Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Skipping school in Orlando

ORLANDO -- You don’t officially have to be on Spring Break to get a break from school -- not if you’re like Olivia Wisniewski, 9, of Holland, Mich., whose parents liberated her and her siblings for a family trip to Universal Studios.

“We’re avoiding the rush at Easter,’’ said her dad, Phil. “We thought the crowds might be too much then.’’

On Day Four of our Florida Spring Break Odyssey, we visited Theme Park Central, where we found some students legitimately out of class, and more than a few school skippers.

In the case of the Dallas family of Detroit, an early school break for some was the only way to get the entire family of 19 together, since the kids’ holidays didn’t all match.

Seventeen of the 19 – ranging in ages from 2 to 65 -- were at Disney’s Magic Kingdom. “Our parents brought us here when we were kids,” said Roderick Dallas, one of four adult siblings. They’ve been back a half-dozen times since their parents first brought them here in 1976, he said. This was the first visit since their father, Larry, died in 2002. Their mom, Clarissa, was on hand to carry on the tradition.

So where were the other two family members, 20-year-old college students? “They wanted to finance their own trips. The package they bought doesn’t let them come to the parks every day,’’ said Roderick.

The three parks we visited – Universal Studios Islands of Adventure, Disney-MGM Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom – were busy but not packed, and the sometimes unbearably long waits for popular stops like Sci-Fi Dine in Theater at Disney-MGM and Dueling Dragons at Universal’s Islands of Adventure were actually reasonable.

Some students – like the lacrosse team from Westminster high school in Atlanta – were combining school activities with play. The group of 28 were splitting time between tournament games, practice, a service day at a local daycare center and time in the parks, they said.

But for some hard-working kids, the visit was all about having a good time. “I need to have some fun,’’ said Parker Hammon, 8, of Atlanta. “It’s been a big year for her,’’ said her mom, Kate Hammond Burch. “She’s learning that hard work can pay off.’’



Top: Lacrosse team players from The Westminister Schools in Atlanta, at Disney-MGM Studios: Alexandra Durkee, 15, Mary Beth Bird, 15, Caroline Davis, 15, Jordan Crofton, 16, , Elisabeth Powell, 15, and Laura LeBow, 16.

Bottom: The Dallas family of Detroit, at Disney's Magic Kingdom: From left: Cheryl Dallas, Clarissa Dallas Latonya Dallas, Seldina Dallas, Geneva James, Laurence Dallas, Andrea Ward, Roderick Dallas; front row, Laurence Dallas II, Jonathan Dallas, Satyra Dallas, Lashawn Dallas, Brandon Dallas, Alyssa Dallas, Ayanna Dallas. Missing: Bryan Dallas, who had wandered off for a snack.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hi! when is spring break in orlando florida? im looking at coming to florida next year and would like to miss spring break crouds!! please could you let me know the dates?

May thanks