Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Riding on the Comfy Couch

I just got back from a wonderful trip to Orlando with OMMS choirs.  Yes I said wonderful!!   Any kid in 7th or 8th grade choir could go on this trip.  We had around 35 kids and several chaperones.  I was in charge of 8 boys.  We left Thursday morning at 6:30 and arrived in Orlando at Seminole State Community College that night.  They had to perform in front of a judge.  She was really helpful and gave the kids some great advice.  We got back to the hotel that night and I got all 8 of my boys settled.  I gave out their t-shirts and cookies from the hotel.  Then I told them to go to sleep and taped them in their rooms.  We put a piece masking tape on the outside of each door.  If it was broken then they were in trouble in the morning and got "jail bus."  Mr. Toole created "jail bus" as a kind of time out for kids that misbehave on these trips.  My boys never broke their tape.  I was very proud.

On Friday we went to Universal Studios.  The kids did not have to be with their chaperones but had to check in at the chaperone station.  I had to work one 1 hour shift. The trip was so organized but laid back at the same time.  Just what I like!!  Mrs. Holmes and Mr. Toole did a great job taking care of everything.    I told Rob I was going to be following him and his crew around that day.  I told him I did not have anything else to do but I would not embarass him.  They found it very handy to have Mom's around to hold all their stuff on the rides.  I really loved watching them!!  I can't believe Rob never gets scared on these rides.  I could not ride anything much because all of them scare me.  I don't know why really, but they do.  Maybe I should see a hypnotherapist.  I am not scared of sharks, snakes, scorpions, or any animal but an alligator.  We went to the Fear Factor show that afternoon and Rob and Jefferey got chosen as volunteers.  I started panicing about half the way through the show when I realized a volunteer from the audience was having her head covered with scorpions.  I thought about what I would do if they tried to do that to Rob and Jefferey, I decided I would have to rush the stage. Thank goodness Rob told me afterwards they had to be over 18 to do the dangerous stuff.
We stayed there until about 8:00 pm and then went swimming at the hotel.  They slept like babies that night.  We went to Islands of Adventure the next day and ran straight to the Harry Potter World.  It was amazing.  It looked just like you imagined in the books.  The crooked buildings and the snow on the tops of the castle.  They had all the stores that you read about in the books and the kids loved the ride.  They said it was amazing.  They served Butter Beer on the street.  They sold all the cool candies in the book too:  chocolate frogs, peppermint frogs and many more.  It was packed.  Rob bought a $35 dollar wand just like Harry's.  They also had a store where the wands pick you, but the line was too long.  I love Rob still wanted a wand.  By the time we left that area the line wait was 2 hours.  We assumed that would be the only time our peeps would get to ride it.  Then around lunch the bottom dropped out of the sky, the crowd thinned and the kids got to ride it as many times as they wanted.  So if you are going this summer be sure to pick a day with rain and bring your poncho.
My new friends on the trip tried to talk me into riding stuff.  I only rode the Dr. Seuss couch ride.  I rode this with Mr. Toole and my new friend Tracey.  We laughed so hard tears were streaming down our face.  It was hilarious.  It was like the psychedelic part of the Pooh ride at Disney but the whole thing was like that.  My crew could not believe I ditched them on the Spiderman ride.  Rather be a chicken than a traumatized person.  They had these cool dryer things you could get in for $5 to dry off your whole body.  And also they had a service that you could pay $10 an hour to charge your cell phone.  I know I could have bought a charger but the only plugs were in the bathroom.  There were all these foreign girls drying all kinds of body parts on the Dyson dryers in the bathroom, not somewhere I wanted to hang out.

My disappointment were the employees.  The exchange students and senior citizens were great but our kids/chaperones were definitely treated rudely several times.  The young males were the rudest.  So the experience was different.  There wasn't really a special enviroment like Disney.  It is funny to realize the employees were the difference for me and Rob.  It goes to show how you treat folks can make a huge difference.
Here is my opinion on Universal/Islands of Adventure:

creativity in designing the rides
cool theme area
middle schoolers thought rides were cooler
food was better-a little

had to buy fast pass
had carnival games everywhere
all the money is spent on the park but not employee
there were some rude and clueless employees-enough that it was annoying
ex:  an employee who did not know what to do with a lost 6 year old ( I called the Mom on a cell phone- the employee was concerned but had no way of communicating )
another employee and manager had no clue if there was handicap access to Harry Potter-but at least they called and asked
Some inappropriate merchandise- Spenser's worthy

We also had an interesting experience at Hard Rock.  The waitress ticked me off:  ME: I would like a Diet Coke
Waitress: We have Diet Pepsi
Me: Do you have Diet Dr Pepper
Waitress: We have Diet Pepsi
Me:  So you have no other diet drinks?  (we had no menu because we had a large group)
Waitress:  We have Diet Pepsi
I wanted to yank her eyebrow piercing out.  It was 9:00 pm and I was tired but still.  Then one room the kids were in had these couples basically making out in their room.  I am not saying they have not seen that, I am sure they have but no one wants to watch that while they eat.......

I made several new friends on the trip that were crazy like me and that made it great too.  We left Orlando at 11:00 pm and arrived in Birmingham at 7:00 am.  The kids were awake about 30 minutes and then literally slept the entire ride.  3/4 of the kids never got out or woke up during the 9 hours.  Our bus was a little out of alignment so I had trouble sleeping but I laughed with a friend most of the night.  It was also so cold on the bus I was dying.  I don't really understand why.  I needed tube socks because I had on yoga pants.  I had a sweatshirt and a blanket but I was so cold.   The bus driver ran over something in the road, I said "what was that?" He said, "Not sure could have been a dog or a wild hog..."  It was not miserable but I was very happy to pull into the parking lot.
It was a wonderful trip!!  I loved being Mom to all those kids and making new friends.  I also loved to see Rob's world in a different way.  

The boys played on this playground for 1 and 1/2 hours, they played hide and seek. 

My favorite Dr. Seuss book is the Sleep Book and this is the Moose Juice from it. 

These ladies got so wet. 

They got some Betty Boop dry clothes

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