A place of unforgettable moments, magical experiences, and everlasting memories: Walt Disney World is a place of imagination, creativity, theme, and immersion. Through the various parks and lands within, Disney transports you on exciting outdoor adventures with the Jungle Cruise and a safari in Africa, through stars and galaxies in Space Mountain and Star Tours, out onto pirate-infested waters on Pirates of the Caribbean, into Asia where you can climb Mt. Everest or venture off into rocky water rapids. You step back in time on Main Street U.S.A. or journey all the way to California in Hollywood Studios. All of the stories you once loved so much as a child climb out of the books and television to come to life and suddenly Mickey, Minnie, Princess Belle, Aurora, Cinderella, and Snow White, Mary Poppins, Alice in Wonderland, Winnie the Pooh, Baloo the Bear, Rafiki, Chewbacca, Kylo Ren, Donald and Goofy are all standing there in front of you to meet and interact with. You can eat in the Grand Hall of the Beast’s castle from Beauty and the Beast, you can ride on magic carpets like Aladdin and Jasmine did, you can have your own tea party experience from Alice in Wonderland on the Mad Tea Party, with Peter Pan you too can fly over Neverland, and you can even check out a Haunted Hotel at the Tower of Terror. This truly is a place of “yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy,” where guests can escape the outside world and enter a realm of imagination instead.
Some families save up years and years to experience their perfect Disney vacation. Others fly thousands of miles across the world to see Cinderella’s castle and to hug Mickey Mouse. Some stay only a couple days and other families might stay a couple weeks. But what would it be like to live there? What would it be like to have Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios all in your backyard? It’s been over three months since I’ve had free “backyard” access to all of these theme parks and attractions and considering I have seven weeks left of it, I’m taking full advantage. I’m realizing what a true blessing it really is to call Walt Disney World my home for an entire semester and what opportunities I have by living here that others may not if they’re visiting for a short time or on vacation.
Living at the most magical place on Earth is the opportunity of a lifetime.
Living at Disney World is watching Wishes as many times as your little heart desires. It’s going to Epcot for dinner during the Food & Wine festival because you have 20+ international food choices at your fingertips. It’s spending the morning at Animal Kingdom, going on a Safari and riding around Mt. Everest before your shift at the Lodge in the afternoon. It’s spending a couple hours sprawled out on the hub grass in front of Cinderella’s castle reading and journaling about all your experiences here on the program. It’s stopping by Hollywood Studios after your shift to watch Fantasmic just because you feel like it. It’s churros and Mickey ice cream bars and Mickey pretzels for lunch. It’s walking up and down Main Street at Christmas time because you can’t get enough of the beautiful lights and decorations. It’s celebrating both Halloween and Christmas two months in advance. It’s getting drunk in several different countries around the World Showcase in Epcot. It’s sitting on a bench in the Morocco pavilion people watching while calling family back home. It’s spending a day on a warm sandy beach and getting tossed around by waves at Typhoon Lagoon. It’s getting your daily exercise by window shopping at Disney Springs. It’s going on Splash Mountain and Space Mountain every time you visit Magic Kingdom because they’re the best rides. It’s walking around the parks with a camera on your neck with the sole purpose of wanting the capture the beauty of the place you call home. It’s visiting your favorite characters as often as you want. It’s trick-or-treating in the Magic Kingdom and drinking cocoa and eating cookies at a Christmas party hosted by your boss (Mickey). It’s going to Hollywood Studios in the morning just to watch the Beauty & The Beast show then going back home to climb back into your squeaky CP bed for the rest of the afternoon. It’s having five months to go on all the rides you want to go on, watch all the shows you can possibly watch, meet all the characters you can, and eat all the delicious Disney treats possible.
Being able to call Disney World your home is not something that everyone can say, and despite the inevitable “downs” you’ll be forced to endure on the roller coaster that is the Disney College Program, being able to call the most magical place on Earth your home makes it all worth it.