Category Archives: Orlando

Day #14 – That’s All Folks!

Day #14: Magic Kingdom, Orlando, Florida

What a roller coaster ride this trip has been! (Haha get it? ‘Cause we rode roller coasters while we here! I crack myself up). The two week trip in Florida has come to an end! It already seems like ages ago that we arrived and were working on the farm, and now we’re all packing our things getting ready to fly out tomorrow.

We spent our final day at Magic Kingdom – this is the part of Disney that is most recognizable as it has the large-scale Disney Castle in the middle. We participated in probably the best educational seminar of the trip learning about the physics behind the rides in amusement/theme parks and the numerous factors that engineers need to consider while building roller coasters and other attractions. The best part: a ride they normally run in the dark, they turned the lights on, let us ride it, then turned off the lights and let us ride it again. We used these tactics to assess the various forces and energies involved to make it run smoothly. Following this excellent tour, we spent the whole day under the intense warmth of the sun participating in as many activities as possible. As we waited for the fireworks, many of us left the park and perched ourselves under a large tree for shade and relax our tired muscles and minds and get attacked by ducks (that was just me, but that left an emotional scar). At the end of the day we got to experience the much anticipated fireworks of Magic Kingdom that closes out the day.

Not to be cliché, but if there is one word to describe this trip, it would be ‘educational’. As a chaperone, I learned probably more than I needed to know about the life of millennial teenagers. As students, they not only learned about the technology, physics, finances, and engineering of rides, the upkeep and care of Animal Kingdom and a large ranch, and how to use a rake and shovel manure, but I truly believe that they also learned a lot about themselves as well. Friendships formed, discussions began, intense cards games unraveled true feelings, and most of all, they had fun while doing it. It was a pleasure to see the kids step away from their technology-ridden generation and lifestyle and experience farm life, upkeep, and maintenance, as well seeing them discuss world issues and start huge UNO matches.

It is my hope that the students will return to Vancouver and bring back the work-ethic, outside-of-the-box thinking, new friendships and knowledge instilled upon them throughout these two weeks. Although this may be my last official blog post, I will also be posting more pictures shortly, but also combining all photos taken by myself and Ms. Boyd when we get back. Ms. Boyd and I had a great (exhausting) time on this trip, and the students were a joy to be around (except when they’re tired). We look forward to any future trips that the kids may choose to attend and we get to chaperone.

Over and out.

Drew Currie

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Day #13 – Life Is Like A Roller Coaster…Up and Down With A Few Flips

Day #13: Universal Studios, Orlando, Florida

Coming up on the end of the trip, our day at Universal Studio’s started off with some weary-eyed students on a warm, humid morning in Southern Orlando. After one of the quietest bus rides ever, the students went from rubbing the sleep from their eyes to crazed excitement in anticipation of new, bigger rides.

As soon as we entered the park at the opening hour, it was already bustling with people, music playing over the park speakers, the smell of fresh, buttery popcorn in the air, and the sounds of children’s laughter, screaming, kicking, crying, and their parents yelling at them to “GET BACK HERE”. What an experience! The majority of the group immediately headed to the Rip Ride Rocket – this is a big coaster that begins with a 90 degree climb, followed by numerous drops, weaves, and exhilarating speed. Also the roller coaster featured on the Jimmy Fallon and Kevin Hart interview from last summer. A special shout out to Zee Ann and Jeena who experienced rides that were past their comfort levels to test themselves and their determination for goal achievement.

Throughout the day off of education tours, the students were able to take in all the sights, sounds, and rides they possibly could. As a roller coaster enthusiast myself, I will say I tried to keep up with the students on rides, however it was the Harry Potter 3D experience ride that did me in, whereas the kids loved it! We finished fairly early this evening to give everyone a chance to get some swimming in and packing done (apparently re-packing all their clothes takes longer than 15 minutes…).

Tomorrow, our last full day, is actually our longest day. With a 3h educational tour discussing the physics and technology behind amusement/theme park rides, we experience Magic Kingdom all day so we can experience the fireworks above the Disney Castle. It will be all thrusters on go from 6:00am to 11:00pm. Updates to follow on how many students I have to carry to the bus like sleepy children.

Despite the exhaustion, I think the kids will be disheartened to leave this warmth and bustle.

Up, Down, Sideways, and Upside Down, we’ve seen and done it all. That’s all for now.

Drew Currie

Day #12 – Gamma Rays and the Harry Potter Craze…Oh and Blue People

Day #12: Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Orlando, Florida

‘Twas 3 days before the trip is over, and the students slowly made their way down for breakfast in the hotel lobby, groggy eyed, yet intrigued as to what the day had in store for us. This is because today we were going to Universal’s Islands of Adventure, and you know what that means? BIG RIDESSSSSS!!

We’ve been on a streak of very early morning, but today everyone had a sort of pep in their step. As we drew nearer to the Universal Park, the excitement, fear, and nervousness started to creep its way to the surface of each student’s demeanor. Our educational tour was quite fun this morning in that we have started the discussions of theme/amusement park finances, advancements in technology, physics of the rides, and a background of the development and growth of the parks. We entered areas of the park that were not yet open and had a chance to ride a dark ride with the lights on, then ride it again with the lights off and the 3D screens on. It was a very educational experience allowing us to witness the inner workings of rides, with the inclusion of the maintenance and performance testing area.

But enough with that educational stuff, get to the good stuff Mr. Currie! THE HULK ROLLER COASTER WAS AWESOME! The only of its kind in the world, we got to experience first-hand (and by-passed all crowds and in the front rows) 0-60mph, uphill, in 2 seconds. With 4G’s exerted upon our eager bodies, we twisted and turned at an unimaginable speed. What a rush!

With the scorching sun beating down upon us in the cloudless sky, the students wandered the park on their own following the tour, experiencing the wonderful world of Harry Potter, numerous rides, water park rides, and amusement shows. Following a delicious dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. restaurant, we attended the Blue Man Group show. What an incredible experience! For those reading that are unsure of what this show is, it is 3 men that are painted blue, using numerous PVC piping and alternate forms of percussive instruments to create incredible sounds, whilst engaging the crowd in an extremely comedic and emotional fashion. All the while, they stay silent; they only use facial expressions to communicate. Absolutely incredible experience!

Tomorrow we are heading back to the second half of Universal Studios Park.

Time for an early bed! ‘Cause you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry…in the morning (…please tell me you understood that Hulk reference).

The pictures below are a mix of yesterday and today.

Drew Currie

Day #11 – EPCOT (Every Person Comes Out Tired)…true story

Day #11: Epcot Park, Orlando, Florida

After another early morning, we travelled over to Epcot, the theme park of tomorrow, where we embarked on our educational program of the park. The topic was leadership. We went over the traits of being a leader and the 4 qualities a worker at Epcot needs: Safety, Courtesy, Show, and Efficiency. The tour was very insightful, and helped us learn how to incorporate the leadership skills into our daily lives and school work. The Cast Members hosting the educational tour also allowed us to incorporate IB program goals and expectations into the leadership discussion and we may be able to combine all aspects of both.

After the interesting educational tour, we had 9 hours to spend in the massive theme park. The park is massive! There is so much greenery and it is divided into sections dedicated to certain countries where we were able to experience tastes, sounds, and smells from countries all around the world. From rides to movies to presentations and to restaurants, there were countless activities to choose from and experience. The entire park is dedicated to education, ensuring that all who attend bring back knowledge of the world around them.

There were many great attractions to ride, such as: Test Track by Chevrolet, Mission Space, and Soarin’. All fun experiences, however I think we are well prepped for the big rides in the next few days!!

So today was a very busy day, leaving all of us tired but excited for days to come.

Sahil Ladva and Daniel Ogunremi

Day #10 – So Much Talk About Animal Poo…

Day #10: Animal Kingdom & Disney Quest, Orlando, Florida

Early in the morning we got on the bus and arrived at Animal Kingdom with three guides waiting for us for our second educational tour of the trip. Once separated into two groups, we set off on our behind the scenes tour of Animal Kingdom. We participated in numerous fun educational activities ranging from a tour of the closed park, to behind-the-scenes tours of the facilities and feeding rooms, to the science behind a zoo and breeding, and Safari Tours.

Among all of the activities, my favourite one was the ride through the Safari. Everyone in my group was fascinated by the beautiful surroundings and grazing animals that many of us have never seen before. After we went through the educational program, we were given free time and we all jumped onto the train, excited for the rides. From losing hats on the rides to screeching from excitement/fear, we have all survived the Animal Kingdom.

At Disney Quest, some immersed themselves into shopping while others enjoyed many great games (it was a blast from the past! Parents, you would have loved it, all the old arcade games were present! – DC). Our night ended with tired, yet excited kids arriving back at the hotel, ready for another full day ahead of us tomorrow!

Alice (Yi Hong) Liu

Day #9 – One Small Step For Man, One Giant Leap For…Meadowridge?

Day #9 – Kennedy Space Centre, Cape Canaveral, Florida

Today was an extremely eventful day, filled with crazy adventures. To start, morning we had a breakfast buffet in the lobby of the hotel, which was mainly consisting of Mickey Mouse waffles. We were rushed out of the hotel, still half asleep and took off to the Kennedy Space Centre. On the way there, we drove across the Trans-Coastal Bridge. From there, we were able to see the Vehicle Assembly Bay, which from afar, seems small, but on the bus tour there, we learned that it was the exact opposite. It is actually the third largest building in the world in terms of internal space! We had many lessons on the history of the different spacecrafts and space missions (both successful and failed). These lessons consisted of interactive videos, games and even a spaceship simulator. Our educational leader, John Currie, gave us many interesting lessons, as he has experienced this same trip 22 times. He has great knowledge about space which made the Kennedy Space Centre much more enjoyable and educational.

After our great day at the Space Centre, we went to the WonderWorks Theme Park, a building like Science World, with a 2 floor arcade. After a little while of playing games, we ate a wonderful pizza dinner while watching a terrific Magic Show. Mr. Currie was volunteered by all the students as a stage hand for the magician which was absolutely hilarious! All in all, the day was a success, and everyone had a wonderful time at the Kennedy Space Centre and WonderWorks.

Tejas Gandesha and Jageur Mackenzie

Day #8 – Transition Day – From Farm To City

Day #8: Mims, Florida and Orlando, Florida – And I suppose all the space in between…

We have reached the halfway mark! Waking up at the KOA was a little hectic this morning. Knowing that everyone had to pack their dirty laundry, everyone decided to do their laundry all at the same time this morning. And well, needless to say, that was quite the sight. There was detergent everywhere (I’m not pointing any fingers….Daniel and Jonathan), there were arguments for dryers (Zee Ann), and meanwhile everyone was freezing because they grew accustomed to warm weather and they woke up to a chilly day.

Following the clean-up of the cabins and the amazing intricacy of packing all the MASSIVE bags that people brought (I’m still bitter), we went back to the ranch for lunch and some final goodbyes. Lunch was amazing, and following that, we got to witness two horses paint with their noses (see pictures attached). We are bringing the paintings back with us!

We finally made it to Orlando! Our hotel is situated just outside the Walt Disney World area and we are looking forward to the adventures of the educational tours and magical kingdoms. Also, I’m super pumped for some HUUUUUUGE rollercoasters. We met up with our great guide John who will be leading all our educational tours for the rest of the week. There will be very early mornings and late nights, so the kids will be so full of knowledge and excitement that they may even forget they have a phone to look at for once!

I will end this post with the quote of the day from a student. Let me set the tone of the story. The majority of the group was gathered in the laundry room at the KOA. My laundry had just finished drying, so I pulled up a chair to put it on after I folded it while I took it out of the dryer. One of our students, Denise, looks at me and says “Mr. Currie! Are you folding your laundry?!?” to which I reply hesitantly “Yes, I am…” “But…why?? Your parents aren’t here to yell at you to fold it! Just shove it in your suitcase!”

There you have it folks…the minds of teenagers.

Tomorrow is the Kennedy Space Centre!

To infinity and beyond!

Drew Currie