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Old 05-06-2014, 02:09 PM   #1
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Washington DC with the 8th grade.....Again

Hi and Welcome to a TR thats different from what I normally write. This one doesnt involve Disney. What it does involve is 2 of my usual 3 "whos" - me and Abby. Lenny will be staying home and working . Hopefully he wont be driving mom crazy while were gone or vice versa.
 
Now to explain the title. Way back when I was in middle school, the 8th grade was taken on a trip to Washington DC through the school. I dont know when they started going, all I know is my class went and I went with them. At that time, we flew to Washington, toured the museums and monuments, toured Williamsburg Virginia, we went to Busch Gardens Williamsburg, then we flew home. I dont remember every single thing we did as that was 25+ years ago and I never took a camera. Now this year, Abby is in the 8th grade and school is still taking the kids to Washington. Because of Abbys Autism, school understands this could be a tough trip on her and things were arranged so that I could join her on the trip hence the title.
 
This trip with Abby - and a little over 200 other 8th graders - will be quite different from my first school trip. First of all, the class size is double what mine was. I cant imagine how hard it will be to keep track of that many kids (luckily I only have one to worry about). Next, well be taking buses everywhere . Lastly, there will be no fun stuff like Busch Gardens. This trip will be all museums and monuments. The only "fun" thing - if youre into it - will be going to Nationals Park to catch a ball game. I havent been into baseball since my dad died and Im not sure about Abby. She never watches sports unless its something like figure skating. So with the itinerary that the school has planned (or rather the tour company that was used) I really have the feeling this trip is not going to be meltdown free. What it will be is four long days of being constantly on the move to places that I dont think Abby is truly going to care about or even understand the significance of. While she might like the Smithsonian, I just don't think shes going to "get" the other places.
 
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Old 05-06-2014, 02:15 PM   #2
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Since this is a school trip, none of the planning was done by me. If it had been, plans would have been finalized and information sent out long before May 2nd (when I finally received the info from school). I also would have give some more details. Some are sadly lacking (how many adults are going, are kids going off in groups by themselves or with adults, etc). Regardless of how I would have done things, this is what our itinerary looks like:
 
 
Tuesday May 20th:
 
6:00 am - We have to be at the school by this time to board the motor coaches
6:30 am - Well leave the school and head to New York
12:00 pm - Were suppose to be in New York by this time to take a ferry to the Statue of Liberty. After that, well go to the 9/11 Memorial site
4:15 pm - Well leave New York and go to our hotel in Maryland
9:30 pm - Well finally be at the hotel.
 
 
Wednesday May 21st
 
7:00 am - Well start with some sort of breakfast from the hotel (one of the lacking details)
8:00 am - Well leave the hotel and go to the Newseum
11:00 am - Well have some sort of lunch at the Reagan International Trade Center (food court?)
12:00 pm - Well go to the Holocaust Museum
3:00 pm - Well go to Nationals Park for a ball game and have some sort of dinner while there
7:00 pm - Well go see the FDR, Jefferson and MLK Memorials (dont know if were taking the bus or walking everywhere)
9:30 pm - Well finally be back at the hotel
 
 
Thursday May 22nd
 
6:45 am - Well once again start with some sort of hotel breakfast
7:45 am - Well leave the hotel and go to the Lincoln, Korean and Vietnam Memorials
11:30 am - Well have some sort of lunch at the Pentagon City Mall then we'll do the Museum of American History, the Natural History Museum and the Air and Space Museum.
4:30 pm - Well go have "picture stops" at the Washington Monument and White House then well see the WWII Memorial
6:45 pm - Well have a "real" dinner at someplace called Magills
8:30 pm - Well be back at the hotel for the night
 
 
Friday May 23rd
 
7:00 am - Well start with a hotel breakfast than load up the buses
8:00 am - Well leave the hotel for the final time and go to Arlington National Cemetery where well see the Kennedy Grave sites, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier for the Changing of the Guard and the Challenger Memorial. Well finish our touring at the Iwo Jima Memorial.
11:30 am - Well leave DC and head for home
9:30 pm - Depending upon traffic (it will be Memorial Day weekend after all) this is the estimated time well arrive back at the school.
 
 
So as I said, its a lot of go, go, go. I didnt plan anything so details that I find important werent given. The only real details I got were the does and dont for the kids - what not to bring, when phones can be used and when they cant, hotel rules, bus rules, suggestions for what to bring etc. Im not sure how this trip will go (smoothly or with meltdowns) but Ill find out in about two weeks. Luckily, with everything else I have to do (working two jobs, school contract negotiation meetings, housework, etc) packing is the only thing I have to do for the trip - and that should be easy enough. Once we get home though, Im not sure what my TR will be like. It could be bad, it could be good. It could have lots of pictures or none. It all depends upon how things go and what kind of time I have to write it before "life" takes over my time again. All I know is it will be different from my Disney TRs - which for those that like when I write them, that will be happening sooner rather than later.
 
Thanks for joining me on my very short (in more ways than one - short in length and short in details) PTR. Ill come back as soon as I can with the actual TR in whatever kind of form it takes (short, pictures only, whatever) for this trip.
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Old 05-06-2014, 02:48 PM   #3
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Wow, that is some trip and one heck of a packed itinerary! I hope it all goes well.
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Old 05-06-2014, 04:49 PM   #4
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Good luck with the trip! I hope it turns out better (more fun for Abby) than you expect, but it's always good to be realistic. All the days are so long and packed!
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Old 05-06-2014, 05:24 PM   #5
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Sounds like a really packed trip. I hope you are both able to enjoy it !!

FYI, the Reagan International Trade Center has a really nice food court -- I stumbled upon it one time during a work trip to DC:

Food Court | Ronald Reagan ITCDC

(that linkis the official link and it lists hours, has a picture, and lists the eateries one will find in the food court)

It is quite possible you may be dining there under the tour group meal voucher program: Tour Groups | Ronald Reagan ITCDC . At the bottom of the page is a link to the meal voucher program menus.

Enjoy your trip !!

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Old 05-06-2014, 05:37 PM   #6
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Your trip definitely looks jam-packed, and I wish you and Abby the best of luck as you try to enjoy our nation's capital.
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Old 05-07-2014, 07:05 AM   #7
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Old 05-07-2014, 09:58 AM   #8
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My kids always loved DC (family there so a frequent vacation). I am sure Abby will too. You might want to ask if you need to stay with the group at all times. The time you have at three of the Smithsonian museums on Tuesday afternoon is pretty limited and and Abby m may do better to concentrate on one rather than speed through three. There are books you can get that describe exhibits (you may also be able to get it online at the Smithsonian website Smithsonian). Maybe you can check out exhibits with Abby and pick out a few things she wants to look at. My kids could easily spend a day at each. I would think the biggest issue may be having to rush if you want to get through three in 5 hours.

Also my kids loved the Holocaust museum because they studied it in school. Check out the website and I would make sure you and Abby familiarize yourselves with it beforehand. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum It looks like many of the exhibits have changed.


Washington DC is a favorite trip for us. I hope Abby enjoys at as much.
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Old 05-08-2014, 04:27 PM   #9
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I've always wanted to go to DC. I hope you and Abby have a great time-and that it's meltdown free.

Although, looking at that itinerary makes me want to have a meltdown.

I love all of your Disney trip reports, so I can 't wait to read this one.
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Old 05-08-2014, 07:20 PM   #10
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I hope all goes well with the trip and the meltdowns are few and far between.
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Old 05-10-2014, 07:57 AM   #11
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It looks like a busy but fun trip. How neat you get to go with her.
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Old 05-10-2014, 02:50 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by CinderAbby View Post
7:00 pm - Well go see the FDR, Jefferson and MLK Memorials (dont know if were taking the bus or walking everywhere)
9:30 pm - Well finally be back at the hotel
2.5 hours, three monuments, and travel time to all three plus back to the hotel ... I suspect a bus. And I suspect not a whole lot of time at each monument.


Quote:
11:30 am - Well have some sort of lunch at the Pentagon City Mall then we'll do the Museum of American History, the Natural History Museum and the Air and Space Museum.
... three entire museums? In only five hours?

I seriously hope they plan to break into three groups, and offer the kids a choice of which one to go to ...

Quote:
6:45 pm - Well have a "real" dinner at someplace called Magills
... if by "real" dinner, they mean pizza. The only Magills I found in teh D.C. area is a place with games, a dance floor, and a buffet (prominently featuring pizza).

Think "Chuck E. Cheese" for tweens and teens - the kids will probably like it ( know I would have, at 13 or 14), but I think you should be prepared for a lot of noise and such. How does Abby do with sensory overstimulation?

Magills Famous Pizza & Buffet | Annadale, VA

With 200+ kids, plus chaperones, I'd guess you'll possibly have the whole place to yourself ...
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Old 05-10-2014, 04:58 PM   #13
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2.5 hours, three monuments, and travel time to all three plus back to the hotel ... I suspect a bus. And I suspect not a whole lot of time at each monument.
Probably not - but that seems to be the "theme" of this trip - not a whole lot of time anywhere, except on the bus

Quote:
. three entire museums? In only five hours?

I seriously hope they plan to break into three groups, and offer the kids a choice of which one to go to ...
That's what I'm seriously hoping for myself. I think Abby would enjoy the Natural History Museum far more than the other two, especially if she could explore it for more than 5 minutes.

Quote:
... if by "real" dinner, they mean pizza. The only Magills I found in teh D.C. area is a place with games, a dance floor, and a buffet (prominently featuring pizza).

Think "Chuck E. Cheese" for tweens and teens - the kids will probably like it ( know I would have, at 13 or 14), but I think you should be prepared for a lot of noise and such. How does Abby do with sensory overstimulation?

Magills Famous Pizza & Buffet | Annadale, VA

With 200+ kids, plus chaperones, I'd guess you'll possibly have the whole place to yourself ...
Yeah, that's what I suspected and why I used quotes around the word real. Thanks for your input Sean though. I didn't realize that place even had a website so at least I'm not going to be surprised when we get there (I've been busy at work and really haven't had time to Google everything)


Once we get home though, I'll let you know if we do all three museums if we split into groups.
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My Previous TripsAll WDW - July 1980 off property - July 1981 FW - July 1983 FW - July 1985 FW - August 1987 FW - July 1988 Treehouse Villas - July 1990 Treehouse Villas - July 1997 FW - August 2006 AS Sports, 1st time with DH and DD - August 2008 AS Sports - August 2009 AS Sports - August 2010 AS Sports - July 2011 AS Sports - August 2013 AS Music - August 2014 AS Music - August 2015 AS Music - August 2016 AS Music - August 2018 AS Music, Kate (lovewdw2) joined us for the weekend
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Old 05-11-2014, 07:48 AM   #14
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I know you will have a good time no matter what but you agenda explains why we have run in to so many groups of school kids literally running through museums. You have to with the agenda they came up with.

My kids always loved the Museum of natural History but that is one where we have encountered more school groups. Will having 30, not so quiet kids, speed by her (probably in to her if they are typical) bother Abby? If so maybe you can try a Disney strategy and start at the "back".

Do check out the Hope diamond though. I love the jewels even though I don't own/wear any.
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Old 05-12-2014, 08:07 AM   #15
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My husband teaches 7th and 8th grade social studies and we chaperone the 8th grade trip to DC every fall. I agree with a previous poster, trips like this are just an overview of everything, you could easily spend a whole day at any one location, but we do the same thing - a few hours at a museum for example. A few other notes:

If it's the place I'm thinking of, the Reagan Trade Center does have a nice food court in it so that is where you will eat that day.

Jefferson memorial, FDR and MLK memorials are all close so I'm assuming you will be walking between those three.

Same thing with Lincoln memorial/ Vietnam/ Korean/ and WWII memorials are all within walking distance of each other if you are seeing those.

Definitely wear your tennis shoes- you will be doing a lot of walking, especially in Arlington (and there are a lot of hills in Arlington too!).

Hope all goes well, if you have any other questions let me know!
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