Disney as an adult and revisiting old trips

Cody Ferguson, [email protected], Arts and Features Writer

Disney is an experience some kids wait their entire adolescence for and coming back to Disney with an adult perspective still doesn’t cease to amaze.

Our trip begins on a Tuesday afternoon in early February, the sun is setting in the distance as nearly 100 middle and high school students stack their luggage into over-packed bags. They all slow down toward the end, finding the buses to be almost at capacity. Mothers and fathers step aside as their child goes on their first big outing into the world. This is only the beginning of a trip these children will hold on to for their lifetime. 

Then comes the bus ride, the sweet good-bye and a long time to get familiar with the person next to you. Fourteen hours to get acquainted with feet in the back of your chair, needless chatter behind you and the occasional karaoke group coming from the very back of the bus. There was something I realized on that long trip with a bunch of kids I had really never met before. Band kids stay the same, year after year, and none of the new guys there felt all too different from the friends I had when I last performed with the band. 

The trip is five days of fun with the first day starting directly after the 14 hour bus drive to Disney, and the last day ending with yet another 14 hour bus drive. We went to Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Universal Studios. This trip was similar to our first, with Animal Kingdom being the main difference between the two. Some of us who had taken the trip before were upset by this exclusion but we couldn’t complain too much.

There’s so much that stays the same going back to a trip full of young children. No one ever makes it to meetings on time, there is always someone who forgot their socks, we always have to pick up someone’s slack and everyone just wants to get out and have fun without restrictions. 

I wasn’t the only alumni taking another trip to the past, as there were several of us  present to support the band and take advantage of the group discounts. 

“The first time I went, I was extremely nervous because I was going to perform and had a very limited time in the parks. This was also going to be the only time I got to wear the brand new uniforms just bought by the band. I felt as though my time was restricted and when it was my senior year that I was pressured to make sure I made the most of it and made memories,” said Alexis Thurston, Tazewell marching band alumni.

Nothing is ever the same and first times are something cherishable. 

“I enjoyed this trip more than the previous one, but since the last trip was my senior year I will always remember that trip fondly,” Thurston said. 

Even through time restrictions and drama, there is a good memory to share with friends and loved ones at the end of a trip to the most magical place on earth. 

“Don’t get me wrong, I was excited and had a great time but with it being on a strict schedule, it was just hard to get everything I wanted. Plus there was so much high school drama and arguments on the best way to tackle the parks, this time didn’t have that problem,” Thurston said.

I found it to be a more interesting trip without the feeling of constraints from being a young student representing your own school in such a prestigious place. We didn’t make it to Disney out of sheer luck and that’s a lot of pressure to hold as a young adult. The complete absence of this pressure made the trip into a short vacation rather than an experience I hoped would bring me joy. 

“It was still stressful but without hard deadlines and time restrictions it was more fun and relaxing overall. I accomplished more of the things  I wanted to with the people I wanted to be with. Not to mention, the trip was much more comfortable due to the upgraded bus and having my fiance as a seat companion,” Thurston said.

Scheduling is always an issue but not having a chaperone to hold you on a short leash made this trip feel like days of freedom.

“I enjoyed being able to come and go from the parks as I wished and set my own schedule. I enjoyed not having to check in but I understood why it was necessary when I was in band,”Thurston said.

Unfortunately, every trip comes with a catch. This year it happened to be poor weather conditions back home. The band director, under the guidance of school administration, had to cut the end of the trip short and only give us half a day in the largest park, Universal.

“I have always been more of a Universal person and was disappointed when I heard we had to leave early. I still had fun there and got to do quite a few rides considering the time restraint,” Thurston said.

Disney isn’t only for children and this trip really showed me what a fun time a child’s theme park could be with adult freedoms. I felt free to go where I wanted and I had the confidence to enjoy more rides than I had when I was in school. Disney is a magical place where people have experiences beyond scientific reasoning. 

“You miss out on some of the magic of it due to being better informed and maybe not as easily entertained but there are more possibilities and memories to make in my opinion. I still ride the simple rides and enjoy them but I will always take the thrill-ride roller coasters any day,” Thurston said.