Check out this blog from the teachers and pupils from Wellington College and all the exciting activities they got up to. From adrenalin pumping roller coaster rides at Disney Hollywood Studios to space education tours and astronaut training, EA School Tours ticked all the boxes when it came to making dreams a reality.
Wellington, New Zealand - Friday, April 8, 2016
After arriving at the airport at 4.25am ready for our flight to Orlando, everyone was tired but excited for the journey ahead. Many students had never been to Orlando, which made it a trip of ‘firsts’ for most. One student, Johnny, managed to score a selfie with the pilots – taking out the picture of the day award!
Orlando, Florida - Saturday, April 9, 2016
After a few hours sleep and delicious Micky Waffles for breakfast, we were off to Disney Hollywood Studios. Now the smallest park due to the huge development of the new Star Wars theme; it suited us well, as it was a nice easy day with plenty of sunshine. Highlights were the rockin roller coaster that uses magnets to accelerate from 0 to 92.2 km/hr in 2.8 seconds, and the tower of terror that dropped us with a force equivalent to 4G.
The boys took full advantage of the free park wifi, sending the group hundreds of selfies. It was an excellent way for all of us to communicate and share experiences throughout the day.
Orlando, Florida - Sunday, April 10, 2016
Today we learnt about animatronics, hydraulic and pneumatics and their differences. Buzz light year had to be ridden to see if the boys could spot both types of Inertia. Finally, circular motion and its use on the thunder mountain rail car. Overall, the boys really enjoyed the course and found it both educational and inspiring.
After the park, we travelled to the Space Coast in Cocoa Beach. The place feels very different to Orlando, like stepping back into Apollo history, interweaved with strip mall discount stores. We were lucky with the location of the hotel sitting right on the beach. Most were early to bed ready for space camp starting tomorrow.
Cocoa Beach, Florida - Monday, April 11, 2016, By Jim Kaye:
The first stop was The Centre For Space Education, where the boys were given an introduction to robotics; building a robot and basic programming. At 11 the group attended a talk by ex-astronaut John-David Bartoe, who was on the Coke-Pepsi trip that tested, among many other things, the functionality of soft drinks in zero gravity. His talk was very interesting, and he covered a range of topics, from training to be an astronaut, to what life is like in a space station. After a brief lunch break, for refueling, we visited the Atlantis Museum, which hosted the spacecraft that saw 33 flights to space before retirement. This museum was a goldmine of knowledge, which educated the boys on the construction of the crafts, the functionality of the crafts, and enabled them to experience a simulation of a rocket ship taking off.
Cocoa Beach, Florida - Tuesday, April 12, 2016
The boys were all very excited about getting back to the robotics course today. This was leading up to the final challenge tomorrow, where they would drive their robots on the mock Mars surface. As we gathered in another room, they would only use cameras attached for sight. Next stop, launch pads, which were just amazing to see. We were told we were very lucky to see this, as it was about to be taken down for the next generation of rockets. The highlight of the trip for many of us was the Saturn Museum, where we saw the actual control room used for all the Apollo missions and a real Saturn rocket. Before dinner at the Long Doggers Restaurant, we headed to the huge Ron Jon surf shop. After dinner, the boys got stuck into a basketball game and managed to squeeze in a few games of pool.
Cocoa Beach, Florida - Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Today was our last day of robotics, all the boys were now proficient programmers and had studied Mars's lunar surface map overnight. As soon as we were in the lab, last minute adjustments were made and it was off to Mars's surface. The boys could win more points by hitting the most targets and also if they managed to locate the opposing robot, they gained more points by reading its number plate. After the challenge, it was time to have lunch with the Astronaut John Bartoe, who we met the previous day. Learning about living on the space station and the effects that zero gravity has on the body.
Cocoa Beach, Florida - Thursday, April 14, 2016
We arrived early at the Astronaut training facility and were quickly guided through many challenges and experiences. To prepare the body for space flight, the boys climbed the Micro-Gravity wall. They were attached to a pulley system that provided an upwards force, equal to their weight to give them the feeling of weightlessness. They also simulated the experience of being on an orbit out of control on the Multi-Axis Trainer; randomly spins and twirls 360 degrees on two different axises. By this time we were ready for the real mission. After choosing the commander and pilot, we were ready for the simulated shuttle launch in the full-scale mock-up of the space shuttle orbiter.
Orlando, Florida - Friday, April 15, 2016
After a busy week in the classroom, today was about enjoying the theme parks. The boys had park hopper passes, which allowed travel between the different parks in Disney World. At 3pm we saw the first rain of our trip, a typical Florida down pour, that gave rise to a warm sun shortly after. However, this marked the End of Disney and onwards to the shopping outlets. The good news from the outlets was that Nike socks were very cheap, so the majority of the boys are going to have fresh socks tomorrow!
Orlando, Florida - Saturday, April 16,
Today we went to Universal Studios, who have been ground-breaking in their recent ride design. Harry Potter land was just amazing, the details of all the buildings, made you feel like you had stepped into the movies.
Orlando, Florida - Sunday, April 17, 2016
Today we went to Island's of adventure. After a tour, it was a quick walk to the other Harry Potter land. The two parks are actually connected by a replica of the train in the movie. Again we were blown away by the detail in the land. The actual Harry Potter ride, located in the castle, was another simulator and 3D projection screen hybrid, however, far more complex than spider-man.
Wellington, New Zealand - Sunday, April 18, 2016
Our trip had come to an end, and the boys were absolutely buzzing from all the exciting activities. Back to the airport for the journey home, we landed in Wellington in no time at all. EA School Tours provided a seamless experience that created lifelong memories they will never forget. The trip was a perfect balance of educational courses, activities, and theme parks, and we have no hesitation in recommending EA to organise any school group tour.
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