Band Trip to WDW and IOA(Possibly the Longest TR Ever)

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Wednesday, July 14, 2004 2:40 AM
The following account of what you are about to read contains a complete story of my trip to Walt Disney World and Islands of Adventure with my High School Marching Band from Thursday, April 15, 2004 till Tuesday, April 20, 2004.

The reason I did not post this for the longest time is due to the fact that my computer crashed shortly after I returned, and since it was fixed, I completely forgot to post this, until a few days ago. It all began back in late September of 2003, when it was announced at the monthly band meeting that we would be going to Walt Disney World and Islands of Adventure for our 2003-2004 season. The entire band was ecstatic. We then began counting the 203 days until we would leave on that bus and head to central Florida for those precious few days.

We began counting longer and longer, and the amount of days got smaller and smaller, until finally it was April the 14th, just one day before we would leave.

On the night of the 14th, we would have one final band practice, and our parents that were picking us up were asked to bring our bags, as we would have luggage check that evening. The reason for the luggage check was so the band and school would know we were not taking anything illegal or against school policy with us in our bags.

Anyways, the next day in school, I was just as excited as any other sophomore at our high school about going on the band trip, but I had 3 tests and a poetry presentation to do that day. I didn’t let it ruin my day, as I got a good grade on all of the tests, and an “A” on my presentation. The bell to leave FINALLY rang at 2:45, and I boarded the bus and went home.

At home, I took a shower, backed a book bag to take with me, and sat around till it was time to go up to the school around 4:30 arrived at the school at 4:25, and I was the first one there. I got my book bag inspected for the same reasons we had luggage inspected, and I sat in the auditorium and waited for 6:00, which was when we would leave.

At 5:50, it was finally time to board the buses. We were called to the buses according to years of service in the band, starting with four or more years.

Then once they boarded the buses, they allowed three year members to board the bus, which meant it was time for me to board. The bus I was on is known as “The Crew Bus” because it contains all of the members of what my friends and I call “The Crew”. The crew consisted of myself, and my friends Rick, Tom, Zane, Roy, Braxton, Russ, Andrew, Chris, Brandon and Robbie. Also joining us in the back were the girlfriends of the crew, they were my girlfriend, Amanda, whom is a majorette, and Rick’s girlfriend, Emily, whom plays saxophone.

We finally left around 6:05 from our small South Western Pennsylvania High School, with our destination being The Walt Disney World Resort. Our first stop occurred at around 9:30 in Flatview, West Virginia, at the world’s WORST restaurant: Shoney’s. This place is just awful, awful, awful. As Zane said referring to the Clam Chowder: “Dude, this is awful, I mean, Seth just crawled out of it and walked away.” Seth is a member of the marching band that tries to be with The Crew, but we don’t really care for him. Despite the bad food, service was awesome. Our waiter, Troy, entertained our table(myself, Amanda, Zane, Braxton, Rick and Emily) with delightful antics and band camp jokes. This restaurant is where I also unveiled what was nicknamed “Haggard” by Zane. While the rest of the band was wearing shorts and t-shirts, I was wearing a yellow hoodie with the hood up, a black Pittsburgh Pirates Hat, long, cut up jeans, black and white converse shoes and very large Bam Margera sunglasses.

We boarded the bus again around 10:15. While the other bus was sleeping with all the lights on the bus off, The Crew’s night had not even begun. We brought out four huge cases of vanilla coke, and began a rather loud sing-a-long with Robbie’s acoustic guitar to bands such as Flogging Molly, NOFX, The Beatles(their later stuff) and almost every Bob Marley song off of his greatest hits. Some songs offended one of the band parents, but the band director, whom was also on our bus, said he enjoyed the music and our singing and that we could continue.

This continued till wonderful 1:30 in the morning when we stopped again, just at the very top of North Carolina. We stopped at a rest area and the crew members all got Starbucks Coffee and a few boxes of Krispy Kremes, knowing it would be a very long night.

We returned to the bus, and Rick and I told each other that it would now be “girlfriend time” for the next 45 minutes. If you don’t know what girlfriend time is, use your imagination. Anyways, once Amanda sat down with me, and Emily sat down with Rick, we each turned off our overhead lights and enjoyed ourselves for about 45 minutes.

After time was up, I turned back on my overhead lights giving Rick the signal girlfriend time was over. We then joined in on an all night song by song sing-a-long to The Beatles’ White Album, which I must say was great.

We stopped once to change drivers somewhere in North Carolina at around 3:30 when we about at The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill for the second time, and we kept going through the night. We finished the entire album, and decided to finish with “The End” off of the Abbey Road Album and called it a night. It was now 5:10, eleven hours after we left, the sun was rising over the top of South Carolina, and we were finally getting some rest.

I awoke and saw the sign for “El Cheap-o” Gas Station somewhere near Bamville, South Carolina. It was about 8 AM, nearly three hours after what had all seemed like it was years ago. I look to my right, and I saw Shoney’s. Oh crap. We ate again at Shoney’s, and we all felt sick. What a way to start off your day. We were all still tired, so we decided to rest for a few hours, and start back up after the next rest stop. I slept all the way through South Carolina, and most of Georgia, till our left rear tire got a large bump in it.

We had to stop at a truck stop for about an hour to get it fixed, we were just miles from the Florida border and I was still wearing my “haggard” outfit. It was near 1 PM, as we rode into Florida, and after a few stops, an entire sing-a-long to another Beatles’ Album(Revolver) and a few funny moments from Zane and Braxton, we were FINALLY at Walt Disney World at 6:22 at a 24 hour, 22 minute, 31 second trip. We checked into our rooms at the All Star Music Hotel(my room consisted of myself, Tom, Zane and Braxton).

Amanda was dead tired and wanted to stay at the hotel and relax in the pool for the rest of the night. As much as I’d want to be in a pool with my beautiful girlfriend in the middle of Florida, I couldn’t resist a few hours at the Magic Kingdom with my three roommates. We took a bus there on what seemed like a two hour bus ride.

Either way, we arrived at the Magic Kingdom a little after seven, almost five hours before we had to report back to the hotel. Our first stop was a walk-on for the Haunted Mansion. I sat with Tom and he pretended to be completely freaked out by the ride, and Zane and Braxton make fun of him for that to this very day.

Up next was Splash Mountain, which was about a 15 minute wait(not bad for a Saturday night). I sat front row with Braxton, Tom and Zane were behind us. Quite a fun ride at night. That drop is awesome.

Next up was Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, which would be our last ride of the might. The wait was about 25 minutes, and totally worth it. As soon as we came off of the lift hill, the fireworks began. Darkness and fireworks made it the best ride I’ve ever had on this simple Arrow Mine Train.

It was only 10 o’clock, but we wanted to get back and go in the pool. We got back a little after 10:30, changed into our swimming trunks and hopped in the pool. I surprised Amanda by sneaking up behind her, and she was very happy to see me. She gave me a nice, big, wet kiss, and to this day, I consider it my best kiss ever.

We swam around for awhile till about 11:30, then I told Amanda goodnight, and went back to the room.

The next morning, we got a wakeup call at wonderful 6:10 to go eat breakfast in the food court. We ate breakfast and prepared for once of our two actually serious moments on the trip, a competition at a local high school.

We put on our uniforms and went to a high about 15 minutes from the WDW resort and the school’s name escapes me at the moment. Being a member of the drumline, I had to get off the bus so I could unload the bus of all of the drumline’s drums and harnesses. We suited up, warmed up by doing all of our warm up exercises, and prepared for the 10 band field show competition. This show began at 8 and was over near ten, giving us plenty of time for the rest of the day. During the show, I played my heart out, as did the rest of the line and band, and we got the 1st place award with the drumline getting a rating of 93.2/100, and the band getting a rating of 87/100.

We returned to the hotel, got out of those awful uniforms, and got ready for a day of riding. About eight of us then set off for MGM Studios. I don’t exactly know who went, I remember myself, Amanda, Rick, Emily, Zane, Tom, Braxton and Robbie.

We began our day there with a 45 minute wait for the Rock’N Roller Coaster. This ride is great, even though it’s Vekoma and I HATE Vekoma, I love the ride, Sat front row. We were starving, so we went to Toy Story Pizza Planet for lunch. We ate pizza and played massive air hockey, till it was time for our Tower of Terror Fast Pass.

I haven’t been on ToT since the installation of the new seat belt only restraint, so I didn’t know what to expect. I was completely blown away by the effects as I usually am, and the drops were much better than before with the new “freedom” the seat belts give you. We saw Indiana Jones would be starting soon, so we went and saw that.

We sat in the front row, which is the absolute BEST seat if you want the feel of the effects. Afterwards, we bought these cool toy swords at the Indiana Jones store and had our own crazy sword fight thing throughout a nearly empty Backlot express, much to the delight of the very bored workers.

We then went to the Backlot Tour which has always been one of my very favorite things to do. We actually got picked to do the Harbor Attack, which was very cool. Amanda and I were picked with a few other people. I got to be the captain that’s washed away in the boat. Very fun. The tour itself was great as usual, and I can’t wait for that new stunt show to debut in 2005!

We took in Muppet Vision 4D and we were about ready to call it a day. But, we saw the Sci-Fi Drive In Diner only had about a 25 minute wait for a table, so we put our name down, and got in a few rides on Star Tours, which is one of the best simulators out there! We ate at the Sci-Fi Drive In Diner(or whatever its called) and the food was great. We then went back to the hotel, and Rick and I had some fun sword fights in the uncrowded small pool at the back of the resort.

We played cards out of the balcony walkway place outside of our rooms till about 10:30, until about 20 of us crammed into my room to watch super troopers and a Play Station 2 Zane brought so we wouldn’t be bored all night.

At midnight, we all went to our respective rooms, for tomorrow(Sunday) we would march in the Magic Kingdom parade. We didn’t have to get up until 8 the next morning, which was quite a delight.

Our buses took us backstage at the Magic Kingdom, where we would prepare for the parade. We all were told to go into the Magic Kingdom to ride from 9 till 12:30, when we would come back to prepare for the parade.

We started off with a ride on Space Mountain, which was a walk-on. Absolutly awesome when you’re on it with crazy friends.

We also rode the Astro Orbiter, The other two Mountains again, and most of the Adventure Land Ides, including the Jungle Cruise where our skipper, Ron, was just about the greatest cast member ever. It was now time to go back and get ready for the parade. We put on our awfully hot uniforms and warmed up. We were then given a pep talk by some lady and she told us we’re all honorary cast members for the day, which was cool. And being the first band to come out, we then headed towards the opening to the park.

The parade was one of the greatest things in my life. You see the place on TV all the time, and to know you’re the center of attention to thousands of people in the most popular vacation spot in the world is such a great feeling. Our assistant director of the band, whom is also a big amusement park guy, walked along side the drumline throughout the parade, glanced over and smiled at me a few times, but when we began down main street, he looke over at me and said “It doesn’t get any better than this” and while keeping my head forward, I moved my eyes towards him, and gave him one of those small smiles that isn’t very big, but you know the person is very happy. The parade was only about 10-15 minutes long, but it was a once in a lifetime opportunity I’ll never forget.

We returned to the hotel, packaged up the uniforms, and were free to move along the rest of the night. Amanda and I decided to go alone for the rest of the night, since it was April 18th, our 1st anniversary.

We went to Epcot and ate at my favorite restaurant in the world: Le Cellier Steakhouse. Their 12 ounce steak, garlic mashed potatoes and Candadian Cheese Soup are enough to make you get on your knees and make you beg for more and I was glad to mark a very important day of my life by eating there. We then went over and rode Test Track.

The wait was 40 minutes, but it was great since we talked to a guy from ACE while in line. He and I mainly discussed BGT, where he had just been the day before, and I went there a little over a year before. The ride is still great, but is nothing compared to what I would ride next…..

Mission: Space was next on our night, and we were lucky to hit it with a 15 minute wait. This ride is just amazing, case closed. By then, we got a good spot on the lagoon for the fireworks.

The fireworks made this the most wonderful end to an evening in my life. No matter how many times I go to Disney, or no matter how many times I see the Epcot Fireworks, they still amaze me every time I see them. And, It makes them just as much better to see them with someone you love.

The next morning, we got up bright and early in order to pack up the buses and head for Islands of Adventure, which we got to 5 minutes after opening(8:05).

Amanda and I went with Tom and Zane to the Hulk to start off the day. We also waited another few minutes for an awesome ride in the front seat. The takeoff gave me a 3 second facelift and the rest of the ride(aside from the zero-g roll and cobra roll) is in desperate need of a paint job.

We next ventured around Toon lagoon looking at all of the neat stuff, then we saw the greatest drop in Water Ride History: Dudley DooRight’s Ripsaw Falls. This walk-on was by far the coolest water ride ever, and took the award for my favorite ride at IOA. The drop literally would make you fall off the ride if you didn’t hold on, at least that’s the idea it gave me.

Next up for us was another well themed water ride, Popey and Bluto’s Bildgerat Barges. Really awesome and really wet. Loved the line! After that was another water ride, and the most overrated ride in Central Florida, Jurassic Park River Adventure. This ride was awful, case closed.

Dueling Dragons was next. It had a cool line, which was also a walk-on, and we rode front row. I was pumped, but all that excitement left me after we went down the drop. I was let down, Walter and Claude’s worst invert.

We went around and did a few re-rides, and also rode Spidey, which was spectacular, and we decided to go to City Walk. We first went and checked out the Bob Marley Tribute and got a few souvenirs from there and ate a late lunch at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville. Great atmosphere, not so great prices.

It neared six, and it was time to head towards the buses. And it was time to head towards Pennsylvania.

Our trip home wasn’t nearly as exciting as the trip down, as many of us just relaxed on the way home, but there was a sing-a-long that night coming home from IOA that was pretty much just the Let it Be Album which is all pretty relaxing music.

We watched a few movies to help time pass by, but, at around 5:10 on Tuesday, April 20, 4 days, 23 hours and 10 minutes after we had left, we were home. *** Edited 7/14/2004 6:47:42 AM UTC by Whipper Snapper***

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Wednesday, July 14, 2004 11:49 AM
I remember going on Hulk the first time. It was a front seat ride accidently, because there was 3 people I knew in the front.

But that ride scared the crap out of me. I didn't know when it was gonna launch you, then it did and it was fun.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2004 3:35 PM
There are long trip reports with lots of information, and then there are long trip reports with too much information (if you catch my drift). This definitely falls into the latter category. Such things as taking a shower, who plays what intrument, what clothes you were wearing, your luggage being checked etc., could have been edited out. Now, things such as bad restaurants are interesting to the reader, because most of us travel by automobile (or bus) to get to our respective amusement parks, and such information is always welcome.

Anyway, because I was so bored at work, I read through the whole thing (hell, I've been reading a lot of trip reports lately. ahh...the pleasures of having a state internship job), and I have to compliment you on using paragraphs, and your writing style. Just remember for the next time, you don't have to tell us everything.

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Thursday, July 15, 2004 1:48 AM
Nice TR but mimicking Intamin Fan, a little too much detail. But again, nice TR.
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Thursday, July 15, 2004 2:04 AM

She gave me a nice, big, wet kiss, and to this day, I consider it my best kiss ever.

Ahhh, the innocent days of long ago - when it took a lot less than a box full of leather, 3 of my wife's best friends and a troop of midgets in drag to make something "the best ever"...

...sigh

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Thursday, July 15, 2004 3:07 AM
Oh my Gonch....

priceless!

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Thursday, July 15, 2004 5:20 AM
Gonch, I can't figure out wheather I agree with you, or if it scares me...and thats scarey!!;)

Oh, but you forgot the rubber fists...;p

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Thursday, July 15, 2004 6:47 AM
Gonch we need to hang out more often. :-D

-Tina

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Thursday, July 15, 2004 11:16 AM
3 of your wife's best friends and a troop of midgets.....Only on CoasterBuzz ;)
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Thursday, July 15, 2004 11:54 AM
Ok, 'rubber fists' is about the funniest two words in the english language.

Tina, you fell right into my plan to find all the sickos on CB ;)

Reading that comment again, I just realized that I was so worried about whether or not that comment 'crossed the line' (Moosh style) that I never noticed the use of the word 'midget' might be offensive to someone...I suppose.

Oh well, it was a rare moment of raw, unsanitized Gonch.

Whipper Snapper - thanks for the LLR (love life report) ;)

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Thursday, July 15, 2004 7:54 PM
....seen the rubber fist.

*runs away*

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Friday, July 16, 2004 12:15 PM

Lord Gonchar said:

She gave me a nice, big, wet kiss, and to this day, I consider it my best kiss ever.

Ahhh, the innocent days of long ago - when it took a lot less than a box full of leather, 3 of my wife's best friends and a troop of midgets in drag to make something "the best ever"...

...sigh


My eyes! The burn from the mental image! ahaah!

Anyway, glad to see you made out a bit, and also happy to see you liked Mission:Space.

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