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Battle of the Bash

A Review of Universal's and Disney’s Graduation Celebrations

Sara Shamlin

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With this Friday being Grad Bash 2017 for Satellite High School’s graduating class, it is the perfect time to reflect on which was better: Grad Bash at Universal or the former Grad Nite at Disney World. Personally, I think Universal is a far better place for seniors to celebrate the end of their high school careers.

From the beach to the theme parks, living in Florida comes with so many benefits. One of the best experiences, by far, is being able to celebrate graduating high school at Universal, although this was not always the case. Before 2011, graduation was celebrated at Disney. For most, Disney is one of the places that you have to visit in your lifetime in order to see Cinderella’s castle, to meet all the iconic characters, and to ride the mountain rides (Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain, and Space Mountain). To many of us Disney is for kids but does that mean we never want to go there? Of course not. However, growing up near Disney gives you a new view of the park. When you were a child, everything was so spectacular: a large castle that has fireworks shooting into the sky at night, rides giving you a glance into your favorite childhood movie (that you’d watch on repeat, hoping to someday be able to join them), and the best part, getting autographs in your handy dandy autograph book from your favorite characters in person. Though this was all great, with each year that passes our imagination dimmed little by little, and suddenly Cinderella’s castle didn’t look so big, the characters were obviously people in costumes, and the rides were not as fast or fun as you remember. This is bittersweet because on one hand, you know you are finally growing up, but on the other, you don’t want to let go.

Yet, part of growing up is enjoying new experiences, or in this case moving from Disney to Universal. Universal is basically a mature Disney, where instead of Cinderella’s Castle there is Hogwarts, instead of meeting the characters, you are the character (whether you are an audience member in the Jimmy Fallon show or killing Aliens alongside Will Smith in Men in Black), and instead of riding a more mild roller coaster like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, you can experience the thrills of Rip Ride Rockit. Within Universal, there are endless opportunities to show off your wild-side and honestly, that is all most teenagers want to do.

In the end, Univeral is going to give a teenager a more thrilling and unforgettable experience compared to Disney, but the true reason for this night is to celebrate graduating while enjoying one last night with best friends before college in the fall.

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Battle of the Bash