Visiting Walt Disney World never gets old to me. It’s always changing. I can go every year and there’s always something different going on. Since I completed the Disney College Program in 2016, I have visited WDW twice. It’s a very different experience from the times before my program.
Before my program, I was just a regular guest, enjoying the parks, trying to ride as many rides as possible, and rushing around trying to get every done in a week’s time. During my program, that all changed. In the seven months I was a cast member, I took it slow. I rode the rides several times, watched all the shows several times, and explored the parks in ways other guests don’t. I found hidden gems around each park. I knew all the short cuts to the get to each land.
After my program, visiting has been more relaxing. Disney isn’t a rush to me anymore. I don’t have to be there at park opening and stay until closing. I don’t have to ride every ride in the short time I’m there. My days aren’t strictly planned out like the times before my program. I can just go with the flow.
I know which rides are a must do and others I would like to do but not necessary. Before I left for my recent trip, several people asked why I was only going to the parks for three days. Why not a full week? I know the parks so well that I don’t need a full week. I want go back down for new adventures and focus more on that. This most recent trip, I was able to experience Magic Kingdom during the fall and go to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. This was something I’ve never done since my program in 2016 was in the spring. It was an amazing experience and fall at WDW might be my favorite time of year.
I noticed during my trips after my program that sometimes my former cast member self comes out. I find myself doing the Disney point again and using the language. Everything I learned three years ago stayed with me!
I found myself talking to other guests and giving them tips. This one family asked if I was going to fill my refillable water bottle up with the water from the water fountain when I was rinsing it out. I shook my head and explained if you go to almost any quick service restaurant and ask for a cup of ice water, it’s free. I explained that Florida water tastes weird and isn’t cold so it’s best to go to a restaurant.
I also found myself connecting and talking to more of the cast members working. One cast member at Animal Kingdom was asking me about my day so far while he waited for my food to come out. I told him what all I had done and when my friend came up, he asked if we were cast members. We shook our heads and told him not anymore. I still don’t know how he figured it out! Nothing we said indicated that we worked there. It was so weird!
Trips back to WDW are still so magical even after you were a cast member. The magic never leaves you and you find yourself feeling at home again! Now to start planning my next trip!
Audrey McGee is a Vacation Specialist with Coasters & Castles Travel. You can reach her through email: firstname.lastname@example.org.