In the begining of my senior year in junior high school, I knew we'd be going to Florida on our senior trip. However, it was only September and the trip was in March - that was 6 months away ... which seemed like FOREVER!
However, me being an OCD planner even back then, I started looking into things early. I hadn't been to Florida since 1992, so it had been 9 years. That's 9 years of changes in the parks which I knew nothing about, and the things that had remained the same I couldn't remember anyway (I only remember the things we have on video - which is a lot, but I wish we had the WHOLE thing on tape, lol!). So, I went online and started looking up information. I remember I loved Allears.net and doombuggies.com. Those were the only two sites I actually went to (this was far before I found the, literally, hundreds and hundreds of Disney planning sites that help to keep me occupied whenever I get bored
) I also remember spending a Friday afternoon watching the Disneyland Fun Sing-A-Long tape I had from when I was little - we gave away our hundreds of other kids tapes, but this one I had to keep - I loved Disney even back then! I was so excited, and just couldn't wait to leave already!
As the months went on, I kept busy with looking into the new rides and attractions at Disney, watching my vacation video from 1992 (over and over again, lol
) and, of course, doing school work
... well, actually, it was more like this ->
Finally, in February, we had a CIG Trip planning meeting. In my school, CIG was the top gifted class, and as the three years of junior high school went by, the CIG group eventually dwindled down from 4 classes to just 2 (people dropped out, and were kicked out, left and right!) So, the two classes, as well as Ms. Lovett (our SS teacher and the trip advisor), Ms. Berkowitz (our English Teacher), Mr. K (our Earth Science) and some parent volunteers all met in the lunch room one morning to go over the trip plans
I was SO excited!
First we talked about our packing lists - since it was going to be hot, we of course could wear shorts, but they had to bebelow a certain length (this was for the girls), and we couldn't wear tank tops (which of course isn't a big deal, but, again, this was fifty 13 year olds staying in a hotel together for a week, so they decided to be overly-cautious!) We also could not bring more than two bags ... a small to medium sized suitcase and a carry-on bag that we would also use to carry our stuff around the parks. Aside from this, we were also given a main packing list stating everything we should pack (shorts, shirts, pants, sweatshirt, extra socks for the water rides, comfortable sneakers, a small fan, etc) We also talked about the hotel we would be staying at, which wound up being the Best Western Eastgate (the trip cost around $600 each, which is already a lot of money, so there was no way the school could up the price to stay in a Disney resort!) We then discussed the actual itinerary - this was the best part! We had the times of exactly where we would be and when - mainly for us to give to our parents so they wouldn't have to wonder and worry! The itinerary was as follows: Monday, March 13, 2001
- Fly out of LaGuardia Airport, check into the hotel, spend the afternoon/night at The Magic Kingdom Tuesday, March 14, 2001 -
Epcot before opening for an educational tour, and then the rest of the day free at Epcot. Wednesday, March 15, 2001 -
Islands of Adventure, dinner at NBA City in CityWalk Thursday, March 16, 2001 -
MGM, dinner at Hollywood and Vine as part of the Fantasmic Dinner Package Friday, March 17, 2001 -
Check out of the hotel, spend the morning/afternoon at Sea World, fly back to NY
By the end of the meeting we knew that there were going to be 4 people to a room, with one room of 5, and all rooms must be same-sex, which ya know..duh
lol! We didn't actually decide what we were doing yet, though, but that would come later on.
A few weeks later, abour 2 weeks before the trip, we had another meeting in my SS class. This time it was only my class (the other class had theirs during their SS period. We finally picked room assignments! We decided that it would be me and my friends Marlyn, Simone and Kristin. However, Debbie, a girl we had been friendly with, was left out so we thought we're on vacation, why not?! So we decided to have the 5-person room. We got together in our little group and decided who would bring what for the room, and how we would be sleeping. Since there were five of us Ms. Lovett set up for our room to have a cot for the 5th person. However, Debbie decided that she was also going to bring her blow-up bed, which would fit fine in her suitcase. So Simone and Marlyn would share a bed, Kristin would get the cot, Debbie would get her blow-up bed, and I would get my own bed. I had NO problems with that
At that meeting we also got our shirts - for two days of the trip Ms. Lovett thought it would be best if we all wore matching shirts. Why? I don't know...lmao! So for our day at Epcot we got matching white T-Shirts that said "Epcot Educational Program" or something like that, and for Islands of Adventure we got bright orange shirts with the name of our school. They were comfy but..they were bright orange, lmao! We were happy to just be going to Florida, though, so none of us really minded or complained.
The last week went by really slowly, but finally sunday rolled around. That morning my mom helped me pack. The whole time I was looking forward to the trip and telling her about the itinerary, she did NOT want me to go. I had never been away from home on my own before, and now I was going across the country to Florida for a week with my friends! The one thing that changed her mind, though, was the fact that my friend Kristin's mom, Joanne, was going on the trip. Kristin and I had been in school together since Pre-K and our moms had been close friends ever since, so she knew I was in good hands!
Anyway, the sunday before we left my mom helped me pack. I was so excited getting my own suitcase and bringing all of my stuff. We talked about how I had to call her every day (boy, was this an understatement...but more about that later!) and how I should have fun and ejoy Florida with my friends, especially after wanting to go back to Disney for so long. That night my family had a BBQ in my Grandma's backyard for my cousins birthday (my grandparents live across the street from me, and next to them are my aunt, uncle and cousins). I love my cousin, but I was tired from packing all day, and I had to get up early the next day, so I decided to stay home. OK, the REAL reason I stayed home because I wanted to sit online all day and look up information and look for pictures of all of the rides I'd be going on! I was psyched dude!! Lmao! When my mom, dad and brother came back from across the street she had two envelopes for me - one from my grandparents, and one from my aunt and uncle - and they each had $50 in them! That was ane xtra $100 to spend in Florida! I felt bad, though, because I was the one going on vacation while they were going to work so they didn't have to get me a present! I called them to say thanks right away...I really did appreciate it!
That night I was up ALL night! When I got up to turn my bathroom light on at around 3:00 in the morning (yea, I'm still afraid of the dark
lmao), my dad had heard me and got up to see what I was doing. He said it was like the Disney commercial that was really popular at the time and was played every three minutes - I don't know if any of you remember, but it was the one with the two litte boys who stay up all night talking in their beds about how they couldn't wait to leave for Disney the next day, and every half hour they both get out of bed to wake their parents up and ask if it's time to leave yet - it was a REALLY cute commercial! It was one of my favorites at the time so I thought it was really funny that my dad said that. Before I knew it the morning had come and I was on my way...!