Planning for a group of 39 5th & 6th graders

I am planning a trip for my 5th & 6th grade Jr. Beta students. I have 39 kids and 32 adults going on this trip. We are going May 15-18 and spending 3 days in the park with a Disney Youth Education Series event early May 16 in Magic Kingdom. We have parkhopper passes. Everyone is divided into 4 groups based on what rides they are most interested in. Other than all of the kids attending the early event the one day, I am letting the groups go to whichever parks they want each day. The only times that I am requiring everyone to meet up at one place are in the evenings. By doing this, everyone will watch the fireworks at that park and then leave together to go back to our hotel (Pop! Century). This way I don’t have to try to keep track of who has returned to the hotel and who hasn’t. So the plan for the evenings are as follows:
Friday, May 15- Meet at Epcot for Illuminations then stay there for Evening Extra Magic Hours until 11pm.
Saturday, May 16- Meet at Magic Kingdom for Wishes then stay for Evening Extra Magic Hours until 2am.

My question is what would you recommend I do about Sunday evening. There are no Extra Magic Hours that night, and park hours currently are posted as follows: MK- 9am-12am, EP- 9am-9pm, HS-8am-10pm, AK- 9am-8pm
This is our last evening in the parks, and we fly out the next morning at 8am (probably leaving our hotel at 5am or so using Magical Express). I am thinking about closing down HS that night, but I don’t know if I want to require everyone to go see Fantasmic!. My other thought is to just end at MK again because it is later and there are so many more ride options there. Any thoughts? Please feel free to give me any other tips you have on organizing a trip for such a large group. Thanks!

I wouldn’t want to bring a group like that to Fantasmic and deal with trying to get everyone out in the mass of humanity exiting the show, though if I did, then I think I’d keep the group off to the side and let most of the crowd out before trying to make our way to the exit.

Whatever you decide, you give the kids some time in shops on the way out (the Studios would be good for that, since it’s relatively small and the shops aren’t far from the exit). When we took kids to Hershey Park (at the school where I used to teach) we gave them a set time when they had to meet us near the park entrance (we showed them where on the way in) at a specific time and never lost a kid (though there always seemed to be one group that tried to squeeze in an extra ride when they didn’t have time to do so). So, maybe telling kids to meet you at 10:30 (or later if there’s a Fantasmic show at park closing time) might work.

Your whole enterprise boggles my mind…

Actually I think F! would be a perfect finale to the trip. The crowd scene is crazy, but if you choose a specific meet-up spot outside of the F! area (perhaps even by the bus platforms), I think you would be OK.

[quote=“bswan26, post:3, topic:11682”]
Your whole enterprise boggles my mind.[/quote]

It’s difficult to keep people together in a large mass of people. If I were chaperoning, the exit from Fantasmic would be miserable in that regard. It may not matter as much if the students are on their own (rather than traveling with a chaperone the whole day), but even then I’d worry about kids getting separated. The Fantasmic exit is like the worst Magic Kingdom fireworks exodus squeezed into a tiny passageway, making it easy for groups to get separated. At the very least, this could cause anxious moments for young guests. Eventually, everyone filters out into a manageable location, but that doesn’t make getting there easy.

Wow, have you counted the hours you are allowing for sleep time? The kids might be able to handle your schedule for a couple days, but I sure couldn’t especially leaving at 5am for flight. I would reconsider EMH on 1st day depending on how early you expect them up for MK, and end with AK to force an early end. Fantasmic would be good too if there’s an early show.

Thanks everyone. Yes, I realize that there isn’t much time to sleep in our schedule, but this is the trip of a lifetime for some of these kids. They won’t be required to stay the parks until closing, and afternoon breaks will be highly encouraged. This has been a huge undertaking to plan, but my students are good kids that have worked hard for this trip.

Maybe get everyone chip in for a fireworks cruise. That way everyone would be together and confined.

[quote=“krstrother, post:6, topic:11682”]
Yes, I realize that there isn’t much time to sleep in our schedule[/quote]

When I chaperoned overnight trips I was a big fan of keeping the kids up late early in the trip, so they’d be so tired that they’d pass out early late in the trip. If they aren’t tired, then they’ll stay up all night talking.

This WDW Prep School article might prove helpful.