Perhaps one wouldn't consider it to be the most ideal of situations. Escorting over 100 middle and high school students nearly 1,000 miles from home. Following a strict schedule that includes marching in a specifically timed parade. Playing the role of chaperone, parent, disciplinarian. And carting around a three-year-old while you do it.
Then again, when your destination is the "Happiest place on Earth"...well, you're willing to make concessions!
This past week, the Raider Marching Band began its journey to Walt Disney World in Florida. Of course my husband, the band director, went along, but through the generous permission of the school district, I was allowed to accompany him as a school-sanctioned volunteer and chaperone. And of course, our little guy got to go along too!
It was a series of firsts for the little guy. First flight on a plane. First trip to Disney. First chance to meet Minnie Mouse, his first crush.
And what a time of magic it was...
We left on Valentine's Day of all days. Hubby and I had to work, so we brought our luggage up the night before. As soon as my last class was finished, I was off and running. I met my Mom in the front lobby of the high school where she dropped off the little guy. After hugs and admissions of my high-stress and anxiety, the little guy and I were off again. We had to finish packing some last minute items. Change into our band t-shirts for easy tracking through the airport. And then board the bus that would take us to the airport in Philadelphia.
Watching the scenery fly by...and excited by the prospect of flying!
We got to the airport fairly quickly and with none of the logjam of traffic that I expected. Getting through the airport was fairly easy and fast, as well. They checked our luggage in one mass. Passed out our boarding passes in one mass. Hustled us to our gate in one mass. But then the hurry up pace became waiting as we anticipated the arrival of our plane.
Watching for the plane's arrival with one of the band kids.
Finally, our plane arrived and we were able to board. Our little family got to be the first ones on and got to sit in the last row. We were seated behind the wings and close to the bathrooms...a good deal in both accounts. A light rain had started to fall but the temperature remained above freezing. Another good deal.
The view from our seats.
Until that point, I hadn't flown in 33 years. Part of me was excited. Part of me was terrified. For the sake of the little guy, though, I chose to focus on the excitement. The last thing I wanted was for him to be in any way scared. And on that end, it was a complete success. He was thrilled and watched the entire flight from his window.
"Daddy! We're going to go up in the sky!"
This flight was a breeze. Easy take off. Hardly any turbulence. The view of the earth at night is beyond words. So beautiful looking through misty clouds and seeing the dots of golden and blue lights from below. The flight itself had a moment of beauty, too. Since we had two kids celebrating birthdays, the flight crew had us sing "Happy Birthday." It also had us light the "candles", all the call lights. I kind of wish it had been my birthday!
Happy Birthday to You!
The flight only took a little over two hours. We made better time than expected and made it to Orlando thirty minutes early. We were whisked through the airport, planted aboard Disney transportation, shuffled to our rooms at the All-Star Music Resort, and asleep by about 11:00.
The next day? Epcot!