Disney has this amazing program called Disney Youth Programs, Performing Arts. And I was a lucky mom that was awarded (okay, I paid) a FRONT ROW seat to awesomeness! Schools apply to the performing program and if they are accepted, they get to play in Disneyland or Disney World. They also are privileged to work inside an actual recording studio with a professional music producer. You know, those people with their names in the credits that we usually don’t read.
Really, it was one of the most amazing experiences in my life as a mom and a ‘mom’. I say ‘mom’ because I got to chaperone 40 teens on a bus from Idaho to Disneyland to watch them display their talents. My son plays in the high school band. He plays trumpet and tuba. And our local high school applied and was accepted to play a small concert INSIDE Disneyland! Not only the concert band went, but also our uber talented concert choir!
As the ‘mom’ who went along with all these teens, I could not have been more proud to be there. I took 100’s of pictures and texted them to other parents. I videoed everyone’s solos. And even though I may be a bit biased for my school district, I’ve never heard them play or sing with that much passion and enthusiasm. I cried when they played and sang. I know, I’m a sappy mom. I admit it.
I witnessed these high school student become professionals as they slipped on earphones, listened to the ticking time in their head sets, and had a music producer conduct them. I watched scenes from Aladdin, Rapunzel, Lion King and the opening Disney Castle credit play on a giant screen while the kids, MY kids, played the sound track! I just sat there and listened, with my mouth hanging open. It was inspiring.
We were all given special Mickey Mouse ears that read “Disney Performing Arts” and we were ushered back stage….a bit. We all went through security and our bus was inspected. It was a process that I was surprised at; but not offended by. I understood why. And they kids were patient as well. We were met at ‘the gate’ by a personal representative and ushered wherever we went. He answered every question and introduced us to everyone we passed. Names of people I’ve only read in credits and on CD covers. Do you know the name Alan Menken? Maybe you’ve heard of his work? There was this one about a rose and a terrible monster…even one about a diamond in the rough.
We were NOT to use cameras and were all sworn to secrecy …to protect the magic that IS Disney. We happily complied! It was such as honor just to be there! But what I would have given to take pictures of those teens in those head sets in that sound studio. I begged, I cajoled, I pleaded….to no avail. Here is the one picture that I WASN’T suppose to take.
The teens dressed in their red concert shirts and their black pants and played their hearts out. People came and watched. It was so neat! They sang, they played, the conquered! During the concert on stage they played ‘I Can Show You The World’ and a Lion King medley, and more.
And because of this they were allowed to hang out in Disneyland for 3 days! 3 days with 30+ teens, I loved it! Two things that make me so happy! My husband and I were the chaperones and we had the time of our lives!
One of my favorite memories was while waiting for the firework presentation at night. These musically inclined kids (mostly guys) sang acapella and captured the hearts of those around us. There was a bridal shower party right next to us and they kept the boys singing by shouting out request after request. It was awesome! (I took pictures and videos, but it was very dark that night.)
We did all the normal Disney things that are so beloved to all. We did parades, tried to take pictures with EVERY character, and ate tons of yummy food. Sleep was not high on our list that weekend. And we’d all do it again in a heart beat!
This! This is my proudest Disney Mom moment!
Do you have one?