Ducks quacking, dragon flies buzzing, and the gentle sounds of running water. Those are the sounds of the Rivers of America waking up at 5:15 AM. As the sun slowly makes its way up over the top of Tom Sawyer Island, teams of cast members gather together to compete in this year’s Canoe Races.
After a two year hiatus due to construction at the Disneyland Resort, the Canoe Races are back! From June to August, teams practiced and went through qualifying trials to be able to compete in the finals that took place this week. Partners had an amazing opportunity to support this event and got a firsthand glimpse at all the fun and the early morning prep work that goes into it.
When you are used to “banker’s hours,” a 4:00 AM wake up call is not part of your usual routine. But volunteering to help with this year’s Canoe Races was something I could not pass up, even if it meant getting a little less sleep.
Over the course of two weeks, a team of about twenty Partners cast members started their days at dawn on the Rivers of America to volunteer in any way needed to support this super fun event. My personal favorite job was to post up on Tom Sawyer Island watching teams race carefully around the island, particularly watching out for any teams that hit a buoy or rock with their canoe, which meant instant disqualification. Other Partners cast members had jobs taking photos for teams, helping with merchandise tables, and cheering on the competing teams.
This week’s finals brought a new experience: getting to see the joy and excitement as the canoe racers’ family and friends were allowed into the park before opening to watch their favorite teams compete for the top prize. Rowing one of those canoes is hard enough–but making sure to make your friends and family proud? Well that’s a noble challenge.
After everything was said and done, winners were crowned, and cast members began to get ready for their day ahead where they would help make magic for guests. For me, I get to go through the rest of my day knowing that I have already experienced some magic thanks to the adventures of the morning, the amazing cast members that made up the canoe teams, and the Cast Activities crew that made it all possible.
I can’t wait for next year! Maybe I’ll be in one of those canoes myself!
Formerly authored by Erich F. at Partners