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Partners Canoe Race

Partners is Disney’s 2018 C.R.O.W. Champion!

Canoe Races of the World (C.R.O.W.)—the much-anticipated annual two-week cast-exclusive Disney tradition dating back to Disneyland in 1963 and Walt Disney World in 1973—was held at Magic Kingdom Park on the Rivers of America May 2-18, 2018.

Sub-titled InC.R.O.W.dibles 2018, cast members from all over The Walt Disney Company participated in six divisions: Men (Pro and Rec), Women (Pro and Rec) and Coed (Pro and Rec). Teams raced around Tom Sawyer Island in a fierce competition among 75 teams. The 35-foot boats used for racing were part of the Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes attraction that closed in 1994. They weigh between 1,000 and 1,200 pounds, and take some skill to maneuver around the course

Partners Canoe Race

The annual competition fosters a sense of community among cast members, strengthens relationships, builds camaraderie, is a great team builder and of course, is a way to make fun memories. Getting up extra early to arrive at Magic Kingdom, coordinating teams to row around the island, and clearing the area before guests arrive is no small challenge, and we appreciate all the cast members who bring this event to life. It’s an awesome experience seeing the park as the sun rises, in its peacefulness before it opens to guests and in welcoming the new day on the river.

Partners has loved being part of this competition over the years and is proud to announce that one of its C.R.O.W. teams, “Partn’OARS”, earned the coveted title and bragging rights for the coming year after being named Coed Rec Champion, crossing the finish line Thursday morning with a time of 5:49. Partn’OARS is excited and honored to represent Partners in this achievement!!!

The team rehearsed on dry land with imaginary paddles, chanting “row, row, row,” mentally visualizing ten oars rowing at the same pace, paddles in and out of the water at the same time, running tight lines, all in sync, gliding through the water. Phrases like “5 seconds is a lot of seconds” and “This isn’t an after-dinner row” became the team’s most used funny mottos. Each team is given two practice runs to make any adjustments before competing in the qualifier. The top four teams from each division then move on to the finals.

Partn’OARS rowers volunteered from across the credit union, representing Human Resources & Training, Operations, Payments, Lending, Member Services, Digital Services, Business Development, Risk Management, and Information Technology.

“Our team is comprised of cast members from different departments, but when we row there are no roles or titles. We’re all working towards the same goal, getting to the finish line with the fastest time possible. We build a team, practice and like in any business model set goals, look for opportunities to better our strategy, make and adapt to changes, execute them, and go for the win,” describes Sugeil Velez, a Partners’ Market Area Sales Specialist in Business Development and a member of the Partn’OARS team.

Partn’OARS will attend the C.R.O.W. Awards Breakfast banquet hosted by Disney’s Cast Activities team on Monday, May 21st. Until next year, Paddles Up and Bon Voyage…

Formerly authored by Monica C. at Partners