Stone Castle Hotel & Conference Center

Stone Castle Hotel & Conference Center

Branson, MO

 

Hue and Cry

Traveling is about enjoying new experiences; trying new food, seeing different sights, and immersing our family in local cultures and adventures. Choosing a hotel, however, can cause indecisiveness between the regular franchises or being brave and picking privately owned hotels.

 

Stone Castle Hotel & Conference Center in Branson, MO is a privately owned hotel option that will transport you back in time to the ‘castle era’ of the 9th and 10th centuries along with all the comfort and convenience of 2016.

Medieval elegance with luxurious modern amenities

Throw Down the Gauntlet

Stroll down the indoor corridors within the castle walls where you will be safely tucked into your medieval suite. Relax in the jacuzzi with soothing water pouring from a rock or nestle into the beautiful Ozark scenery with a waterfall, gazebo, and indoor and outdoor sitting areas while savoring the free hot breakfast buffet.

 

Outside, the castle moat is full of bass fish caught in Table Rock Lake and relocated to the premises. Walk on the beautiful path of Ozarks rock and landscaping features for amazing photo opportunities.

Savor breathtaking views of the majestic Ozarks

You are sure to find a captivating room to fit your style in one of the 36 themed suites.  There are Branson scape themes such as ‘Titanic’, ‘Dixie Stampede’, or a more classical experience in the ‘Presidential’ suite. None of the suites have the same theme so book early to secure your favorite!

 

By Hook or by Crook

Several areas located around the castle make you feel at home with a comfortable atmosphere such as the large living area with a fireplace and the library which are available 24 hours a day.

 

Seven rooms with over 10k square feet of conference space are available to rent for weddings, crafting, family/military reunions, etc. The conference center can accommodate all your knights in shining armor!

Expert staff will exceed your every expectation when you plan your event at Stone Castle Hotel & Conference Center

Stone Castle houses all of your modern travel desires; free hot breakfast buffet, two heated pools and hot tubs, indoor corridors, elevators, free Wi-Fi, refrigerators in every room, pillow top mattresses, and even a vintage arcade game room. Various room rates welcome every budget, whether you are seeking a royal experience or an inexpensive place to lay your head.

 

A Nest Egg

There are over 40k hotel rooms in the Branson area and Stone Castle is a true Branson gem. It is conveniently located on Green Mountain Drive where you will have the best access to any interests on the Hwy 76 Strip.

Conveniently located on Green Mountain Drive, Stone Castle puts you right in the middle of Branson’s best attractions!

‘Your home is your castle’ and when visiting Branson, you will want to make Stone Castle Resort and Conference Center your home and favorite Branson family tradition. Their utmost personal attention and Ozark Mountain hospitality will bring you back with and for generations!

Branson, MO is a first-rate student performing group destination and The Stone Castle Hotel & Conference Center is perfect for student groups! Team Kaleidoscope Adventures has a fabulous working relationship with the entire Branson community and understand the best venues and accommodations to fit the needs of your students.  Let us plan a remarkable trip to Ozark Mountain Country for your group! Call 1-800-774-7337.

 

“If you can think of it, Stone Castle can do it!” Jay Wilson, General Manager, Stone Castle Hotel & Conference Center

There’s Nuttin’ like a Dutton!

There’s Nuttin’ like a Dutton!

Branson, MO

 

Located in the Ozark Mountain city of Branson, MO, you will find the Dutton Theatre Complex along the famous ‘76 Strip’. Branson has a population of over 11k people and hosts a whopping 56k theatre seats which equals five seats for every local citizen.  There are over 50 individual theatres, many of them are owned by families. The Dutton family purchased the old Boxcar Willie Theatre and the Plantation Inn, which is now their current complex, shortly after they entered the Branson scene over nineteen years ago.

 

The Dutton Experience

 

Putting on a show

The Duttons ‘string you along’ for two wonderful hours with guitars, fiddles, mandolins, cellos, banjos and anything else with strings! Judith tickles and beats the ivories to back up the classical hillbillies while Jonathan plays his harmonica to add an incredible soulful sound. Sit back and relax in the new cushy and comfortable theatre seats and be carried away!

The ultimate in family entertainment by the ultimate family entertainers!

Pick a genre

The different segments of the show flow smoothly from one genre to another. One minute the audience is listening to a lively song from the Beach Boys while tossing giant beach balls throughout the auditorium and the next minute they are tapping their toes to a Branson tradition of the ‘Orange Blossom Special’.

 

You will love the diversity in their versions of ‘When You Say Nothing At All’ which is a beautiful country ballad, ‘When I Ruled The World’ by Coldplay, and the bluegrass folklore piece ‘Boil Them Cabbage Down’ aka ‘Bile Them Cabbage Down’. I am sure that song was originally sung by my dad!

 

‘The Devil Went Down To Georgia’ sounds like an entire symphony, and the Steam Punk costumes add a fun twist.  If you do not care for a particular genre, don’t worry because a minute later, it will change!

The Duttons deliver stunning sounds and a spectacular musical variety

Searching for Hope

Amy performs a beautiful tribute to her five-year-old son, Josiah, who was diagnosed with leukemia three years ago. She sings her ‘Fight Song’ to a time lapsed video of his journey as well as her father’s battle with cancer. This emotional segment is a perfect faith promoting experience that portrays courage in the face of trial. The entire family is present on stage to sing and show their support and love for courageous little Josiah and father Dutton.

Amy’s beautiful and moving tribute to her son, Josiah, is rooted in faith and strength

Gone Loopy

The Duttons have performed classical music for decades and nearly every family member plays the multitude of instruments used in their show. Their signature performance includes all five siblings playing a different stringed instrument; every few seconds, they pass the instruments to the next person and loop around until every person has played each one. There are also a few special moves that you must see to believe. Awesome!

The audience will be gawking when this family starts rocking- you really won’t believe your eyes!

Tim plays an amazing classical piece by playing and recording an instrument for a few seconds and then playing it back while he records another. He does this with several instruments until the end result sounds like a full orchestra. I marveled that one person could create such a beautiful piece without other musicians in less than 2 minutes.

Astonishing musical talent and a captivating performance

Julio Says It All

What is a good blue grass, classical, or steam punk performance worth if there is no comedy? Well, ‘Cousin Julio’ is a huge fan of the Duttons and appears on stage begging for a job. Jonathan refuses to hire him but Julio doesn’t speak English very well and decides that he is going to be part of the show. Although the family eventually offers him a job in the custodial department, Julio turns cleaning into a career of hilarious entertainment! You will fall in love with Julio and can even purchase a t-shirt in the gift shop to prove your admiration.

Cousin Julio’s crazy antics will keep you in stitches as he tries to join the family fun!

‘The Duttons’ is a delightful, professional, and family oriented show. I especially enjoyed the facial expressions of the cast, the blue grass music, the captivating Amy during the classical piece, and the comedy of the very talented ‘Cousin Julio.” The family comes alive with a set of strings in their hands and love what they do! The aspect I remember most is the highly trained sound of the strings. Oh, and my new boyfriend, Julio!

The Duttons are a fascinating blend of faith, family and extraordinary musical flair!

 

Three brothers, two sisters, and fifteen children comprise the cast of the Dutton show that can be seen most nights at 8:00 p.m. from early April through the first week of December. The theatre complex is located in the ‘neighborhood of the stars’ on the 76 strip in Branson. The Duttons also own and manage the Dutton Inn located directly behind the theatre, and ‘Abby’s Tourist Trap’ next to the front entrance.

Branson, MO is a first-rate student performing group destination! Nearly one hundred high quality shows, such as the Duttons, enjoying mentoring and allowing students to perform in their theaters. Kaleidoscope Adventures has a fabulous working relationship with the Branson community. Let our experts plan a remarkable trip for your group! Call 1-800-774-7337.

Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade

Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade

 

 

The Philadelphia Thanksgiving Parade is the oldest in the country and held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This remarkable parade began in 1920 and was produced by Gimbel Brothers’ Department Store to signify the arrival of Santa Clause. The parade is currently produced by 6abc and sponsored by Dunkin’ Donuts.

Shake off the turkey and jump into the holiday spirit with the legendary and always exhilarating Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade

Can Your Students Perform?

Absolutely!! Three performance categories are offered: choir students, tap dance students, and marching bands.

 

Mass Youth Choir

Elementary, middle school, and high school choirs may apply for the incredible opportunity to participate in the mass youth choir that performs for the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade musical production. Approximately 1k singers stand in special formation and perform on the steps of the Museum of Art. The entire cast of about 2k performers also sing in the grand finale telecast.

Join your voices with more than a thousand others on the iconic steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art

All Star Tap Team

Tappers of all ages can apply to be part of the All Star Tap Team with more than 600 tap dancers from across the nation! The team performs a fantastic parade telecast presentation and also participates in the parade opening and grand finale.

Keep the beat with a spirited performance by the All Star Tap Team

 

Marching Bands

The Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade is considered to be one of the most band-friendly parades in the country! The parade has 19 spots each year for high school, university, and specialty marching bands. Each band must have 90 or more members and are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year. Bands march down Benjamin Franklin Parkway along with spectacular floats and gigantic balloons to delight families and the viewing audience. Many local performers and recording artists ride on the floats.

The perfect venue to showcase your band’s extraordinary skills

Televised

The televised section of the parade occurs near the end of the 1.4 mile route, directly in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The parade is free except for the grandstand seats which are reserved for sponsors and VIP’s. It is syndicated to stations in markets east of the Mississippi and can also be viewed on a live webcast on 6abc out of Philadelphia.

Grab your 15 minutes of fame during this nationally televised tradition of excellence

Future Parade Dates

Thursday, 23 November, 2017

Thursday, 24 November, 2018

 

 

Educational Sites

Student travel groups love the ‘City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection’. Experience sites of great historical significance in the city where our founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence. Philadelphia is the home of Independence Hall, Liberty Bell Center, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Rittenhouse Square, and the Franklin Institute Science Museum.

Step off the parade route and into our nation’s history when you visit Philadelphia’s treasured landmarks

 

The Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade is a wonderful way to begin the holiday season celebrations! Don’t miss this exciting opportunity that you and your students will never forget.

 

Kaleidoscope Adventures has been traveling across the country every year since 1993 with thousands of students. They can create customized itineraries that include transportation, overnight accommodations, meals, and amazing educational and performance opportunities.

 

Kaleidoscope Adventures is synonymous with student group travel and take the time to plan every element of your exciting adventure!  1-800-774-7337.

 

Traveling Abroad

The possibilities for your next adventures are endless!  Your talent and knowledge have no boundaries, so why should your travel plans? Your trusted partner in domestic trips, Kaleidoscope Adventures, is now taking your group abroad! Imagine performing in Ireland’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, taking Flamenco classes in Spain or learning history in France! Try authentic poutine in Canada or mouthwatering pizza in Italy. Take a selfie at the Berlin Wall or a panoramic shot of the city from the London Eye.

Don’t see your favorite destination? Get in touch with Kaleidoscope Adventures for a customized quote and introduce your students to new cultures and experiences.

Canada

Canada, stretching from the U.S in the south to the Arctic Circle in the north, is filled with vibrant cities.  Canada is an ideal destination for student groups.  You can chose from natural wonders to world-class museums, spectacular attractions, professional sports, unique historical sites, delectable dining, trendy shopping, excellent performance venues and Broadway Theater.

Majestic views and magnificent fun await when you visit our neighbors to the north!

France

Located in Western Europe, France combines beautiful historic cities, tiny villages, mountains and Mediterranean beaches.  In Paris, France you will find many classic art museums including the Louvre and monuments like the Eiffel Tower.  To diversify the trip check-out the shops, ranging from little vintage bohemian boutiques to the well-known designer fashion labels.  As if that wasn’t enough, there are still plenty of attractions to explore- enjoy the view of the Palace of Versailles, learn the tales of Notre Dame Cathedral or discover the Montmartre district!

Brighten your days exploring the “City of Light”

Germany

Germany is the largest Central European country as well as one of the most culturally influential.  It combines rich history and beautiful nature including forests, rivers and mountain ranges. The capital and cultural center, Berlin is home to thriving art, the iconic Brandenburg Gate and many sites relating to WWII. It is easy to cover many different historic periods in a short time within the city center, from a few surviving medieval buildings near Alexanderplatz to the ultra-modern glass and steel structures at Potsdamer Platz.  Leipzig presents a unique music and cultural scene.  A must visit is the Gewandhaus, the Leipzig Opera and the world-famous St. Thomas Boys Choir.

Experience Germany’s quaint charm, influential history and sophisticated culture

Ireland

Ireland’s capital Dublin is located at the mouth of the River Liffey on the Emerald Isle’s east coast and is world-famous for traditional Irish music and dance, the shamrock and the vast and untouched green landscape.  If you get the chance to spend st. Patrick’s Day in the capital, you will celebrate with the locals and people from all over the world alike! The city combines its ancient heritage with its modern side, including elegant restaurants and cosmopolitan shops.  Popular destinations include St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Trinity College and the Book of Kells, Christ Church Cathedral and Dublin Castle.

Friendly locals and lush green landscapes greet Ireland’s “lucky” visitors

Italy

Italy has made a tremendous impact on Western culture.  In addition to that, it is famous worldwide for its delicious cuisine, trendy fashion industry, luxury sports cars, for its beautiful coast, alpine lakes and mountain ranges.  Famous artists and architects, such as Bramante, Bernini and Raphael resided for some time in Rome, contributing to its Renaissance and Baroque architecture.  Student groups will enjoy strolling through the ancient streets of Rome and studying art and architecture. Rome is, without a doubt, one of the most fascinating cities in the world.

Step back in time as you wander through the ancient ruins of one of the most visited archaeological sites in history

Venice

Venice, the famous “floating city,” is truly an archaeological miracle being built on water.  So unique in its characteristics, the best way to discover this city is to walk it and to take gondola rides.  Within the city, student groups will find many artisans, museums, churches and shops.  Yet, there is only one piazza (square).  With its many artistic masterpieces, beautiful waterways, unique culture and overall charm, student groups will marvel at the many features Venice has to offer.

Awe-inspiring views and stunning architecture abound in this “floating” city

Naples

Naples being one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world, is the third largest city in Italy.  In the heart of Campania, Naples provides a picturesque look into life during the Renaissance and Enlightenment periods of time. Neapolitan music was created with the invention of the romantic guitar and mandolin as well as notable contributions to opera and folk standards.  Naples is also widely known for its wealth of historic  museums, trendy shopping, art and pizza.  If your group craves Italian history, then Naples will bring history and your classroom to life.

Grab a slice in the city where it all started!

The United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Norther Ireland, and is an island nation in northwestern Europe.  It is the birthplace of William Shakespeare and The Beatles, and the site of neolithic Stonehenge, Bath’s Roman spa dating the the 5th century, and the centuries-old universities at Oxford and Cambridge.

London, England’s capital, set on the River Thames, is a modern city with history stretching back to Roman times.  The highlights include, but are not limited to, The Houses of Parliament, the iconic ‘Big Ben’ clock tower and Westminster Abbey, site of the British monarch coronations.  Across the Thames, the London Eye observation wheel provides panoramic views of the South Bank cultural complex, and the entire city.

London is the perfect juxtaposition of historical significance and modern luxury

The Team at Kaleidoscope Adventures can plan a safe, culturally enhanced, international adventure for your group.  1-800-774-7337

Disney Grad Nite H2O

Disney Grad Nite H2O

by Angie Harris

 

 

One of the hardest things about high school graduation is leaving the security of home and school and going in a different direction than your friends. Disney World has created a spectacular island party, Disney Grad Nite H2O, which will send you and your classmates off with a splash!

Text your besties for an epic night at Disney's Grad Nite H2O!

Text your besties for an epic night at Disney’s Grad Nite H2O!

Paradise

Typhoon Lagoon Water Park will host the first ever Disney Grad Nite H20 2017. The attraction is the second most visited water park in the world and Disney turns on the magic to create the beach party of a lifetime! Pass through thundering waterfalls, tube down Mayday Falls, slide under bridges and through caves, or experience a Hawaiian roller coaster ride in North America’s largest wave pool, Typhoon Lagoon Surf Pool.

Surf's up! Grab your BFF and ride the impressive waves at the massive Typhoon Lagoon Surf Pool

Surf’s up! Grab your BFF and ride the impressive waves at the massive Typhoon Lagoon Surf Pool

Exclusive

The Typhoon Lagoon experience is exclusive to groups of ten or more high school graduating seniors and their chaperones. This party is sure to go down in “history, history, history… of course.”

Typhoon Lagoon hosts the ultimate party for graduating seniors and their chaperones

Typhoon Lagoon hosts the ultimate party for graduating seniors and their chaperones

When does the party start?
This once-in-a-lifetime incredible party will be held on April 7, 21 and 28, 2017 from 8:00 p.m. to midnight. The celebration begins after normal park hours as high school seniors converge on the incredible island of paradise! A special ticket is required for this event.

Hang with old friends or make some new ones- just don't forget your ticket!

Hang with old friends or make some new ones- just don’t forget your ticket!

Event Includes:

ï    DJ dance parties

ï    Disney character meet-and-greets

ï    Food and a commemorative souvenir  mug with unlimited drinks

ï    Option to purchase a specially priced Walt Disney World Theme Park ticket

ï    Splash Back bonus visit—a complimentary return to Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park and Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park one day over the next year!

Unlimited drinks, dancing, Disney character meet and greets- Awesome!

Unlimited drinks, dancing, Disney character meet and greets- Awesome!

Bonus

Complete the Disney celebration and add a special Walt Disney World Theme Park ticket.

Keep the fun going all summer long!

Keep the fun going all summer long!

Kaleidoscope Adventures

 

Kaleidoscope Adventures has been traveling across the country every year since 1993 with thousands of students. They can create customized itineraries that include transportation, overnight accommodations, meals, and amazing educational and performance opportunities.

 

Kaleidoscope is located in the heart of Orlando and they have worked with Disney Team for decades. An experienced tour director will know every detail of your itinerary, 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.

 

 

“We’re always looking for ways to help guests celebrate their special milestones, and we know our guests like to celebrate their high-school graduation at Walt Disney World Resort,” said Andrea Finger, a Walt Disney World spokeswoman. “With this in mind, we are reimagining this special event and introducing a new way for high school seniors to celebrate their achievements with friends and classmates.”

For more on this story, link to the Orlando Sentinel

 

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

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!

Transportation

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!

Events

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

Restaurant

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

Venues

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

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.

Categories

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.

Alohomora!

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!

Gringotts

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

Supplies 

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

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

Disney’s Candlelight Processional

 

The radiant glow of candlelight spotlights the beauty and sounds of the season

By Angie Roberts Harris

The Fairy Godmother waves her magic wand and the spirit of Christmas explodes in a twinkling winter wonderland setting! Since 1958, the Disney ‘Candlelight Processional’ has been telling the inspirational story of Christmas.  Celebrity guest narrators share the greatest story ever told while surrounded by an array of student choirs and the Voices of Liberty accompanied by a fifty-piece, world class Disney Orchestra. The candles held by the cast during the performance add a beautiful touch.

This dramatic holiday spectacular is held three times per night during the holiday season in the World Showcase at Epcot in Orlando, Florida. The open-air American Gardens Theatre sits on the banks of the World Showcase Lagoon near the American Pavilion.

Neil Patrick Harris lends his voice to the dramatic telling of the Christmas story

Celebrity guest narrators tell the story of Christmas each year with visitors from around the world. The 2016 lineup currently includes Steven Curtis Chapman, Neil Patrick Harris, Whoopi Goldberg, Meredith Vieira, Joe Morton, and Cal Ripkin Jr. Narrators are subject to change.

Student choirs compete for the privilege to share their vocal talents in Disney’s Candlelight Processional

The Candlelight Processional is part of ‘Holidays Around the World’ which celebrates the traditions of eleven countries with live musical performances, seasonal culinary treats and beverages, and holiday merchandise. Student groups across the country apply for the privilege of performing in this prestigious event.

 Who can apply?

All choirs 9th grade or higher can audition to be a part of the grand celebration! To apply, submit a copy of ‘O Holy Night’ from the production piece and a non-returnable DVD of a recent performance. Your group will be evaluated on interpretation and execution of music, showmanship and stage presence, accompanists, and overall show value.

When is rehearsal?

You will receive the show music 6-8 weeks before your appearance and a pre-performance rehearsal will be arranged with a guest conductor and professional Disney singers.

The stage is set for a spectacular holiday showcase

What about costumes?

Students are required to furnish full-length black dress pants (no jeans), a plain white shirt (no turtlenecks), black socks, and closed-toe black shoes (no sandals, flip-flops, or athletic shoes). Hair must be one solid natural color and make up must be modest. Jewelry is not allowed. Disney will provide robes and collars to wear during the show.

What’s for supper?

Disney will supply a boxed meal and beverage on the evening of the performance. During the rest of your stay on park, Disney Meal Cards may be purchased as part of your package. This allows each student the freedom of eating when and where according to their own preferences.

Even Donald wants to join in while your group enjoys all Disney has to offer during the holiday season!

Is there time to play?

Absolutely! Your students will have the opportunity to experience the park as Disney cast members and also enjoy awesome hospitality as Disney guests. They will receive two one-day, one-park tickets to the Walt Disney World Theme Parks.

Disney’s Performing Arts OnStage gives your group unrivaled performing experience

The Disney Experience.

Performing alongside the high caliber Disney orchestra and crew exposes your students to the extremely professional standards of Disney Performing Arts OnStage.  This student program encourages excelled performance, increases self-confidence, and fosters artistic discipline.

Kaleidoscope Adventures will handle the details of your trip with experience and ease!

Where do we start?

Call Kaleidoscope Adventures! Kaleidoscope has been traveling across the country every year since 1993 with thousands of students. They can create customized itineraries that include transportation, overnight accommodations, meals, and amazing educational and performance opportunities.

Kaleidoscope is located in the heart of Orlando and have worked with the Disney family for decades. An experienced tour director will know every detail of your itinerary, stay with your group throughout the entire trip, and ensure a magical and wonderful experience! Kaleidoscope Adventures is synonymous with student group travel and take the time to plan every element of your exciting adventure!

1-800-774-7337.