ORLANDO, Fla. — Visitors at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom were treated to an unusual and spectacular sight on Thursday as Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Cinderella, and a retinue of other beloved Disney characters paraded through the park behind a certain group of plaid-clad teen musicians.
About 60 members of the Scotland High School marching band travelled to Disney on Tuesday, having earned a spot in the regularly-held character parade after Director of Bands Britton Goodwin sent in an application this spring, complete with audition video and group photo.
“We were the only band in this parade — we actually led the whole thing,” said Goodwin. “They announced the parade and they opened up the big doors and it was just us. That made it special.”
The students spent Wednesday at Orlando attractions and Thursday preparing to perform. For senior Walker Davis and many other students, riding Space Mountain has been among the highlights of the trip.
“There are a lot of people that I’m good friends with here, so it’s a lot of fun,” he said. “It’s a lot different from being in Laurinburg, but the parade was really cool because everyone was looking and seemed to be really interested and clapping to Scotland the Brave.”
About 30 minutes in duration, the parade centered around the iconic Cinderella castle — the centerpiece of the Disney corporation’s logo and something seen by most only before viewing a Disney film.
“It was pretty amazing because everyone was clapping for us and thought our uniforms were really cool,” said drum major and flautist Summer Luquer, attending Disney World for the first time since early childhood. “I feel like I appreciate it more now because when I was a kid I didn’t really know what was going on.”
Marching in traditional Scottish kilts and jackets despite temperatures exceeding 70 degrees, the Scotland marchers treated a crowd of thousands to a medley of Christmas tunes as well as a rendition of the Scottish tune.
For the members of the Scotland High color guard who marched in front of the band while executing flag work, leading the parade in front of a massive crowd of strangers proved a daunting task.
“I think we did good, we really practiced hard and prepared for it,” said guard member Casey Young. “I was nervous because it wasn’t like our hometown football games — it was a lot of little kids and new faces that I didn’t know.”
Following them were characters from classic and contemporary Disney films, along with floats depicting settings from well-known movies.
Much of the cost of the trip — more than $30,000 for travel and lodging for all students — was funded through community fundraisers, including car washes and band booster discount cards. Band members also sold concessions at this spring’s Laurel Fest, where Goodwin pledged to shave his trademark beard and his head if they raised $1,500 and ended the day relatively hairless.
“There were just lots and lots and lots of people here and everyone just went crazy — not just about how the band performed but about how cool the uniforms are and how unique it is,” said Goodwin. “It was definitely really cool to bring Scotland High School to something like that.”