A Magical Competition


This year, the Imagine Prep cheer team qualified for Nationals in Anaheim, California for the first time! 

The cheer team has put in a lot of hard work and dedication in their routine to make it the best it can be by using the talents of each athlete. 

The team was beyond ecstatic to hear that they made it and had started to fundraise for the trip the week after. The team did many fundraisers such as discount cards and selling The Worlds Finest Chocolates. Each member of the team tried their best to raise as much as they can to help support them for the trip, and many teachers at the Prep contributed as well!

On February 22, the night before the team left for Anaheim California, the team held a showcase where they performed their routine to show their supporters what they were going to perform at Nationals. This was also a send-off where the teachers and family members could wish the team luck before they left.

The team met at the front of the school at 7:30 a.m. the next day. The coaches loaded the buses and the team took a photo before they headed off for the road. The drive felt long but the music kept the members entertained.

We arrived at the hotel around 5:00 p.m., the team had one hour to get ready for their team dinner at ‘Buca di Beppo’. The dress code was formal and black. Everyone went to their assigned rooms and got ready for the night. 

The dinner was great; everyone sat at a table together and shared the buffet-style foods that were being served. 

After dinner, most of the team met on the second floor of the hotel to hang around the hot tub and play football in the pool.

The next morning, the team ate breakfast that was provided by the hotel. There were many options provided such as pancakes, hash browns, bagels, toast, cereal, oatmeal, French toast, and juice. 

The athletes prepared for the competition by doing each other’s hair and makeup, as well as getting dressed in their uniforms. 

Luckily, we didn’t have to compete until 3:45 p.m., so the team didn’t have to show up at the Anaheim convention center at an early time. As we were walking to the convention center, it was raining and some of the athletes had put on their ponchos to protect their hair and uniforms. The team ended up arriving at the competition around 2:00 p.m.

As we performed our routine, the bright lights were shining and a lot of people were cheering; everyone did the best they could. 

There were a lot of built-up nerves while waiting to compete; after we competed, you could feel the tension in the air lighten as everyone was happy that most of the stunts hit. We walked backstage, where they played a recording of the performance.

Later that night, we sat down for the awards at the edge of the stage. Some teams that placed got called up to retrieve their trophy; our team did not place. Regardless, we were happy to be able to compete there and were looking forward to spending the next day in California Adventure. 

The team decided to arrive at the parks right when they opened, so the team ate breakfast in the hotel and left around 7:30 a.m. to walk to the park. It rained, but that was expected. Everyone had assigned groups who they were to stay with throughout the day. Some groups joined together while others ventured off themselves. 

The team, excluding three people, wanted to ride the Guardians of the Galaxy ride together before everyone split up.

After the ride, some went on again while others walked around to find other rides.

My group, in particular, joined another group; the eight of us stayed together for the rest of the trip because we enjoyed each other’s company. 

Every two hours, we had to send a photo of the whole group to the coaches as a check-in. My group always had fun and gathered together to take a photo.

It rained the entire day we were in California Adventure. We went on the Guardians of the Galaxy and Incredicoaster many times, as those were our favorites- and everyone agreed to ride many times. 

We often stopped at the ‘Testing Kitchen’ to get pretzels and hot chocolate throughout the day. At one point, near 5:00 p.m., it hailed, and we all ran to the restaurant and shared a laugh. The team met inside a fancy Starbucks to start returning to the hotel around 7:45 p.m. as everyone was exhausted. 

The next day, it was almost the same routine. Early in the morning, we gathered in the breakfast area, ate breakfast then headed off for Disneyland in our ponchos. 

The team wanted to make this day their best because they were in Disneyland, and it was the last day of the trip before they had to head back to Arizona. 

My group bought the fast passes so we wouldn’t have to wait in long lines like the previous day. 

The cheer team decided to ride Thunder Mountain Railroad together before splitting off into their groups for the day.

Space Mountain was my group’s first ride; we walked right past the regular line and went on the ride instantly. 

Afterward, we all went to Starbucks- my favorite part. Everyone got their drinks and pastries; we went into some of the boutiques and looked around. We didn’t buy souvenirs from California Adventure because we all wanted to save our money for Disneyland. 

No one found anything, so we walked to Star Wars land and shop later. 

We ran around almost all day trying to ride every single ride before the end of the day, we took many photos along the way and got to know each other better while waiting in some of the fast pass lines. It didn’t rain too much at Disney, only at night. 

Two other athletes on the team went on Splash Mountain with me while everyone else waited outside of the ride; they didn’t want to get wet, so they didn’t go on it. 

After the second dip of the ride, it suddenly stopped. The announcer spoke over the animatronics stating that the ride had to stop and for us to be patient. There were tons of logs with other riders in them ahead of us. 

I called one of my friends that didn’t go on the ride and in the same group as me; I told her that the ride was broken and might be a little while until we got out. They stayed outside as we waited in the log. 

About 15 minutes later, some crew workers came and got the people out of my log out first because we were the closest to the ledge. Therefore, we were the easiest to get out. We waited as they helped everyone else out, then walked to the back exit together. The ride operators gave us free passes to any ride at any anytime. 

We met with our group and went to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.

The day went on as we walked around to all the other lands and overall had a fun time being there. 

Time was going by fast; we were required to meet with coaches at the front of the park about 30 minutes before the park closed. My group wanted to go to Space Mountain one more time before we went to the shops and left. Space Mountain was our first and last ride at the park for that day. A little later, everyone was in the boutique buying last-minute items.

I went to City Hall by the entrance of Disneyland and requested three graduation pins for the Seniors on the team, including me. Afterward, we all walked to the buses and returned to the hotel. The next day we were scheduled to leave around noon. Everyone had been ready and packed up by nine. The coaches did room checks. By then, the buses were loaded with our luggage, and everyone was ready to go. 

The trip was a great experience for all the athletes and the coaches. It was a great team bonding experience that was unforgettable. 

The team competed at another competition a week later; then the long season came to an end.