First of all, let me put this trip in perspective.
124 kids ages 10-16 from several agencies in the Boston area were accompanied by 26 staff, for a five day, four night trip to Orlando, Florida.
We hit 5 amusement parks in 5 days:
After a long morning of travel, including my own wake up call at 230 AM, Monday, it was Hollywood Studios; Tuesday, Universal Studios Islands of Adventure; Wednesday, Blizzard Beach; Thursday, Magic Kingdom; Friday, Universal Studios, followed by shuttling to dinner and then the airport for a 9 PM flight. I got home at 245 AM.
Hours were typically 7 AM wake-up, breakfast at the hotel buffet, 10-5 at the park, dinner at the hotel, one evening activity (pool party or arcade), and lights out at 10 PM.
I was in charge of seven teens. And that was plenty!
Honestly, it was a week of high highs and low lows. I struggled daily between not wanting to cramp my kids' style and trying to wield some control. I also didn't want to spend days at these amusement parks ALONE, despite my kids' desire for independence.
By the second day, we'd worked out a little bit of a rhythm. We'd eat breakfast together, ride on the shuttle separately, I'd spend the first half of the day navigating the parks with them and hitting rides I wanted to see, then I'd usher them to a late lunch, and let them roam free until meeting time. This was only mildly successful, in terms of them not totally stomping all over my trust that they'd behave appropriately...
For the record, I rode about 2/3 of the rides the kids did, my favorites being Tower of Terror (which we rode twice) at Hollywood Studios, Rip Saw Falls at Islands of Adventure, Summit Plummet and Team Boat Springs at Blizzard Beach, Space Mountain (which I can't believe I had never been on) at Magic Kingdom, and Transformers 3D and Revenge of the Mummy at Universal Studios.
Aside from that, I spent a fair amount of the days reading a book in air conditioning and venting to my friends via text messaging. I also saw a parade and show at Magic Kingdom that made me cry, got a little bit of a tan, avoided food poisoning, met some cool kids and staff, and managed (despite their best efforts all week to drive me insane) to get all seven of the kids home safe last night.
I think I need this entire three-day weekend to catch up on sleep and healthy eating and sitting in silence, which I've been without for days.
But, without further ado, here are some quotes from the week:
Me, at 4 AM on Monday morning, at the drop-off point: We should take a picture!
14-year-old girl A: You can't see me in the dark!
14-year-old girl B, a propos of nothing: Sometimes when I drop the soap in the shower, I pretend I'm in jail...
14-year-old girl B, while we waited on a line for a ride: I want to bring my kids here. When they're younger than me. I want them to believe it.
14-year-old girl B: Wait, what does Versace mean?
Teen: Oh. My. Pho.
Me, losing my patience (the well of which was far deeper than I even knew), when one of the kids (not even part of my group) said something to the effect of "I told you so!" one too many times: Everyone always has to be right all the time. It's so annoying.
14-year-old boy: I'm never right! I try to suck as much out of those moments as possible!
Girl, trying to get a chaperone's attention, though she didn't really know his name: Brian! Brandon! Deafdon!
During our last night in the hotel, the girls called their mothers to test them by saying that one of the boys on the trip liked them. Here are highlights from those conversations:
14-year-old girl A: What if he tries to kiss me?
Mom A: Tell him, "BACK UP, BUDDY! To the left! To the left!"
14-year-old girl B: My mom told me "Don't let your guard down. Don't settle for anyone."
14-year-old girl A: Usually my mom tells me something like that. Tonight, she told me something different cuz I bet she's drunk!
And at the airport, last night:
Boy: Yermama's so hairy, when you were born, you got rug burn.
Boy, after laughing hysterically: I think I moved my liver!
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