Tag Archives: student trips orlando

Universal Orlando Resort Adds Fun Rides and Exhibits that Appeal to Student Travel Groups

by Howard Clemens

Transformers just opened in 2013 at Universal Orlando Resort.

School trips headed for Orlando, Florida now include requests to visit Universal Orlando Resort. For kids, teenagers, and adults, the park includes so much to remind the visitor of the glittering world of Hollywood. Universal Studios is known for its interactive presentation of familiar movie titles. For example: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal Orlando’s Horror Make Up Show and Transformers:  The Ride – 3D.  Theme parks include ‘rides’ that help participants step inside the movie experience with a lifelike or fantasy setting that envelops the senses. Today, Universal Studios is more popular than ever and is definitely worth a trip when visiting Orlando.

Universal Studios Adds TRANSFORMERS to Thrill Student Travelers

One of the newest, most exciting rides is TRANSFORMERS:  The Ride – 3D.  This state-of-the art experience is incredible and memorable.  TRANSFORMERS movie director Michael Bay says, “The ride envelops the audience and makes them feel like they’re in the world of Transformers, that they’re in the midst of these robots… I wish we could do this with the movies.”

Student Travel Groups Meet Harry Potter at Universal Studios
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios brings to life this now iconic story of characters.  Come face-to-face with malevolent creatures on the Forbidden Journey ride, making its way through the familiar classrooms of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  Then take Dragon Challenge, climbing aboard either the Chinese Fireball Dragon or the Hungarian Horntail Dragon.  Both rollercoasters are the highest imaginable speeds, with each dragon giving a completely different ride.  See the Triwizard Tournament and the Frog Choir where Hogwarts students sing familiar wizarding songs.

Wet ‘n Wild
Universal Studios Wet ‘n Wild is known around the world for its unique water experiences, from the Brain Wash extreme tube ride with a 53-foot vertical drop, to THE BLACK HOLE: The Next Generation where a two-person capsule blasts off in exhilarating tunnels.  For the truly adventurous there’s the BOMB BAY, a heart-stopping 76-foot vertical slide, almost as exhilarating as a roller coaster, only wetter.

Hollywood Make-Up Lesson
Universal Orlando’s Horror Make-Up Show is not to be missed!  Learn firsthand how all the creepy oozing is made in Hollywood.  See top make-up and special effects artists create their amazing realistic effects from Hollywood’s blockbuster hits.  This show contains amazing movie clips, movie props, creature make-up demonstrations, and there is also a one of a kind collection of authentic props from some of Universal Studio’s most legendary horror movies of all time.  Not to be missed!

Universal Studios Orlando Award Winning Rides
Students can plan ahead to make sure they try Universal Orlando’s award-winning rides – more than any other theme park.  The park’s most honored attraction is The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman.  This ride has won Amusement Today’s Golden Ticket Award for the world’s Best Dark Ride seven times in a row.  It has also won the Best Attraction award, also known as the THEA award, which is widely regarded as the Oscar of theme park awards.  Other THEA award-winning rides at Universal Orlando are The Simpsons Ride, Revenge of the Mummy, Terminator 2: 3-D, MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack, The Incredible Hulk Coaster and others.

Dining and nightlife are as exciting at Universal Orlando as the daylight hours. There are also a variety of nightclubs and cookouts.  Student trip leaders may want to schedule an authentic luau on the beach. Plan at least one evening meal at Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular Dining Experience.  While eating delicious food students can view 100 Years of Movie Memories, which is the perfect end of a day on blockbuster thrill rides in the park. The Blue Man Group plays at Universal Orlando, truly an entertainment treat. Blue Man Group is known across the world as one of the most bizarre and thrilling musical experiences of a lifetime.

There’s so much more to participate in with Live Rock – live music at the Hard Rock Live Café.  Also there’s City Walk’s Rising Star, not at all a typical karaoke club. Participants grab a microphone and perform with a live band and a complete set of real live backup singers.  There are an impressive number of songs to choose from, too.

Get started planning a student trip to Universal Orlando – it’s the ultimate experience of Americana through the lens of Hollywood.  Schedule a senior class trip to Orlando in the fall to ensure accommodations in the spring.

Schedule a student group tour of Orlando that includes a visit to Universal Orlando Resort.

What’s New in Orlando at Walt Disney World and Universal Studios Florida?

Walt Disney World in Orlando is an exciting place for class trips. One of the world’s most beloved theme parks continually improves its offerings to keep exhibits, rides, and youth programs fresh and interesting. Student travel group leaders planning trips to Orlando, FL need to keep abreast of Walt Disney World’s new attractions and programming so they can add some of these activities to their itinerary.

I have organized tours of Walt Disney World for student travel groups for over 25 years. It is a popular destination for high school senior trips, high school bands and orchestras, theater students, science students and more. Walt Disney World has an outstanding active learning program called Youth Education Series (Y.E.S Programs). Y.E.S. programs are designed for arts and humanities, earth sciences, natural sciences, and leadership and careers. This article will give an overview of “Everyday Chemistry” a new program in Physical Sciences and “Showbiz Magic at La Nouba Cirque du Soleil” just added to Arts and Humanities programming.

Orlando has another fun theme park owned by Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure. A sixth island is about to open in Universal Studios Islands of Adventure, “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.” This article will also offer a preview for student travel groups headed to Orlando and the Islands of Adventure.

Universal Studios also has a new rollercoaster that is sure to thrill student travel groups: Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit. This high tech ride offers some unique features not found on other roller coasters. Student travel groups destined for Orlando may be interested in visiting Universal Studios, as well as Walt Disney World.

Y.E.S Program “Everyday Chemistry” 4th – 9th grade
This program is designed to show the student how chemistry impacts our day-to-day lives. Student groups will do hands on learning in Future World at Epcot. They will learn about chemical elements and their properties, and be given an overview of hydrogen, carbon and oxygen. Students will visit Ellen’s Energy Adventure, where they will gain a much broader understanding of compounds that create fossil fuels and photosynthesis. During this educational program, tour groups will also be given some background on plastics and polymers, solar energy, and the process of making automobiles.

YES Program “Showbiz Magic at La Nouba Cirque du Soleil”

Theater and performance students will be drawn to this Y.E.S. Program, which helps them to gain greater insight into the talent and skills that make the world famous Cirque du Soleil possible. They tour the training room and the green room and meet some of the actual performers in La Nouba Cirque du Soleil. Students also have a chance to experiment with The Diabolos, a performance art featured in the Cirque du Soleil.

Universal Studios Islands of Adventure “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter”
On June 18th 2010 the newest theme park at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure in Orlando will open: “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.” This fantastic park is modeled on the movie rendition of Harry Potter’s adventures with replicas of Hogwarts (the school) and Hogsmeade (a village). Student groups can taste magical food and drinks at Three Broomsticks and the Hog’s Head and shop in various stores with magical themes. The new attraction includes Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, an ‘augmented reality’ version of the movie that places students squarely within Harry Potter’s experiences at Hogwarts. Student groups will also want to try some supernatural attractions that follow the theme of the Harry Potter movies closely. These include the Dragon Challenge and Flight of the Hippogriff.

Universal Studios New Roller Coaster: “Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit”

This 65-mile per hour roller coaster is sure to excite student groups, especially those who love contemporary and retro music. Visitors choose their own soundtrack from: pop/disco, rap/hip hop, classic rock/heavy metal, country, or electronic music before boarding. With digital cameras installed on board they will get to see themselves on video as they ride the roller coaster. Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit ascends to heights of 17 stories, dives into loops, and twists and turns while riders experience an adrenaline rush of a lifetime. The unique combination of technology and roller coaster thrills will please just about any student traveler who is eager for adventure.

No wonder Walt Disney World and Universal Studios in Orlando are at the top of the list for most student travelers. A visit to Orlando combines active learning and high quality educational programming with all of the joys and stimulation people expect from a theme park. When it is time to take a break from the day’s activities, there are great choices for entertainment, tasty dining and unique shopping experiences awaiting the tour group.

With planning and coordination by tour leaders and an educational travel company, student groups can easily visit both parks. If student groups want to participate in Y.E.S Programs, I recommend booking early in order to secure a reservation.

Enumclaw High School Band and Orchestra Produce a CD/DVD to Raise Funds for a Student Trip to Orlando, Florida

By Howard Clemens

Many high school bands, orchestras, and choirs have to raise money in the fall and spring so they may travel and perform in cities across the U.S. such as Orlando, FL, Washington D.C., and New York City. This year, I was particularly impressed by a story one Band and Orchestra Director, Lynda Alley, of Enumclaw High School in Washington, told me about her successful fundraising efforts. By recording and selling a fall concert CD/DVD, the school group was able to raise $15,000.

From April 5-9, 2010, Enumclaw high school band and orchestra will travel to Orlando, Florida to perform at Disney World. On April 6th, the high school band will perform in the Future March at Epcot Center and the symphony orchestra will perform on the Waterside Stage in Magic Kingdom. Both groups will partake in the “You’re Instrumental” workshop, a real recording session where students will underscore an animation of choice with their own soundtrack.

The story of how this particular high school band and orchestra raised funds for the trip to Disney World is heartening, and shows real drive and enthusiasm on the part of the band director and the students. Lynda Alley, Band and Orchestra Director at Enumclaw High School, said, “We engaged the services of the RM Project, a company that specializes in making films and soundtracks of student performances. RM Project made a soundtrack and film of our band performance during our fall 2009 concert.”

Alley says the high school band was so enthusiastic about the project they rehearsed and successfully recorded material that would normally be presented in June for the October 21st and 22nd concert.

The RM Project did not require upfront fees for production, but took a percentage of the proceeds as agreed upon in the contract. The production company recorded the fall concert and within two weeks presented master tracks for review. Once these were approved, the final CD/DVD was delivered in two weeks. Alley said, “The final project was packaged completely professionally, as if it rolled off the shelf at Best Buy. The DVD/CD’s are printed in full color, with a 24-page color companion booklet. The back and front of the jewel case is in full color featuring the artwork we requested, and the CD includes a bar code for retail distribution.” Alley added that the sound quality is perfect, as if it were recorded at “Carnegie Hall.”

Freshman through senior aged students were asked to sell the CD/DVD to parents, relatives, friends and associates. Students were actually relieved that they did not have to sell wrapping paper and magazines. Instead they were asked to do something that dovetailed with their musical work. Alley commented, “In many ways, students are more sophisticated than when I was in high school. I think most high school students find it demeaning when they are asked to sell items that have no connection with what they are attempting to achieve as students and musicians.”

Students who were motivated to sell more CD/DVDs were rewarded with an incentive based program. If they reached certain sales levels they received items aligned with their interest in music such as: music notation software, Apple Computer music products and music download gift cards. Students’ ultimate reward was attending the trip to Orlando in the spring and performing at Epcot Center or Magic Kingdom.

Parents were especially receptive to the program because it yielded $15,000 in funds in just six weeks. This took pressure from the booster organization to raise the funds. In previous years, the booster organization ran all of the concessions at the home athletic events, and was still unable to raise this much money.

In addition to student sales of the CD/DVD, the RM Project put up a website to generate more retail sales and as a place to sell digital downloads. Alley indicated, “This was a great way to sell the product to out of town friends and relatives of our program. The RM Project also contracts to coordinate uploading the CD/DVD on iTunes, Napster, Amazon, Rhapsody, and other online services where music downloads can be purchased.” Even though Alley declined the second option for online sales, she intends to incorporate this into the spring 2010 recording project. She said that Enumclaw High School will produce two recordings per year for the foreseeable future.

From a fundraising perspective, the recording and distribution project was a great success. The project also garnered student musicians and the band director exposure in CD/DVD format as well as online. With Educational Travel Consultants as their chosen tour company, students will have access to all four parks at Walt Disney World in Orlando: Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom between April 5-9th. A security guard will also be provided for the group from 11 p.m. – 5 p.m. everyday.

To book a student performance tour or any other type of travel trip email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com or take a moment to fill out the Request a Quote form online.

Teachers and Tour Escorts: A Working Relationship Can Produce Fun and Educational Student Trips

by Howard Clemens

When planning and executing student trips to Washington D.C., New York City, Orlando, FL or other U.S. destinations one of the primary components for a smooth and fun trip is good communication between a tour escort (also known as a tour director) and the teacher who is sponsoring the class trip.

Some student trips can be quite large, with groups ranging from 100 to 150 students, while other class trips may number between 40-60 students. No matter how large or small the group and how many buses are needed, a trained tour director is a necessary part of the journey and can make the difference in whether the student trip is well managed or not.

An educational tour company with experience in taking school groups on tour will always provide a tour escort as part of the overall cost of the trip. The tour escort is the representative from the educational travel company whose main task is to keep an open dialogue with the teacher when schedule changes or deviations in the itinerary are suggested or needed, among other things.

A tour director is not in charge of the trip. The teacher is the person who fulfills this role and takes ultimate responsibility for making decisions on behalf of the student group. The tour escort’s role is to assist the teacher when a decision needs to be made, and to inform him or her about any potential charges which may be incurred for making decisions that do not coincide with the planned itinerary.

Here is a breakdown of the role a tour director will play on a class trip and the responsibilities of the teacher or school group leader:

Tour Escort
• Introduces him or her self to the teacher before the trip via a personal telephone call.
• Uses the itinerary as a guide for the entire class trip.
• Keeps the group on schedule and manages any issues that may arise that will affect timeliness in attending scheduled events, destinations, eateries, etc.
• Acts as a liaison between the attractions, hotels, restaurants, bus driver, and other stops on tour.
• When requested by the teacher or group leader the tour director may assume more control of the group. For example, a teacher may be away on a personal phone call, trip to the restroom, or overseeing a problem with a student or group of students. The tour director will act as a temporary group leader when the teacher’s attention is elsewhere.

Teacher
• He or she is the group leader of the class trip and maintains control of the students.
• The educator dialogues with the tour escort and makes final decisions on adjustments to the itinerary or schedule.
• A teacher will consult with the tour escort on any potential or actual financial changes that may occur due to modifications of the itinerary.
• When disciplinary problems arise with a student or group of students, the teacher takes the lead role in intervening and correcting the problem.
• If there is a problem with the venue or schedule, the teacher is informed by the tour escort how the issue will be resolved and makes final decisions on the outcome of the situation.

The teacher and tour escort relationship is always more effective when both individuals keep the lines of communication open. An adept tour escort is a proficient communicator. An educator has to have excellent speaking skills to manage a classroom on a regular basis. When both of these key roles are working in unison, a student trip to any destination is a quality educational experience remembered fondly by all.

Festival Disney: Perform and Compete on a Disney Stage in Orlando Florida

Student travel groups can achieve performance excellence in the only all-Disney produced competitive music festival. When student performance groups excite international audiences on the Disney stage, they may feel as if they own the world. Bring your student travel group to Disney World in Orlando, for a Festival Disney performance.
Festival Disney provides a venue for talented student performers who have the chance to compete with the finest instrumental, choral, and other types of performance groups from schools across the United States. It is the highest caliber festival in Orlando. No auditions are necessary. The student travel group must simply fill out an application. One caution: do not be fooled by imitators giving a group the impression they are a Walt Disney festival. If it does not say Festival Disney, it is not the official adjudicated music festival of Disney World.
When is Festival Disney?
Festival Disney is scheduled on Fridays and Saturdays and some Thursdays at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando Florida. Student travel groups will perform as scheduled at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, Downtown Disney Pleasure Island or Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
What Types of Ensembles May Participate?
For student groups who want to perform but are not ready to be judged, their music directors will be able to select a non-competitive adjudication option for Festival Disney. Participation is open to concert bands, jazz ensembles, marching bands, orchestras, choral ensembles, show choirs and auxiliary units.
Does Festival Disney Include Admission to Walt Disney World?
There are usually some great package deals available for student travel to Orlando Florida. Educational Travel Consultants offers student performance groups economic packages that include hotel quad accommodations near Walt Disney World and admission to the park for four or five days. In addition to participating in Festival Disney, student travel groups tour Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Disney MGM Studios or Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
How are Festival Disney Participants Judged?
The adjudicated music festival at Disney includes a highly professional approach to judging competing student performance groups. The panel of adjudicators will provide the performance groups with feedback. If the musical director chooses, the group may participate in an Educational Clinic. Here the feedback is more in depth and judges provide critiques and suggestions on how to improve the level of performance.

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Educational Student Travel Groups Participate in Disney YES Programs

By Howard Clemens

I take educational student travel groups to Orlando Florida on a regular basis, and have been for the past 24 years. I find that the educational experience students have is greatly enriched when a Disney YES program is on the itinerary. Disney YES Programs stand for Youth Education Series. All of the programs are specially designed to take student travel groups behind the scenes at Walt Disney World and allow these student groups have a unique active learning experience.

When student travel groups visit Orlando, Florida, the leaders should have some general idea of desirable educational goals. Disney Yes Programs will quickly illustrate each program’s usefulness in just about any curriculum. Disney YES programs are designed to blend with educational objectives at the K-12 level and for college students up to age 22. Educators and students will realize that Disney’s YES Programs provide real world content and valuable participation in learning for various fields of study. Disney YES programs take place in the park setting, using exhibits in various theme parks and a creative approach to teach students in an active setting.

Arts and Humanities

Students who participate in Disney’s YES program for Arts and Humanities will have an exciting array of choices to complement their curriculum. Learn about the art of improvisation in “Magic Behind the Show.” Understand the artistic methods behind use of animation software in “Disney’s Animation Magic,” or explore the impacts that new technologies have on contemporary cultures in Millenium Cultures. For diverse viewpoints on American history, students will appreciate “The American Story.” Many of these Disney YES programs take place in popular theme parks such as Epcot®, The Magic Kingdom®, or Disney-MGM Studios.

Life Management (Marine and Wildlife Sciences)

Gaining insight into the natural world through a safe interaction with it, students come to have a fuller understanding of the sciences in this Disney YES Program. Through various approaches, the Life Management program helps students to gain a better understanding of the marine and wildlife sciences as professions. In “Keepers of the Kingdom” educational travel groups obtain a glimpse of conservation and animal care in Disney’s Animal Kingdom®. Or, student travel groups may participate in a “Leadership Excellence, or “Making Waves with a Marine Career” to learn how to better achieve career goals. Students learn about the many faceted roles they will play as professionals in the marine and wildlife science fields in this Disney YES Program.

Natural Sciences

Many student travel groups maintain an active interest in the environment and the natural world and its protection and preservation for future generations. The Natural Sciences program is especially beneficial for a curriculum that reinforces conservation of natural resources in marine and wildlife habitats. “Wild by Nature” helps the student understand animal behavior, motivations, and social habits. “Everyday Chemistry” reveals the chemical substances in everyday things and makes the theory of chemistry more tangible for students. For the student interested in ecological preservation, “Disney’s Ocean Discoveries” and “Team Up for Wildlife” encourage preservation in the marine and wildlife environments. These programs offer deeper insight into the world of nature and will definitely enhance student curriculums in biology, science, chemistry, marine biology, and even more fields of academic interest.

Physical Sciences

The physical sciences are sometimes perceived as elusive, and hard to study. The Disney YES Program brings physics and contemporary technological advances right down to the everyday level. Educational travel students are eager to participate in “Energy and Waves” an experience based program about the natural operation of light, sound, and magnetism and how science can manipulate them. In “How Things Move” student travel groups gain an understanding of the ways in which Disney World rides are designed with the physics of mechanics in mind. “Properties in Motion” is a hands on class that takes students out into the park to actually explore the physics of mechanics at work.

I have seen many students light up and become active, engaged learners when they participate in a Disney YES Program. Though it takes some advance planning to ensure scheduling needs, a good educational travel consultant can make certain a student travel group participates in a Disney YES Program while the group tours Orlando, Florida. Trust me, students who have the experience of a Disney YES Program will leave with a much different perception of Disney World.

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