After nine months of planning and raising funds, the James A Garfield Marching Pride saw their vision come to fruition last week as they took Disney by storm. On Saturday March 22, 2014 they began loading the buses with 73 instruments 73 marching band uniforms, 73 shakos, pairs of shoes, gloves spats, seven flag line flags, Marching Pride banner, two rifles, and honor guard flags. Next, came the luggage for 73 members, plus one director and 11 chaperones, all packed under the bus. It was like a life-size version of Tetris, fitting all the equipment in but they did it and did it well. The buses were finally loaded and they were off to the “Happiest Place on Earth”, aka Disney.
After a nearly 20-hour bus ride, they landed at Disney’s Blizzard Beach where they quickly shed their winter clothes for more seasonable ones and hit the water park… hard. Waterslides, lazy river and catching some rays were the theme of the day. Late day they headed to Planet Hollywood for dinner and an evening of shopping in downtown Disney. At last, they landed at their home away from home for their stay at 9pm Sunday.
Monday was an early start as they headed to EPCOT to explore the countries of the world and see what it had to offer. The kids all split up and hit the ground running, trying to cram as much in the day as they could. Some conquered their fear on Test Drive, where they could design a computerized car and then “test drive” it. Others soared over rivers, mountains, and fields of grain on Soarin’, a simulated open-air-type glider while others took the boat to learn about the eco system. They explored Germany, Japan, Italy, Mexico, Morocco, China, France and more while keeping their eyes open for a photo op with the Disney characters. They closed out the day watching fireworks over the lake at EPCOT.
Tuesday was Magic Kingdom day but it also had an early start time everyone up and on deck by 6:30 am, as check-in time for the parade was 8:30 am. The band was ready to live up to its name. After a quick clothing change, they were warmed up and ready to march at Disney.
The Marching Pride had a few families who followed them to Florida, besides the chaperones, giving the band a warm welcome as they marched to the castle. Once the parade was over, they hit the Magic Kingdom with full force, as everyone wanted to do as much as possible in their short visit. They took in the character parade, the electric light parade and of course all the attractions. They closed out the day with fireworks over the castle.
Wednesday was their last day there and they headed to Hollywood studios. It was also the coldest — 60ish with 40 mph winds. Not the Florida weather they were hoping for as many were scrambling to buy hoodies to keep warm. The students’ day started off with a music workshop on what it takes to be a professional musician at Disney. The three hour workshop ended; they were turned loose in the park to experience their last day in the sun. They took on the tower of terror, rode a rollercoaster, caught the Fantasmic light show before bidding Disney and the Sunshine State farewell.
The trip concluded with a 20-hour bus ride home to anxious parents waiting to hear all about the “Happiest Place on Earth”
The Marching Pride would like to thank the community for supporting them in all their fundraising efforts to make the trip possible. They would also like to thank the chaperones for their donating their time and Mr. Pfleger for stepping up at the last minute to help chaperone the trip.