We’ve taken a lot of bands to Disney over the years and here’s the truth: it really is the happiest place on Earth! But here’s the other thing about Disney: you want to be prepared. As the band director, you probably want your band to have the most magical trip to Disney possible, so here’s our 2024 tips to help you do just that.
Familiarize yourself with the My Disney Experience App
Every Disney park now utilizes an app called My Disney Experience. Have everyone going on the trip download it and become familiar with it before you hit the parks. Here’s a quick breakdown of what you can use the app for:
- Contactless Dining: We like eating so this is our favorite feature! Now you can search for nearby restaurants, order, pay, and know when your food will be ready- all from the convenience of your phone! This is great for avoiding the big crowds at peak dining hours.
- See Current Wait Times: You can see the wait times for most attractions in real-time using the app. This will help you to plan the perfect day!
- Virtual Queues: Some of the latest and most popular rides use a virtual queue where you use the app to put yourself in line without physically standing in line.
- Disney Genie +: For an additional fee (paid through the app), Disney Genie + will allow you to schedule reservations to ride attractions at scheduled times. It does not include the three most popular rides in each park. These purchases can be made the morning of your park visit.
- Lightning Lane: For an additional fee (paid through the app), you can make a la carte ride reservations for the three most popular rides in each park. These purchases can be made the morning of your park visit.
We know you’ve already paid a lot for this trip and you’re going to enjoy the experience with members of your group. We recommend using My Disney Experience for its complementary features and skipping the services that cost additional money. Remind everyone it’s ok for them to wait in lines with their friends and challenge each other to epic games of Heads Up!
There are a ton of things to do in Orlando! Many groups fall into the trap of scheduling park time from open to close. While that does allow you to max out the attractions, it will result in some very tired travelers. We encourage quality over quantity. Sleep in, get to the park at 10am or 11am, and stay for the fireworks at the end of the night. Trust us, it’s still a lot of time in the park!
Create Virtual Check-Ins
Typically band groups like to have their students check-in at various points of the day to make sure everyone is safe and well. Instead of pulling yourself or another adult chaperone off line so you can sit and wait for your students to show up, why not go for a virtual check-in? We’ve seen numerous band groups successfully utilize this tactic where student groups send in a selfie as their “check-in” so that everyone knows they’re safe. Make them creative and silly for extra group fun. The best part is, the virtual check-in gives everyone more flexibility to enjoy their precious time in the park.
Embrace Your Musical Performance (If Applicable)
Perhaps your band will be marching in a parade or participating in a festival or workshop. Whatever it is, embrace it as a fantastic opportunity for your students. Your performance contact with Disney will provide you with simple instructions on where to be and when, then they’ll take care of the rest. Here at Green Light, we also provide groups with a 24-hour Tour Manager to help out during the trip. We find they’re especially helpful on performance days to make sure everything goes smoothly.
Of course, your band could always not perform. Maybe the entire purpose of this trip is to reward your band for all their hard work and you decided to leave the instruments at home. If that’s the case, embrace that choice as well and get back to focusing on how everyone can have a blast in the parks!
Mentally Prepare Your Chaperones
Your band kids may be young and spry, but make sure the adults you designate as chaperones are up to the physical challenge of being at Disney. Usually this means:
- Walking approximately 10 miles per day
- Walking on mostly concrete
- Dealing with warm and/or inclement weather.
We recommend having a chat with your chaperones about the reality of a day at the parks to allow them to mentally prepare themselves for these conditions. That way they’ll have the opportunity to decide whether or not they’re up for it.
Sometimes it’s beneficial to supplement park time with other team-oriented components. There are an endless amount of activities, shows, and themed dinner activities just outside of Disney to delight your band and most of all, create priceless memories that everyone will cherish forever. Our personal favorites include: Cocoa Beach, the Kennedy Space Center, an airboat ride, Gatorland, shopping time at Disney Springs, or just time to enjoy the hotel pool!
Make Your 2024 Band Trip Magical
Consider yourself set for success for your 2024 band trip to Disney! Familiarize yourself with the My Disney Experience App, pace yourself, embrace your musical performance (if applicable), mentally prepare your chaperones, remember togetherness, and your band will be set to have the most magical time possible!
It’s not too late to plan a trip for 2024! Consider a multitude of other destinations to excite and enrich your performance groups in the upcoming year. Either way, Green Light loves to see groups traveling, performing, and reaching their goals, and we’re happy to assist in that process however possible.
Green Light Group Tours is providing this FREE download of tried-and-true tips and suggestions for creating the best travel experience ever! Instant download available HERE. Ready to request a quote for your next band trip? You can do that HERE.