Enjoying Disney Through the Student’s Eyes

Disney World is referred to as the happiest place on earth and I recently had the wonderful opportunity to accompany the GMHS band and chorus on their trip to Disney.  It was an amazing experience to be a chaperone to ten wonderful young ladies  (Ana, Anna, Jeny, Eily, Ryann, Caitlyn, Marissa, Olivia, Paige and Taylor) and also to work with all of the other students and fantastic chaperones who made the trip a memory that the students will never forget!

I can see why they only  go every four years! I was completely blown away by the amount of work done by the organizers and chaperones on this trip, the number of details that had to be considered and executed and the amazing commitment of each adult to give these students the absolute best experience possible.  Most of us have no idea how much goes into pulling off a trip for 150 people , most of them ages 13-18, but I am hear to tell you this trip was a labor of love for organizers Liz Lowell, Stephanie Reil, Rina Mullen and Tracy Pitcher and there was no detail they did not consider.  These ladies are Rock Stars!

The students were amazing! They made their town, their school, their families,  themselves and their superintendent very proud. I was personally told by people who interacted with our kids that they were some of the most well-behaved, appreciative and polite young people with whom they have ever worked. One member of the Disney staff ,when we were at a dessert bar organized especially for our students at Epcot, told me personally that in her 25 years working with students at Disney, our students were the best by far. I was not surprised but it was great to hear!

It was a packed five days beginning when the bus pulled out of the GMHS parking lot oat 2:00 AM (yes in the middle of the night) and concluding  when we pulled back into the parking lot around 1:15 AM on Monday morning ( also in the middle of the night) after a five plus hour delay in the  Orlando airport.

The students performed on Friday at Disney Springs and I am not exaggerating when I say they were outstanding! Many families travelled to Disney for these concerts which was wonderful but they also drew a great crowd from the other people visiting the park and I overheard many positive comments about their performance. Again, I was not surprised but was very proud! I can not say enough about Director of Bands Eric Blackman and Chorus Director Kaitlin Donovan for the way they prepared the students for their performance but also for the way they worked with the students while on this trip. They made sure that there was great communication with and among the students , established  clear expectations and they made sure everyone had a great experience and lots of fun!

Each group attended a workshop led by  a Disney professional .  I wanted to see this first hand and I was welcomed by the chorus to travel with them to Epcot for an early morning session. I learned so much about what goes into putting together a professional  performance  in a short period of time. I was amazed that in two hours, they produced a final product which was a clip of the Lion King with our students’ voices doing the music and sound effects! We have a copy of it and I will be so proud to share it with our community. It is amazing! I did not get to see the band workshop but all reports are that it was also a wonderful experience!

Clearly, other than performing, the highlight for all of us was spending time in the Disney parks. Part of the cost of the trip included four-day passes to Magic Kingdom , Epcot, Disney Springs  and Animal Kingdom.  There were chaperones in the  parks  and the students helped me learn  how to get fast passes , check  wait times and how to air drop photos. Students were expected to check in with their chaperones at designated times and I loved receiving texts and pictures from my girls showing them  having a wonderful time!  One of the things I will never forget was closing Magic Kingdom on Saturday night after watching the amazing fireworks show featuring Cinderella’s castle. I was completely mesmerized and watching Tinkerbell fly through the air gave me chills. I can verify that you are never too old to appreciate the magic of Disney and that was a magical moment for me. I wore my Mickey ears proudly and , although  a little sleep derived from a few late curfew times , I too will always remember this experience , especially because I had the privilege of experiencing Disney through the student’s eyes! I wouldn’t want it any other way!

Thank you again to everyone who made this trip possible! It was unforgettable and magical! 😊👍❤️