So, you’re going to the SUMMIT! Congratulations on your bid! It’s not easy – according to CheerUpdates.com only about 10% of teams make it to the Climb at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. Whether it is your first time or your seventh, it’s super exciting.
What is The Summit?
The Summit is the biggest end of season event hosted by Varsity at The Most Magical Place on Earth – Walt Disney World Resort. Teams are invited to compete by earning a “bid” from a competition during their cheer season.
Where do athletes compete?
Teams will compete at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex (WWoS). You must have a spectator pass or commuter pass to gain entry into any of the performance arenas and there are attendants checking.
If you are staying on property at Disney you’ll be able to use free Disney transportation to get to and from ESPN WWoS.
Where will I stay?
It’s most likely that you’ll book your Summit Package through Varsity and you’ll be placed with your team at the designated resorts. Most often the options are All Star Sports (Value Resort) and Coronado Springs (Moderate Resort). Sometimes a Deluxe resort option is offered as well.
It’s worth noting that the pricing from Varsity will be per person in singles, doubles, triples, or quads. Disney only allows four people to a room at these designated resorts. There are consequences for breaking this rule, including losing your room and being asked to leave. (Don’t do this to your team.) The good news is, because it is priced per person, you could do two rooms (and have more space) if you are a family of 5 or greater.
If your gym allows, you can choose to stay elsewhere. A “Commuter Package” option is offered by Varsity, but it is only available for athletes. Keep in mind that you’ll be responsible for transporting your athlete to and from Walt Disney World and ESPN for team events, practices, warm ups, and competitions. Spectators will need to purchase tickets to the competitions daily at ESPN.
What to Know About the Resort:
- The package resorts will include transportation to and from ESPN for athletes and spectators. You’ll need a special Varsity lanyard to use this transportation.
- At All Star Sports each room has two queen beds. One of them is a pull down Murphy-style bed. They have the same mattresses.
- At Coronado each room has two queen beds.
- All rooms have shampoo, conditioner, body wash, hairdryer, coffee maker and coffee, safe, lighted mirrors, iron and ironing board.
- There is no microwave in the room, but usually one in the food court.
Things You Need to Know
- This is not a vacation, even if you want it to be. If you really want the full experience at the Most Magical Place on Earth, add extra days after The Summit ends and enjoy the fun. Real talk: It’s possible, especially if your team makes Finals, that you won’t have any time to go to the parks. If you want to extend your trip into a vacation – that can be done! I recommend booking your additional stay separately. Check out the vacation form if you’re interested in assistance.
- MyDisneyExperience. The app that basically runs your Walt Disney World® Vacation. This is where the magic happens. You’ll manage your Genie, Genie+, and Lightning Lane (more on this below), view and manage your dining, park pass reservations and daily plans, and ticket and resort information. Also, view the “where are you now” map so you can find your way around. The app has Magic Mobile to open your door, if you don’t get Magic Bands.
- Transportation. There are two kinds of transportation you’ll need:
- From the airport to your Resort. Here are my favorite recommendations for getting from Orlando Airport (MCO) and Sanford Airport (SFB). Note: it is usually more expensive to get transportation to and from Sanford. So be sure you factor that when looking at the cheap flights from there.
- From your resort to anywhere else on property. Once you are on property at Disney, it really is a bubble of magic.
- Transportation takes a long time at Disney. If you’re going from the Resort to ESPN for a performance or practice using Disney transportation (instead of Varsity provided transportation) – it will take longer than you think. Allow plenty of time 30-60 minutes. Uber and Lyft are your friend and the fastest option, but they come with a cost.
- Groceries. Some of the transportation options will include a grocery stop, and you can mobile order for that too. Here are my grocery delivery recommendations.
- Vacation Grocery Delivery – Small business, owned by former and current Disney Cast Members, personal shopping with little to no markup.
- InstaCart – This is an app to download and get delivery from a selection of several area grocery stores.
- Amazon Now – Google address of your resort and enter zip code at the top to start your order.
- Walmart.com – Several Walmarts in Kissimmee and Orlando deliver to the resort for a very small fee. Be sure you have the correct address for your resort and room number.
- Shipt – Personal shopper from a selection of stores in the area.
- Disney Dining. Everyone wants the delicious food at Disney World! There are great Quick Service and Table Service options. You’ll need reservations for any Table Service restaurants, this is tricky, because you likely won’t have your Summit Plan or Team Schedule until days before you arrive.
Another complication here, is that you won’t actually get a reservation number. When you make a typical Disney vacation booking you received a reservation number that can be linked in your MyDisneyExperience account allowing you to book dining reservations for your entire stay on the first day of your eligibility. However, because you won’t have a reservation number from Varsity, you’ll need to get up each day, 60 days in advance, to make dining reservations.
Dining reservations can be canceled at least two hours before scheduled without penalty. This is new, it used to be 24 or 48 hours. So, schedule that amazing dinner at Ohana or Steakhouse 71, or meet the Fab 5 at Chef Mickey’s.
- Genie+ and Lightning Lane.
- Genie – A free service in the My Disney Experience app that assists guests with planning and preparation by selecting favorites. It also provides recommendations for “what to do next” while you’re in the park – but it is NOT AS GOOD as the advice you’ll get from a good travel agent.
- Genie+ – The replacement for Disney’s previous complimentary FastPass Service. Genie+ is a paid service that allows guests to choose a return time for most rides and attractions by entering the Lightning Lane (and skipping the bulk of the line).
- Lightning Lane – Formerly known as the FastPass Lane – this queue is reserved for those who have purchased an Individual Lightning Lane pass or used Genie+ return time for a ride or attraction. Lightning Lane is available for most rides under the Genie+ purchase, but some are only available through a separate purchase.
- What to pack for a Disney Vacation. Here are the Things You Must Pack for a Disney Vacation. (You can get a free downloadable copy too). Here are things I’d add for Summit:
- Cheer uniform & bow
- Cheer shoes & socks
- Hair products and hair piece
- Medical supplies: braces, wraps, KT tape, etc.
- Sewing kit
- Wireless speaker (for the pool and the commute)
- Decor for your door or window. Note, you can’t use standard tape so bring the blue tape (painter’s tape), or something completely removable without damage. The doors are usually magnetic.
TIps and Tricks
- Hydrate. This isn’t just for athletes. You’re walking a lot, it’s warm, there’s adrenaline and emotion. Carry a bottle of water, drink lots of water.
- Take a Picture of your Pass (front and back). If you lose your pass, it cannot be (easily) replaced. Take a photo front and back and keep it, just in case.
- Magic Bands. Do you need a MagicBand or MagicBand+?
- PhotoPass. Disney Memory Maker Photo Pass collects posed pictures, Castle pictures, ride photos and videos, all in one place for one price. It does not include photos from the competition.
- Where to get coffee.
- Grown ups only – Drinks.
- Buy your Summit Merch early. It will sell out.
- Disney Fun and Good Luck!
- Get Pixie Dusted at Sir Mickey’s. Ask a Cast Member for this special good luck charm.
- At the Magic Kingdom, just before you board your Doom Buggie, touch the last bat – it’s been good luck to many for years and years.
This is the hardest competition of your season. This is The Summit. It will be filled with memories and emotions and magic. Good luck!