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Our GCSE Design and Technology trip to the 'Happiest Place on Earth'...

In early Februrary this year, our GCSE Design and Technology students embarked on a magical trip to Disneyland, Paris. The group of students (and the lucky members of staff who accompanied them) attended the annual D.T Live Conference, where they had the opportunity to listen to some of the most influential 'players' in Disney and the wider theme park industry. The talks covered the facinating work that goes into making the park so successful and enjoyable; shedding light on the science that goes into 'The Thrill Factor' of rides and archelogical structures, and the marriage of psychology and creativity that influences their merchandise and marketting efforts. After engaging with the insightful Q+A and feeling fully inspired, our students were then free to explore the park and admire their work in practice. 
Ella Leadbetter Green shares her experience....

Despite the painfully early start, I’m sure that none of us will ever forget DT Live 2024.

We left school at 6:30am with our bus driver Dan (and his little crab toy, Cedric)  and arrived at Chateau de Grand Romaine around 10 hours later where we stayed for the next two nights.

We had another early start the next morning (5:30am UK time!) as we had to arrive at Disneyland in time for our conference about DT and STEM within the park. We listened to some incredible speakers during this event and they included: Jon Chase, a science rapper and author, Brendan Walker, the world’s first thrill engineer, Olivier Besson and Edwige Pereira both of whom have important roles in the Merchandise division at Disneyland Paris and finally Roma Agrawal, a structural engineer. The talks were really engaging and interactive. We learned lots about the process of product development at Disneyland Paris, how the perfect thrill on a rollercoaster is created and about the science and engineering behind some well known landmarks such as the Shard. Finally, there was a really interesting Q and A before we were able to enter the parks. After a long, exciting day of rides and rollercoasters, we met back up with our staff to watch the Electrical Sky Parade along with the Disney Dreams! nighttime extravaganza which was truly magical!

An experience I will never forget was the second ride of the day. I’m not a fan of fast rollercoasters but my friends all wanted to go on R.C. Racer so I went too. It was the most terrifying experience I’ve ever had and I think my friends felt quite guilty afterwards but looking back, I’m really glad I went on it as, like I said, it is definitely something I will remember forever.

I think my favourite ride of the trip was the Pirates of the Caribbean ride since I went on it with all of my friends and the animatronic pirates were so cool to watch as we went past them in the boat. Also, I really liked Phantom Manor because even though it was creepy, I loved how it was a walk-through experience as well as a ride and how the 3D projections of the dancing ghosts looked so realistic and eerie. However, I think my favourite part of the entire day was the Disney Dream! show. The projections of all our favourite films were so magical and it was such an amazing way to end the night.

We really have Mr Price, Miss Caldwell, Miss Dent, Mrs Flaherty and Dan to thank as they all did an amazing job at making this trip as fun as it could have been for us in so many ways. This consisted of, playing games with us, showing us magic tricks, listening to us scream Disney karaoke and creating a quiz for us to do on the way home.

Overall, the DT Live 2024 trip was a once in a lifetime experience and I am so grateful to have been allowed the opportunity to go. I can’t think of a more perfect way to get a short break from GCSE stress.

Ella Leadbeater-Green, Year 11