Disney Trip Hits a Bump in the Road
After a week of touring the four Walt Disney World theme parks and Universal Studios in Orlando, the nearly 50 passengers on the bus home were in for one last unplanned surprise.
It was the second year of the EDUscape trip to Walt Disney World. This year, travelers would also be able to visit Universal Studios for two days of the five day trip. This allowed them the opportunity to experience the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, and a recreation of Krustyland from the TV show The Simpsons.
Another addition to this year's trip was the addition of the Park Hopper. This allowed travelers to switch between parks in the middle of the day, whereas normal tickets only admitted them to one park. Combined with Extra Magic Hours, travelers were able to visit all 4 parks and even stay at Magic Kingdom until 2:00 a.m. one evening.
The final day of the trip was spent in Disney's Magic Kingdom, rounding out the week with undoubtedly the most popular theme park at Walt Disney World. That evening, all of the passengers collectively rode the monorail back to the parking lot where their bus was awaiting. It was nearly midnight, and there was an eight-hour-long ride on the Interstate before the bus made its last stop.
Within an hour of the drive back, many of the passengers had fallen asleep due to a combination of exhaustion of the day before and sitting in a seat for an hour. A quick restroom break at a rest stop allowed the remaining few students still awake to stretch their legs. That is, of course, if they could step over the people sleeping in the middle of the aisle (No joke).
The following is a personal account of what happened next.
1:00 AM - The bus is back on the road and the students have fallen back to sleep.
2:00 AM - I struggle to find a decent sleeping position in this seat that leans back a whole three degrees, instead opting to place my head on the seat in front of me.
3:00 AM - Running out of music in my playlist, but at least we crossed in to Georgia! That's progress, right?
4:00 AM - I honestly fell asleep at this point, so there's not much to say here.
5:00 AM - We have crossed the state line again, and we are back in South Carolina.
6:00 AM - Boom.
That did not sound good.
The back right wheel begins to make a grinding sound, and we are bouncing up and down on a very flat road. In fact, it was enough to wake up not only me, but the others around me. It didn't sound like a twig had been caught up in the tire, it sounded like the entire tree was down there as well. That's not even mentioning the smell of burnt rubber that immediately filled the air.
Something was definitely wrong. It brought back memories of last year's Disney trip in which the bus was stopped only an hour into its journey to Orlando due to electrical issues. Thankfully, there was a convenient gas station with a totally-not-creepy Budget Inn across the road. Two hours and a bus transfer later, the trip was back on route.
After riding nearly a mile on what little of a tire was left, the bus pulled off on an exit in Walterboro, where we parked in a truck stop. A call was made to a tire replacement service, and they could get a truck out to us in three hours. I fell back asleep.
To make a long story short, the tire was replaced, we stopped by another gas station to get breakfast, and we made it back home safely. At the end of the day, it could have been worse. I am thankful that we were even able to drive on that popped tire for as long as we did (And you will too, once you see the picture).