/ Friday, August 3rd, 2012
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I am almost as big a fan of the Olympics as I am of Disney (emphasis on the ALMOST).  I think their shared emphasis on fulfilling dreams and believing in international cooperation make Disney and the Olympics a natural fit.

In the midst of my excitement over watching the London Games, I have been wondering how one could combine their love of the Olympics with a vacation to the most magical place on earth.  Here are some ideas…

1. Fulfill the Olympic Motto: Citius Altius, Fortius (Swifter, Higher, Stronger)

  • Swifter: Take a ride on the Rock’n Roller Coaster, and experience the swift 0-60MPH take off in your limousine and imagine you are racing down the track in record time, just like Lolo Jones.
  • Higher: Jump in line for the Tower of Terror and experience the free fall a pole vaulter faces after breaking an Olympic record.
  • Stronger: Show your inner strength by pulling off a dawn-midnight, 4-parks-in-one-day experience.  No naps. No swimming… NO FAST PASSES… GO GO GO!!  Channel your inner Ryan Lochte and see how Disney strong you are!

2. Carb Up: Michael Phelps–and many other Olympic swimmers–often explain that their daily diet involves upwards of 6000 calories in order to support their arduous training regimen.  So, embrace your inner athlete, and take yourself to Il Mulino and have a massive bowl of pasta (or two or three).  Or stop at one of those all-you-can-eat buffets, like Trail’s End or Ohana and see how many carbs you can inhale.

3. Watch Your Diet!  Not all Olympic athletes have that immense diet.  If you want to channel your inner 83-pound gymnast, try the lighter side at  Sunshine Seasons and select some lo-calorie options from the collection of restaurants.

4. Be Golden.  Take a quiet stroll through the Art of Animation lobby and examine the Academy Awards that the Disney has earned.   After contemplating Walt’s achievements, walk purposefully into one of the gift shops and take your picture with one of the Mickey Mouse “Academy Award” statues.  Imagine the national anthem being played as you smile with pride!

5. Enjoy the Beauty of the Flame: As the Disney Parks blog suggested, there are many opportunities to experience the beauty of flames.  From the American Adventure to the IllumiNations spectacular, you can imagine that you are in London, contemplating the beauty of the Olympic cauldron and its symbolic message of peace.

6. Embrace the International Spirit  Just as important as the spirit of competition in the Olympics, is the mission of international cooperation and respect.  Grab your PowerAde and head to “”it’s a small world” and sing along with the children.  You can envision yourself at the Olympic closing ceremony, walking among the athletes of the world, smiling with pride and hopefulness for a brighter tomorrow.

7. Pin Trading!  Well before there was pin trading and pin collecting in Disney, the tradition of exchanging Olympic pins was a well-established tradition among Olympic athletes in the Olympic Village.  As a way of getting to know other athletes,pin trading developed in the Olympic village.  So get out there and meet your other “would-be” athletes t a pin-trading station.  Maybe you can even find a Disney Olympic pin (watch for next week’s Collector’s Corner blog!)

8. Take in a Parade Nothing beats the spectacle and beauty of an Olympic opening ceremony.  The parade of nations is the centerpiece of the pageantry.  So, settle yourself on Main Street USA and enjoy an afternoon or evening parade.

9. Show your national pride If you want to show your love for your home nation, take a stroll around the World Showcase and stop in your favorite nation’s pavilion.   Grab some logo gear and wear it around the promenade as you mingle with the cast members from other nations.  Alternatively, if you are a Team USA fan, check out MuppetVision 3D and cheer as Sam the Eagle makes his salute to all nations… “but mostly America.”

10. Be inspired–and keep moving forward!  If nothing else, both the Olympics and Disney are works of inspiration… and both inspire others to believe in the beauty in life and the importance of cooperation.  Go to the American Adventure… or Soarin’…. Watch Illuminations… or Wishes.  And take in a deep breath, look around you and smile for all the riches we have.    While you are smiling and feeling positive, make a plan to “keep moving forward.”  Why not register yourself and a friend for a runDisney event?  Stop at Guest Services and put in a good word for a cast member who went the extra mile.  Or how about buying a Mickey pop for the frazzled mom sitting on the sidewalk waiting for the parade?   There are so many ways you can spread that inspiration and represent both the Olympic ideal and the Disney magic.  And in that way, you would be an Olympian–of the Disney spirit.

What ideas do you have for making a Disney vacation an “Olympic” experience?  Share your thoughts below!

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