Sunday, May 20, 2012

WCIS Disney Trip - May 2012

The White County Intermediate Chorus took a trip to Disney, May 3-6, 2012. Their teacher, Mr. Rogers, arranged for the kids to sing at Downtown Disney on their Performing Arts stage. It's a special privilege to get to sing at Disney at such a young age. The group of kids ranged from 4th to 6th grades. They got a special Ears for the Arts pin as a reward from Mickey.  And a bag too. 
We started off the trip very early Thursday morning... intending to leave at 5am. With all the stuff that needed to be accomplished prior to taking 60+ kids we ended up leaving closer to 5:30. Not too bad! 
Here are Curtis and Maggie after the sun came up.

Bennett and Tianna shared drawing supplies to pass an hour or  so.

Bennett and Maggie have never been to Florida before. Maggie made sure I knew this and we took a picture of their first footsteps in the state.

Welcome to Florida!

Our 2 charter buses. We had bus #2.
We got to our hotel Thursday afternoon. It took almost 12 full hours to complete the trip. We made several pit stops, breakfast, lunch, potty breaks.... it seemed we would never make it. Our hotel is outside the Disney complex, an older hotel, but it served its purpose well.  The kids had a pool party Thursday evening with pizza and sodas. We unpacked and planned our attack for the next 3 days. The kids had studied the "things to do" for all 4 parks on the way down and we wanted to make sure we got to those certain rides and attractions. The hotel was good to serve us breakfast each morning to get us fueled up for the day.

Friday morning the kids gathered outside the hotel to run through their songs one last time. In this picture Haley, Bentley, Sammi, Gracie, Maggie, Luke and Tianna sing their parts.  Bennett is hiding behind Luke, in the GT hat!

Now you can see Bennett!

Our tickets!!  Total excitement for all of us.

We arrived at 9:07am Friday morning!

Waiting for the Monorail, our group for the day.  Bentley, Bennett, Maggie, Maria

The ID photo... just in case.  :)

Our first park was Magic Kingdom. That's the castle!

Bentley, Maria and Maggie in front of Mickey and Minnie

Mr. Rogers was just as excited as the kids. This was Space Mountain. Who knows how many times he has ridden this, but he explained it to the kids to get them all excited.  He insisted HE got the front seat as Bentley and Maggie filed in behind him. Mr. Rogers has a annual membership/pass to Disney, so he has lots of experience in all good things! :)  He advised us on lots of things.

Maggie got to drive Mr. Rogers in the Tomorrowland Speedway race car while Maria drove me and Bentley drove her Mom. All the girls got tired of trying to reach the gas pedal and were assisted by their taller, longer legged co-pilots.

Waiting in line - Maria, Maggie, Gracie and Bentley. This was a second trip through Space Mountain and it "broke down" briefly while we were in line. We enjoyed it each time... but I can say the front seat is by far the best ride!  :)

We (Curtis) got a Fast Pass for Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin while the girls were riding the Teacups... and it ended up being a pretty entertaining little ride.

We got to spin around in little cars and shoot lasers at all the aliens. I have no idea how, but Curtis maxed out his score at 99,999 pretty quickly into the ride. I kept shooting but I think I only managed 12,000 or so good shots. The kids loved it. Too.

Here's Bentley's mom, Amanda showing her fine skills!

Running from ride to ride we passed through a bit party with the characters. There was singing and dancing and general good times.  Bennett stopped long enough to pose with Goofy and Woody - and the castle! 

We explored the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse and then decided we really need to watch the movie and/or read the book.

Amanda and Bentley, Jackie and Maria, Bennett, Maggie and me.

After the Treehouse we moved over to experience a Jungle Cruise.. lots of animals along the river, cannibals, and bad jokes from our driver Ben. The adults laughed more than the kids.

The women folk headed back to the bus for the kids to go sing, while Bennett and Curtis went past the castle and more singing and dancing.

Here the main characters dance - Goofy, Minnie, Mickey and Donald

And all the girls' favorite Princesses - Snow White, Cinderella and Rapunzel.

The chorus kids and adults headed over to Downtown Disney for their singing performance. We had to stop by the changing area, meet our host, and wait until it was the right time. We had plenty of cushion built in... so we waited on some very hot buses. The kids ran through a quick practice with Mr. Rogers - and a pep talk. What a cool experience to get to perform at Disney!

Here's proof! The only elementary school.

WCIS chorus - Maggie's front and center, Bennett's 2nd row right side.

More Lego art

Our one big meal for the trip... we ate dinner at the Rainforest Cafe. Lots of animals and fun sights during dinner. It even has thunder and lightning and the sound of rain.

Bennett and his pal Woody!

After dinner at Downtown Disney, we hurried on a shuttle or two over to Epcot for the nighttime fireworks show. The gates close at 9 as the lights start up.  We slid through just before 9, but Curtis and Bennett were too late since they went back to the Lego store and in search of a coffee mug souvenir. The fireworks were impressive, as was the rest of the light show on the water.

After our Epcot fireworks we went back to the Magic Kingdom for those fireworks. We scooted to the other side of the park to ride a couple less traveled rides... Peter Pan and It's a Small World. NO line for a reason! :) But it was still fun, and air conditioned!

Day Two - Saturday, started at Animal Kingdom. We wanted to make sure we rode Expedition Everest first thing. Here we stop for a quick picture in front of the Tree of Life. You can't see it here - but there are animals carved into that big tree. We hurried through the Asian and African lands to get to the ride - Fast Pass! While we did that, Curtis and Bennett got to experience life as a bug.  Ick! Good thing the women skipped that one. Creepy and crawly.

Here's Bennett before, or after the bug experience... that's Mt. Everest behind him. We would have liked to spend more time at Animal Kingdom... but we were short on time.  This Everest roller coaster was the best ride for several of us. I loved it most and we ended up riding it 3 times. The kids also rode a river ride with Curtis and got a little wet. It was a hot day, so they dried very quickly.

Here's the kids' token ID photo for the day... just in case.

The Tree of Life.. all kinds of animals carved into this tree.

My favorite son!

Bennett and the tree... and random strangers.

Maggie and Bennett stop for another Tree of Life photo.

We found some African drums and the kids all needed to try them out. One of their songs (my favorite) had drum parts, so they were "practicing"!

Our group and some funny boys behind us.

While we were running to catch the shuttle, Curtis and Maggie stopped for a quick photo op. Then they ran super fast to catch the shuttle too.  We headed over to Hollywood Studios for our afternoon of fun.  Here is where the Rock n Roller Coaster is found.  Super fast, big turns, bright lights and loud music. Really cool!

The best kids ever!

The group... Sunset Blvd, I think. In front of the Tower of Terror, which we did NOT ride!

Bennett was helping support the upside down car. Yes, I think we made this move.

Picture spot... Aerosmith guitar for the ride, of course.

The ride takes a bunch of Aerosmith groupies from the recording studio through downtown traffic to the concert... all while listening to some good music, LOUDLY. Fast, dark, lights, loops, turns, music. Yes, it was a good ride.
Maria and Bentley waiting for their 2nd trip on the Rock N Roller Coaster

Anticipating the thrills to come

Our Mid-ride photo - Bennett and I intentionally made faces

Amanda, Bentley and Curtis in their mid-ride photo

We also managed to get the Star Tours - a simulated ride to Star Wars places. I know some characters and story lines... C3PO was our pilot, unintentionally. We even had to fight Darth Vader.  There were 11 different situations we could have simulated. I wanted to go again to see what we could do. The line was long. The kids wanted to go to the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids play area. It was intended for the younger kids, but all ours enjoyed running through the huge blades of grass and yard items. 

Nope, it's not real... well, Bennett is -but the street behind the shadows is just a screen. The magic of Hollywood!

See the huge blades of grass? That's part of the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. What? You were distracted by the strange duck? Ok.

Another duck! Relatives of Donald, I'm sure.  We stopped in this dining area for a refuel moment - and some laughs.

Bentley wanted to do the duck chips too... but didn't want anyone to know she wanted to have fun. Curtis sneaked this picture while I was telling her a story about eating chips neatly.  I think I made a mess, but the birds didn't mind cleaning it up for me. Bentley had a chip on her shoulder for a while - literally. We made it a learning moment. :)

Curtis found a "secret" area around back where we could meet some characters. The girls were watching a Little Mermaid show.  Bennett wanted to watch a  Stunt show instead, but it was already closed for the day. Instead, he tried to talk to Mike and Sully.

But, Sully was taking a break. Those guys don't do anything while they're on break.  Must be union workers.  Here are more pictures of the kids and random characters we found.

Bennett and one of those Toy Story Army Men


Never too old for Pooh, right?! 

This is Handy Manny
Pluto, Bentley, Maggie, Maria, Goofy

Pooh!  Never too old for Pooh

Mickey took Maggie's bracelet.

Maggie thought it was funny, he tried to put it under his hat, on his ankle, wrist, then back to hers.

Maggie and Belle

Maria and Maggie with Belle

Mr. Incredible and Frozone
We found the room of characters at Epcot too... the classics, Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto.

Bennett wanted Pluto to get down, like a dog.  He obliged. 

 Saturday afternoon was quickly gone and we found ourselves back at Magic Kingdom for the Electrical Parade and more fireworks.  Jackie talked us into riding the Pirates of the Caribbean ride because it was a slow, easy, air conditioned ride.  So, when the bombs starting falling and splashing wee little bits of liquid onto us - we made a big deal and acted really scared. I think the guy behind Amanda and Jackie was a little bothered by our strange behavior.  We enjoyed our cool ride even though we have no idea the story line or who Jack Sparrow is.

True laughter... having a great time.


 After the parade the kids all rode Splash Mountain. For the mothers, it was a very long 11 minutes with them on a ride alone, at dark. Amanda went to the start with them, I watched for their boat to fall, Jackie was posted at the exit... and we still made phone calls to each other making sure we hadn't missed them. We worry a lot as mothers - our treasures in a strange place, at night, without us by their side. We worry.

Magic Kingdom fireworks
 Sunday morning we had just a few hours to play before we had to head back north. We picked Epcot since we hadn't been there except for the nighttime fireworks display. There is a ride there, Soarin', that Mr. Rogers had recommended - as well as numerous other people.  It's a high-flying simulated hang glider over the California landscape and coastline. Fun, but not breathtaking. We were just thankful we hadn't waited in line to ride and were able to use our fast pass.

The dancing fountain - the kids were enthralled, for a moment.

Back at Hollywood 
Jumping at Epcot

 Mission: SPACE had a green ride and an orange ride. We picked the green ride since we are beginner space cadets. Amanda didn't think she could take the confined space so she waited at the end while the girls and I flew to Mars and back. Curtis and Bennett had their own flight to Mars to command. It was a great ride - seeing the Earth, moon and Mars from above. Creation is amazing from any angle... but that was incredible!  I have zero desire to actually go to space - but I would do this ride, and the orange one, over just to see it again.

Pre flight instructions

Our flight instructor - Gary Sinise

More instructions - minus our Navigator

Maggie and Bentley strapped in awaiting lift off.

Doors closed, flight controls at hand. Ready to go!
We heard the Nemo show was worth seeing so we stopped here to see what it was all about.  Those birds behind the kids were saying "mine, mine, mine" just like the movie. 

We rode in clam shells through animated scenes from the movie. Not exactly what we were expecting, and it turns out the Nemo show we were supposed to see was at a different park.

At Epcot

Here we were in line for Soarin. We had Fast Passes and didn't have to wait - which was a good thing since the ride was certainly not worth waiting an hour. We were supposed to look weary and tired... again, it seems only I can play along. :)

Epcot flowers

Coke tasting area... refreshment!

Leaving Epcot - which means, leaving Disney

Last stop at the bus yard before loading up for a long ride home.

The Mouse we found... finally got some souvenirs.

Breakfast Monday morning with Grandma... telling stories.
We arrived back to WCIS just after midnight. The kids slept some on the bus, but not nearly enough. We had to be at school in just a few hours - so we scooted on home and jumped in bed. What a great trip, experience, fun-filled weekend.  We made friendships with parents we didn't know and kids we need to know. These kids will travel through school for another 7 or 8 years. We need to know who they are! :)  As soon as we save up, we're going back for more day and with the little girls too.

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