My high school’s (that I graduated from, Thomas Worthington) marching band goes on a trip to Florida every four years. I did it 4 years ago when I was in band in high school, and my younger brother was doing it this past year. Well, it turns out on one of the buses they had a lot of extra seats and were letting anyone go who wanted to so my dad and I took advantage and got a FREE ride to Florida. Yes it was a very long trip with loud and rowdy high schoolers but it was free so I can’t complain.
We left on the afternoon of December the 27th and about a half an hour outside of Columbus the bus we were on broke down. We had to wait an hour for another to come pick us up and we had to transfer all of our luggage that we had just loaded. What a pain in the butt. So the bus finally came and off we were, through the night, arriving at Disney’s All Star Resort at about 10am Dec 28th. My dad and I parted ways with the band at this point and took the bus from the resort to the car care center by the Magic Kingdom. It took over an hour to do that. On the way we were informed that the Animal and Magic Kingdom had closed due to capacity by 11:00. Yikes! The trip was not looking like it would be a very good one!
We got our rental car and the rest of the day we toured Orlando: Animal Kingdom lodge, City of Celebration, Old Town, and spent the night at Downtown Disney/Pleasure Island. Then it was off to bed pretty early. We stayed at a hotel near Universal Orlando.
Dec 29. The Magic Kingdom. We arrived at the park bright and early. I’ve been to the MK a few times before and I had gone to Disneyland earlier in the year and was glad to see the full sized castle and not the miniature one at DL. We headed right for Tomorrowland and went for Stitch, because I had never done it before and it was only a 5 minute wait. Now I had ridden Alien Encounter and was pretty impressed with it. Although the Stitch animatronic is pretty amazing, the rest of the show is weak. The corn dog smell is cool but I don’t think it really works in the show, it was kind of random to me. After Stitch we headed for Space Mountain. We got fast passes and then decided to get in line seeing that it was only a 25 minute wait. So far so good. I like DL’s version better because of the soundtrack. I hope WDW updates this attraction. Next we did some classics: People mover and Carousel of Progress with no line.
Our Space Mountain fast pass time wasn’t until 3:00 so we skipped across the park over to Adventure land. We did the Tiki room. I had never seen it before so I can’t compare to the old version. Pirates was next, turned out to be the longest wait of the day, 45 minutes. Davy Jones effect was cool and Jack Sparrow looked really good.
After that we were able to get another fast pass, this time for Thunder Mountain. We watched a parade and then proceed to the Hall of Presidents, another show I had never seen before. By this time the park was very crowded. We used our fast passes on SM and then took the train from Toontown to Frontierland and used our fast passes on BTMRR, which I absolutely love the theming on. We decided to take a break from the crowds and headed over to Tom Sawyer Island to relax a little. Afterwards we hit up the classic Haunted Mansion and the Riverboat, another attraction I had never done before in all the times I have visited. It started to rain so we got in line for PhilharMagic 3D show.
It was 6:00 when we got out of PhilharMagic. We decided to go claim our seats for the parade that my brother and the band was marching in. We got a nice spot right in front of the castle so we could see them coming all the way up Main Street. The parade didn’t start until 7:30. We camped out for about an hour and a half, resting our legs. After the parade, we decided to stay where we were and watch the fireworks that started a half hour later. By the time the fireworks ended it was probably about 9:30 or 10pm. It was time for the final push till midnight.
We went right for Splash Mountain, did BTMRR again, It’s a Small World, Snow White, Winnie the Pooh, and ended the day with Buzz Lightyear, which I don’t know how I did it but I scored 999,999 points. The longest wait in that bunch was probably 20 minutes for BTMRR.
Overall, we did a lot better than I thought we would, especially considering how crowded it was and how much time we took off to watch the parade and such. We also hit a lot of attractions that I had never done before, or hadn’t done in a long time, which was very good.
Dec 30 We slept in after such a long and exhausting day. We pretty much just took it easy and relaxed. We visited a bunch of the Disney hotels and spent some time riding the boats in the Seven Seas Lagoon enjoying the nice weather. That night we went to Universal’s City Walk before going to bed early.
Dec 31. We woke up at 6:30 in order to drive from Orlando to Tampa and Busch Gardens Africa. I had been there once before but it was a long time ago and I was too scared to ride coasters back then. Upon arriving at BGA we headed right for SheiKra. Wow! What a ride, one of my favorite coasters. I got 2 laps in with no wait. The front seat is amazing, the airtime in the first drop is killer. That’s probably the closest I’ll ever come to the feeling of parachuting. That ride sure is a people eater and makes me really excited for Griffon at BGE.
The crowds were pretty light in the morning and I was able to ride all the major coaster twice as well as view the animal exhibits. Kumba was good, a little bumpy in the flat spins. Montu kicked butt, probably my new favorite invert. Gwazi=GCI goodness. I love how GCI rides have little pops of air hidden all throughout the ride that you could never tell by just looking at the layout.
We were at the park for about 5 hours before leaving to check into a hotel and to go to Ybor city to watch the Outback Bowl parade. We returned to the park at about 8:30pm and it was packed, complete opposite from the morning. I was pretty tired by then so the only rides I did was another lap on SheiKra and stood in line for Scorpion for almost an hour, just for the credit. I have now been on 102 different coasters!
We watched the fireworks at midnight and then called it a night. The next day we dropped our rental car off at the airport and walked from there to the football stadium with all of our bags, probably ended up at about 2 miles. Not very fun! At least it didn’t start raining until after we got back on the bus. After a long bus ride in which I was thankfully able to sleep a lot we arrived home back in Columbus.
I have posted some photos and I am editing some videos which can be seen here. Tell me what you think!
Be sure to check out my other videos including my road trip to Holiday World and surrounding areas this past summer. Enjoy and let me know what you think! *** Edited 2/1/2007 3:33:29 AM UTC by Amnesiac***
I went to WDW with my high school marching band 4 years ago too. We played in some parade in Epcot. Haven't been back since, but we did go to Universal and IOA last year when we were in Orlando for a BattleBots tournament.
Time for me to begin planning another trip... ahhh the offseason!!
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