Welcome (finally!) to my 2017 trip report! This report will chronicle my younger son Jared and I's trip with his high school band to Orlando! Let me start off by saying that this trip is a long time coming. Back when my older son Taylor was in band (the boys are 4 years apart) his band director was trying to plan a Disney trip. His freshman year was only the second year for the band's existence since it was a new school and a lot of funding had to go into equipment, a tractor trailer, and such. They developed as a band, grew in size, skill, and competition level, but the only trip they got to do was At the end of his senior year, that director decided to take a position closer to his family due to some health issues with them. So Jared's freshman year started with a new director. He had taken other bands to Disney and was determined to do so again with this group. Finally last fall during Jared's junior year, he announced plans to get the band to march at Walt Disney World! Being the nut I am, I immediately emailed him to sign me up as a chaperone. The process to get to march or perform at Disney required them to send in a recording and video of them playing. Their director Mr. P sent in their recording of their fall competition show, and then since they wanted a video of them in a parade he sent in them marching in our town Christmas parade. They were approved in Feb. but still didn't know where they would be performing. Mr. P worked with a tour company he had used before to get rooms, tickets, food, and transportation arranged. The final cost for the kids was $600 and for chaperones it was only $300. I would have gladly paid the full price just to get to go! The nice thing was that since they announced it in the fall there were fundraising opportunities and there was a payment plan set up. We got our final itinerary two weeks before the trip. Even in between then and when we left, the hotel changed three times! Mr. P insisted the rooms be closer together than some of the hotels were willing to book us. Just Orlando Youth Tours did an excellent job of working to get us moved and putting it all together. At the parent meeting two weeks out they had packets for everyone with a breakdown of what to bring, times, park maps and hours, dining options, and a great explanation of how fast pass works (although some of us veterans still had to walk parents through it multiple times!) We did a final chaperone meeting a few days before we left to finalize all details, including room assignments and who had which kids. The kids got to pick their room mates, so we found it easier to assign the adults to 2 rooms each- so 7-8 kids- and split the buses up that way too. We ended up with 69 kids and 13 chaperones including Mr P, the percussion instructor Mr R, and the color guard director Ms. M. One of the chaperones was also a nurse so we had the safety aspect covered. Other families did meet us down there as well. We decided that we'd have some face to face meets and some phone check ins while touring the parks, and that the kids had to stay in groups of at least 3.Most of the chaperones going were husband and wife, but the rest of us just partnered up randomly. My room mate turned out to be great, and her initials are WD. OK, enough of the boring details... my next post will have the fun beginning!