The Happiest Place on Earth: Seniors Experience the Magic in Florida

By Justin Caccavo ’20

Since the Class of 2018’s return from Disney last year, excitement was brewing among the current seniors for their “trip of a lifetime.” During the last week of March, talk of Disney pervaded the Chaminade halls – taking root in morning announcements, cafeteria chatter, and casual conversations between students. On Wednesday, March 28th, the seniors went home, well-aware that they needed to be back at the Activity-Athletic Center at 2:00 AM to catch the bus to the airport!

Evan Bandini ’19 tells us that, contrary to what one might assume, students enjoyed the pre-dawn meet-up at Chaminade. “The early morning departure on the first day definitely added to the excitement and made the trip more fun,” stated Bandini. Although everyone seemed revved up while at the Activity-Athletic Center and on the bus to the airport, the energy dissipated quickly – not one person was awake during the plane ride.

The seniors arrived in Orlando at around 9:30 AM with the whole day ahead of them. By 11:30, students were hitting the rapids and speeding through Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom. Sean O’Connor ’19 reflected on his time in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, exclaiming, “My favorite part was going on Avatar [Flight of Passage]. Even with the two-hour wait, it was worth it.” Other favorite roller coasters that the students enjoyed on Thursday were Expedition Everest, Dinosaur, and Kali River Rapids. The Flyers reconvened at the end of the day for dinner in the Boardwalk Hotel and a fireworks display at Epcot.

The next day, the senior class took on Universal. The seniors enjoyed rides like Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, Revenge of the Mummy, and E.T. Adventure. Many students relished the water ride Ripsaw Falls, as well. Universal provided a change in scenery from all of the Disney-themed rides, restaurants, and store-fronts. Getting to experience different kinds of theme parks that cater to different audiences allowed the seniors to get the most out of their senior trip.

On Saturday, the seniors returned to Disney and visited Magic Kingdom early in the morning for their final full day in Orlando. In the most iconic Disney park, students rode popular rides such as Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, and the Seven Dwarfs’ Mine Train. At 5:00 PM, everyone gathered for a Mass celebrated by Father Garrett Long, S.M. ’62. After receiving the Eucharist, the seniors were allowed to go back to the parks on their own for a few more rides, dinner, and sight-seeing. They couldn’t stay out too late, however, because they needed to be up at 2:45 A.M. the next morning to fly back home!

Fortunately, all Chaminade students were afforded a virtual day on Monday, which meant that our seniors could finally catch up on all of their missed sleep. The next day, Tuesday, April 2, Chaminade was restored to its full capacity with all of its students. Back in school, Anthony DiPietro ’19 considered Disney and how the trip had brought his class together. “After coming back from Disney, our senior class felt closer. Everyone had fun, and everyone bonded. It was an amazing experience,” concluded DiPietro.

All of the seniors enjoyed their trip to Disney, and for many of them, going to Disney World was the highlight of their Chaminade experience. The annual trip to Disney does so much to enhance the atmosphere of the seniors’ final weeks as well as to strengthen the camaraderie of the senior class. The trip has also bestowed something to look forward to and a goal to achieve for all the underclass Chaminade students. As Daniel Garcia ‘19 simply put it, “It is truly something I will never forget.”

Class of 2020, get ready for your Disney trip on March 19th -22nd, 2020!