This Disney Life

Operation: Bucket List


With only a few days left of my Disney International College Program, I find myself in a state of panic. When I first arrived, I felt like I had plenty of time to complete my ambitious bucket list and now it seems impossible.

Look at that face. So eager, so sure that she could cross off every item on her bucket list. Poor naive little girl.

Of course, and I’ve said this before, crossing every item off my list isn’t exactly the goal. The point of my list was to push my boundaries and encourage me to experience as much I can while I’m living in Orlando.

I’m a huge fan of lists (grocery lists, top ten lists, to do lists…), but is that weird to say? I mean really, lists are probably my third favourite thing on my list of favourite things (right after #1. Sharks and #2. Whiskers on kittens, then followed by #4. Brown paper packages tied up with strings and #5. Julie Andrews). And bucket lists are certainly my favourite kind of lists.

Last summer, I managed to complete fully eight items on my 2012 list, plus parts of others (such as eating in every Epcot country and checking out every attraction). This summer, the individual items on the list are a lot more ambitious in themselves (for example, on last year’s list, eating a pineapple Dole Whip was a pretty easy thing to do, compared to collecting all of the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom cards this summer).

Collecting these cards is so addicting (but free!) Only need three more cards for mine and Ben’s collection. I should have known I’d become addicted to this, when I was eight-years-old, I was all about the Pokemon cards.

I’ve completed a few items on the list so far, but I’m hoping to cross off a few more before the week is over.

Whenever I offer tips to college program participants, the first thing I recommend is writing up a bucket list. Just come up with ten (or more!) things you want to accomplish on your program. Then I emphasize that it really isn’t a do-or-die kind of thing and it’s okay if your goals change along the way. Just give yourself something to aim for. Both summers my lists have opened me up to countless new experiences. The list forces me out of my apartment and gives me a sense of purpose. So even when I fail at certain items (such as taking a picture everyday), I still get something out of it (I started taking my camera everywhere and  have so many more photos of these past summers than I do of any other time of year…ever).

With that point across, I want to take a moment to consider all of the amazing things I’ve done that weren’t put on my list. Still, my bucket list is what gets me up and out every day, so many of the great times below only happen because of my list anyway.

My whole point: Make a list. Just do it.

And here we go:

1. I spent Canada Day in “Canada”

Donning Canada-proud clothes and tattoos, I got to spend some quality time in Epcot-Canada with family and friends. This tiny version of my country is not nearly as wonderful as it actually is at home, but it was great to see lots of Canadians who were also there celebrating and doing what Canadians do (drinking beer and being very polite to each other).

2. I conquered a Kitchen Sink… Twice.

For the record, this is what the Kitchen Sink looks like. Eight scoops of ice cream and every possible topping

My first time around, myself, Shelley, Meagan and Ben were determined to finish it.

The second time around was a bit easier–I definitely recommend bringing as many friends as you can to the challenge.

I like ice cream as much as the next person, but what I really love is ice cream toppings (cherries, hot fudge, strawberries, etc.) The best place to eat a giant bowl of ice cream that is absolutely covered in every topping imaginable? Beaches and Cream. My first time I went with some of my best friends after a long day at Hollywood Studios. It was a tough challenge, but we did it. After my mum saw the photos of it on Facebook, she decided that our family would also have to conquer the sink—and conquer we did.

3. I ate at two of the most fun restaurants on property

The only two items on my boyfriend Benjamin’s bucket list were these:

1. Eat at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theatre Restaurant

2. Eat at the 50’s Prime Time Café

Both of these restaurants are located in Hollywood Studios and both were such wonderful experiences.

The only thing you need to know about Sci-Fi? Get the deep-fried pickles. Ben and I loved them. Also, eating a meal while sitting in a fake car and watching hilarious clips from old movies is a wonderful way to spend an evening.

At 50’s Prime Time, we shared a plate that let us sample each of the main dishes from the restaurant, the meatloaf was surprisingly amazing.

4. I enjoyed a lovely character dining breakfast

For my birthday, I went to the Grand Floridian to eat at 1900 Park Fare. I haven’t been to a character dining restaurant since I was four-years-old, so this was such a fun experience.

I loved this restaurant and highly recommend it. The Grand Floridian was so beautiful–great way to celebrate a birthday.

5. I visited Hogwarts

Just living the dream.

The castle is even more spectacular in person.

This is all thanks to my boyfriend’s family. I spent an awesome day at Islands of Adventure with them. I’ve loved Harry Potter since I was in the third grade, so this was so wonderful to do.

6. I helped fill a Tower of Terror car with Animal Kingdom Theatre Ops people

Filling the best ride with the best people was an awesome choice.

I love, love, love the people I work with. And Tower of Terror just so happens to be my favourite ride on all of property, so this was so fun to do. They let us have our own car–all of these people work in Theatre Operations at Animal Kingdom with me.

7. I pet sting rays at Sea World

Ever since my mum went on vacation with my dad, she raves about sting rays. How they’ll swim between your legs and rub up against you like cats. I couldn’t really wrap my head around this idea until I got to pet them at Sea World.

They’re slippery and surprisingly adorable.

8. I passed the French “test”

Parlez-vous français ? I do. My third (and favourite!) name tag.

Last summer, I never took the French language testing, even though I would speak French with guests when I could. This summer I made it a priority, because it’s nice to let people know when you can accommodate their language preferences. The test was all done over the phone.

The best part? My name tag now specifies that I am from Canada, since I surprising number of people haven’t a clue where Ontario is.

9. I experienced New Fantasyland

Living in Orlando for two summers meant a lot of trips to the Magic Kingdom. I watched them close down Snow White’s Scary Adventures and put up two new castles. This is Magic Kingdom’s largest expansion and I’ve loved watching it unfold. Very excited for its completion, but glad to enjoy the parts that have opened so far.

The best part of New Fantasyland is definitely this guy.

I ate at the lovely Be Our Guest restaurant. The entire place is perfect.

10. I traded pins as a guest

I always loved trading pins as a cast member. It gets people to come over and talk to you and I’m excited for people when they find a pin they like. This summer, I decided to get some pins for myself and now find myself checking out everyone’s lanyards.

So fun to find new favourites. Just had to get Flik.

So there you have it. Writing this now really makes me realize how lucky I am to be here and how much I’ve accomplished. Both of my programs have gone by so quickly, so it’s important I take some time to look around and consider all of the amazing things I’ve been able to do.

Still have a few more days! Have to squeeze everything out of it that I can.

With love,