The Disney Honors Program – American Tours and Travel

Disney Honors

The Disney Honors program is a non-competitive music festival that is specifically designed for middle and high school choirs, concert bands, and orchestras. Disney describes the festival as “an educational and inspirational festival, which includes performances for evaluation at the magical Walt Disney World Resort.”

The program experience guides the young musicians through post-performance clinics and evaluations with distinguished music educators.  The program is designed to help take the choirs, bands, and orchestras’ performances to the next level.  It also includes presentations by guest speakers, director’s roundtable discussions, and evening events that only Disney could produce.

Macy’s Holiday Parade at Universal Studios – American Tours and Travel

Summer has just started but that isn’t a reason to not be thinking about the Macy’s Holiday Parade at Universal Studios for your band.  Spaces in the parade are already filling up for every date so now is the time to reserve a spot for your band.

Your band will be immersed in all the color, music, and pageantry of a great holiday tradition.  The band will get to feel like they are actually in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade since it features floats and balloons direct from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.

Participating schools also receive discounts to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.  The Macy’s Holiday Parade will perform daily from December 1 – December 31, 2012.

For more information or to book a spot in the parade and set up a trip for your band please click here to fill out or inquiry form.  We look forward to seeing you at Universal Studios, Orlando, FL!

Student Group Travel Tip #5: Pick The Right Destination

When planning a trip for 100 or more rambunctious, instrument-toting students, it’s easy to overlook small details. Of these seemingly minor details, one that warrants some attention is picking the right destination. Finding a destination that works for your group, meets your expectations, and makes sense financially and logistically is not always as easy as it sounds.

So, what do we mean by by the right destination? Well, you can make sure that your destination is the ‘right‘ one by considering a few factors:

1. Easy To Get To

We recommend selecting a destination that has multiple incoming flights per day. This ensures that if your whole student group, or even just a handful of students, misses the scheduled flight you won’t get stuck sleeping in the airport or trying to come up with last minute accommodations. Although changing plans last minute is never ideal, the option to board another flight is a nice one to have.

2. Easy To Navigate

Once you arrive at your destination, how easy will it be to get around? Will you spend a lot of time waiting in traffic, trying to get from Point A to Point B? You must consider the proximity of your hotel to transportation, attractions, dining and your performance venue. Then, you have to consider how easy your destination city will be to navigate on foot. In tourist-dense areas, it may be challenging to walk through throngs of people with 75 choir students in robes. Add to these considerations a lack of local knowledge and the responsibility on your shoulders becomes overwhelming.

3. Easy to Enjoy

You’ve reached your destination, you’ve figured out how to get where you’re going–now what? Another consideration when planning a large student group trip is picking a destination with plenty to do and see. Although a remote town in Iowa may be hosting an inexpensive student band competition, if there is nothing exciting to occupy your students in their downtime, that trip probably won’t go down in the record books as a class favorite. Selecting destinations like Orlando, New York City, and Chicago guarantees that your group will never be short on entertainment. Class trips as well as student band and choir trips don’t happen everyday, and should be both memorable and rewarding for students and Directors.

Considering all of the elements detailed above while simultaneously coordinating performance rehearsals, selecting chaperons, and planning fundraising opportunities will guarantee that you won’t be able to think straight by the time your competition date rolls around! Save yourself the headache, focus on your students, and let American Tours & Travel do what we do best–planning student group travel.

Click here to start planning your next student group adventure today!

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News About Universal STARS Program From American Tours & Travel

The Universal STARS Program has undergone some important changes!

A Brand New Changing Facility

The facility, which is maintained and used only by the STARS Performance Program, was completed at the end of 2011 and we couldn’t be more excited. The facility is air-conditioned, has separate male and female changing areas with bathrooms and water fountains, and will afford students the ability to change in and out of uniforms and costumes before and after performances.

Digital Photo of Your Performance

At no additional cost, each STARS Performance group will now receive a digital photo of their performance with the STARS logo on it. It is just STARS’ way of saying “Thank You” for participating in Universal Orlando’s STARS Performance Program.

 More Attention, and Ultimately, Larger Audiences

The STARS Program and its associated Performances will now be advertised through the park using digital board technology. Participating marching bands will be highlighted on the boards, letting park-goers know when and where to catch the next STARS performance.

Click here to learn more about participating in the Universal STARS program!

Welcome Yokohama Soei Junior Senior High from Tokyo!

We are excited to welcome a group of students from Yokohama Soei Junior Senior High School, located in Tokyo, Japan!

 The students are coming to Orlando to visit Universal Studios and Walt Disney World, where they will participate in marching and wind instrument performances at the parks.

Click on the video to see the group in action!

The students, along with their Marching Band Director, Fiji Shigaki, will arrive in Orlando on December 23rd and will be in town for the holidays. We look forward to showing them all that Orlando has to offer, from attractions and restaurants to theme parks and entertainment! It will be a wonderful time and we will have photos to share soon.

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Get Ready For The 2012 All American Music Festival

Polish your woodwinds and shine your brass for Orlando’s oldest and most prestigious music festival and competition–the 2012 All-American Music Festival.

The festival will take center stage in the kingdom of fun and entertainment — Orlando, Florida—so participants can enjoy everything that the city has to offer while in town. We advise all competitors to spend a few days in the Sunshine State, enjoying the Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Studios Resort, SeaWorld, Wet N Wild, Aquatica, The Fun Spot, Downtown Disney, Universal CityWalk and many other attractions.

This exciting musical competition is the pinnacle performance for any high school or middle school musical group. Every performance is professionally judged and prizes are awarded in multiple categories. An awards ceremony is held the evening of the competition and trophies and plaques are awarded to the students and directors for their participation.

The All-American Music Festival welcomes all musical groups, including bands, dance groups, choirs, orchestras, drill and auxiliary teams, and color guard. The festival takes place every Saturday from March 10th to June 2nd, 2012.

2012 Festival Dates:

March 10, 17, 24 & 31

April 7, 14, 21 & 28

May 5, 12,19 & 26

June 2