Melanie and I had received our admission tickets via Federal Express a few weeks earlier and issued tickets at band practice prior to our departure. The Hubers had over $15,000 worth of tickets in their hands -enough for a couple lifetimes at Disney. Thing is, there was an expiration date on them! So with these valuable tickets in hand, our musicians headed for the bus stops located at the front of our beautiful hotel and headed to the various theme parks, including the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, MGM Studios and the Animal Kingdom.
Director Matt and Melanie, my appointed assistant director, headed to EPCOT along with Ralph Stewart to scout out our performance site. We had been assigned to play at Future World Stage West. This is a great stage located across from the Imagination and the Land pavilions. The bandshell was fully covered and the surface area was slightly bigger than our own Forest Park Bandshell. We had been assured by our Disney hosts that chances of a weather related cancellation was very slim and that only four performances had been canceled in the 18 years of EPCOT's existence. One, in fact, had been just two summers ago when a tornado went through Disney World. The Huber family just happened to be there that day and it was pretty scary!
I was very satisfied with the stage and with that, the three of us ate lunch in Morocco before heading back to claim the rest of the rooms at All-Star Music.

"Biker" Ralph tries a new hair style as a bemused Melanie looks on.

All our 38 rooms were on the first level and in the section themed Country Fair which was building number five and in a fairly secluded part of the complex. Yee-Hah! A country western theme for a concert band. The buildings were adorned in giant fiddles, banjos and gigantic cowboy boots. Actually the accommodations were great with very comfortable rooms and all the expected quality of a Disney hotel. Other themed buildings included Broadway, Rock 'N Roll, Calypso and Jazz. Jazz was "cool" with its giant trumpets, trombones, saxophones and drum sets.
With near 100 degree temperatures and the sun almost straight up at the 28th parallel, a lot of our people took advantage of the piano-shaped pool which was closest to our building. Another pool was shaped like a huge guitar. We saw no euphonium nor oboe-shaped pools, however!  Each evening as we dragged in from the theme parks, our delegation gathered at the piano-shaped pool to unwind and tell about the daily adventures.  Most of us stayed out 'way past midnight every night. We certainly enjoyed each other's company and I can think of no better group of friends to travel with than these wonderful musicians.



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