Disney World. It’s genius, really, turning a childhood into the most well-known theme park in the world. Every three years, the Quincy Senior High music department takes “the Disney trip”. The marching band, orchestra, and concert choir make the eighteen hour drive during Christmas break to Orlando, Florida to this dream park to perform multiple times, including a marching band appearance in the Orlando Citrus Bowl Parade.
For seven days, I and two hundred other students called Lake Buena Vista Resorts home. Literally a minute away from Downtown Disney, we didn’t miss a thing. Each day was a new adventure. We visited all four of the Disney Parks, and even got chances to go behind-the-scenes with actual Disney cast members. There were special performances scheduled for each group, such as the choir showing off their skills in Epcot, and an orchestra concert in Downtown Disney. Each group partook in it’s own clinic as well. I participated in the color guard clinic, and not only was it a chance to improve my skills, but it proved to be an invaluable experience, getting advice straight from the mouth of someone who’d turned her high school passion into a career, and a captivating one at that. On January 2nd, 2011, the QHS Marching Blue Devils led the Electric Light Parade down Main Street in Magic Kingdom, and let me tell you, it really was magical. Nothing I’d ever done, and nothing I’ve done since, could compare. Backstage Disney is basically a concealed location, and the band, Colorguard, and Q-City Pommers were strictly told to not reveal any details about what we saw. It was thrilling being trusted with Disney’s biggest secret, and helping to keep the magic alive. The rest of our group was in the crowd along the parade route. I anticipated applause, but what happened was completely beyond any expectation. From the moment we stepped off, the noise was nonstop. I’d never heard my name shouted so loudly or repeatedly, from all different directions. I could hear comments from complete strangers, reveling at our skill for only being a high school marching band. Cinderella’s castle was the perfect backdrop as we proudly led the parade to the end. All in all, it was one of the most memorable things I’ve ever done. I still remember every turn we took, all the screams from the late-night roller coaster riders, and I definitely remember the smile that was plastered on my face the entire time.
Nothing is like Disney during the holidays. The decorations, lights and just the general atmosphere make it so that you can’t help but be happy. After being with the same people all week, having been in the same park for twelve consecutive hours, unbelievably long lines, and overall exhaustion, I needed some happy. My friends and I were lost in the middle of Hollywood Studios, and tempers were short. On the verge of tears, I was trying to stay calm, when out of nowhere, a voice boomed over the loudspeakers and snow began to fall. I stopped right there and just laughed. The unexpectedness of it all caught me off guard. My friends and I all forgot our anger, and because of some simple fake snow, remembered why we were there, and how lucky we were to get an opportunity like this one. The only words to describe how realizing that felt at that moment are complete and utter joy. It was the greatest I’d felt the entire week, and then it made sense to me: this is why Disney is called the happiest place on Earth.
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