This past week I spent five days in Orlando, Florida—along with many other music students from PHS. It was an amazing opportunity, and I learned a lot!
On Saturday, March 24, approximately 152 Prairie High School students involved in either band, choir, or color guard arrived at the Eastern Iowa Airport before 4:00 am; our destination: sunny Florida, where we would meet up with the 104 other Friday flyers. Unfortunately, due to the yucky weather, our flight was delayed an hour.
The first day was Epcot. This park is full of every culture you can imagine. My friends and I ate sushi and watched Mariachi drummers in Japan. Then, we took 10 steps and we were climbing a pyramid in Mexico. For an afternoon sweet, we ate ice cream and crepes by the Eiffel Tower in France. They were delicious! It is so interesting how all of these different places and cultures can be so compact, yet feel so separated. Part of this is probably because when you are in a certain country’s part of the park all of the employees are from that country. For example, Germany. Whether you want to buy a shirt with a German saying on it, or just want to eat some good chicken and waffles—the employees will make you feel like you are no longer in North America.
After what felt like only a couple of hours of sleep, it was time to get back on the grind. Sunday we headed to the most magical of all the Disney parks—Magic Kingdom. My friends and I attempted to take many artsy pictures next to the castle, we rode splash mountain, and we ate amazing caramel apples. To top off the day we watched an incredible firework show by the castle. It was a good day.
The next day we didn’t actually go to a Disney park. Nope, Monday was Universal Studios. The land of Hogwarts, incredibly scary roller coasters, Jurassic World, and Seussland. Universal Studios was one of my favorite days of the whole trip. My friends and I not only rode the Incredible Hulk roller coaster once, but twice. Although I was very nervous, it was so much fun! Next, we made our way to Hogwarts. Hogsmeade was better than I could have ever imagined. Megan and I waited in line for butter bear twice—once in the pouring rain. It was well worth it.
Finally, the day of music! On Tuesday we went to Hollywood studios in the morning and had our respective music clinic in the afternoon. Hollywood studios was by far my favorite day of the whole trip. In the morning we met Chewbacca and rode Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. That wasn’t even the best of it. I had the privilege of attending the Frozen sing-along celebration. It was the best day of my life. It was basically a musical that also incorporated karaoke. Words cannot describe how awesome it was!
After a quick lunch, it was time to get back on the bus and head to a Disney resort where the afternoon’s choir’s clinic was being held. Our clinician’s name was Kyle, he was a really cool dude. We not only had the opportunity to better ourselves as singers, but we got to do it while singing Disney songs! At the end of the clinic, we recorded the two songs that we had learned: Beauty and the Beast’s “Tale As Old As Time” and “Bell.” From there, these recordings were put with the video footage from the movie. It was very cool to see all of our hard work pay off. After the clinic, we went back to Hollywood Studios. This is where my lifelong dream came true. I met Olaf from Frozen. I got to get a picture with him and everything! To finish off the night we watched “Mickey’s Fantabulous Firework Show.” What a day.
Our wonderful trip was coming to an end. We got to spent our last day in Orlando at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Although it was a shortened day, we still had a few experiences. We were able to take an awesome picture by the tree of life, spend some time in dinosaur land, and drink some great frozen lemonade.
All in all, this trip was an amazing experience. I would do it again in a heartbeat and not change a single thing. It was truly magical.
Photo Credits: Peter Lande