Our spring Trip to Florida will be here soon. Please remember to visit the choir website and review all of the trip pictures and videos. You will enjoy your trip more if prepare through planning.
With testing this week, we will be limited in our contact time before departure. Please remember to rehearse your trip music with the CD we have provided. You MUST know the music before departure.
Over the next few days, I will send you information about packing preparation. We will also supply this information to you in class.
Here is the first information:
Arrive at Brazoswood for the big day. Be sure you have checked your luggage and that you have your music, uniform and money. All luggage should be placed in the choir room for inspection. If it is going with us it must be placed with this luggage. Be sure your luggage is securely closed or locked and that your name is displayed clearly on every item. Be sure all liquids including make-up are in plastic bags and sealed against leaks.
Remember that you will need your uniform. Please be sure you have your student ID or some other form of picture ID. You may wish to give Mr. Few a copy of your traveler's check receipts, and I would suggest that you make a Xerox copy of any credit card you bring with you. Mr. Few will be glad to hold that information for you. All medicine should be checked in at the welcome table and cleared with your chaperone. A note from a parent explaining your needs is always required. Your regular medication will be tagged and transported by the chaperones. We will also have an “emergency” kit on each bus.
Also remember that you should leave all valuable jewelry or items at home. You are welcome to bring CD or DVD players but please remember that they must be battery powered and have headphones. It is also important to remember that anything played on these players must be appropriate for travel.
Please remember that every item traveling on this trip is subject to inspection by the drug dogs and/or by the chaperones.
YOU MAY NOT CHANGE YOUR BUS ASSIGNMENT AND IF YOU ARE LATE, WE WILL LEAVE YOU!!!
FAILURE TO HAVE ALL FEES PAID AND PAPERWORK COMPLETE MEANS YOU STAY HOME.
You will need to bring on the bus a carry on bag that contains a change of clothes, a towel, sunscreen, and anything you feel you will need for a day in the sun. Make sure you put everything you will need for the day in the carry on bag because you will not have access to the bus until we get picked up for the hotel at about 4:00pm. You will be provided with a park ticket and a meal ticket. You may want to bring some extra cash locker rental. The buses will have VCRs and TV sets to watch movies. Bring entertainment to keep you busy on the bus. Also, bring a pillow and blanket to use on the bus. Many times the bus will get cold so be prepared.
Remember that you may bring food on the bus. As we discussed in class, you may not bring dairy products, seeds or small wrapped candies. We strongly suggest that any food items be packaged in small bags. Do not bring mega-servings of any item.
Please also remember that you will provided with dinner from the “Local” restaurant. You have already selected that meal. It will be ready for you as we step on the bus.
We will leave home and the hotel in plenty of time to arrive for the gate openings. Remember to bring everything you need for the day. This includes money for snacks and locker rental. You may wish to bring sunscreen and a change of clothes. You will not be able to go back to the bus or hotel until tonight. Be prepared for Sun and walking. You will get a meal ticket and a map to the activity as you enter the gate. Do not be late for the bus or you will see the next activity with Mr. Few.
We will issue a meal coupon and a ticket to get in the park. All other park costs are yours to pay. Get a locker as you enter the park. Remember that there will be check-in times required throughout the day. Typically, we meet in the front gate area. A chaperon will be stationed here a one hour period to give you time to finish your ride and make the check-in. We usually have a check-in time in the early mid-afternoon. There will always be a chaperon in the front gate area if you need us. You may always contact park security or have us paged within the park if you need help.
A general rule for Theme Parks is do not steal or shoplift. The park goes nuts and will put you in jail without hesitation. Throughout the park, staff members are dressed as tourists to look for these illegal activities. We once had a girl who shoplifted a $2.00 key chain. The police had her "cuffed and stuffed" before we were even notified that there was a problem.
DRINK WATER NOT COLD DRINKS!
BE AWARE OF HEAT EXHAUSTION!
Theme Park Departure
We MUST make this departure time in order to have travel time to dinner. Plan your activities to start in the back of the park and work your way forward so that you can be at the front gate on time. Roll check will be taken on the bus but we cannot leave until you arrive. Be on time if not early. Paying big bucks for dinner and ending up at Taco Bell because we had to wait on you, will not make you very popular. DO NOT BE LATE!!!
The chaperones are giving of their time to protect you and insure your safety. You will give them your full respect at all times. All bags and items traveling with us will be inspected by the drug dogs and the local police. If we find illegal substances, we will take action. Having these substances on campus or on a school trip involves even greater penalties. Please be smart and travel chemical and substance free.
Pictures & Souvenirs - Every place we are going will have a gift shop that features T-Shirts and gifts. Many times it is easier to purchase a book or package of post cards about a specific place than it is to take pictures. You are encouraged to bring a camera to capture candid shots in the hotel or outside or of your friends. As the tour progresses, sights tend to blur together. Sometimes it is easier to buy something that is already labeled with a description. Please remember that pictures have the hidden cost of developing.
Food Money - My first suggestion to you would be to encourage you to pack snack foods in your luggage. You WILL want junk food late at night. Bring it with you. Also, many of you only eat a light breakfast. You may wish to save money by packing those kinds of foods also. You will want to bring spending money for any stops we may make along our trip. Remember that your hotel has a microwave and refrigerator in every room. The hotel also has a deli and a mini-grocery store.
Soft drinks in a hotel can also be expensive. For example, the Hilton in San Antonio charges $2.50 for a coke from the machine. I would suggest you either bring lots of change or pack non-carbonated drinks in your luggage. (Remember - seal any liquids that you pack in plastic bags. You would hate for it to explode or leak all over your luggage). Most of your meals will be of the fast food variety and you should expect the cost to be similar to a local restaurant. Unfortunately, I must warn you about the theme parks. For some reason, food at any park is unreasonably expensive. You will spend some time at multiple parks on this trip. I would suggest that you bring a snack with you and expect anything you buy there to be over priced. You will get a coupon that is good for one meal at every park and your hotel will provide a free Continental breakfast.
In general, I have seen kids bring as much as $200.00 or as little as $40.00 on this type of trip. You can travel on $10.00 to $20.00 a day depending on your needs. I would suggest that you bring a little gift money and remember that Mr. Few will have extra money with him if something comes up.
A. Souvenirs - Read the trip itinerary and try to plan your spending ahead of time. Remember that luggage grows. Do not buy more than you can carry or pack in your luggage.
B. Luggage - Although we are traveling on a bus, we still would like for you to limit your baggage to ONE large bag and a second smaller bag or garment bag. It is also wise to pack a nylon collapsible bag inside of your main bag for the natural growth of your junk. Pack according to the length of our stay. Don’t bring your whole closet. I would like to remind you of these factors:
1. You bring it... You carry it.
2. Luggage grows... With your gifts you may have two bags by the time you return.
3. Make-up cases count as baggage.
4. Just because your clothes all fit neatly in your suitcase when you left town, does not guarantee they will all fit when you return.
5. This is a tour... nobody cares if you wear the same jeans twice.
6. A good general rule is to pack in advance then after a day remove about half of what you previously over packed.
7. Share items like irons, curling irons, etc.
C. Absolutely no alcoholic beverages, drugs or tobacco are allowed on school trips. If you are taking prescription medication, please let your sponsor know before we leave on the trip. The preferred method is by written note from your parents. DRUG DOGS WILL INSPECT EVERY PIECE OF LUGGAGE BEFORE DEPARTURE. If we find illegal drugs of any type, you will be arrested and charged. Do not bring drugs on this trip.
D. Follow all directions given by chaperones.
E. All school rules apply during this trip. Violation of trip rules may cause the trip to be canceled at any point in the tour with the entire group returning home.
F. Use only school approved transportation. Do not ever get in a private car or taxi during a school trip.
G. Girls (or Guys) keep up with your purses.
H. LAW - Be aware that if you become in trouble with the law, your parents will receive a collect call from the director. Also realize that any major rules infraction will result in you being sent home at your parent’s expense and that other action will occur when you return to school.
I. The Hotel, attractions, wildlife, etc. are not to be abused in any way.
J. Weapons of battle and mischief - Water pistols, sling shots, confetti, balloons, fireworks, and anything else of this nature should be left at home. If you bring them, we will confiscate them and destroy them. DO NOT prepare a war-chest for this trip. Major infractions of this rule will result in a chaperone becoming your roommate or you will be sent home.
K. Tag all of your luggage (purses also) with your name and hotel both inside and out.
L. If an emergency occurs, do not panic! Contact Mr. Few and your group leader. We can solve almost any problem. Communicate!!!
M. Follow the school dress code at all times. Wear nothing that is of questionable taste. Be prepared for rain, bugs or lots of Sun and walking. Dress for the weather. Watch the weather channel for additional information and forecasts. You WILL be outside on this trip. Be prepared to dress in layers that you can remove as the temperature changes. You will not be able to run back to the hotel during the day and there is no bus to leave things on. If you wear something that does not pass inspection, you will be required to change. Swimsuits must be conservative in style. A good rule to follow is that if you can store your clothes in a zip-lock bag, THEY ARE NOT APPROPRIATE. Conservative clothing is expected. Uncovered bikini tops are NOT acceptable as dress code (this includes guys also).
N. This is a school sponsored trip. Exemplary conduct is expected at all times.
What to bring list....
___________ Choir Uniform with dress shoes
___________ Walking Shoes
___________ Jeans and/or Shorts and Comfortable Clothes
___________ One hair dryer per room (well, I had to try)
___________ Rain Gear
___________ Personal items (Toothbrush, Comb, Makeup)
___________ One suitcase, small bag and tux bag of some type
___________ Camera, film and batteries
___________ Money for meals, games and souvenirs
___________ Flash light
___________ Alarm Clock
___________ FOOD for your room and the bus ride
___________ Sun Screen
___________ Student ID card
___________ Money/Travelers Checks
___________ Pillow and Blanket for the bus
___________ Light and/or Heavy Jacket
___________ Something to do on the bus
___________ Clean G, PG or similar movies for the bus if you are using your own player
___________ Swimsuit and cover up garments
___________ Money for a gift for your Mom and $2.00 for the bus driver tip.
Specific Plans for Wednesday, April 26, 2006:
8:30am - ALL materials traveling with us will be brought to the Brazoswood Choir Room for storage. You must label every item with your name and home phone number (with area code). "Carry on" luggage will be placed in one storage area and "under the bus" luggage will be placed in a second location. Items not stored in the choir room will NOT travel with us to Florida. You will only be allowed to have access to these stored items with adult supervision until the moment of departure. Leaving things in a car or at home until departure will not be allowed. Any item not stored in the choir room must visually opened and inspected before will be considered for travel. Medicine that will be needed during the trip must be checked in at the choir office. Attached to the medicine should be a card telling us exactly who you are and exactly how this medicine is to be distributed. Adult chaperones will be in charge of distribution. Be smart and plan ahead!!!
3:00pm - You will given an early release pass to come to the choir room before the end of the school day. It is during this time that your parents can bring you food, money or other items of concern. We will load the bus for departure by 4:00pm or shortly thereafter. Go to the restroom NOW!!!
You will be on the bus until we arrive in Florida. This is a NON-STOP drive. You will be on the bus until about 11:00am Thursday morning. There will be no restroom stops or opportunities for you to unpack stored luggage.
You must pack wisely for the trip. The buses are full. You cannot plan to have two seats or to block the isles with junk. Do not bring boom boxes. You cannot play loud music that disturbs others.
Put your "stuff" in a lightweight nylon bag. Things tend to get lost on a bus. Put your small stuff in a small bag that can be stored in the overhead bin. Bring things such as cards, books or snacks in small bags.
Money - You will need some money and/or change on the bus with you. We are going to Universal without unpacking the bus. This means that you will need to bring enough money for the first half of the day. We will give you lunch money and a ticket to get in the parks. You will also get a big meal that night. You will want snack money when we arrive in Florida.
If you bring an item on the bus that causes space or other problems, it will be removed and returned to you in Florida. Ice chests are not going to be allowed unless they fit in your lap. Use some kind of cold pack (not liquid ice) and a canvas lunch box.
Sleep when you can. Rest is very important when you are on the road. Everybody wants to be around a happy camper and some people are able to travel more easily than others.
Finally, trip love - I expect you to be the best examples of BISD behavior. I know that you will be the fine ladies and gentlemen that I have grown to respect. If you cannot follow the bounds of good taste and appropriate behavior, I will just have to be your seat partner for the rest of the trip.
Thursday, April 27th, 2006
General Plan: Arrival in Florida is scheduled before lunch. Our first activity is Universal Studios Theme Park and Universal Studios Island of Adventure. This complex includes both shows and some of the top rated adventure rides in the country. Your pass will allow you to visit BOTH parks during our stay. The parks are connected so you will be able to enjoy the best features of the two parks. You will spend a few hours on Thursday and have plenty of time to enjoy the rest of the park on Saturday.
Connecting these parks is Orlando's City Walk that is a world rated group of eating and shopping areas. Some of the restaurants in the City Walk are Hard Rock Cafe, Emerils, NBA City and Motown. You will get a meal ticket for your lunch.
At approximately 4:30pm, we will leave the theme parks for our hotel. We will be staying in a quality location near our activities. Every room has a microwave, refrigerator and coffee maker. Continental Breakfast is included for FREE.
At 7:30pm we will leave for dinner which is at Medieval Times. This is an event where you will feast on a four course medieval banquet while watching daring knights on beautiful Andalusian horses competing in medieval tournament games and jousting matches. The show is packed with competition and high energy. Oh by the way, you get to eat with your hands. No Extra Cost To You.
Plans for Thursday:
12:00noon - We arrive in Florida. DO NOT forget to change your watches. There is a one hour time change between Texas and Florida. We will unfold ourselves from the bus and stretch in the Florida sunshine (we hope). You will be given a plastic pass that is good for two days. We will want to take it back when we leave the park today. Do not lose it. The replacement is about forty dollars. As you get off the bus, you will be given the magic pass. You will have free run of both of the theme parks and City Walk until we leave for the hotel. YOU WILL GET A LUNCH TICKET.
Suggestions for the theme park:
1. This is not your only day in the park. Do NOT buy junk stuff now.
2. Bring plenty of film and batteries.
3. Bring money for lockers.
4. Travel light. Some of the rides allow NO baggage. They will make you check your stuff in a locker they provide.
5. Drink water not soft drinks.
6. Wear comfortable shoes and dress in layers.
7. Use the website to plan your route in advance.
8. Eating takes time and is expensive
9. The rides run all the time. The shows are on a schedule.
10. USE your V.I.P. pass to go to the front of every line. (In front of every attraction is a computer terminal where you place your pass and select the rides you want to ride. Pick your time and go to the front of the line. You will be glad you did.
11. The rides in Isle of Adventure are brand new and state of the art in electronics see all of them. The Universal shows are good but save them for later when you are really tired and want to sit down.
12. DO NOT lose the pass card.
13. Do not steal! You will not believe the trouble you will have. Look to your left, look to your right. One of those people is an undercover police person.
14. The buses do not park at the front gate. You must allow time to get back to the bus for departure.
15. Somebody will always be near the front gates if you need help.
4:30pm - We will depart from the park and check in at our hotel. If you are late to the bus, you are wasting your sleep and bath time. We must take the plastic pass from you and check roll before departure to the hotel. DO NOT BE LATE.
4:50pm - We will issue keys to the first person in each room as shown in the trip rooming list. Everybody else will get their luggage and stuff off of the bus. Empty the bus. If we can get the exact room numbers before arrival, we will. If not, the chaperones will have copies as soon as possible. Be calm. Give me time to deal with the issues and we will help you to be a happy camper.
5:00pm - I hope to have all of the room issues solved. Go to your room and begin the unpacking and relaxation process. Unpack your uniform first so that it will return to some normal shape. Use this time to clean up and rest. This would probably be the best time to swim.
7:15pm - We load the bus for our dinner adventure. Because we are going to a specific show, we need to leave on time. You will want to bring a little money to buy junk stuff at the show (glasses, flags, banners). You can also purchase a royal knighthood for you or someone. They will get a picture and have to be recognized in front of the whole group.
The show has several phases. Some of the show is designed for high energy and some is designed to give you time to eat. Yell, hoop and holler all you want. This is the place to root for your knight. Please remember that the servers have a job to do also. Do not hassle them. The food people will want you to be in place when the show and serving begins. If you miss the meal, it is a long time until lunch tomorrow.
Just in case you are tempted - Florida is a state that allows alcohol in many places. They do NOT serve under age students. Do not ask for or accept any form of alcoholic drink. If you are caught, the penalty is very serious. Even if you happen to be of legal drinking age, alcohol is not allowed on any school trip.
10:30pm - We leave dinner and return to the hotel. The pool will be closed by this time so go to your rooms. Remember that there are no co-ed rooms for students. You must be in your assigned room or face the possibility of being sent home. (Wouldn't it be a shame to ride for 18 hours on a bus just to get sent home the first night.)
11:00pm - We will begin room checks. I or Officer Munley or a female chaperone will enter EVERY room. You must be dressed for company. We will want to see every smiling face. We will look in every space, closet and restroom. We will give you instructions for the next day, check on your welfare, and seal the room for the night. If the tape on your door is broken, your entire room will go home that night. This IS a time to be your brother's keeper. Stay in the room with the sealed door closed.
You MAY NOT order room service or charge cable movies. If there is a charge to the room, you will have to pay it before we leave. If the charge is for some form of creative entertainment, I will also call every room member's parents and tell them EXACTLY what the charge was. Hopefully the hotel will block all of those types of services but you also need to exercise responsible behavior.
If you try to sneak out, the first person you will see is Mr. Few. We will walk the halls every night and all night. Your safety is very important to us. We will make sure that you are in the proper place (or on the way home).
Call your parents when we arrive in Florida and not at three minutes before room check. Most hotels will NOT allow long distance calls from student rooms and your cell phone may not work out of state. You may use the phones in the lobby during your free time.
DO NOT bring your diamond bracelet or favorite CD collection with you. It will disappear and the police will not be able to get it back! If you absolutely must have a certain CD, get it copied by one of your friends. Many choir kids can duplicate originals.
Do not leave money openly in your room. Lock it in a suitcase or give it to the chaperone. I think your room will also have a wall safe. If you use it, read the instruction about lost keys. The cost to replace the key is very large. Also, if you trash your room the maids will not clean it. They are typically told not to touch things so if the floor is covered, they just go to the next room.
We are guests in this hotel but not the only guests. If you cause a disruption, we will re-assign you to room with a chaperone for the rest of the trip. Talking is great and laughing is expected but if I get complaints, so will you.
Be aware, if I or one of the chaperones suspect anything of concern is happening in your room, we will be back to do a room check at any time of the day or night. We want you to be safe. We will take every step to insure that safety. Be great students. Use the time in your room to sleep and rest. You need your energy for the long days ahead.
Leave a wake up call before you even think about doing anything else. Remember wake up calls fail. Have a back up plan. You cannot imagine what it feels like to come out to the bus and have 210 people wondering why YOU made us late.
Keep the curtains closed. Do not advertise your activities to the world. It is never a good idea to give your name or the location of your hotel to anyone. Do not wear shirts with your name on it or wear clothing of questionable taste. Travel in large groups. If someone wants to take your money by force, give it to them. Things can be replaced, you cannot.
12:00midnight - Lights out and get settled for the night.
More info will follow over the next couple of days. As we get closer, we will supply you with schedules and attraction guides. For many of you, this is your first big trip. We have organized MANY trips! Trust that we know exactly what we are doing and exactly how long it takes to do certain things. Follow all instructions without question or comment. Remember that we are working to insure that every member of the trip has a great time. If you follow the instructions you are given, you will have a lifetime memory of fun and enjoyment.
Finally, remember to THANK your parents for this opportunity. Your parents are good people who are giving you a wonderful trip. Respect them and show that respect in both your words and actions. Do NOT forget to honor the experience you are being given.