Park Inn by Radisson

Park Inn by Radisson

By Angie Roberts Harris

My family recently stayed at the Park Inn on Maingate Lane in Orlando, Florida and had an awesome visit! If you are considering Orlando as a vacation destination and looking for a great place to stay, Park Inn offers outstanding amenities.


Location is absolutely the greatest benefit of Park Inn! The resort and conference center is less than 5 miles from the entrance to Disney World, 11 miles from Sea World, and 15 miles from Universal Studios. There is also a variety of restaurants within walking distance such as IHOP, McDonalds, Ponderosa, and Burger King as well as shopping areas. Enjoy a leisurely stroll as the area is flat with sidewalks.

The beautiful Park Inn by Radisson on Maingate puts you right in the middle of Orlando’s best attractions!


Park Inn provides a scheduled free shuttle service to Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores, Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom, Epcot Center, Sea World, and Universal Studios. We took the shuttle to Epcot Center and were dropped off very close to the entrance.

The free shuttle makes getting to your favorite park or shopping quick and stress-free

The view

The window of our room faced the Walt Disney properties. At night, we settled in to an amazing view of dazzling fireworks from several of the parks. The hotel is tucked in behind the street with a clear view. Animal Kingdom is the closest park and the fireworks are beautiful!

Enjoy spectacular views in the comfort of your room

The room

Room prices vary, of course, but the rates are reasonable! Our room was clean, had a refrigerator, and included free wireless Internet access. The large garden tub was comforting after a tiring day of walking in the park and the tile floors added a nice touch.

Park Inn rooms are spacious, clean and comfortable with conveniences you’ll appreciate!

Gift Shop

The gift shop is family friendly and stocks common forgotten items, microwaveable food and snacks, Disney and Florida souvenirs, swim suits, flip flops, and toys.

Forget something? We’ve got you covered!


The conference center features 30k square feet of flexible meeting space. Park Inn can accommodate up to 1,300 attendees with a full service sales and catering team on property.

The Park Inn will host your group in style with a full service sales and catering team


Savannah Bar and Grill serves convenient and delicious food at affordable prices. Room service is available and cocktails can be ordered at the Poolside Sand Bar.

Relax and enjoy a tasty bite at the Savannah Bar and Grill or Poolside Sand Bar

Sports Groups

Park Inn has sports approved status with Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group and a proven track record of catering to the unique needs of sport teams. The resort and conference center offers:

  • Team breakfast options
  • Complimentary Wireless Internet Access
  • Special recognition upon arrival
  • Especial recognition for coach or team manager
  • Pre-keyed and pre-blocked group rooms
  • Complimentary meeting space for team meetings
  • Directions to fields, sports complexes, etc.
  • Discount coupons for on-property restaurant
  • Internal ‘Sports Group Resume’ prepared and shared with staff

The Park Inn knows how to expertly handle the unique needs of your sports group

How to schedule your group:

Kaleidoscope Adventures is located in the heart of Orlando and they have worked with student groups of all kinds for over 24 years. An experienced tour director will know every detail of your itinerary and stay with your group throughout the entire trip! 1-800-774-7337.

Park Inn is located at the center of all the Orlando excitement in a comfortable and enjoyable setting. Superb for groups!

Festivals of Music

Festivals of Music

By Angie Roberts Harris

Music is an essential part of education and finding the right competition arenas for your high school band, orchestra, or choir can be challenging. Festivals of Music are held in wonderful destinations across the country and provide exciting and professional festival experiences with some of the nation’s top judges.

Who is eligible to attend?

Music students from grades 6-12 can compete at Festivals of Music. Schools from across the United States and Canada participate.


Photo credit: Festivals of Music, Inc


Festivals of Music reserve high quality venues with wonderful acoustics in appealing and famous locations such as New York, Washington DC, Nashville, etc.  There is also a venue in Canada for an international experience!


Adjudicators are carefully chosen and always have helpful feedback with ideas and suggestions to raise the performance level of your group. Working with an unfamiliar conductor can help students overcome challenges and reinforce musical concepts from a different perspective. These well-known adjudicators are accomplished in their specific musical disciplines such as winds, strings, or chorale.

The Performance

Competitors perform before a panel of three judges who are master teachers and their commentary and comments will be provided to group directors. Following the performance, your students will enjoy working with the judges during a clinic held on stage. Afterwards, your group may leave and visit a fun theme park and/or local area attractions.


There are many opportunities for any type of ensemble from any type of music program.

Grand Finale Awards Presentation

The day after the performances, everyone returns for an awards ceremony to be recognized and presented with an award. Impressive trophies and plaques provide awesome incentives to strive for excellence. In addition to basic categories, there are over a dozen special categories that can be awarded. At select festival locations, the awards ceremony takes place at a famous attraction such as the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, Six Flags theme park, or the Museum of Science and Industry.


The awards at the Festivals of Music are beautiful. Photo credit: Festivals of Music, Inc

What is included?

Festival performance fees include: on stage clinic, digital recording of adjudicator comments, souvenir pin for performing students and ensemble director, trophy for each group, and commemorative directors gift for ensemble conductors. The festival fee also includes admission to the attraction where the awards ceremony is being held.

The professionals at Kaleidoscope Adventures have over 24 years of experience in scheduling music student groups and travel and have extensive musical educational backgrounds.

Call (800) 774-7337 for custom itinerary options!


The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™


Curl up with your favorite wizard and friends!


By Angie Roberts Harris

In 1998, Scholastic Corporation released the first book of the Harry Potter series, ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’, in the U.S. The popular books are currently the #1 best-selling series of all time with distributions equaling over 500 million.


The The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ is found in two theme parks owned by Universal Orlando Resort™; Universal’s Islands of Adventure™ opened the doors to Hogwarts™ School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. in June of 2010, and guests began strolling the streets of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter- Diagon Alley™, located within Universal Studios Florida™, in July of 2014.

Universal Studios Florida

Where to begin?

Begin the enchanting journey in Universal Studios Florida™ and follow the life and events of Harry Potter. Meander through The Wizarding World of Harry Potter- Diagon Alley™ to purchase magical supplies in preparation to attend Hogwarts™ School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Explore the twists and turns of Diagon Alley- but watch out for fire-breathing dragons!


Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts™ is a 3D steel roller coaster experience. Explore the underground vaults with Harry and the gang while fighting off villains and monsters. Observe the goblins hard at work in the grand marble hallway while walking through the queue and then travel deep in the caverns beneath the bank to board the thrilling ride! Gringotts is easy to find under the giant fire breathing dragon.

Journey through the marble lobby and cavernous passageways of Gringotts’ bank


Visit Ollivanders to pick a wand or rather, let the wand pick you! Swing by Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions for your back- to-school clothing needs. The Magical Menagerie is crawling with familiars to be adopted, and don’t forget ‘Quality Quidditch Supplies’!

Gather all of your supernatural provisions in one magical spot

A spot to eat

The Leaky Cauldron pub serves cottage pie, fish and chips, and bangers and mash. Top it off with an amazing butterbeer drink for a meal that can’t be beat! For a sweet treat, slide over to Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour. I get apple crumble ice cream every time. Accio!

Satisfy your ravenous wizard’s appetite with something scrumptious!

King’s Cross Station

Walk through Platform 9 3/4 to find a full scale replica of Hogwarts Express. Have a blast sitting in a separate compartment with friends on a magical trip back to school seeing the beautiful English countryside, hearing Harry and his friends, and reliving exciting scenes from the movies. The train travels from Universal Studios to Universal’s Islands of Adventure™. A park-to-park admission ticket is required to ride the train. Watch out for spiders! Why does it always have to be spiders?

Climb aboard for an enchanting ride through the British countryside- you may even spot your favorite characters through the windows!

Islands of Adventure

Arriving at Hogsmeade

Ready your wand and begin practicing spells as you step off the train! Study the map in your wand box to locate areas around the village where it is possible to create magic and stir up a little mischief with your interactive wand. Expelliarmus!

Explore the village and quaint shops at Hogsmeade

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

Hogwarts is home to an amazing robocoaster called ‘Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey’. The queue winds through intriguing rooms such as the dungeon, the greenhouse, and the Gryffindor common room.

The seats of the ride are held above the track by a robotic arm and pivot while riders watch a wraparound projection screen. The ride does NOT go upside down. In the Room of Requirement, Hermione uses floo powder to set off the journey with Harry and Ron. Fly through the castle, grounds, and forbidden forest. Wingardium leviOsa!

Wander through the halls of Hogwarts before soaring above the castle in this thrilling attraction

Expecto Patronum!

The Flight of the Hippogriff’ roller coaster whisks young witches and wizards past Hagrid’s hut and around the pumpkin patch. ‘The Dragon Challenge’ is a high speed, roller coaster dragon chase for guests old enough to enter the Tri-Wizard Tournament. Choose from two fire breathing dragons for different ride experiences.

Hagrid will instruct you on the proper way to approach a Hippogriff as you glide along on this family-friendly ride

Hungry again?

The Three Broomsticks serves fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, and the ‘Great Feast Platter’. Step next door for a non-alcoholic butterbeer or pumpkin juice at the Hogs Head Pub.

Try something savory and satisfying or enjoy a refreshing butterbeer

Last minute school supplies

The shops of Dervish and Banges and Honeydukes are a must for last minute shopping. Be sure to stock up on chocolate frogs, cauldron cakes, and Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans!

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a magical place where guests feel the enchantment of the books and movies. Mischief Managed!

Kaleidoscope Adventures is located in the heart of Orlando and they have worked with team Universal for decades. An experienced tour director will know every detail of your itinerary and stay with your group throughout the entire trip.  Kaleidoscope Adventures is synonymous with student group travel and take the time to plan every element of your exciting adventure!  1-800-774-7337.

“Of course it happened inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean it is not real?”  

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Graduation Parties at Universal Orlando Resort


By Angie Roberts Harris

Universal Studios Florida™ and Universal’s Islands of Adventure™ go into lock down mode as they host two fabulous graduation parties: Gradventure for middle school students and Grad Bash for high school seniors. Both parks are open for the events and students move safely between parks with a reserved cross over path. Tickets are limited and sell out quickly!

Universal Studios Gradventure

Gradventure: May 5, 12, & 19, 2017 7:00 p.m. to midnight

Middle school students across the country eagerly arrive at Universal Orlando Resort to celebrate graduation! Students have access to Universal Studios Florida™ AND Universal’s Islands of Adventure™ with lots of street entertainment and various DJs to keep the party hopping throughout the two parks! Admission includes a voucher for dinner that can be used like cash in the park restaurants.

Universal Studios Gradventure

Seniors will dance the night away to the hottest live entertainment or bring down the house with Coca-Cola Karaoke!

Grad Bash: April 7, 21, 28, & 29, 2017 7:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.

High School seniors converge on Universal Studios Florida™ AND Universal’s Islands of Adventure™. The party hosts street entertainment, DJs, a live concert with one of today’s hottest acts, Coca-Cola karaoke, multiple dance zones, and much more! Party with your best high school buddies while enjoying thrilling rides and attractions.

Who can attend?

Students and chaperones of the attending school are welcome to attend. Outside guests will not be permitted.

Universal Studios Gradventure

Added security keeps the focus on fun (and gives parents peace of mind!)

Is it safe?

An extensive security check is required for all participants including metal detectors and bag/pocket checks. Alcohol, illegal drugs, cigarettes, e cigarettes, tobacco items, weapons, chains, spiked collars and belts, or any accessories that may be used as weapons are not allowed. Extra security is visible throughout the events.

Universal Studios Gradventure

Students and chaperones can celebrate the end of a successful year together with Universal Grad Bash and Gradventure


Chaperones are treated as VIPs with special extras! They will receive a Universal Express Pass which allows them to skip regular participating ride lines and visit chaperone-only lounges for breaks, snacks, and drinks. Grad Bash chaperones also receive a complimentary breakfast and can participate in giveaways and games throughout the night.

Kaleidoscope Adventures is the easiest way to book your group for the ultimate graduation celebration

Sign us up!

Kaleidoscope Adventures is an award-winning student travel planning company, and their experienced travel planners have extensive knowledge of destinations across the country. They are located in Orlando, Florida and in the travel industry, they are known as experts on all things Universal. A professional tour director is either with your group the entire trip or on call 24 hours a day to take care of any urgent matters that may arise.

Tickets are selling quickly! Call (800) 774-7337