Frozen: A firsthand account of surviving the wait for Disney World

Sarah Lawrence

In preparation for the Student Program Board’s spring break trip to Walt Disney World, 97 students lined up outside of the Oakland center to purchase their ticket to the happiest place on earth. Due to the Oakland Center hours of operation, individuals began their wait in the courtyard across from Bear Cave, stretching to O’Dowd at 4:15 p.m., and were relieved by midnight. Tents, blankets and bag chairs were organized in groups as those in line waited for their numbered wristband that would soon become their ticket number and access to the warm hallways of the Oakland Center basement. 
 
It might seem crazy, but here’s how my friends and I survived the night:
 
4:15. The troops who have been waiting in the commuter lounge since noon have moved to the lower courtyard across from the Bear Cave. The wait begins. Signs of life: positive, spirits seems to be high. 
 
5:04. The line is organized. Tents have been pitched and a sign in sheet has been created. Spirits are still high, only 90 spots available. No rest until midnight
 
5:32. The back of the line is getting anxious. Leadership has been contacted. Rules have been established and numbers are being given out. People are concerned with line placement. 
 
5:45. The travel director has arrived and things have been clarified. She is now stamping hands. Participants are getting rowdy. 
 
5:58. Groups and alliances are forming to create systems for obtaining supplies, some may not make it. Spirits are dropping, but there is still hope. 
 
6:21. We have returned from our trek for food. The authorities were notified, but we were let off with a warning. Morale has been slightly lifted. Six hours to go. 
 
6:30. Management has announced that the line is filling quickly. We are no longer allowed to leave without alerting a member. The going is tough. At least we have panda. 
 
6:40. Management is putting us in numerical order due to dishonesty near the back of the troop. This could be longer than we thought. 
 
6:48. We have lost one of our own. While we are sad, it is for the greater good. Another spot is open. Management is checking hand numbers. The stakes are high. 
 
7:24. The temperature is dropping, everyone is huddling closer together. Technology is failing. We are starting to rely on the clock tower for the time. Line is to O’Dowd. 
 
7:27. Catchphrase has died. People are starting fires. 
 
7:45. Groups have settled. Disney music has started playing, variations of Disney 20 Questions have started. 
 
8:26. Individuals are now entering their tents, things are quieting down aside from the Disney music coming from the big tent. Everyone’s fingers and toes are starting to hurt. 3 hours 34 minutes until midnight. Some are napping. Avoiding frostbite at all costs. 
 
9:07. Our neighbors have introduced pizza. We are forming bonds. All is well on the Homefront. Management is taking shifts. There is hope. 
 
10:10. We have moved to the ground. Cuddling for warmth. 1 hour 50 minutes remain. 
 
10:16. Our group has decided to exercise to generate heat. We have shattered one iPhone in the process. Exercise is never the answer. 
 
11:09. The mood is lifting, we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. 51 minutes remain before we receive wristbands. Don’t stop believing and bohemian rhapsody are ringing in the background. The war is almost over. 
 
11:20. We have created makeshift blanket tent. Almost lost another iPhone. 
 
11:27. A traitor has been discovered in our midst. They have been withholding their cheez-it rations. The situation will be addressed at a later date. 31 minutes remain. 
 
11:32. Leadership has announced our victory. We ride at midnight
 
11:42. The troops are disassembling camp. Morale has significantly risen. We are organizing ourselves in numerical order. 16 minutes remain. 
 
11:51. It is certain that the last 15 minutes are the longest. Nine minutes. 
 
11:56. We are forming a line in number order. Four minutes. 
 
12:01. As we make our way to our new campsite, we gaze back through the glass and remember that in the morning, it will be as if we were never there. 
 
12:29. We have set up camp outside of The Oakland Post. It’s much warmer here. All of the troops are removing their unnecessary layers. 8 hours 31 minutes remain. 
 
12:31. Someone has found salami. The smell is rank. 
 
1:11. Neighbors are sharing brownie and blanket rations, the atmosphere has lightened. We have reached the home stretch. Some celebrate with sleep, others with studying. I feel like I am at an elementary school read-in. 
 
1:30. Most of the troops are quiet now. Many are sleeping against the walls of the basement hallway. 
 
1:53. Only a few still stand, most are asleep. Will probably join them soon. Updates to come. 
 
2:04. Our troops have decided that sleep is our best option. We ride at dawn. 7 hours remain until victory.
 
4:21. Nearly all troops are still asleep. Blankets are scarce, the light kills. Many seek refuge in sweatshirt sleeves and headbands. 4 hours 49 minutes.  
 
6:28. Members from the outside have started walking through the hall. The gate is unlocked. Management is moving us toward our final destination. Hope has been restored. 
 
6:50. Management has finished taking roll. We may have lost one overnight. More to come. 
 
7:03. 23 has been found. Hope is restored yet again. 
 
7:06. We have started discussing wonder balls, energy drinks and cereal box prizes with the leadership. The humor is distracting us from our exhaustion. 1 hour 51 minutes remain. 
 
8:01. 59 minutes remain until victory. The reality of class is setting in and many have started cramming, but nothing can top getting our ticket to the happiest place on earth.
 
8:14. Leadership from the CSA has arrived. The key is in the building. Although necessary, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to maintain patience and sanity. Members of the troop have fallen ill in the night. Food supply is low. 46 minutes. 
 
8:50. Ten minutes remain. The pressure is setting in. We are so close. Praying our credit cards are approved and that dreams really do come true. 
 
9:05. The line is moving smoothly. We are inching toward the front. Now we are concerned with obtaining our spring break bodies in time. Keep moving forward. 
 
9:10. Troops are getting antsy, many are dropping their belongings in the lounge to speed up the process. The lighter the better. 
 
9:12. We were just informed that checks were an option. One of our own is upset. The crowd is getting rowdy. 
 
9:13. There are now discussions about the possibility of Trump America. We have determined that there will be no fleeing back to home countries, as re entry will be impossible with the wall. We want Disney world. 
 
9:20. We can see the end of the line. Patience is running thin. We are so close. 
 
9:33. I have reached the end. I have obtained my ticket, and I am going to Disney World. It was a long, hard journey. But it was worth it. Each of our own has reached the destination. We are singing American Pie in celebration. Victory.