Royal Liberty School's Trip to Orlando

School / Group
The Royal Liberty School
Teacher / Group Leader
Adam Higgins
Orlando Florida

What was your main aim/objective for this trip?

Our main aim of this trip was to allow students to experience a range of scientific activities outside of the classroom, which would allow them to see how the science that they learn about in school can affect everyday life.

Students standing in front of rockets
Students standing in front of rockets

Outside of just looking at the academic basis of the trip, it was also a great experience for students to visit a part of the world that they may not have otherwise, showing them that there are plenty of opportunities outside of Europe!

We feel that these aims really help to build cultural capital around science.

Why did you choose this destination?

We chose to take our students to Florida as this is such an iconic location. Not only is it home to the Kennedy Space Centre and the theme parks, but it also gave us the opportunities to explore the Everglades and to see alligators in their natural habitat.

It gave such a variety of activities, plus still having the excitement of this being many of the students’ first time visiting the USA.

Student inside aircraft cockpit with pilot
Student inside aircraft cockpit with pilot

First of all, we visited the Kennedy Space Centre. The students were able to experience hands-on activities, as well as being able to see a number of space shuttles in person! We were able to visit launch pads and even experience a simulator to show what it would be like to launch into space!

We then visited the Boggy Creak Airboat Adventure. This was a small but brilliant location! The boys embarked on an airboat tour out into the Everglades. The experienced guide made sure that we saw alligators in the wild - we were lucky enough to see a good number of alligators which were as big as 10-12 feet! He also was able to give us lots of information about these - it was clear that he had spent nearly his whole life in the Everglades!

After our ride, we were able to take part in a number of other activities such as feeding young alligators and learning how to fire a traditional bow and arrow from a Native American, while learning about his culture!

The students were also able to experience a butterfly house and go mining for gems.

This was a good contrast from the bright lights which came later on in Disney - it felt more like small-town America!

We then were able to visit Disney Parks, with us choosing Epcot and Hollywood Studios. In Epcot we were able to see the world showcase, being able to experience cultures from around the world, as well as tasting local dishes! The boys were also able to have some free time to try out a number of rides, as well as being able to see manatees and dolphins! The day was rounded off by staying to see the fireworks spectacular - which certainly lived up to the expectations.

At Hollywood Studios, we began our day with a physics workshop. Billy, our guide, took us behind the scenes on a number of rides, allowing us to learn about how they work, but also allowing us to skip the queues and being able to experience the G-force and engineering of these for ourselves!

The afternoon allowed time for the boys to have some free time in the park, with them trying out a number of rides and activities, ranging from the new Star Wars ride to the Frozen singalong! There was something for everyone!

Why did you choose these visits and activities?

When planning the trips, I wanted to appeal to as wide a range of students as possible, while still having the science focus.

The activities all went down well with the boys, with many not being able to choose a favourite!

There was a good contrast between the Everglades, Disney Parks and Kennedy Space Centre, meaning that each day did feel different for the boys - there was no repetition of activities and they were able to experience a good variety of what the USA has to offer!

The lasting memory that I will take away from this trip is the fun that the students had.

In all of the activities the students saw things that they never had before, and experienced genuine awe and wonderment as a result of this.

It was also fantastic to see the students having such fun at the Disney parks - there was no pressure for them to act older than they were, with a good number of our boys excitedly buying light sabres, attending a Disney dance party and even joining a Frozen singalong!

What did students get out of this trip?

The students were able to see a wide variety of scientific concepts and activities in real life.

From learning about space shuttle launches to seeing alligators in their natural habitats, there was such a plethora of experiences that they experienced.

The trip also opened their eyes to activities and opportunities outside of both England and Europe!

Why did you choose Halsbury for this trip?

We have worked with Halsbury before and they definitely make planning trips much easier.

Their meticulous planning means that the trip was jampacked with activities, while still being able to stick to a budget which makes the trip accessible for a greater range of pupils.

Halsbury’s high standards of planning have definitely continued since our previous trip and the use of the Vamoos app was brilliant, especially when updating us on the latest flight departure information and having all of the paperwork for the trip in one place.

Were there any guarantees that Halsbury were offering that made it easier for you to get senior leadership and/or parents on board?

The Covid Guarantee helped to reassure both parents and our Leadership team about the trip.

When we first planned the trip, children needed to be vaccinated to enter the USA and with what seems like ever-changing travel guidance from different countries, this helped to reassure that if things did not go to plan, we would still be covered.

How did it feel to be on a school trip again?

It was fantastic to be on trips once again, especially one where we were able to travel all the way to the USA. It’s always brilliant to see the boys enjoying themselves and having brand new experiences!

How would you describe the experience of working with Halsbury on this trip?

Halsbury have always been a brilliant company to work with, from the booking process to the working out of the itinerary, we always feel that we are in safe hands. The process is so smooth, and they are always on-hand to answer any questions.

Would you recommend Halsbury to your friends and colleagues?

I would definitely recommend Halsbury to friends and colleagues.

The planning of the trip left us confident that we would know what would be happening at each point each day, meaning that we could keep parents fully up-to-date.

This also made the risk assessments and other paperwork a lot more straightforward to complete. There was also constant communication with Halsbury - they were always willing to go above and beyond to answer our questions which helped put both our minds and the minds of parents at rest.

I enjoyed the Florida trip because of the fun activities along the trip with Boggy Creek airboat ride, Disney Park Epcot and both the physics workshop and Disney Park Hollywood Studios.James, Year 9

I really enjoyed the Florida trip and my favourite part was the Boggy Creek adventure, as it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, especially the airboat where we were able to see huge alligators in the wild. We also got to feed smaller alligators. It was also an amazing experience to meet a real Native American person who taught us how to shoot a bow and arrow.Billie, Year 10

I really enjoyed the Florida trip because of the physics workshop we did about rollercoaster physics. We then got to skip the queues and try these rides for ourselves. I really enjoyed the boat ride at Boggy Creek too, where we got to see alligators in the wild.Frank, Year 8

I found the Florida trip very exciting and I most liked the trip to Disneyland where we were able to ride a lot of the rides and build our own Star Wars drones. Another one of my favourites was the trip to the Kennedy Space Centre, where I saw a massive space shuttle and got to experience what a shuttle launch was like!Matei, Year 8

I really enjoyed the Florida trip but my favourite part was the Frozen Sing Along at Hollywood Studios. One of my favourite characters was Eric. I also liked the Boggy Creek ride as we got to go out on the Everglades to see the alligators.Zachary, Year 8

I REALLY enjoyed Florida. I loved all of the rides, especially the ones that went upside down. I also enjoyed the simple things, like the Disney Dance Party and Frozen Sing Along. Eric was the star of the show. I also enjoyed NASA and the Everglades as I found these very interesting as they are things I wouldn’t have done otherwise.George, Year 8

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