Spring break, the Spirit of Waxahachie Indian Band went to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., for a fun filled week in “The Most Magical Place on Earth.”
The trip was full of surprises, thrills, and magic around every corner, making it truly a trip to remember.
A chronicle of our vacation is as follows:
Day 1: Early Thursday morning before spring break saw suitcases and pillows of all sizes, shapes, and colors being assembled in the band hall, amid avid excitement and buzz about the trip.
We only had to make it through one more long day of school before we would be on our way, rolling on a bus to Disney World.
And yes, we took a bus. Although most of us were dreading the 22 hour bus ride, we had to suck it up for the sake of getting to Florida without paying the additional cost of air-fare and baggage fees.
Before we knew it, school let out, and after a quick group meeting about guidelines, behavior and respect, we boarded the buses, and we were off!
The buses were surprisingly fairly comfortable, and we found ourselves passing the time with lots of movies, discussions and feeble attempts at sleep as the night went on and turned to morning.
Day 2: Being with friends is fun, but after about twelve or so hours we all started to feel cramped
and uncomfortable on the bus.
Fortunately, an early breakfast gave us all a chance to walk around and stretch our legs, much to the relief of our stiff muscles.
The rest of the day passed much like the night before: some people slept, some socialized, and some watched movies.
At the end of the day, however, everybody was awake and excited: we were finally in Orlando!
After buying a few groceries for our condos, we checked in at the resort and stretched out for a well deserved nights rest.
Day 3: Hoorah for Epcot!
Epcot, (bearing the iconic white ball), is home to all sorts of fantastic rides, such as Soarin’, in which we hang-glided over California, and Mission Space, where we were blasted into space and around the moon.
Near the back of Epcot there is a lake, around which lie representations of the major cultures and countries around the world, such as Italy, Morocco, and China.
With so much to do and see, we lost no time in getting to the attractions. In addition to all of the fun, the band also got to have a recording session in the backstage of Epcot.
We played songs from Tarzan and Aladdin, putting the music to the movie for a very unique experience. After night had fallen, we all gathered around the lake for the Epcot Illuminations Show. Fire, fireworks, and a spinning globe all marked a grand close to a fun day, and we couldn’t wait for tomorrow.
Day 4: Hollywood Studios, the name says it all. Every Disney movie seemed to be brought to life in this park, which featured movie themed rides and shows such as Indiana Jones, The Little Mermaid, Toy Story, and even The Twilight Zone.
We got to see how special effects were made in the movies, how a car can drive backwards over raging fires, and how water hydraulics can turn a barren movie set into a flash flood nightmare!
The day was long, but at its end the entire band came together for a delicious Italian buffet to watch the Fantasmic show, in which Mickey fights the evil in his dreams and emerges victorious.
We all went to bed that night with one thought on our minds: Magic Kingdom was tomorrow!
Day 5: The Magic Kingdom. This place, truly, is the heart of Disney. Boasting the grandiose Cinderella Castle, Magic Kingdom is full of attractions for all ages, ranging from a relaxing Winnie-the-Pooh Bear ride to the epic Space Mountain roller coaster.
With so much to do, we did our best to get around to everything, but there was one slight problem: there were 66,000 people there!
Indeed, the first Monday of spring break was so packed that by the late afternoon the average wait time for a ride was nearing 65 minutes without a fast pass.
Despite the crowds, we found ways to enjoy ourselves, finally resigning at the end of the day to find a good spot to watch the fireworks.
And what fireworks they were! The Electrical Parade was followed by eloquent expressions of man-made lightning in the sky, and we were astounded by the wonder of it all.
We didn’t get back to our condos until very late, and as much fun as Disney is, three whole days at the parks had worn our legs out, and we slept like logs that night.
Day 6: Our last day in Disney World was spent in Animal Kingdom.
At the heart of the park lies the Tree of Life, as featured in the Lion King, which is unimaginable in size and structure.
It is matched, however, by another famous attraction there: the Mount Everest rollercoaster, built into the mountain itself!
Around these two centerpieces the rest of the park sprawls into all sorts of unique areas, including Dinoland, Asia, and Africa.
In Africa, we took a safari on which we saw all sorts of savannah beasts native to that continent, such as giraffes, gazelles, lions, and rhinoceros. We also saw a variety of shows throughout the park that day, such as The Lion King and Finding Nemo.
That afternoon, we left the park and drove over to Downtown Disney, were we had tickets to Cirque Du Soleil’s La Nouba.
With superhuman gymnastics and almost prodigal live musicians, La Nouba left us with our jaws dropping at every act and gave us much to talk about on the bus ride home.
Yes, sadly, after La Nouba, we had to get on the bus to drive home, and although we were all a bit tired after the intense days of park hopping, we we’re nevertheless a bit sad about having to leave.
Disney World gave us more than a pocketful of wonderful memories, along with a desire to return sometime later in our lives.
It was a band trip worth going on, and I am glad to have had the opportunity to be with my friends in “The Most Magical Place on Earth.”
Ryan Popp is the senior member of the award-winning Spirit of Waxahachie Indian Band. During spring break, 148 traveled to Disney with the band, 125 students, 19 chaperones and four directors.