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Old 02-07-2013, 05:28 PM   #1
erincon23
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Planning a "Disney 101" class for high school group

DS's school band and choir group is going to Disney for spring break. I set up a Facebook page for the group to answer questions, and asked the people who joined what their level of "disney experience" was. Several of the members have been to Disney quite a few times (they're the XPD - experienced Disney goers), but lots of the families either have never been or haven't been in years.

So I'm putting together a "Disney 101" class -- about an hour long, so the kids have some idea of where they're going, what there is to do, etc., since they're going at one of the busiest times of the year. I'm setting up a Photopass share for the kids, so how to use Photopass will be part of it. They're not staying on property, and they will not be allowed to park hop or leave the park they're in, so I don't need to include anything about transportation. They will not be under direct adult supervision while they're in the parks.

These are the things I know I'll include:
- maps and the highlights of what's in each park
- Fastpass
- some of the restaurants they're likely to go to (no sit-down)
- What's at the Epcot countries that might interest them
- bag check and how to avoid it
- AND/OR what to bring with them into the parks

Anything else that should be included? I don't plan to go into any depth -- these are 16 and 17 year olds, and I know they won't pay attention to half the stuff, but if they have some idea of what there is, they'll have a better time.
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Old 02-07-2013, 05:35 PM   #2
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Yeah, tell them chanting, cutting, pushing your way to the front for the parade, using the flash on your camera during POTC, loitering at the cs tables, making a salad for yourself out of the fixins bar and jumping out of the boat on IASW are not allowed.
J/K....
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Old 02-07-2013, 06:53 PM   #3
erincon23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LaurenT View Post
Yeah, tell them chanting, cutting, pushing your way to the front for the parade, using the flash on your camera during POTC, loitering at the cs tables, making a salad for yourself out of the fixins bar and jumping out of the boat on IASW are not allowed.
J/K....
OHHH, that'll go over well!
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Old 02-07-2013, 07:13 PM   #4
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This is an awesome idea! I would share with them to plan for the waits, stay hydrated, be kind and considerate to those around. We had a marevelous experience with a group last year. The young men we ran into from the band of one of the high school groups was one of the most polite individuals we have encountered.
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Old 02-07-2013, 07:26 PM   #5
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I might add:

Single Rider lines- What it is, what attractions have it, why you want just might want to use it.

Smartphone apps that can help with touring- MDE, Mobile Magic since I know those are free. Oh and I'd also mention wifi is available for free in the parks.

Merchandise pickup at the front of the park. I'm thinking this could be helpful information as kids this age in a group can be forgetful. Of course they need to remember to pick it up too!
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Old 02-07-2013, 07:26 PM   #6
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Give them maps before hand I think you can get them from the disney website. Let them know it is a lot of walking and to bring comfortable shoes and rain ponchos. Make sure they all know where the first aid is and also the location of guest services. Oh and get the free disney vacation planning dvd and let them watch it
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Old 02-07-2013, 07:40 PM   #7
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I have taken my band to Disneyland a couple of times and the basics I make sure to cover are:

When choosing clothing - function over fashion!
Be sure to eat a good breakfast!
Stay hydrated!!!
Sunscreen!
Budget their money $$$
Specify a meeting/checkin location on park map.
Park etiquette!
Keep your park ticket dry!

I'm sure the director will cover most of this, but sometimes a little redundant backup is good!

Have a great trip! Band kids are the best travelers!
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Old 02-07-2013, 07:41 PM   #8
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Remind them that Disney isn't just for kids. There are a lot of attractions geared to their age group.
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Old 02-07-2013, 09:21 PM   #9
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All good suggestions! The directors most likely won't do any Disney prep other than the "this is what we expect from you" stuff -- when DS20 went with this group 4 years ago, they didn't get any Disney info (he had been there several times and played "tour guide"). That's what prompted me to jump into the void, as it were, and the directors have been very supportive of me doing this. But I want to make sure they've got the info they need.

I did download the maps (from allears) the other day, so I've got that. I think the kids are going to be shocked to hear that WDW is the size of Boston! They're all used to Six Flags here, so there's some "retraining" to do.
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Old 02-07-2013, 10:17 PM   #10
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Maybe top attractions per park for their age group?
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Old 02-07-2013, 11:04 PM   #11
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Not that teenagers would necessarily jump on practical ideas but:
sunscreen is a must to avoid being in such pain you can't even join the group the next day...rain ponchos can be bought 2 for $1 at Dollar Tree before going...handy for wet rides or occasional downpour... comfortable shoes with quick drying socks are nice too.

how fastpass works...new rules that you have to use it during window given on fastpass...info. on when they can get their next fastpass
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Old 02-08-2013, 08:10 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erincon23 View Post

1. I'm setting up a Photopass share for the kids, so how to use Photopass will be part of it.
2. maps and the highlights of what's in each park
3. Fastpass
4. some of the restaurants they're likely to go to (no sit-down)
5. What's at the Epcot countries that might interest them
6. bag check and how to avoid it
7. AND/OR what to bring with them into the parks
A few thoughts. I have gone on 2 WDW band trips. Our group was 12 to 18 year olds.

1. You may need to think this through. Are you totally controlling the PP account or giving everyone access to the account, letting everyone edit their own pics and then you just get one big CD.
  • If you are doing the editing how will you know what borders or edits everyone wants.
  • If you let everyone into the account its possible that they could fool around with the pics. Just something to consider.

2. Good but make sure its just not your highlights. While another poster pointed out that there is a lot of stuff for teens, its also OK for them to be little kids again and ride say Dumbo or Peter Pan. Last trip I was on I had 10 kids with me 7th to 12th grade and we rode Peter Pan, Small World and COP. I even got them singing the song as we were leaving.

3. Will they have their tickets? Some groups collect them as soon as they are inside the gates so there is no FP unless they have a policy where their chaperone can meet with them.

4. Give them a link to the menus. Picking where to eat at noon while in the park can suck up a lot of time.

5. Most boys and some girls will be very interested in the store in Japan. If they are looking at T shirts there be careful with the sizing. A XL in Japan is not the same as here.

6. I would say 75% of the girls and 50% of the guys will have a bag of some sort so it going to be very hard to avoid bag checks. I would make this topic bag check and how to make it go smoothly.
  • Only take what you need
  • Have everything open before you get there. Tell them there is a long table and they will have plenty of time.
  • The bag check CMs are just doing there job. Don't make fun of them or roll your eyes when they ask something just move along.

7. Also what not to bring in like glass.
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Old 02-08-2013, 09:50 AM   #13
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Couldn't hurt to go over Disney transportation.
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Old 02-08-2013, 10:13 AM   #14
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Couldn't hurt to go over Disney transportation.
There is probably no need since the group will probably all move together. On our trips we stayed offsite and had a bus the entire week. Even staying on site, some groups are up to 250 or more and would still use outside buses to move around. Couldn't imagine trying to move that many kids from a resort to a park using Disney transportation. It would take 6 or more full buses.

In fact you shouldn't say anything about how easy it is to get around. If the kids hold on to their tickets, they could leave a park and go anywhere they want and get back before the next check in time. So i guess it could hurt.
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Old 02-08-2013, 02:37 PM   #15
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4. Give them a link to the menus. Picking where to eat at noon while in the park can suck up a lot of time.
Wanted to add, stress eating at off times.

I'm always hunger at WDW, so we eat at 11:30 and 4:30.
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