Monday, June 23, 2014

DisEnvy Trip Report: Taking a Youth Group

This past week I was fortune enough to be able to take the youth I work with to a mission trip in Jacksonville, FL. The layout of the trip included a free day on Friday, so we planned a day trip to the Magic Kingdom. We were only a group of 9, 7 teens and 2 adults, and 4 of the teens would be experiencing Disney for the first time.

We started the morning early, leaving the camp at 5 am, so that we could make it to the Magic Kingdom's rope drop. It was about a 3 hour drive, and the teens had a great nap on the way down, but woke up as soon as we made it on property.

As soon as they got their things together for the day, we made our way to the TTC, and hopped on the monorail to the Magic Kingdom. When the monorail first came in sight of Cinderella's Castle, the excitement started to grow.

Exiting the monorail we made our way to see the Welcome Show, where to our surprise, Anna and Elsa had joined the the characters on the train. The teens enjoyed the show for the most part, but were more excited to get in the park and ride the rides.

While the crowds were making their way to see the Frozen Princesses, we headed to the Mine Train, only to see that there was a 75 min wait. A quick vote, and we decided to wait till our Fastpass came up to ride it. So we went on the next best ride, Winnie the Pooh, followed by Mad Tea Party.

We made our way to Space Mountain, the first roller coaster of the day. While everyone was hyped to ride it, there was one that had to take the chicken exit. But they were reminded countless times on what they missed out on.

Next up was Frontierland and its two mountains. The wait times had gone up, but they weren't to bad, about 40 mins a piece. Of course, the group wanted to ride all the mountains again, after we ate. So we walked over to Cosmic Ray's so that they could have a larger variety and have ample indoor seating.

It was about 1:00, and we made the decision to walk around Main Street and shop around until we sat down for the Festival of Fantasy parade. I had promised the group  a couple of Mickey Kitchen Sinks, so we snacked on them while we waited for the parade to begin.

This was the first time for the group and myself to see the parade in person, and it was amazing. The details in the floats, and the music were great and the characters where entertaining.

Toward the end of the parade, it had started to sprinkle, which ended up turning into a thunderstorm. The bad thing about this, was that our Fastpass for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train was soon after the parade. We decided to wait out the storm in Gaston's Tavern, and eventually went on Under the Sea with Ariel. But the storm hadn't let up after all the waiting. So the Fastpass was cancelled.

We had made a Fastpass for the Frozen princess and queen, so we made our way to Princess Fairytale Hall, where Anna and Elsa have actually been split to make the standby time go a little faster, which was kinda evident, but I don't know if it was due to rain, because at 5 pm, the wait time was 80 mins, compared to 200 mins earlier that morning.

After we were entertained by the princesses, we made out way to The Plaza Restaurant, where we had reservations for supper. On the way to the restaurant I got a pleasant surprise email from Disney stating that because the Mine Train had shut down during our fastpass time, that we could go anytime  before park closing.

The Plaza was an OK restaurant. I wouldn't use a reservation for it again, but its a good fall back if you can't get reservations anywhere else. It's a small dinning room, but our server was friendly, and on the spot.

By the time we were done with supper, we sat down for the Main Street Electrical Parade, Celebrate the Magic, and Wishes. This was the first time that any of my students had seen these. They enjoyed them all, but a lot of them were super impressed with Celebrate the Magic, which I had taken for granted, I love Wishes.

As Wishes ended, we went against the crowd to hit up Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. While we didn't experience the queue line, the ride was amazing. and I wish that we had the time to ride it a few more times.

The plan was to leave out as soon as we got done with the ride, but we had one that HAD to see Belle. We looked at the wait time at Enchanted Tales, and it was a low 20 mins, and she RAN to Ariel, because she had never been. A few of the teens were chosen for roles, and the girl was able to be Mrs. Potts. and of course met Belle.

Overall it was a great day for all of us, I was glad to have spent this time with some of the amazing youth.  If I had to state anything that I would change, it would be that I let the youth decide what will be done. I felt that I took too much of my favorites, and made them do that instead of what they wanted to do.

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