Gone CheerMAD at Summit Part 1

The Summit combines two of my passions: All star cheerleading and Walt Disney World.

You know I’ve been a cheer mom for 17 seasons, but what you don’t know is, I’ve been going to WDW since it first opened.

Thanks to my grandparents choice to spend their winters of retirement in the Orlando area, I had the opportunity to visit Walt Disney World every year thereafter throughout my childhood. Back then it was just the Magic Kingdom, and entertainment and food were limited to whatevery you stopped at while walking to and from Ticket E rides.

In young adulthood, I benefitted from a behind-the-magic, insider’s advantage, of all-things-Disney when my brother worked his way up from monorail driver to public relations member in charge of escorting the celebrities who visited the park. He also met and married my niece’s mother so this was followed by another decade-and-a-half worth of great cousins’ vacations.

A true Disney baby, my niece started working in Disney’s management-track internship program and was hired upon graduation. Next weekend (Proud Aunt Moment) she will graduate with her Master’s degree in international business leadership thanks to her Disney employment as a manager in its entertainment division.

So with those credentials, in addition to attending Summit since its inception, I offer you these recommendations to help make your Summit experience at Disney World Certifiably CheerMAD with fun and not unbearably crazy.

“Comps are not vacations” is the mantra in our house.

No matter the great comp location, we focus on the task at hand with as few distractions as possible. If there is time and energy left over, we may take in a touristy activity.

But the Summit is as much a celebration as it is a comp: bids are very hard to get and it’s truly an honor to make it to this level of competition. The focus is still very much on the competition, but I make sure that we max-out the potential for fun by adhering to the following--

First rule of cheer travel: Pack all competition necessities in your cheerleader’s carry-on.

Uniform, shoes, socks, bow, practice uniform, hair piece, bobby-pins, elastics, make-up and travel size hairspray should always accompany the athlete on the plane. You don’t want your athlete in Orlando, Florida and her competition gear flying to Orlando, Oklahoma.

Plan plenty of time to get to and from the ESPN Wide World of Sports.

Busses travel at a very safe speed and if you are running late, you’ll think they are in slow motion.

If you are driving, traffic can get heavy and when you arrive, you may find yourself parking further away from the complex than you’d like.

Whether by bus or your own vehicle, even after your GPS says “you’ve arrived at 700 S Victory Way, Kissimmee, FL” you still have another half-hour or so before you get to your venue.

Once curbside at ESPN’S Wide World of Sports, you’ll want to take your athlete’s picture in front of the ico