10th Jul 2011

A Year at the Walt Disney World Resort

How do you measure a year? 5 hundred, 25 thousand 600 minutes or so the song goes – this is my attempt to measure just what a year at Disney World consists of and to explain what it is that I am excited about. My Disney CRP means I get to experience it all.

Holidays & Crowds

A year is a long time and this weekend I have started thinking about what are the big things that happen in a year at Disney World. The graph shows the crowd level at the parks and some of the most important US holidays. It shows when work is likely to be crazy busy and when it will be vaguely quiet. Relative terms of course given how popular the parks are. I have never been in the US for any of the holidays except July 4th so I am quite excited, especially for Christmas which I am reliably told is absolutely magical at the parks. I am quite pleased that I am arriving towards the end of Spring Break so I won’t be thrown in at the deep end quite so much and wil at least get a week before the peak Easter weekend crowds. It is nice to see that there are a few quiet weeks in the year, having only ever worked at the parks during the summer peak it will be nice to see what it is like when you can walk on to attractions and Soarin’ only has a 60 minute wait.

Disney Events

As well as the national holidays there are the Disney events throughout the year. I am definitely hoping to attend Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Merry Christmas Party in October and December. They have always looked like so much fun with special parades, fireworks and loads of character meet and greets. I really want to see the parks and resorts at Christmas, I have seen loads of photos of the life-size gingerbread cottage at the Grand Floridian and the tree at the Magic Kingdom and they look amazing, I can only assume that they look even better in real life.

At Epcot there is also the Food and Wine festival in September and the Flower and Garden festival in April both of which look like they could be interesting to take part in. Both of these take place around World Showcase lagoon at Epcot so even if I don’t visit them on days off I am sure I am not going to be able to avoid them.

Other Stuff

As well as the ‘official’ events there are also the other little events in the year I am looking forward to like the Superbowl weekend and being able to watch US TV shows when they come out and not 6 months later! Hopefully this year I might get a chance to attend the Black Friday sales, Black Friday is the Friday before July 4th when lots of stores offer crazy discounts. In both 2008 and 2009 I was working 13 or 14 hour shifts so I did not get the chance to go shopping, maybe 2012 will be my year.

The Weather

The other change about being in Orlando for a year is that the weather changes. I have only ever been there for June, July and August where the weather is fairly predictable as hot then wet then hot again. Looking at the  info above I was quite amazed how cold it gets! Especially in January when it can get to 10 degrees which while not freezing is not very warm either – definitely sweatshirt weather at least. The other exciting part about Orlando weather is the Hurricane season which can be remembered using this rhyme:

June-Too Soon, July-Standby, August – You Must (Prepare), September – Remember, October – All Over

I have to admit that secretly I would love to be in Florida for a Hurricane – not a major one but maybe a Cat 1 or Cat 2 – I did Geography at Uni and spent a year studying them, it would be kind of nice to see one in real life. In 2008 I missed a tropical storm by 3 days although it turned out to be pretty minor in the end. The Hurricane season is a big thing in Florida, I signed up for the Hurricane preparedness team in 2008 and 2009 which would have meant I would have helped out if a storm hit, I don’t think I will be able to do that this time around due to the visa restrictions.

As I said a year is a really long time so I am planning on making sure that I use it to the fullest, I am putting together a bucket list to make sure I take as many opportunities as I can. I feel like I wasted time in my summers and did not make the most of it – this is probably my last opportunity with WDW so I intend to use it to the fullest. I will be publishing a post with my bucket list when it is done so that you can all keep track of how I am doing.

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