School Band Trip (Planning for a group of newbies)


It seems his mind is made up. He probably spoke with someone, and got all worried.

I tried my hardest. I told him everything is ready to go. Registration forms, timeline, due dates, payment schedule, trip flyer, you name it. Nope, I’m not a “professional”. :man_shrugging:


I mean, it’s weird to find people who hobby at being Disney/Universal planners….but come on, teach! There are literally dozens of us!


I feel so frustrated on your behalf. I don’t like this guy already. :joy:


Yeah well, so it goes. I’m good. I try to understand his POV. While he has band director experience, the marching directing is new. He’ll have a full plate and is just concerned because he has no experience with a FL school trip. I think mentally he feels more at ease with an agency because it’s what they do, you know.


Bummer. I mean, I consider all of us Liners “professionals”. But he may have been burned in the past by parents dropping the ball on him. I hope he at least doesn’t change the dates!


I wonder why he’d want to change the dates? Could he even do that? Wasn’t there some process to get approved with Universal and the dates were a part of that? I’d be wondering if the date change wasn’t to just Take Control of the trip.

Maybe you could mention the TP recommended TA’s as being much more knowledgeable about Universal and Disney? If he wants to use a TA, it would be nice if it were a Liner too.

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I gave him the pros of the January date. Not hot, not spring break busy, won’t interfere with spring sports/musical. He is worried about bad weather in PA impacting the flight. TBH, we only get a few bad storms here a winter.

There was a process yes. The former director and the band parent association officers worked as a team to pick the date, park, and number of days. The school board then approved it. I even got permission from the school admin to self plan. Universal actually needed to see the school board minutes with the trip approval before the performance approval.

I think he talked to the last director here that did a trip which was 4 years ago. Probably just use the same agency.

I think he does have the authority to make these decisions on his own. But we are really hoping that he gets input from the team. One of which is DW. We are currently unsure of when he will either pick a date or include the team in makings decisions.

I’m trying to be understanding at this point, but have thought of that.


Wanted to add. We have been talking with the marching band director from a neighbor district who has been assisting us to help build our program back up again. He has been self planning FL trips for over 20 years. He has been helping me too with any questions. But when he started out, he got a travel agent too. Once he went and saw it’s not that difficult to plan, he took over himself. So even if our new director allows self planning in the future, he probably wants to use an agency for his first trip because its all new to him.

There was always a chance this would happen. The previous director for the past 3 years was only hired annually for just marching band. The new guy is permanent and will be in charge of the whole program, including concert band.


New Universal confirmed trip date is Friday February 24th to Monday February 27th. So I should be able to go with. :smiley: Only 3 nights though.

It is confirmed that the music this year will be from The Greatest Showman. :+1: The new director has hired some more experienced staff, looking forward to the upcoming season. They may do a stage performance in CW besides the marching performance at USF.


OMG, love The Greatest Showman music. Hope you’re able to go, sounds like a fantastic time!


Me too!

DD12 has started taking percussion lessons through a local college, so all 4 of us should be able to go! Not sure if just one of us will be a chaperone for a group, or both. I may just attend as a family member. I would be able to still join DW with her group.

My work only started getting busy March 1st of this year, so I should be good. :+1:


Ladies and Gents, this it the moment we’ve been waiting for.


Sounds like it will be fun, even if altogether too short!

Back when I was in Marching band, our band did Disney each year, but I never could go because our family didn’t have the money to afford for any of us to go. So, I’m going to live vicariously through you on this one! :slight_smile:


DS15 played “Mario Medley” (yes, as in Super Mario) for his spring piano recital. If you want to listen, here is a link to it.



A travel agency representative spoke to parents last night about the upcoming February trip. I thought he would provide a trip flyer and registration forms. But he didn’t have anything, just verbal information. Maybe our new director didn’t realize that the school provides the forms? I’m so glad I had these made up already, just gotta do some minor editing before sharing. The registration deadline is 4 weeks!

We also had the friends and family preview night, it was a very good turnout. They did 3 songs. The Greatest Show, Never Enough/ From Now On combo, and This Is Me. The Drum Major looked great with a top hat and fancy coat. DS is in charge of catching the cane and then throwing it back to him at the end (DS is in the pit). Here they are. And the custom logo for the t-shirts.



Last Friday was the deadline for students to commit/give a deposit for the trip. Prior to Friday, the response was not good. It turns out that most just waited til the last minute, so we ended up with 20 students plus many parents who committed. The total band size is 31 kids I think. So getting 2/3rds of kids to commit is pretty good considering it’s a good chunk of change. It’s 16 instruments, which is a very nice mix. And then 4 color guard.

The band director has been letting me assist him with some details and as an extra contact for the travel agent guy. I’m just glad I can help, I really love planning.

OH! I just watched a Rix Flix yesterday and saw a small marching band group of around 20-25 performing. See, there are other small bands. :smile:

A little over 5 months to go, can’t wait! :sun_with_face: :sunglasses:


Awesome. Glad he’s keeping you in the fold. Such a gift to have you to resource for them!


I’m really excited to see this trip unfold!


Last game of the season, next performance will be in Universal Studios Florida. :grinning: DS on the xylophone and DD on the symbols.


Wow, that crept up fast! You started this thread a year ago (and that wasn’t even the first mention of it IIRC), and now the trip is just a few months away!


Hey all! I’m digging into the planning more. The date of the trip is Feb 24-27, so the first half of the trip will be busier than the end (Fri/Sat vs. Sun/Mon). My goal is to provide all travelers with as much helpful information as possible ahead of time, so they have a good understanding of things, tour efficiently, and most of all have a great time. The group will be 21 teens, 13 parents, and the director. Most of which have never been to UOR. We will be divided up into 5 touring groups ranging from 6-8 people per group. Everyone will have lanyards for the tickets, room keys, etc.

This is what I have at so far. I know some details will need adjusted closer to the travel date. I’d appreciate any input, or anything else I should share with newbies. Thanks!

Universal Orlando App

  • Download the official Universal Orlando app to view:
    • Showtimes, wait times, restaurant hours & menus, park hours, early admission schedule, park map.

Cabana Bay Refillable Souvenir Mug

  • Includes unlimited refills of soda, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, & ICEE’s at Cabana Bay only.
  • Refill locations are at the Bayliner Diner area and outside at the pool areas.
  • You may take the cups into the parks, but can only refill with water inside the parks.

Transportation to the parks from Cabana Bay Beach Resort

  • Walk: Using the Garden Walk path takes 20 minutes and ends near the entrance of Islands of Adventure.
  • Bus: You can catch a resort bus near the main entrance which will drop you off at the transportation & security hub, you will then need to walk through CityWalk to get to the parks.

Pocket Maps/Attraction Priority List *see attached

  • Front: Location of attractions, shows, restaurants, restrooms, break areas, first aid, & locker information.
  • Back: Attraction & Show descriptions & ratings, top-rated quick service restaurants.

Early Park Admission

  • Islands of Adventure opens 60 minutes early to resort guests (8:00).
  • Attractions open during EPA in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter are Hagrid’s Motorbike, Forbidden Journey, Flight of the Hippogriff, & Ollivanders.
  • VelociCoaster is also open during EPA.
  • You’ll need to show your room key to enter the parks early.
  • If you want to maximize EPA, arrive at the entrance 30-45 minutes before official EPA time begins.


  • If you have a bag, locker use is required at certain attractions. Small lockers are free but large lockers are not free.
    • A mini backpack, drawstring bag, or sling bag fits in the complimentary lockers.
    • Note that the complimentary lockers are only free for the duration of the attraction.
  • Near an attraction entrance, find the locker bank, scan your ticket, and look for a locker to pop open.
  • These attractions you may not take any type of bag or purse on:
    • USF: Revenge of the Mummy, Escape from Gringotts, Men in Black Alien Attack
    • IOA: Forbidden Journey, Hagrid’s Motorbike Adventure
    • Cargo pants pockets that can be closed and fanny packs are permitted for holding phones, etc.
  • These attractions you may not take a bag or any loose items on:
    • USF: Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
    • IOA: Incredible Hulk Coaster, Jurassic World VelociCoaster
    • No phones, coins, wallets, etc. are allowed on (metal detectors used)
  • Note that the water rides at IOA have optional lockers available to use for a cost.


  • All attractions at Universal allow guests to walk through and experience the entire queue without riding.
    • Inform a Team Member at the front of the attraction so you know what to do at the end of the queue.
    • Depending on the attraction, you will be told where to wait for your party or to take the ‘chicken exit’.

Wait Times

  • Generally, from 10am-3pm the crowds are the heaviest so wait times are higher. You may want to consider seeing a show, taking a break, or experiencing less popular attractions.
  • Actual Wait Times are typically around 30% less than the Posted Wait Times.

Hogwarts Express

  • The train in the WWOHP areas that transfers guests between USF’s Diagon Alley & IOA’s Hogsmeade.
  • Your park ticket is needed to enter this attraction.
  • Food and beverages are allowed on the Hogwarts Express.
  • Expect longer waits if experiencing between 2:00pm and 5:00pm.

Night Shows

  • Cinematic Celebration in USF
    • Central Park area viewing, across from Starbucks.
  • Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle in IOA
    • Begins at dusk and runs every 20 minutes, best viewing near the show stage.


  • Drinks and snacks are allowed in the parks, including stainless steel water bottles.
  • Free water is available where fountain drinks are sold, and at the Coke Freestyle machines throughout the resort.
    • Collapsible cups ($4-5) are recommended to bring with for easy storage.
  • Some meals are large enough to split with someone if you are able.
  • Many restaurants have kid’s meals available; adults are allowed to order them.
    • You cannot use gift cards for in-app mobile food ordering.
  • A $75 Mardi Gras food & beverage card for purchase of $65 may be available at a Mardi Gras food booth.

Locations to take a break (with seating) away from crowds

  • Universal Studios Florida
    • Battery Park Waterfront near Transformers
    • NYC Library stairs
    • Animal Actors picnic pavilion area
    • Central Park Waterfront
  • Islands of Adventure
    • Marvel Super Hero Island Waterfront
    • Toon Lagoon Waterfront
    • Behind Mythos in the Lost Continent Waterfront
    • Sneetch Beach Side Street/Suess Landing Stage in Suess Landing