Teacher Preview Trip – Orlando
Orlando, Florida is full of exciting activities for teachers and students to explore, learn and get inspired in an educational experience like no other. This year’s Teacher Preview Trip to Orlando was an absolute success, giving teachers a sneak peek into what students will be in for. Allowing the opportunity for teachers to test the water before committing to the school trip, and tailor the itinerary to meet deadlines, budgets and preferences.
Day 1: Arrival Day!
The group arrived and checked into the Clarion Lake Buena Vista, one of the hotels we use for our groups. Some had a relaxing afternoon by the pool, others hit the outlet shopping or head to nearby Disney Springs. In the evening we met at a local restaurant for an introductory meeting over a few drinks.
Day 2: Islands of Adventure!
We headed to Islands of Adventure and met with the leader of their Education Team. He took us into one of the classrooms and talked us through the different programs that they facilitate. He then took us to the Spiderman ride and took us in the back way so we got to skip the queues which everyone of course loved! We spent the rest of the day enjoying the rides and taking in the atmosphere – the Harry Potter section – Hogsmeade – was a big hit!
We met up in the early evening for a dinner at Hard Rock Café. When we arrived we got a “backstage tour” which took us into the dressing rooms, the VIP area and the theatre. Everyone enjoyed going out on the balcony of the VIP dressing room to take photos of the view of City Walk. A long but fun day!
Day 3: Free day
Today everyone had some free time to explore Orlando on their own. I arranged visits to a couple of the alternative hotels we use so a few teachers came to see them. Some people went to Seaworld, some people went to Disney. I spent the afternoon by the pool
Day 4: Kennedy Space Centre and Orlando Magic NBA game
Now it was time for the highlight of the trip - Kennedy Space Centre! The group got to explore the facilities and meet with someone from the education team. Everyone was totally blown away by the Atlantis exhibition. For lunch we took part in the Lunch with An Astronaut program which is a tasty buffet lunch followed by a talk from an astronaut about their experience in space, you also get to ask them questions and have your photo taken with him at the end. This was very popular with our teachers and they could see why it is always such a big hit with our tour groups.
In the afternoon we were very fortunate to see a rocket launch! Space X was launching one of their rockets into space and we were there for the big event. It was an amazing thing to see, and hear, and we all felt very fortunate.
In the evening we all went to see a basketball match. It was a local derby as the Orlando Magic were playing the Miami Heat. Everyone enjoyed the game, even those who knew nothing about basketball! After the game we went onto the court for a photo and caught a lift back to the hotel with one of our student groups who was also attending the match.
Day 5: Boggy Creek and departure
Today was the last day of the preview trip. In the morning we head out to the Everglades to take a ride on Boggy Creek airboats. We saw a few alligators and lots of native birds. Afterwards we met with a lady who spoke to the group about the Native American people of the Everglades – she told us about how people lived, what they ate, how they hunted, it was really interesting! Then the group got to have their photo taken with peanut the baby alligator before loading the bus back to Orlando.
We all said goodbye in the afternoon and headed back to our respective countries.
Feedback from the teachers was great and focused on how the trip allowed them to experience the activities and hotels which we use ahead of bringing a large group of students. Everyone was excited by the educational opportunities on offer at both Kennedy Space Centre and the theme parks, and of course they loved having a week of fun in the sunshine!
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