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8th Grade Washington DC Trip

Discussion in 'Community Board' started by Aristocath, Sep 28, 2011.

  1. agnes!

    agnes! <marquee behavior=alternate><font color=darkorchid

    Apr 17, 2000
    What entry fees? The Smithsonian museums, National Archives, Arlington are all free.

    I can understand the timeframe of the Alexandria/Mount Vernon sidetrip but going to Alexandria after breakfast and doing *what*?...

    I mean, Alexandria has more authentic Colonial buildings than Colonial Williamsburg and Gadsby's Tavern and Christ Church (Washington and Lee were congregants) are historical and interesting and there are a lot of shops that people like but how much time will they have with all they're squeezing in?

    Now Mount Vernon is fabulous and worth it, lots of space for everyone to find things they're interested in, gardens and animals plus the house has most of the original furnishings and was never given over to wholesale modern 'improvements'. There's a lot of places to get things to eat there since they built the museum/foodcourt area behind The Mount Vernon Inn. One thing that catches a lot of folks unawares is that Mount Vernon can close before dusk or early, like at 4pm during the winter. People show up at 3:30 expecting to have a couple of hours to tour and that ain't gonna happen if you show up mid-afternoon. But this Day Two itinerary sounds like the group will be flying through all the attractions on it...how much time do they have for each stop? And Mount Vernon isn't right next door to 'the Smithsonian' anyway, it probably will take at least 30 minutes or more depending on traffic to get back to DC. Though something I wasn't aware of is that most of the Smithsonian is open until 5:30 with the National Portrait Gellery being open until 7pm, so if the group is hitting the Portrait Gallery it's doable.

    You need timed tickets for the Washington Monument but you're right...I think it will be closed for at least a year while they get the earthquake damage fixed.

    They're going to be on that bus for almost the entire time. Take a look at the map and Google Map how long it's supposed to take (with no traffic - hahahahahaha - between Williamsburg/Jamestown and Charlottesville and DC *and* Philadelphia!) On a good day it takes at least 3 hours between DC and Phily, on a bad day it can take forever, plus traffic between Williamsburg/Richmond/DC can be truly horrendous. I'm talking bumper-to-bumper for ages, a trip that should take 1.5 hours (DC/Richmond) can easily take 3 or 4 if you hit that stretch of I95 at the wrong time (which is almost any time outbound from DC during 3-6pm, inbound 6:30-9am). AND the weekends can be their own special level of traffic hell as well, not just all aspects of 95 between Philly/Baltimore/DC/Richmond but on I64 getting to-from Williamsburg/Jamestown/Virginia Beach.

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  3. sparklynails23

    sparklynails23 DIS Veteran

    Oct 15, 2009

    Yeah. Each of those places will take an entire day to do right. That itinerary sounds crazy, but hey, now I'm just being negative about everything. Sounds like "a trip of a lifetime."
  4. DeaverTex

    DeaverTex Native Texan who's ready to go back to Disney!

    May 25, 2011
    "Trip of a lifetime."

    Wouldn't you just hate to know that, in 8th grade, every other trip you'll ever take for the rest of your life will be an anticlimax? :eek:
  5. Ciciwoowoo

    Ciciwoowoo <font color=darkorchid>we would both run like heck

    Jan 25, 2007
    My son was in 8th grade last year, and his trip to DC was also through Worldstrides.

    The school has used this company for 10+ years and has been really pleased with them.

    His trip was around $700, but we are here in Michigan and they drove. They also stopped by Gettysburg and Annapolis.

    I believe they left around 6 PM, drove all night to Gettysburg, changed clothes in a bathroom there, toured the place and left around noonish to drive to Annapolis. They were there for a few hours as well, and finally rolled in that evening to the hotel. I believe they had 2 nights in the hotel and were busy every second of the trip.

    My son really enjoyed the trip.

    Worldstride also offers some scholarships, so I would look into it to help with the cost.
  6. YodaGirl

    YodaGirl DIS Veteran

    Jul 22, 2008
    Some of these prices are crazy!

    I didn't go on our school trip to DC, but I did go on our band's cruise to the Bahamas. It was only around $500 for an entire week. I know that was in 98, but still...that included the cruise, charter buses to and from the airport, our plane tickets, and our excursions.
  7. Aristocath

    Aristocath DIS Veteran

    Apr 8, 2002
    So I went to the parent meeting on Wednesday evening. Of over 250 8th grade students, only about 15 parents were there. There was a salesperson from WorldStrides who ran the meeting and gave fundraising ideas. Call me crazy but I would not send out letters to people asking them to commit $20/month for 6 months to send my kid to Washington DC.

    I was not impressed with the presentation or vague plans about how they "see everthing." We've been to DC before and I can't justify that kind of money. My son is okay with it. He knows we've got a few ideas for him to have a special trip, which is part of the allure for him anyway.

    So no school trip to Washington for us!
  8. Kellydelly

    Kellydelly DIS Veteran

    Aug 25, 2004
    You've restored my faith in humanity/sanity :goodvibes! I could do so much with $1700 for my entire family, not just a 4 day trip for one kid.
  9. FlightlessDuck

    FlightlessDuck Pluto's personal nose scratcher

    Jun 20, 2006
    Our band is going to Disney this year for 4 days, staying OFF SITE. With flight it's $1350. Such a ripoff!
  10. carrie1626

    carrie1626 DIS Veteran

    Jan 3, 2001
    I went on a 8th grade DC trip back in the 70's. I still remember it as an amazing experience. I finally made it back when my daughter was in 9th grade.:wizard: Very impressive;)
  11. rszdtrvl

    rszdtrvl DIS Veteran

    Jan 10, 2008
    I believe our group is taking a bus from DC to NYC.

    How long do you east-coasters think that bus ride will take??

    I am a west-coaster, so I have no concept of anything east coast.

    To me, even at the price we are paying, it is a good deal. We will be able to do so much without worrying about transportation, lodging, food, and the planning. To me, that is worth something.
  12. SaraJayne

    SaraJayne <font color=red>Stop moving those smilies! <img sr

    Mar 6, 2009
    According to google, it's about four and a half hours. I'm assuming that's with zero traffic. Depending on the time of day, that time could possibly double.
  13. CaseyLynne7

    CaseyLynne7 Earning My Ears

    Aug 7, 2012
    I just returned from a trip with Class Act Tours to Washington DC and they were great. This was my 2nd trip with them--The first trip was with my 8th grader's class trip and I went as a chaperon....The second was to celebrate our 100th Anniversary of Girl Scouting--There was over 800 of us from Tennessee on that trip. Everything was excellent and smooth on both trips AND affordable with a good online payment plan both times. Tour guides were fun and engaged the kids and the hotels were both major chains...food and just everything was good. The school used World Strides in the past and they were over $400.00 more per student and the itinerary was identical as the following year with Class Act Tours. It pays to shop around and to get more than one proposal. Also, Class Act Tours does NOT pay teachers to organize a trip in order to keep the costs down for parents------I found out that World Strides and EF Tours does pay teachers. (Conflict of interests here??) Perhaps this is why they are so much more money, because they pad the teachers pockets under the table. Good Luck.
  14. cabanafrau

    cabanafrau DIS Veteran

    May 10, 2006
    Welcome to the DIS. Interesting choice for a first post. In light of your information, must ask if Class Act pays you for your web endorsements or has promised you or your group future discounts?
  15. jordansmomma

    jordansmomma <font color=darkorchid><marquee>DebbieLouWho Wendy

    May 3, 2006
    Three years ago when my DS went it was $2300. It covered RT airfare, hotel (Sunday- Wednesday), food, and tours. He really enjoyed it. Next year my younger DS will go.
  16. happily single

    happily single <font color=royalblue>Left foot first!<br><font co

    Jan 12, 2008
    My dd15 and in 8th grade went on this trip with Worldstrides during Memorial Day. The cost was $1,100 (give or take) and the school held fundraisers throughout the year.

    I agree with everyone who says they could go to Disney for a week for the price. Beleive me I reminded her of that fact every single day. But my dd was soooo excited to go; it was kind of the "class trip" being the upper class man in school. All she talked about in 7th grade was being able to go to DC in 8th grade.

    They took a motor coach and as more details emerged like: they didn't leave RI until 10 p.m. on Friday and drove all night, arrived at Hard Rock Cafe for breakfast at 7:00 a.m. and had to change in the rest room. They didn't arrive at the hotel until about 8:00 p.m. on Saturday I was very upset. But she had an absolute ball!

    I think every single meal was included, including vouchers given to the kids for several food places and once or twice they received envelopes with cash (ie: $9.00 for lunch)

    Worldstrides did also provide chaperones in the hallways during the night which I was very happy with (I remember my 9th grade French class trip to Quebec;);)

    So yes, it is expensive, but honestly she will have these memories forever!
  17. traces7

    traces7 DIS Veteran

    May 19, 2005
    My DD will be in 8th grade this fall. They also have a class trip to Washington DC, and it was well over $1000 (I forget exactly how much). DD wasn't even interested in going and I was glad, I'm not sure I wanted her to go anyway. We don't have the money anyway. Plus I kind of wanted to go as a family someday.

    Not many kids in her school go, out of a class of 200, about 30 go, so not a big deal, I don't think.
  18. rszdtrvl

    rszdtrvl DIS Veteran

    Jan 10, 2008
    Sounds familiar. Our trip was expensive too, and late nights/early mornings. Overall, I was not happy with how things turned out. A lot of stuff was not really thought through, and while we did go to many places, most of them were only for anywhere from 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours. Not nearly enough time to see things such as Natural History Museums, Smithsonian, etc.
  19. honeydiane1953

    honeydiane1953 DIS Veteran

    Jun 8, 2009
    Back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth I (seventh grader) went to Washington D.C.. I will never forget what a trip it was. I am thankful I got to go and still think of it often.:cool1:
  20. Mickey'snewestfan

    Mickey'snewestfan DIS Veteran

    Apr 26, 2005
    As a DC area resident, I have trouble wrapping my mind around these prices. When our kids go on field trips to the White House etc . . . it costs $1.50 round trip in bus tokens.

    We take our kids (by ours I mean the ones at our school) to college trips at that age, where they stay in dorms and tour campuses. We don't charge those kinds of prices though.
  21. leebee

    leebee DIS Veteran

    Sep 14, 1999
    If this is the trip you posted about on page one of this thread, I am SO sorry you ended up not happy (bolding mine, not PP's). I though when reading that you were paying an outrageous price for what you were getting. It's unfortunate, but group airfare really is ridiculous, and sometimes in the highest price category, which is probably what cost you so much. Oh well... lesson learned, I bet your 8th grader had a wonderful time and made many memories, even if you ended up not pleased overall. Sorry about that... truly.

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