Choose A Reliable Tour Operator with Professional Memberships

Your expectations are high when traveling with students. You expect an outstanding safety record, personal attention and quality transportation and accommodations.  You demand expert trip consultants and great, student-friendly attractions. That’s why it’s so important to choose a reliable tour operator with a stellar reputation and track record of success.

Look for a company that is a member in good standing with professional organizations like the Student Youth Travel Association and American Bus Association. These organizations exist to provide guidelines and safeguards for best practices in the travel industry.

Why ABA Matters To You

As January winds down, the American Bus Association (ABA) is gearing up for its annual conference. Marketplace 2019 will take place January 25-29 in Louisville, KY. As a professional member for more than 25 years, Kaleidoscope Adventures will have a strong presence at the show. If you aren’t quite sure why this should matter to you, consider the following:

• Regulations for student travel are constantly changing.  ABA is up-to-date with the latest policies that affect your trip

• The conference hosts outstanding education tracks focused on current industry trends and standards. Highlights include social media, travel safety and the latest travel innovations

• Tour operators attending ABA have a direct connection with vendors.  They have access to the newest and best student travel products (attractions, shows, technology, travel protection, etc.)

Professional Memberships Help to Ensure High Standards

Active membership with the American Bus Association and other professional organizations helps to ensure a higher standard of service. Kaleidoscope Adventures understands the role these organizations play in providing the best possible experience for travelers. The KA team will be in Louisville this week, soaking up the latest information and best practices to provide travel BEYOND your expectations. When you plan a trip with Kaleidoscope, be assured that it will be unrivaled in quality and excellence!

Travel Beyond Expectations with Kaleidoscope Adventures

It’s not easy to travel with students. Parent questions will pop up the night before the trip. Suzie will get the stomach flu. Johnny’s reed will break 15 minutes before the performance and he won’t have a spare. He will, however, have a nifty new light-up necklace on which he spent all his souvenir money! No, it’s not easy to travel with students UNLESS Kaleidoscope Adventures is your preferred trip partner. Kaleidoscope truly is travel beyond expectations!

Success Is In the Details

When you travel with Kaleidoscope Adventures, you are more than just another trip. From the first call with your tour consultant to the final good-bye from your tour director, you’ll understand how committed the KA team is to your personal service. Success is in the details, and we’ll do whatever it takes to make you happy!

Kaleidoscope Goes Above and Beyond

Our clients have shared some of the ways Kaleidoscope has gone above and beyond, providing those special touches that keep them coming back year after year. We think you’ll agree that there aren’t many companies who would

• Customize a trip with your needs in mind (no cookie cutters)
• Respond to your phone calls and emails quickly and with concise answers. Oh, and (gasp) a live person will answer the phone- we know your time is too precious to wade through an automated system!
• Answer parent questions professionally and comprehensively
• Staff an emergency line 24/7 with KA personnel knowledgeable about your trip (not an outsider)
• Check each individual hotel room and organize hotel keys before your group arrives
• Write names on student tickets to eliminate confusion at the park entrance
• Provide an expert tour director for your trip whose primary job is keeping you happy (we’ve even gone on a flip-flop replacement run!)

Travel Beyond Expectations is Our Promise

Kaleidoscope Adventures has 25+ years as a leader in the student travel industry for a reason. Our clients return year after year for the individual service and exclusive travel experiences they just can’t find with other companies. Travel beyond expectations is our promise to you and the standard to which other companies aspire. Call Kaleidoscope at 407-345-4899 to chat about your trip- with a real person!

“Kaleidoscope Adventures takes a personal interest in each and every trip and their staff works tirelessly to make sure it’s a great experience for my students. They go above and beyond with even the smallest details. We have loved every trip we’ve taken with KA and can’t wait until the next one!” –Elaine, Band Director, PA

Rhythm and Moves Dance Intensive Has All the Right Moves

My living room has become a stage of sorts. Since my daughter started dance lessons, the room that used to be for guests is now a nightly performance venue and I am a captive audience. Sigh. Fortunately, I’ve found an amazing opportunity for her to showcase and fine tune her dance skills- without breaking a lamp! If you’re looking for an exciting, comprehensive dance event, the Rhythm and Moves Dance Intensive has all the right moves.

What is Rhythm and Moves?

Once recital season is over, pack up your dance shoes and head to the stunning Ozarks. Branson, MO is home to the Rhythm and Moves Dance Intensive this July 22-26, 2019. Branson’s top performers share their skills and expertise during master classes and workshops in an encouraging, family-friendly environment. Classes will be held at local dance studios. As a bonus, dancers will showcase their talents in front of a national audience when they perform on the Silver Dollar City stage.



What’s Included?

Tina Cooper (Clay Cooper Express), Mara, Jason and Carina Hughes (The Hughes Brothers) and Jay McManus (Kings Castle Theatre) are just a few of the performers lending their talents to this exclusive event. Master classes in ballet and hip hop and workshops highlighting choreography, acting for dancers, jazz, theatre, tap, intro to Irish dancing and audition skills are included. There are even tickets to three evening shows guaranteed to dazzle your dancer. It’s a star-powered dance event different from anything you’ve experienced before!

The Rhythm and Moves Dance Intensive is a great way to give the dancer in your life an incredible experience. Branson is warm, welcoming and a TON of fun! To find out more, click here or call Lisa at (417) 332-7281. We’ll be joining in the excitement this summer and (at least for a week) my furniture will be safe!

Resolve to Travel As A Family This Year

New Year’s Eve is upon us (hard to believe, right?!) As I reflect on our family’s 2018, I find it’s not the “stuff” that makes it into our highlight reel, but rather the experiences we’ve had. A cross-country trip with our teen and tween, a jaunt down south for a family wedding, a weekender with grandparents to the eastern seaboard and a father/son bonding experience in Chicago. These are the moments we remember- not a trip to the mall (although my daughter may disagree). As 2019 approaches, I know what my resolution will be…MORE travel as a family!

A Time to Unwind

Families live crazy, chaotic and busy lives. We are constantly running from one activity to the next, squeezing in homework, work, meals and whatever else comes down the pike. It’s frantic, fun and sometimes stressful. Family travel is a chance to leave that pressure behind and RELAX. If you can’t remember what that word means, scroll through your most recent vacation photos for a visual reminder.

A Time to Disconnect and Re-Connect

Family travel is also an opportunity to re-connect with those people living in your house who sometimes remain unseen for days, otherwise known as your kids! So many things vie for our children’s attention- school, friends, sports, band, cheer, and the ever-intrusive technology. Do you long for the days when you could have a conversation with your child? Do you pine for something other than a text that it’s time for a pick-up? Taking a few days to disconnect from devices and re-connect as a family is priceless!

Holiday Card Fodder

Taking time to travel as a family means making memories to last a lifetime. Traveling with extended family like grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins lends a special significance to the experience. Go somewhere exotic and soak up a different culture or lifestyle. Take a day trip and spend quality time learning about regional differences or similarities. It really doesn’t matter where you go, as long as you go together. Imagine how interesting next year’s holiday card will be when you share your family’s adventures!

Yes, spending more family time exploring this wide, wonderful world is my new year’s resolution. On behalf of the Kaleidoscope Adventures family, we wish you a Happy 2019 and many magical journeys with your loved ones!

Holiday Travel Tips You Need To Know Before You Go

Long lines, airport delays, roadways crowded with impatient drivers … tis the season for holiday travel! We’re all anxious to get home for the holidays (or maybe someplace more exotic!) so we can re-connect, relax and rejuvenate. However, sometimes the stress of traveling makes us question if it’s all worthwhile. It is! Below are some tips for holiday travel that may help make the journey a little easier.

Be Flexible

If you’re traveling around Christmas or New Year’s, check the dates on which they fall. Try to avoid the days that will make for an extended work break. Everyone wants to take a long holiday, so it’s going to be busy at the airport. If you can be flexible in your travel days, you’ll have better luck maintaining your sanity.

Don’t Delay

Try for the earliest flight of the day. Lines are shorter and flights tend to be on time at the beginning of the day. If delays pop up, you have a better chance of getting on a different flight later in the day.

There’s An App For That

There are tons of apps designed to make your life simpler while traveling. GateGuru will let you know approximately how long security lines are. Skyscanner will help you find the cheapest dates to fly and alert you when prices change. If you’re driving, GasBuddy will help you find the cheapest gas on your route. There are so many great options to ease the stress of travel right on your phone.

Pack Lightly

Don’t be a Del Griffith and drag a trunk on your trip. Whether traveling by plane, train or automobile, pack lightly. Avoid checking bags if you can (eliminating the risk of a lost bag) or pack a carry-on with essentials like medication, change of clothes and important documents.

If traveling with children, pack a bag with hand-held games, small toys, snacks and books. This busy bag may be the difference between angelic behavior and a Frosty-sized meltdown!

Breathe S-L-O-W-L-Y

No matter how well you prepare for your holiday travel, you’ll probably have a few glitches along the way. The kids will tantrum, other drivers will irritate you, long lines and loud crowds will try your patience. Take a deep breath, invest in some good ear plugs, and try to enjoy the ride! The destination is always worth it!

The Midwest Clinic

December is here and we all know what that means… bright lights, cheerful spirits, fresh pine and THE MIDWEST CLINIC!  Ok.  Most of us probably have a different association with the month of December.  However, those who work with band, orchestra or music programs know that attending this prestigious conference IS like Christmas morning for musicians.

What is The Midwest Clinic?

The Midwest Clinic is the largest instrumental music education conference in the world.  For more than 70 years, it’s been a forum for the finest ensemble performances, expert presentations and the most current trends in the industry.  It’s packed with more than 50 clinics, 90 concerts, new music reading sessions and noted experts for more than 17,000 attendees from around the globe.

When and Where is it?

The Midwest Clinic International Band, Orchestra and Music Conference started in Chicago more than 70 years ago and is still held there today.  This year’s conference will run from December 19-22, 2018 at McCormick Place.

Who Should Attend?

ANYONE with an interest in music will benefit from attending.  Grade school and high school music students, directors, instrumental teachers, composers and arrangers, music industry representatives, college program participants and instructors and administrators are just a handful of recommended participants.

Kaleidoscope Adventures Will Be There!

Kaleidoscope Adventures, your trusted student travel partner and leader in performance travel, will be at Midwest Clinic again this year.  Stop by our booth (1030) and say hello!

If you are considering applying to have your ensemble perform at the Midwest Clinic in the future, Kaleidoscope can help you get there.  Details for the application process can be found on the clinic’s performance FAQs page.

If you are interested or involved in music, don’t miss the experience of The Midwest Clinic.  It may be the best holiday gift you’ll ever receive!

“Bowl” Them Over with an Amazing Bowl Season Performance!

The excitement of bowl season is nearly palpable as late December closes in. Bowl pools are completed in every office, family gathering and on-line, while the big games are hyped on all channels. If you have ever attended one of these nationally revered events, you know that the stadium roars to a fevered pitch as the crowd anticipates kick off! What a rush!

“Bowl” Them Over!

There are a select few among us who have had the opportunity to be a part of the pre-game festivities for these exciting competitions, namely the iconic bowl parades. High school marching bands from around the country (sometimes the world!) converge on bowl locations to kick off the action and set the tone for fanatical game attendees. Audiences of thousands watch as these talented musicians wow the crowds with spirit and skill. It is truly a magnificent experience for both participants and viewers, a memory to keep for a lifetime.

Bands of All Sizes Welcome

Marching band directors looking to showcase their accomplished students’ skills need look no further than a bowl parade. While some of the bowl organizations use an “invitation only” approach to selecting bands, others require an application for inclusion. It’s also important to note that bands of all sizes can often participate. Large competition bands, small marching bands or partial ensembles can take part in these exhilarating events.

Choose Your Bowl Game Wisely

When considering the performance venue that works for your student group, consider destination, timing and application requirements. If you’re hoping to travel while the students are on break, you may want to think about the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Florida. If pomp and circumstance is on your checklist, try the Military Bowl in Annapolis, Maryland. Maybe you’re hoping to get out of the cold. If so, the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl in Atlanta, Georgia may work for you. There are lots of great options if you know where to look.

Expert Help Planning

One of the best ways to wade through the process of performing in a bowl parade is to partner with an experienced company specializing in student performance travel. Kaleidoscope Adventures is an outstanding choice with more than 25 years in the industry and granular attention to detail. You can be confident that they’ll handle all the details and get you to the big event with ease!

Yes, bowl season is upon us. While football may take center stage on game day, students will be the stars of the pre-game! It’s an exciting and raucous time and an amazing performance opportunity for marching bands of all kinds and sizes. Call Kaleidoscope Adventures at 407-345-4899 today and get ready to be a part of the excitement in 2019!

Disney’s Candlelight Processional at Walt Disney World

Those who know me know I have a special place in my heart for two things (husband and children excluded, of course!) – Christmas and Disney World! The anticipation and excitement that precedes each is something I’d like to capture in a bottle and sprinkle out all year long! It’s a singular sense of joy and child-like wonder each time Christmas or a Disney trip is approaching. Imagine my delight when I first discovered that Disney has artfully combined the two in a stunning display of light and music set in a sparkling winter wonderland!

What is the Candlelight Processional?

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.  Celebrity guest narrators tell the age-old story of Christmas each year with visitors from around the world. This year, the list includes John Stamos, Whoopi Goldberg and Neil Patrick Harris (to name a few). Narrators are subject to change.  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 video of your group performing ‘O Holy Night’ as arranged by Walt Disney World®. Sheet music is available by calling (800) 359-0509. A second selection of your choice should also be included. 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.

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).

Kaleidoscope Adventures: Educating Students Through Travel
Where do we start?

To join in this spectacular holiday experience, call Kaleidoscope Adventures! Kaleidoscope has been a leader in the student travel industry for more than 25 years and is a preferred travel partner with Walt Disney World®. While the deadline for 2018 participation has passed, it IS time to apply for 2019! Contact Kaleidoscope Adventures and take part in a magical display of Disney pageantry!


7 Hidden Gems in Boston

Boston. I could write forever about Boston. My brother recently relocated to Beantown and I am positively gleeful! I’m pretty sure my new connection gives me “local” status and therefore lends credence to my rep as an insider. As such, I will share with you some hidden gems in Boston.  These points of interest aren’t necessarily highlighted on the tourist map but are great for student groups and others looking for unique experiences!


When you visit Boston, a trip to the local library probably doesn’t top your list of must-dos. However, the Mary Baker Eddy Library may just change your mind!  Approximately 3 stories tall and made of stained glass, the Mapparium within the library is a three-dimensional perspective of the world of 1935. It features a unique presentation of how humans and geography have been intertwined throughout history.

Museum of Bad Art

This is (literally) the only place in the world where bad art is not only displayed, but revered! It’s a hidden gem you need to uncover for yourself!

Ancient Crypt at Old North Church

The Old North Church is a standard stop for student and other tour groups. However, you may not know  that there is an ancient crypt in the basement accessible only by special tour. The crypt was used from 1732-1860 and holds more than 1100 souls. Yikes!

Boston Athenaeum Skin Book

Can we all just stop for a minute and say “eeeewwww?” The Boston Athenaeum houses a collection of 150,000 rare books. Tucked among them in a locked room is one with a morbid history. Its binding is made from the skin of one James Allen, a criminal who spent most of his life in and out of jail.

Edgar Allan Poe Square

Continuing with the macabre theme which seems to have emerged, our next point of interest is Edgar Allan Poe Square at the intersection of Boylston and Charles Streets. Poe was born in the area January 19, 1809, although his home no longer exists. The plaza boasts a statue of Poe with symbols from some of his best-known works.

Hood Milk Bottle

A forty-foot milk bottle isn’t really hidden, but it is a gem! Built in 1930 by Arthur Gagner to sell ice cream, the giant bottle stood empty for years until H.P. Hood and Sons, Inc. bought it and donated it to the Boston Children’s Museum in 1977. The dairy company is now given billing on the side of the bottle that sells snacks and ice cream in the summer.

Great Molasses Flood

On January 15, 1919, a fifteen-foot wall of molasses flooded Commercial Street at 35 miles per hour. It wiped out everything in its path and took the lives of 21 bystanders. A plaque commemorating this horrific disaster can be found at the intersection of Commerical Street and Copps Hill Terrace.

I’ve had such a good time sharing this hidden gems series with you- I think I may continue to pop up some secret spots from time to time! Student travelers and groups of all kinds will love finding treasures tucked away where they are least expected. Of course, the stranger the better.  Happy hunting!

7 Hidden Gems in the Smoky Mountains

If you’re planning a trip to the Smokies, you already know exceptional attractions and outdoor adventures abound.  If you dig a little deeper, though, you’ll uncover some unexpected hidden gems in the Smoky Mountains!

Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum in Gatlinburg

Mark the changing years with a stop at the world’s only Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum.  This hidden gem houses more than 20,000 pairs of shakers spanning five centuries!

Friendly Falls

Friendly Falls is a stunning little spot in the Smokies.  Located in Wears Valley, this roadside attraction features a gorgeous waterfall as a perfect backdrop for group events or family reunions.  It boasts a “rockin” shop filled with local artisan wares, goodies, unique rocks and more.   It also has a creek side mining flume for those searching for authentic hidden gems!

Elkmont Ghost Town

Everyone loves a good ghost town and Elkmont in Sevier County delivers.  Settled as “Little River” in the 1840s, Elkmont became a logging camp at the turn of the century and then an exclusive vacation community known as the Appalachian Club.  In 1934, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was established. The residents of Elkmont became displaced or took lifetime leases on their properties.  By 1992, most leases had expired, leaving roughly 70 abandoned buildings.  Many of these have been razed or restored for exploration.  Wandering through the deserted area is really cool (and a little bit eerie)!

America’s Longest Swinging Bridge at Foxfire Mountain Adventure Park

Imagine meandering across more than 70 feet of swinging bridge high above the Little Pigeon River… that’s more than a football field! You’ll find this hidden gem and a multitude of other log, covered and cable bridges at beautiful Foxfire Mountain Adventure Park.

Walker Sisters Place

Tucked into the pristine wilderness of the Smokies is the homestead of the Walker Sisters.  It’s a snapshot of rural 19th and 20th century mountain life and one family’s unique story.  In 1946, the Walker Sisters and their rustic lifestyle were featured in the Saturday Evening Post, prompting years of visitors to the homestead.  The Walker Sisters legacy lives on at this charming but now vacant hidden gem in the woods.

Christ in the Smokies Museum and Gardens

In the middle of Gatlinburg is a hidden gem you may not have considered (thus the title of hidden gem!).  Christ in the Smokies Museum and Gardens is an impressive must-do.  Guests can walk through life-sized representations of the Biblical world of 2000 years ago.  It’s both beautiful and inspirational!

Mt. Cammerer Fire Tower

If outdoor adventure is your thing, you’ll love the hike to Mt. Cammerer.  The stone fire lookout tower is perched at a rough elevation of 4900 feet and offers 360-degree views of the breathtaking Smokies.  Grab your boots and make your way to Mt. Cammerer!