Daily Diary from Brenda woods one of our Educating Adventures On-tour Managers
Read about her recent trip to Washington DC and the Kennedy Space Center with Prendiville Catholic College in April 2017.
Day 1: Arrive to Orlando
All passengers arrived safely in Orlando, tired after their long journey so we a quick pizza party for dinner, went over the plan for the week and sent everyone to bed! Good night!
Day 2: Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure and Bacon!
Everyone was slow to rise for breakfast but a little revitalized when they saw the offering of fresh fruit and BACON!!! So we are off to Universal Islands of Adventure. I prepped the kids with ways to get through the lines faster to make the most of their day. The group bought Express passes to ensure they would have the opportunity to ride every ride at least once quickly! I gave the kids challenges to find things on certain rides and told them a little background about the park. It was a great day - we headed to Margaritaville for dinner on City Walk. Great dinner but plenty of time to head back into the park to take in a little more fun! What an exhausting day - it will be quiet tonight!
Day 3: Kennedy Space Centre and catch up with the student's families
Today we are headed to Kennedy Space Center. We were slightly delayed by brush fires which had several freeways closed. Our driver knew the best way around and got us there with minimal delay. First off to Atlantis - they loved the presentation and the simulator. Next, it's lunch with astronaut Mark Lee who went on four shuttle flights. Off to see the Apollo site and the launch pads. This was a very busy day and the kids were totally inspired! Tonight our dinner is at Macaroni's and it was great! Our server Jesse was the best! The food was wonderful and so was dessert. Now it's time for a little FB Live!! The students loved being able to say hello to their families! We headed back to the hotel with a little stop at the gift shop to buy all the essential Disney goodies. Goodnight - tomorrow is a very early day!
Day 4: KCS, Boggy Creek and more awesome American food stops!
We are headed back to Kennedy today - sort of. To the ATX center for their Space Explorers Adventure program. This program will be moving to the Kennedy Space Center later this year. This program tests their brains, ability and reasoning. Always a great program for these students. After the program, we headed to lunch where everyone had their choice of Taco Bell, Wendy's and Burger King. I taught everyone the best way to eat a chocolate frosty from Wendy's - you spoon it out with your fries!! They made me proud! Now we are off to Boggy Creek. This adventure was sure not to disappoint - we saw a record number of gators today. After the airboat ride, we sat and listened to 'Two Snakes Big Mountain' a Native American who told us about how they lived in tune with the land and nothing was wasted in their living. She was slightly upstaged by a SQUIRREL! Then we headed over to the prop airboat for a great group shot! Now back into town for dinner at Chillis. Another great dinner - a classmate and family stopped in to see the group while we were there.
Day 5: Epcot and Orlando Magic Game
Off to Epcot - everyone is super excited! The kids scattered and took over the park. It was very busy but everyone was able to do most everything they wanted. We met early since we were leaving to go to the Orlando Magic Game. It was a really exciting game right up to the last couple minutes - the Magic pulled it out with a victory 113-109 over the Detroit Pistons. The arena was alive and vibrant. This group was treated to a real show tonight. It's a late-night so time to head back to the hotel; everyone is exhausted.
Day 6: SHOPPING, yes!
The day so many have been waiting for - SHOPPING! SEPHORA! Need I say more?! We arrived, handed out maps and you would have thought it was the Boston Marathon! Two-hour power shoppers. They did what they set out to do. We reeled them back in and headed to iFly for a little aeronautics competition. Adam set the bar pretty high with a high flight but Grace & Taylah soon took over with perfect form and flight. Ms Skelin did very well herself! Now we are off for a little more SHOPPING! Did I mention they like to shop? Yes, Disney Springs has a Sephora too - WWWHATTTT?! They didn't disappoint - they came back with more bags. Now to dinner at the newly reopened Planet Hollywood. The remodel was great as was the food - we recommend the Guy Fierri Burger! Now back to the hotel to rest up for Magic Kingdom tomorrow but not before a little two-step line dance lesson to Boot Scootin' Boogy and the Electric Slide. I think videos exist but I hope not.
Day 7: What an amazing experience...
The big day has finally arrived! The Magic Kingdom - we are going to look for a mouse! The bus was a chatter with plans for the day - excited with anticipation. We had everyone pack up most things last night so we could extend our day today. We stayed until the very end and watched the Night-time Wishes fireworks and we stayed to watch Once Upon A Time, the light show on the castle. This made for a very long day but everyone appreciated seeing this show. We have an early and long day tomorrow as we transfer to Washington DC.
Day 8: Let's get moving
Pack em' up and move em' out! All on board headed to Atlanta where everyone had lunch and chilled for a bit before boarding our flight to DC. We arrived in DC and met our driver for our transfer. Everyone got checked into their rooms, freshened up and regrouped at Harriett’s for dinner. It was a great buffet and the fresh steamed veggies were a great addition. After dinner, we walked over to the White House to get pictures and ended up walking all the way around so they could get the most of their visit. We made a pit stop at Walgreens for any essentials. Early morning tomorrow with Mass at 8 am.
Day 9: First day in Washington DC
We decided that with such an early Mass, we would have breakfast afterwards. This worked very well, we had a relaxed breakfast and everyone had a chance to change for today's adventure. Our first stop this morning is the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum. This evening we headed out for our tour of the Monuments- we headed out for a surprise visit to the Einstein Memorial where we took one of the best group pictures. Then we went to the Vietnam Memorial where I told them about my husband’s uncle, whose name is on the wall and showed them how to find it. Then we headed to the Lincoln - this is where we always lose them - not as in lost, but lost in the size. Next up the Korean Memorial, Freedom is Not Free. We made a stop by the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial and the Franklin DeLano Roosevelt Memorial. We drove past the Jefferson Memorial as everyone was exhausted. Our driver was kind enough to give us a drive-by of the Iwo Jima Marine Memorial prior to dropping us off. Another exciting day in line tomorrow.
Day 10: We didn't let the rain stop us
Early start as we headed UP Capitol Hill - they don't call it a hill for no reason. We did our guided tour, we, unfortunately, didn't have the best tour guide (luck of the draw!), but did get to see all of the amazing architecture. Once our tour was complete, we headed to the Library of Congress for a quick photo op. We headed back down the hill intending to do lunch at the food trucks - however Mother Nature’s rain storm changed our plans. With a pit stop planned at the Botanical Garden - wait hold that thought too - apparently someone left a backpack unattended and everything was closed. Thank goodness we left Capitol Hill when we did, others were detained inside for up to 1. 5 hours! We changed our lunch plans and went into a mall area that has a food court - everyone was happy with the options. When we were done with lunch we went to the Spy Museum for our visit - with a quick pit stop at The Portrait Gallery for a restroom break. All of our future uncover spies headed in to choose their secret identity! Then we had a private lesson in how to solve a crime! This was a great workshop! Now we are headed back to Hard Rock for dinner. After dinner we head out for, yes you guessed it - a little more SHOPPING!!!!! During the past few months DC has added a Sephora - of all things, to distract the student right by Hard Rock & Fords Theater. So shopping we did go - can't say I didn't find a new pair of sunnies! Now it's back to the hotel to pack for the long journey home.
Late night update, apparently stuffing a stack of Pringles in your mouth is a thing - a thing you really shouldn't try. Grace, obviously put too many in her mouth and choked/gagged and tore her throat. The teachers and parents decided it was best for her to be seen since they had such a long travel day ahead.
Day 11: Time to hug it out and say goodbye
Early breakfast and we are off to the American History Museum. Ms Skelin and Grace will be staying behind today until we return. While we were waiting for the museum to open, we played trivia based on the tour. This is fun for both our group and the others waiting in line. We headed back to the hotel to collect our bags and board the coach for the airport. We still had a bit of time at the gate for lunch, hugs, goodbyes and tears. When you spend this much quality time with a group for 11 days, tears happen. I have a whole new family on the other side of the world.
"The tour that Educating Adventures organised for us exceeded all of our expectations. From the very first email we sent simply enquiring about a tour, to the very last 'welcome home' email we received upon our return, the level of care and service we were given was exceptional. In particular, having the option of having a tour guide with us each day made the trip so much more enjoyable and relaxing, just by knowing that we had somebody on hand to help us when we needed it. From both the staff and students that attended, it really was one of the most incredible educational experiences we've all had to date."
Head teacher - Krystal Skelin, Prendiville Catholic College.