What It’s Like Going To Disney World When You’re 20 Versus 8

What It’s Like Going To Disney World When You’re 20 Versus 8

It’s still the most magical place on earth.

1. The Car Ride

When You’re 8: You spend the majority of the time pestering the other passengers. You ask multiple times within the hour if you “are there yet?” and are in a complete disarray every time the answer is no. It doesn’t feel like you’ll ever get there, but when you do, the excitement fills your little body to the peak of explosion. After this peak, your parents can forget about you getting any kind of sleep any time soon.

When You’re 20: You designate one or two drivers, depending on the length of the car ride, to take one for the team. These people drive the whole way while you and the other passengers sleep the entire way. If you called shotgun, good for you, but your job for the next four to eight hours is to keep the one driving from falling asleep at the wheel. This means singing, racing with cars on the highway beside you, and eating Sun Chips the whole way. By the time you reach your destination, you’re almost too tired to function, but you have to keep going because hey, you’re in Disney.

2. The Food

When You’re 8: It doesn’t occur to you that you're hungry until your parents tell you it’s time to eat. You’re too busy running around like a chicken with its head cut off to even think about nourishment. As soon as your parents point out to you that you need to eat, the only thing that will get you to shut up is chicken nuggets or other varieties of foods in the shape of Mickey’s face.

When You’re 20: It doesn’t occur to you until you’re about to pass out from malnutrition that you should probably eat. All you’ve cared about up until now is making sure you are on time for your fast passes. But as you stroll up to the fine park eateries, you notice something. Those chicken nuggets might as well be forty dollars, but you have to pay it; what are you going to do, starve? But let’s be honest: the food is so good you would probably eat it off the ground.

3. Buying Ears

When You’re 8: If you get them at all, you wear them around the park, mostly because you’re parents wanted you to, the whole time wishing you had them off because they’re hot, uncomfortable and pinch your head. Remember, you’re eight and in Florida where it’s a thousand degrees: everything is irritating.

When You’re 20: It’s the very first thing you do as soon as you arrive. They are a staple of not only your visit, but the mouse who started it all. You only take them off to shower and parade around all of the parks with them nailed to your skull. At some point though, it occurs to you that you are in fact wearing the ears of a mascot and it starts to become weird. But you don’t think about it too much because you’re probably going to continue to wear them when you get back to classes the next semester anyway.

4. Meeting the Characters

When You’re 8: You wait in long lines – as you do for everything in Disney if you do not have a fast pass – just to see that one character that makes your whole visit worthwhile. The characters that have touched your heart with their spunk, their light, and their spirit you see in all their movies. You meet them, give them a great big hug, and then run off to the next character. The special event lasts for about three minutes.

When You’re 20: You still wait in the same long lines, but you are almost just as anxious – if not more so – than the six year old standing in front of you, who doesn’t understand why you’re so pumped to meet Tinkerbell. You practically drop kick the child in front of you out of the way when it gets to be your turn and spend twenty minutes talking to Merida about how you’re basically twins, or telling Tigger he’s your spirit animal. It is an intense, life changing experience that can bring any adult to tears.

5. Seeing the Castle in Magic Kingdom

When You’re 8: You stare at it for about five minutes after your parents take a picture of you in front of it for posterity, wondering the whole time why you cannot go inside. You eventually get bored with it – once again, because you’re eight – and are ready to move on to the next event.

When You’re 20: You have to get at least twenty photos with it in the background because this will be the shining star of your Instagram for the next three months, and everyone has to be fully aware and jealous that you were in Disney World. You gaze at it in awe, wondering what it’s made of (PS: it’s fiberglass and plaster, not stone), and why you don’t live in a castle yourself. Seeing the iconic structure makes all of it real. You see how it can inspire people to follow their dreams. For just an enchanted moment, the stresses of real life fade away.

6. The Rides

When You’re 8: Attractions such as Tower of Terror and Mission: Space seem almost too daunting to handle. You stick to the tea cups and the Seven Dwarves Mine Train, and keep telling yourself that one day – when you’re older – you’ll be able to do all kinds of ‘big kid’ rides.

When You’re 20: Tower of Terror is still just as intimidating as it was when you were a child. At this age, you’re suddenly much more aware of your mortality and the last thing you want is to be decapitated on Space Mountain. But, you also convince yourself that if you do perish, at least you will die in the happiest place on earth, and you plan to have that written on your tombstone.

7. Seeing the Shows

When You’re 8: You were basically brought in to see Finding Nemo the Musical and the live Beauty and the Beast show because your parents were worn out after chasing you and your siblings around for five hours and they needed to rest their legs. It’s a good chance for them to nap and good chance for you to be quiet for the first time in a whole week.

When You’re 20: You go to see the shows because the artistry behind it, the beautiful costumes, acrobats, and animatronics. You can hardly believe that someone can perform the ways the actors in the shows do. There’s just something about watching your favorite movies and musical numbers being brought to life before your very eyes. Warning: the Festival of the Lion King may cause you and your whole party to burst into tears.

8. Taking Pictures

When You’re 8: You pose for pictures simply because your mother bought a new camera and wants to commemorate the trip, not because you will actually go back and look at the pictures; at least not until you’re in your teens or early adulthood.

When You’re 20: You and your friends take turns snapping photos on your phones, posting on Snapchat, Facebook, and all other forms of social media. You are also looking to commemorate the excursion, but also, deep down, you are doing it for the gloating, and rubbing your other friends’ noses in it, all while hoping they understand the Chicken Little reference.

9. The Princes

When You’re 8: You care more about the princesses - their beauty, and ability to sing songs and act the way they did in the movies you love so dearly - than you do their male counterparts. You seek out your favorite princesses to get pictures with them and have them sign their names in your autograph book.

When You’re 20: Yes, you still love your princesses, just as much as you did when you were a child. But, you have to admit, when you see Flynn Rider’s smolder during the parades, you understand why Rapunzel would go weak at the knees. You fight with your girlfriends over who Prince Charming winked at, and every time one waves at you during a show or parade you convince yourself it was a marriage proposal. You yourself could be a princess.

10. The fireworks

When You’re 8: It’s the end of the day; you’re hot, tired, your feet hurt, and all you want to do is go home. Then, the sky lights up with bright, sparkling flames in all the colors of the rainbow as ‘A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes’ plays heavenly in the background. You are mesmerized, though you are unsure why. You aren’t truly able to appreciate it just yet.

When You’re 20: It’s the end of the day; you’re hot, tired, your feet hurt, and all you want to do is go home. But, you stay, just a little longer, just to watch those brilliant explosions. Then it hits you: How many times do children of all ages get to relive their fantasies played out on the silver screen? Or be touched – in real life – by the stories, characters, and themes they hold so near and dear to their hearts. You realize and appreciate for the first time, the true magic and whimsy behind it all, that can make anyone feel like a kid again without a care in the world.

11. Leaving

When You’re 8 & When You’re 20: Leaving is the hardest part. With all the fun you had and the memories you made, Disney World has become like a second home, where dreams come true, and magic happens. It’s enough to make you want to throw your body on the ground and thrash like a two year old having a temper tantrum. Returning to reality seems practically unbearable, however, the memories will last a lifetime, even if the trip doesn’t. And you can always return home, where dreams come true.

Cover Image Credit: Shelby Price

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34 Things I Should Have Brought To College At The Start Of Freshman Year, But Didn't

To the incoming freshman from the rising senior.

Coming from a rising senior at the University of Dayton who has lived in an over-sized double dorm room, to a suite-style quad dorm room, to a house with virtually no storage space sharing an octagon-shaped single room (and single closet)... These are the random little things no one thinks to bring to college or put on these lists, but they will make your life on campus a million times better. I ended up buying these items long after I started college, and they were a big help. Don't make the same mistakes I did.

1. Shoe organizer

These are great for various items such as toiletries, snacks, and, of course, shoes.

2. Under-the-bed storage bins

During college, most of my storage has been under my bed, so this is a must.

3. Photos

To remember the happy times with your friends and family. Add to your collection over your college years.

4. String lights

Just to add a little something extra to your space. The dim light is totally relaxing.

5. Makeup wipes

For when you're too tired after going out to actually wash your face.

6. Extra sheets and towels

Trust me, you're not going to want to wash your sheets and towels right away so you can use them immediately. Bring back-ups.

7. Tide pods

These are awesome. Plus they smell heavenly.

8. Drunk dorm/microwaveable snacks

For when you come back after going out and the dining hall has already closed. Ordering Domino's or Jimmy John's night after night is NOT a cost-effective option.

9. Gatorade

For when you're too dead in the morning to walk down and get one from the dining hall.

10. Keurig and coffee

Just in case the dining hall runs out of coffee during finals week. Believe me, it can happen.

11. Chip clips

You will accumulate many of these from free vendors and events on campus, but somehow, they are no where to be found when you need one.

12. Paper towels / Clorox wipes

You can never have enough.

13. Rain boots

So you'll be able to make it to class on those rainy days without having to sit in soaking wet socks and shoes for 50 minutes (yikes). And you can jump in all the puddles you wish.

14. Alarm clock

If you're like me and could sleep the whole day if you didn't have an alarm, your phone alarm just doesn't cut it sometimes.

15. Back study pillow

Even if you don't think you will use it, you will end up wanting it.

16. Command strips

These are the only things that will stick to most dorm room walls.

17. Rug

Especially if your room has a cold tile floor instead of carpet.

18. Air mattress or sleeping bag

For your friends visiting you on campus, or if you ever go on a trip.

19. Disposable dishes

At least while you live in a dorm with a community sink.

20. Red solo cups

Because you don't want your morning-after milk or apple juice to taste like last night's $8 vodka.

21. Costumes/holiday wear

This is something I totally didn't even think about when I first came to school. Now I have an entire bin JUST for costumes and holiday decor.

22. Crazy daydrink clothes

If you have a few jerseys, you're set. If not, take a trip to the local goodwill with your squad and pick up a few things. The crazier, the better.

23. Towel wrap

If you're like me and just like to chill in your towel after you shower ( and a robe is too hot for you), these are a must. And they're super cute.

24. Wristlet/clutch/small purse

You won't want to lug around a large tote while you're out with friends or doing daily activities.

25. Comfortable heels

Don't let this be you!!!! I've been there, and nothing will ruin your night of dancing at the club like shoes that give you blisters and disable your walking by the end of the night.

26. Business casual and business professional clothes

And make sure you know the difference and when each is appropriate.

27. Water bottle

In college, your water bottle is your best friend. You never go anywhere without it, and it actually helps you to drink the amount of water you're supposed to drink each day (maybe).

28. Blender

If you're a fan of smoothies (or frozen margaritas) and want to make them at home for less.

29. Flashcards

Flashcards are a great way to study. If they're not for you, buy them anyway just in case you want to try them out. Or if anyone on your floor is desperate for them, they will be eternally grateful.

30. Mini fridge

When you're sharing a fridge with 3+ other people, things can get pretty tight. I recommend buying this with your roommates so you can share the extra space.

31. Calculator

Just in case you change your major and have to take math again (like me).

32. Thermometer

So you can know for sure whether or not you have a fever.

33. Drying rack

Because you're actually not supposed to put everything in the dryer, who knew?

34. Rubbing alcohol

Works wonders for getting those impossible Thursday night Xs off before your Friday 9 a.m.

These things have helped me make it through three years of college, especially freshman year. Hopefully, I have helped you prepare for your college years somehow. Good luck and have fun!!!

As an Amazon Associate, Odyssey may earn a portion of qualifying sales.

Cover Image Credit: oregonstateuniversity / Flickr

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6 Tips On How To Get An A From Your TA

Being a teacher's pet isn't a bad thing--at least for that A.


1. Show Up On Syllabus Week


Even though your two years older brother, whose going to the same exact college, swears that syllabus week isn't necessary--it is. Some teachers get their classes up and going right away, taking no time for reviewing the syllabus because you're a big college kid now and should've done that on your own time. During syllabus week, you'll either hop right into lessons or actually review the syllabus that you should've before but you know you didn't. Either way, it's beneficial to go just for the sake of learning where the class is, if not anything else.

2. Show Up On Time After That

Mitchell Hollander

Punctuality is everything about how others see you for first impressions. If you're the kid strolling in ten minutes late everyday, everyone is going to get annoyed--including the teacher. Have some respect for yourself and others. Be sure to attend class on time. Some would say if you're five minutes late, don't come at all, but that's more for the sake of the class and you've got to be watching out for yourself.

3. Sit In Front

Nathan Dumlao

It's not awkward or weird to sit in the very front of the lecture hall, I promise. You're actually setting yourself up for the best when the teacher's mic fails and she's resorted to shouting the rest of the lesson instead of cancelling it. Not only that, but your questions are always addressed first and you can be the first one to reach her after the class is over, instead of the tenth in the line of people who were too nervous to ask the questions during class.

4. Participate In Class

Edwin Andrade Edwin Andrade

If, or rather when, the teacher asks the class to answer a question, just raise your hand and answer it. Stop stressing over whether you're wrong or not. It's far easier just to answer and let class move along instead of sitting there for an awkward five minutes of silence and paper shuffling. Another note, if you have a question, ask it. This refers back to the line of ten people that appears after class because they were too nervous to ask in front of a crowd. Not to mention you're all probably asking the same question. Moral of the story, if you have a question, ask it because at least one other person out of two hundred has that same one.

5. Go To Office Hours

Nastuh Abotalebi

If you need help, get it. Or even if you don't, get it anyways. Have them check over the outline of your paper or ask them what topics they feel will be touched on most during the test. Or even just go in there to have coffee with them. Office hours suck when no one comes in and many TAs enjoy getting to know their students. You're in college; you're supposed to be networking.

6. Talk To Them Like They're People

Michael Discenza Michael Discenza

Because they are. Don't raise your voice when you didn't study and weren't prepared and didn't get the grade you wanted. Don't yell when you aren't getting something. Form a relationship, a good one, because they're students too, probably only four years older than you. They like to get drunk on Friday's too--you'll see them out at the same bars you go to right after you sent that email to them, asking a question about the paper.

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