The RV senior class trip: long lines and delayed flights, but lots of memories

This year’s trip was a great success, despite some challenges


Photo courtesy of Mr. Maniglia

The seniors outside the Hard Rock Cafe in Florida

Isabella Cifaldi, Student Life Writer

RV’s annual senior class trip to Walt Disney World and Universal Studios in Orlando Florida came to a close on March 12, and many look back nostalgically (or with mixed emotions) on this magical trip. Last week, seniors and teachers alike woke up well before a typical school day, where those on the Spirit plane arrived at RV as early as 2:15 AM. However, the early morning did not deter the excitement of our senior class and teachers, who all looked forward to an exciting-packed week to get a picture with Mickey, or even go down into the vaults of Gringotts Bank. 

The Walt Disney World and Universal Studios’ fun-packed week was filled with rides and long-lasting memories with friends and classmates, although there was also another factor to consider: the weather. Despite the “Sunshine State’s” name, each day was spent with half rain and half sunshine. However, this factor barely deterred the student and teachers’ moods, where all continued to ride every ride that they could, or try to cast a spell in Diagon’s Alley. 

My time in Orlando on the senior class trip was a blast,” said RV Nurse, Ms. Norway, who attended the Senior class trip for the first time. “Seeing the kids experience this time with friends made me overjoyed, especially knowing all they have endured over the past two years. Despite the weather not being the best at times, all the seniors made the best of it. I had a good time knowing that they all had a good time.”

I thoroughly enjoyed the trip. The overwhelming majority of students on the trip were beyond awesome,” said history teacher Mr. Pietrofitta. “Even when faced with some adverse weather, lack of sunshine, long lines and travel issues on the return trip they were upbeat and positive.”

The return to Disney for the senior trip was an important milestone. Due to the height of COVID-19 cases last year, the class of 2021 was unable to attend their senior class trip, so many students were committed to doing as much as they could together.

For anyone who has never been on the senior trip, it can be a bit of a grind. Wake up and breakfast are early, and many students are rushed out of their hotel rooms in the morning. Students are bussed to the park where they spend the next 10-12 hours with friends, riding the rides and visiting the numerous attractions Disney has to offer. New rides like the “Avatar” and “Star Wars” rides — each with more than three-hour-long waits — were thrilling experiences.

“I enjoyed going on the Jimmy Fallon ride 17 or 18 times, it’s the best rollercoaster ever,” said senior Rohan Patel.

Senior Chirs Rooney loved the new “Avatar Flight of Passage” ride which is set in the “Avatar” universe and allows guests to “take flight” from a mountain and soar over Pandora. “

“I don’t really like rides where you have to wear glasses, but it definitely felt like I was actually there,” he said.

While the first year back to Disney was a welcome experience for many, RV also had to enact several changes to how it traveled and adjust to new protocols.

“This year was slightly different compared to others that I’ve been on, due to the hotel we stayed at and COVID protocols,” said history teacher Ms. Knoelle. “The hotel was a lot larger, so getting used to the layout and where all the rooms took a while to get adjusted to. Usually, students could go to whichever park they wanted to. [This year] we all started at the same park, and it was easier to interact with seniors on the trip.” 

Flying to and from the New Jersey area presented a new series of challenges to the trip’s organizers. This year, students and chaperones were divided between two different planes from two different vendors, Spirit and Southwest, and from two different airports, Atlantic City and Philadelphia, at entirely different times. 

“This was the first time half of the group departed from the Atlantic City Airport instead of Philadelphia,” said Student Activities Coordinator Mrs. Rosenthal, who has been traveling with RV to Disney World for 22 years.

Combined with the weather (including a tornado warning on the last day in Florida and a snowstorm back in New Jersey), many said the flights were a nightmare. Those on the Spirit flight were delayed over eight hours and arrived home significantly later than those on Southwest. 

The only bad part was the return home for my [Spirit] flight, as we didn’t get back to the RV until 6:30 A.M. on Sunday,” said English teacher Mr. Clark, who has been chaperoning the Disney trip for years. “I have never had that long of a delay. Our students handled the stress of the delay very well.”

For many, the passing of the senior trip signals the beginning of the end of senior year. College acceptance letters have started rolling in, and seniors are looking forward to prom and other end-of-the-year activities and events. For others, “senioritis” has kicked in and is in full effect, and the motivation for schoolwork has decreased. 

The annual senior trip is more than just a reward for many students; it’s a chance to be together as a group for one last (extended) period of time. Amid the backdrop of the pandemic, political uprisings, a chaotic school year and everything else in between, the sense of normalcy that the senior trip provides can have a lasting impact.

“Being together as a class, I thought was pretty cool,” said senior Alex Iovine.