Disneyland is known for its rides. With attractions like Splash Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean and the new Guardians of the Galaxy, it is understandable that rides are all that come to mind.

However, with this way of thinking, a lot of other things are overlooked. For example, those who go to this popular California theme park can also meet the Disney princesses as well as other characters, from Rapunzel to Mickey Mouse.

Another cool thing that Disneyland offers is its performing arts program. Plays are staged in theaters throughout the park, and various groups and individuals are also invited to perform on Disney stages. However, those invited have to try out for a spot in the program.

This spring, the Silver Serenade women's chorus as well as the Acappella Chorus, both from Fremont High School, had a chance to go and perform on Disneyland's Fantasyland Theatre stage. Geoffrey Anderson, the school choir director, sent in recordings and the choirs were invited to come and sing. The orchestra and band also were invited for the trip in late March.

On a Tuesday night, all these students boarded buses for the 13-hour drive to arrive at Disneyland in California at 8 a.m. the next morning. Upon arriving, the choir students had about an hour to get breakfast and meet at the entrance of Mickey's Toontown for their performance. They were then taken backstage, where they changed into their choir apparel, before being guided to the entrance of the Fantasyland Theatre stage, near the Toontown entrance.

Once on the stage, both choirs performed their region competition pieces, and the Fremont Legacy Choir did theirs as well. According to the stage managers, the Fremont choirs were the best they had ever heard!

After singing, the choirs went backstage to change out of their choir clothing. Then, they had time to ride a few rides and grab lunch before going to the workshops Disney had set up for them.

Going backstage in California Adventure, the groups went into one of the recording studios. One of Disney's music producers worked through a few Disney songs with the groups before recording. They then proceeded to play the choirs’ recording with the motion picture. The choirs got to sing "This is Halloween" from "The Nightmare Before Christmas," "True Love's Kiss" from "Enchanted," and "We're all in this Together" from "High School Musical." All the students enjoyed hearing their singing in the movies.

The rest of that day was spent in Disneyland before leaving for the hotel at 10:30 p.m.

Throughout this entire day, the choir students had a lot of fun. The Disney staff members they worked with were so nice. It was also really cool to see some of the characters backstage. It was also fun to see some of the progress on the new parts they are adding in the park and opening soon, like Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, opening in May. From the looks of things, it will be one of the coolest parts of the park!

The only downside during our visit was that Sleeping Beauty Castle was closed and a sheet was covering it up. The staff was working on updating it.

But other than that, performing at Disneyland was definitely an experience to add to the scrapbook.

Emma Wiser is a senior at Fremont High School. She enjoys reading, writing and singing. Email her at wiserem@wsdstudent.net.

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