all that stuff by myself (and then not using half of it!) is a pain.
Keep this stuff in mind, and you’ll already be better off than I was.