Letters from Disney: If I was a Dwarf, I’d be Sneezy

While I would love to update you all on all of the cool things I’ve done since I last wrote, I must confess I feel that I have not accomplished all that much. Since the night before Thanksgiving, I have been fighting off what I believe to be multiple colds (the second one hit before I was even over the first one) so many of my recent days off of work have been spent in my apartment sneezing and coughing and trying to rest to get my body back to normal. I suppose getting sick in an international tourist destination such as Walt Disney World was to be expected, though.

This year marked my first Thanksgiving away from home. Though it was difficult to be both sick and away from my family on this holiday, a friend of mine made a turkey dinner at his apartment for a small group of friends and that definitely made things easier. The best part of that dinner was seeing my English friend experience her first Thanksgiving, as she was baffled by the sheer amount of food. The next day, I had Thanksgiving part two in my own apartment, put on by a few of my roommates. When away from home it is kind of necessary to make your own family of sorts, and I was very thankful to be surrounded by some wonderful friends on that special holiday.

Despite my illness, I have been able to get out and do a few things, one being the Candlelight Processional in Epcot. This event is held nightly during the Christmas season in the American Adventure pavilion in Epcot, and invites a different celebrity narrator each night to tell the story of Christmas in between some beautiful traditional Christmas carols sung by a choir made up of local high school students and even a group of cast members (Disney employees). The night that I went to see it, the celebrity narrator was Jodi Benson, who was the voice of Ariel in Disney’s The Little Mermaid. It was touching how thrilled she was to be a part of this tradition; at the end she even gushed a bit about her continued love for Disney, saying “thank you for letting me be part of your world for the past 25 years.” While I am not a particularly religious person, this event definitely got me into the Christmas spirit.

Just last night, I took some DayQuil and pushed through my cold so that I would not miss out on the Disney College Program Winter Formal, which was held at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. This is an annual dance held exclusively for college program participants, and it was definitely better than any school dance I have ever been to. The theme was Good vs. Evil, and the room was split in half accordingly. There were character meet and greets in each corner of the room, including some characters that are rarely if ever out in the parks, such as Maleficent of Sleeping Beauty and Hades of Hercules. There was a delicious buffet and even nacho bars placed around the room, and two DJs and dancefloors. It was a great event and a great reward for all of the hard work we’ve put in throughout the course of the program.

In my last few weeks here in Orlando, my goals are to finally get over my two weeks of sickness as well as experience as much of Disney World as I can while enjoying the holiday season here. While I am ready to see my friends and loved ones at home, I am actually not at all ready to leave this place. I have had the time of my life during this experience and would recommend it to anyone with a love for Disney that is looking for a cheaper alternative to study abroad. I never would have thought that seven months would not be enough time here, but that is turning out to be the case. Coming back to the reality of classes and exams and Frostburg’s harsh winter weather will surely be a tough adjustment.

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