So another day in the books now. We've had a pretty smooth trip so far, with only a few hiccups. The first hiccup was apparently my post from last night, which didn't completely work, so my apologies for the confusion. Other hiccups weren't overly significant, and we were able to still have a largely smooth day as well.
Today we started in the parks, and the students are quickly becoming experts in navigating the wait times, Fast Passes, and considerable amount of walking. The crowds in the parks, and even in traffic today were much quieter than yesterday's crowds, which was a welcome blessing.
One thing they haven't completely figured out yet, however, is managing their hydration. If you talk to your students, please remind them to hydrate regularly. Nobody has gotten sick, because we seem to be catching it in time, but some kids were definitely started to feel the effects. Once they got some water in them, they immediately started feeling better.
This late afternoon we went for an inexpensive buffet (by Anaheim standards) outside the park for a group dinner, then went to the hotel to get ready for our performance. Although we left with time to spare, some forgotten music meant we had to turn around. Nonetheless, we still arrived with a few minutes to spare before our allotted warm-up time thanks to our traffic-smart bus driver Patricia, who will also be driving us tomorrow and Sunday. Patricia is a music lover, and has quickly earned some fans from members of our groups. Once we arrived, we also had the pleasure of being able to warm up on the stage that we were going to perform on.
I have to admit, this stage was one of the most difficult stages I've ever conducted on. It has had some changes since I came here three years ago, and the changes were not to our advantage. Students had a very difficult time hearing across the ensemble, and the stage lights were extremely powerful. Nonetheless, they were able to put together a strong performance, including one of their best versions of "On a Hymnsong of Philip Bliss" as a full band. We do not find out how successful they were until the awards ceremony tomorrow evening.
Many students made the decision to go to bed early tonight, so I expect they will feel very energized tomorrow. We are leaving early to the parks, as the "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" ride, previously known as the "Tower of Terror" has a grand opening tomorrow, and kids want to take advantage of the quiet hours of the morning. At noon we go for lunch together again, then go to the backlot of Disney to their recording studios and do a sight-reading clinic with some of their music specialists. In the evening, we attend the awards ceremony for the festival, which often runs later in the evening, because they tend to also put on a spectacle with many Disney characters making appearances. So you may not receive the next update from me until, well, very very late tomorrow night. Please forgive me if you don't get one until Sunday.
We keep you all in our prayers, and hope you have been having a good couple days despite our absence!
Just a quick update, as I'm off to bed right away.
Today went relatively smoothly. Our flight left 35 minutes behind schedule, but with the winds that we had, that shouldn't be a surprise. We still arrived making great time, and got our luggage with no issues. The bus was timely, and took us to the hotel with peace of mind. Weather is warm, humid, and does swing wildly despite having some good breezes and cloud-cover most of the day.
As a group we went to have lunch at iHop before going to the Disney parks. This was a really neat opportunity for us to infuse numeracy into our trip, as we discussed and helped calculate appropriate gratuity without the use of calculators. I found that this lesson was embraced by the students (many of whom hold jobs in the service/hospitality industry), and helped them understand how to do this much more effectively and with proper consideration of the service provided.
Many memories have already been made. I've been able to see most students in their elements throughout the parks, and bonds are being made, developed and solidified amongst the kids. Something I've been struck by is their consideration of others; one instance where a ride was closed after waiting in line, despite the chorus of boos other parkgoers gave, NDC students were very considerate of the workers and spoke highly of their efforts to get the rides reopened. They volunteered to take photos for sometimes complete strangers, been very friendly with neighbours in lineups and servers, opened gates and doors for others, and generally have represented their school, community and country very well.
Students are currently exhausted, and the hotel is rather quiet right now.
Tomorrow is a bit more park time, but we also perform in the early evening in the competitive festival, so students will have their game face on for that. We will eat dinner as a group prior to that, somewhere outside the park or in Downtown Disney. Many photos have been taken, but will be shared using a more private venue at a later date.
Watch for tomorrow's update, and thanks for letting me take your kids to Anaheim, they have made this trip rather enjoyable!
At time of posting this, we are 44 hours away from taking flight! Here are some details you may wish to keep in your back pocket.
I'm looking forward to an amazing trip. See you Thursday before bright and early!
Mr. Windsor will provide you with some interesting hints, help, advice, and resources on this page.