Saturday, June 4, 2022

A Final Reflection

As Math and the Mouse 2022 comes to an end, we, the professors, would like to wrap up the experience by describing and emphasizing the academic components in the course.  

As the world becomes more data-centric and quantitative, understanding how industries use mathematics in the decision-making process is important in terms of preparing the students for the future.  This course was an introduction to that very topic.

The content of the course was divided into three parts: (i) data analytics, (ii) optimization modeling and algorithm design, and (iii) dealing with uncertainty.  Not only did the students learn about these areas from us, but the students also met with professionals from Disney (and other companies) who work in these areas.   Over the course of just three weeks, the students encountered material that appears in a variety mathematics courses at Furman (MTH 151—Calculus II, MTH 160—Vectors and Matrices, MTH 250—Multivariable Calculus, MTH 330—Combinatorics and Graph Theory, MTH 335—Mathematical Modeling, MTH 337—Operations Research, MTH 340—Probability, MTH 341—Mathematical Statistics, MTH 345—Statistical Modeling).  Prior experience with these courses varied from student to student, and we hope that exposure to the ideas served as both reinforcement and motivation.

We started the course by introducing the students to some foundational topics in data analytics.  Two problems we worked on heavily were the classification problem and the prediction problem.  Given a data set, the classification problem asks one to partition or cluster the data into different segments.  For example, the current Genie system that Disney designed recommends attractions based on survey characteristics of users.  Recommendation systems, in general, will try to make recommendations to users based on how similar a user’s characteristics are to other users.  The prediction problem involves the use of past data to forecast a future result.  For instance, Disney might try to predict how much a family with certain characteristics will spend in the parks each day.  Our students’ first project involved using a process called “k-means clustering” to pinpoint where to put a mobile Mickey Bar stand throughout the day to interact with the highest traffic areas of the park.  The process was a huge success.  The students worked very hard, and their presentation to Disney professionals on this project was fantastic!   

The second main topic in the course was optimization modeling and algorithm design.  The students learned to model real-world optimization problems such as those involving logistics, scheduling, and resource allocation.  These types of problems are not only applicable to Disney’s operations but serve as foundational material for professionals working in the areas of industrial and systems engineering and operations management.  The students completed a sophisticated and difficult modeling project that involved assigning workers to shifts at Yak & Yeti (a restaurant in Animal Kingdom) in such a way that the demand throughout the day was satisfied.  Although the problem was much smaller than ones solved by Disney, the concepts learned by students through the project were the essential concepts any company uses to schedule workers.  The students did a great job on this challenging project, and their presentation to Disney on this project was better than a lot of professional conference presentations the professors have heard.

Once the students learned how to form a mathematical model, we showed them how to exploit the mathematical structure present in their created models to design algorithms to produce optimal (or near optimal) solutions.  For fun, we designed in-park competitions to help the students explore algorithms to search for optimal solutions to their optimization models.  The first activity was the Traveling Tourist activity where the students tried to solve an instance of the Time-Dependent Traveling Salesman Problem by finding a tour of 14 different Epcot attractions that took the shortest amount of time to complete.  This is the same problem that companies like Amazon, UPS, FedEx, and solve on a daily basis.  We enjoyed watching the students discover well-known heuristic algorithms that industry professionals use to produce solutions to this problem.  After the contest, the students were able to interact with Len Testa (President of Touring Plans), and they gained a better understanding of how Testa’s company designs algorithms to solve the Disney touring problem for its customers.  The second algorithm design activity was a seating problem that Disney faces:  how to efficiently fill a ride vehicle based on the guests that appear in the queue.  This is known as an online bin packing problem, and the students used an app, designed by Craig Bouzarth (Liz’s dad), to seat a queue of numbers into seats on Tower of Terror.  Students were delighted to hear one of the Disney professionals describe a similar app that was developed to help Disney employees seat people on the Star Tours ride.  

In the final stage of the course, we introduced students to some basic concepts in probability and statistics. These topics helped to reinforce the idea that most models are imperfect, since inputs to these models often have high variability and are not always known with certainty.  We discussed how Disney and other companies use simulation to test different possible cases that could arise from models as the likelihood of the inputs of the models change.  Almost every activity we worked on in the class, from the Traveling Tourist Problem to the Tower of Terror Bin Packing Problem, asked the students to deal with uncertainty.  Using expected wait times or average party size is good in forecasting a decision, but the day-to-day variability that is encountered in most business scenarios force real-time decisions to made that may be different from expected.  The biggest random process that the students encountered in the course is standing in queues.  We showed the students how to simulate a queue in order to discover expected wait times and queue lengths.  Each of the final projects that students worked on interacted in some way with the variability of throughputs of rides or queue wait times.  

Speaking of final projects, let us describe the four wonderful (student-designed) projects that were the culmination of the course.

  1. An Investigation of Single Rider Lines: For some rides, Disney has created a single-rider line to try to fill each ride vehicle to capacity and thus maximizing their throughput throughout the day.  For instance, if a party of size five is being seated in a six-person ride vehicle, the ride workers will pull a guest from the single rider line to complete the capacity on the vehicle.  The group of Jalen, Joey, and Taylor looked at whether the Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure ride could benefit from a single rider line by comparing its characteristics with other six-person ride vehicle attractions, like Test Track and Space Mountain.  They were able to find that the Remy ride sends vehicles out at only 72% of capacity compared to Test Track’s 91% of capacity and Space Mountain’s 92% of capacity.  They also performed a Chi-Squared Test to determine that the party size distribution of both rides is similar.  Given this they concluded that Remy would see a huge increase in the number of people who could ride the attraction each day by incorporating a single rider line.
  2. A Knapsack Problem at Hollywood Studios: Whether you know it or not, you have encountered the knapsack problem.  When packing for vacation, you make decisions regarding what to put in your suitcase.  Each item you could take has a value to you but takes up a certain amount of space in the limited suitcase.  The Knapsack Problem essentially involves determining how to get the most value in the suitcase without the suitcase bursting.  The group of Elizabeth, Joshua, Katie, and Rhett tried to determine how much value they could get at Hollywood Studios within a four-hour time window.  For this they employed some regression analysis and class surveying to determine the values they would place on the rides in the park.  The four-hour time limit served as the suitcase in that each ride would take up walk, wait, and ride time subtracting from this limited resource.  They designed a competition where teams went into the park to test their approaches to solving this problem.  The group modeled the problem and solved it using the optimization techniques we had talked about in the class. This solution was generated with expected wait times for the attractions, and since the actual simulation (contest) used actual waiting times on that day, there was a great deal of variability.  Because of this variability, a couple of teams did find better solutions than the computer by exploiting bargain wait times.
  3. An Analysis of the Queue of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad: One of the favorite attractions of our class (especially during fireworks) was Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  The queue for this attraction asks guest to choose between going in the left queue or the right queue to get seated on the roller coaster.  Grace, Maddie, Nathan, and Sydney wondered whether there was a difference in the wait of the two lines.  The students designed a matched pairs statistical experiment to gather data by having pairs of students simultaneously join the left and right queues and report times as they passed certain checkpoints in the line.  They used some nice data visualization in Tableau to show the average wait from each line.  Their analysis showed that there was not a statistical difference in the waits between the two lines, even though the left side is physically shorter. 
  4. A Network Analysis of Congestion in the Magic Kingdom: Navigating the Magic Kingdom efficiently involves a lot of split-second decisions.  There are several areas in the park where people
    are almost always shoulder-to-shoulder and traveling in these areas can result in delays.  Lily, Louisa, Regan, and Sam modeled the Magic Kingdom as a network and used a network analysis technique called betweenness to find areas in the network where they expected congestion to occur.   The technique finds shortest paths between every pair of nodes (attractions and other points of interest) and sends a unit of flow along each of these paths.  The edges (walkways) of the network accumulate flow on them, and the highest accumulation indicates walkway areas where congestion is likely to occur.  They also weighted this flow based on the popularity of attractions.  It was really cool to see that the walkways identified through the network analysis were actual areas of highest congestion in the park!

We are very proud of the projects that these groups produced.  They did a fantastic job!

As you can see, we threw a lot at these students in terms of academic content, and we were impressed with how much they absorbed.   While we can’t expect all of it to stick, we do hope that what they heard will pique their interests and inspire them to learn more by taking more classes in the mathematics curriculum.  We also hope that exposing them to professionals (Disney and others) will increase their appreciation for how the concepts they learned are used in industry.  Hopefully, as a result of the course, the students will discover that at Furman they are building the tools they will need to succeed.  Beyond the academics, the opportunity for students and faculty to spend three weeks learning together, communicating together, and helping each other has made us all grow as individuals.  

We are extremely proud of this impressive group of students and are grateful we get to share this experience with them!

Signing off the blog for the last time, Drs. Hutson, Bouzarth, and Harris

Friday, June 3, 2022

Math and the Mouse by the Numbers

As we reflect on our time here, we, the professors, thought we would pass along some data on the types of experiences we’ve had during Math and the Mouse.  We have one final reflection blog post after this to wrap up the course, but for now we’ll give you a look at our May Experience by the numbers.
  • 15 Furman students
  • 3 Furman professors
  • 3 vans
  • 9 math courses’ content
  • 11 majors/programs/minors represented (Mathematics, Applied Mathematics, Data Analytics, Accounting, Computer Science, Physics, Asian Studies, Educational Studies, German Studies, Japanese Studies, Information Technology)
  • 12 guest speakers (including one Math and the Mouse Furman alumnus)
  • 85 collective hours spent on a backstage tour
  • 11 unique group projects
  • 13 learning modules led by faculty
  • 18 paper plate awards
  • 75 dice used in the Liar’s Dice example
  • 0 students with ESP
  • 1 student claimed another student had ESP
  • 78 workers needed to staff Yak and Yeti in the workforce scheduling project 
  • 72% efficiency for Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure
  • 35 Dole Whips
  • 16 pictures with Nathan’s tongue out
  • 1 ground snack
  • 65 Covid tests taken
  • 13 mouse ears on the trip
  • 34 glorious three-hour salutes to all nations, but mostly America
  • 5,044,053 steps walked
  • 13,454 average steps per day
  • 152 rides on Expedition Everest
  • 5 rides where the Yeti didn’t appear on Everest
  • 3 items that the Yeti stole from us
  • 48 Firehouse subs
  • 18 cups of Beverly
  • 1 rebel spy
  • 9 students who couldn’t find the end of the Remy line
  • 297 minutes for the first Traveling Tourist Problem group to finish to finish 14 Epcot attractions
  • 34 minutes between the first and second place Traveling Tourist Teams
  • 4 EAR-idescent sip-abrations
  • 50 people stopped by security
  • 36 cosmic rewinds
  • 3 fantastic student presentations to Disney
  • 4 Emperor’s New Groove Mystery Pin Packs (1 with Yzma)
  • 9 gondola rides
  • 30 fireworks viewings
  • 30 Biergarten sausages consumed 
  • 26 photobombs 
  • 8 Mickey bars consumed
  • 106 wildest rides in the wilderness
  • 30 matched pairs data points collected on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • 7 Tik Toks
  • 242 utterances of “Let’s Go”
  • 291.5 maximum value collected in a knapsack
  • 8 stickers picked up off the ground by Hutsons
  • 15 times stuck on Spaceship Earth
  • 5 miscounts in line
  • 103 monorails surfed
  • 15 Mickey plushes 
  • 41 Tableau graphs created
  • 50 virtual beverages consumed
  • 33 opportunities to uh, fly
  • 37 times a dinosaur inexplicably holds up a log so that we can time travel
  • 121 Jolly Ranchers consumed
  • 328 heart hands
  • 223 team player moments
  • 83 visits to the Hollywood Tower Hotel
  • 6 permanent residents of the Homewood Suites hotel
  • 167 Individual Lightning Lanes purchased 
  • 1 podcast shoutout (The Disney Dish)
  • 135 opportunities to ponder
  • 6 pony rides, not pony races
  • 28 Twistee Treats
  • 2 birthday cupcakes
  • 40 straws thrown at dinner
  • 36 re-rides
  • 10 consecutive Joey sneezes
  • 6 participants with last names starting with H
  • 369 cards memorized
  • 270,000 high score on Toy Story Mania
  • 807,200 high score on Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin
  • 10,615 high score on Smuggler’s Run
  • 7 misspellings of Louisa
  • 4 times Elizabeth was killed in Mafia
  • 1 epic hype party van ride
  • 45 state license plates spotted
  • 0 Frozen sing alongs (happy Hutson noises)
  • 420 most frequent Scar parking row
  • 2.5 pounds of dried mangoes consumed
  • 2 baby flamingos 
  • 64.9 top speed on Test Track
  • Infinite memories made

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Catching Up

Our travels home took priority on Wednesday, so we're a bit delayed in getting a daily summary to our adoring fans from Tuesday and Wednesday.  The summary though is that Tuesday was a great last day of our time together as a group and on Wednesday, everyone got home safely without any major travel headaches!


Tuesday was an exciting day for our group, as our students presented their final project presentations! We will have a future blog post that covers the projects more in depth, but from the faculty perspective, we were struck by the fact that we could see tangible improvements in the overall presentation quality over the past two weeks.  Through giving four presentations (sometimes with additional practice presentations) with different groups of people over the past two weeks, students had plenty of opportunities to get and give feedback on their presentations.  It was also rewarding to see the project ideas that students had a week earlier came to fruition.  It is evident that their hard work has paid off, both in focusing on completing an investigation and in presenting their findings.

The morning session of presentations ended with a paper plate awards ceremony that Louisa had spearheaded for the group. She solicited feedback from all the group members and ensured that everyone got an award with some honorable mentions that were fitting of our time together. We are grateful for her leadership on this effort!

Unfortunately, Dr. Hutson had to leave after the presentations on Tuesday to make it back to South Carolina in time for an important family event, so he missed out on his favorite part of the whole program -- deciding what color the class t-shirts should be! After sorting that out, the group headed to the Wildnerness Lodge for our last group dinner at the Whispering Canyon Cafe. This is a rowdy restaurant where good food and good times are shared by all. Seeing as two of our students had a birthday the following day, the server helped us celebrate with singing and cupcakes for Elizabeth and Joey! There were also pony rides for kids of all ages as part of the fun.  

 After dinner, we hustled to the Magic Kingdom to try to catch our Jungle Cruise reservation. On the way, we were delighted to find that we parked in a familiar row of the parking lot where we were assigned to park on at least three separate occasions. The corny jokes on the Jungle Cruise were the perfect way to relax after a filling dinner and an exciting commute from the parking lot.  After one last group ride on Space Mountain, people had free time to spend their last few hours in the Magic Kingdom as they wanted. The group gravitated towards watching fireworks, some with a prime spot in front of the castle to catch the projections and another while riding Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. At the end of the night, we gathered in front of the castle for a few last pictures as the park closed.  On the way back to the hotel, the clock struck midnight meaning that it had turned into Elizabeth and Joey's birthday! The students in their van celebrated with a dance party and rowdy birthday countdown and finished up with a late night game of cards before people had early travel plans the next morning. 


Our day Wednesday focused on getting everyone home safely, so some students headed to the airport before dawn while others sleepily loaded into the vans for the road trip back to Greenville.  Our first stop of the day was at Buc-ees, where students had a few minutes to explore and find some snacks (unlike on the way down to Florida when we were on a tight time schedule).  After a fairly uneventful drive, the vans arrived back at Furman around 6pm and we all went our separate ways.  

As we continue to unpack from our three weeks in Florida, both physically and mentally, we will have two more blog posts to wrap things up!

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Day 21: Details Coming Soon

At the end of the course, we professors take the blog back from the students to share some parting thoughts.  We will do so over the coming days, but for now, our energies needed to focus on being present for final project presentations, enjoying our last moments together as a group, celebrating some birthdays among our students, and packing to leave bright and early tomorrow.  Once we're settled back in Greenville, we'll share projects, pictures, and today's activities as well as final thoughts on the course.  Until then, know that we ended the course with a bang with everyone either watching fireworks tonight from Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (as shown below) or by watching them with a view in front of the castle!

Monday, May 30, 2022

Day 20: Life in the Lightning Lane


Today was our second to last day here, and we made sure our schedule was chock full of activities, accordingly! In the morning, we spent a few hours working on our final projects, which we will present tomorrow. This will serve as the final wrap-up for the class! After that and lunch with our group/team, we made our final stops in two of the parks. First, we went to Hollywood Studios, a particular favorite among many of the members of our group. Then, we visited Animal Kingdom, where many people made their final expeditions at the legendary Expedition Everest. To be as efficient as possible in our final stops, we made frequent use of the Lightning Lane feature. This allowed us to see most of everything these parks had to offer in a short period of time!

First, work time:

We started this morning off by having some solid time to work on our final projects with our groups. Everyone had finally collected all their data from the parks, so it was time for us to compile this together and create a presentation to convey all the work that we’ve done. It’s been really cool to see all the work that we’ve done turn into a cohesive presentation! Each group had a different strategy of how to organize this time. Some groups split the work up and each worked on their own slides to present, while other groups worked on creating each slide together and delegated presentation responsibilities afterwards. We all wanted to be prepared to present tomorrow morning, so a lot of effort was put in today to finish our projects. The professors even brought us lunch from either Five Guys or Firehouse subs, our choice, so that we could continue working. What a treat on our last project work day!

The First Farewells:

After making good progress on our projects and eating lunch, we headed out to the parks. First up was Hollywood Studios, which seems to be a favorite among many in the group. Throughout the day, we made frequent use of Lightning Lanes, a paid extra feature that grants a window of time for which one can access a shorter line for a certain attraction. Thank you so much to the professors for going out of their way to get these for us! First up among the Lightning Lanes was the infamous Tower of Terror, one of my own particular favorites (Sam writing!). It’s hard to explain, but something about the music, the decor, the atmosphere, the rises and falls, and the incredible acting of some of the cast members makes this such an unforgettable experience. Another thing that is great about this ride is that it is one of the very few that can seat everyone in our group. We all screamed together today, and were sad to check out of the Hollywood Hotel for the last time. Afterwards, we had a small amount of free time, in which groups did different things: some saw the Muppets, some rode Star Tours, and some rode Rock’n’Roller Coaster. Then, we convened for our next Lightning Lane, which was for Millenium Falcon: Smugglers Run. This ride places you and your team of two pilots, two gunners, and two engineers in the cockpit of the Millenium Falcon, where you are tasked with jumping to another planet and stealing energy crystals.While you can’t fail, you are given a score based on your crew’s handling of the job. 
Not to brag, but the team that us authors of this blog were on scored 10615/13000, by far the highest any group had yet. When we got off the ride, the cast member was visibly impressed and told us our score was more reminiscent of something they would earn! Not too bad, huh? Keeping the competition going, our final Lightning Lane in Hollywood Studios was for Toy Story: Midway Mania, another one of my (Sam) favorites. This ride places you right into a toy shooting gallery, and your objective is to rack up as many points as possible. Unsurprisingly, Dr. Hutson cleared the field here. With that, our time in Hollywood Studios on this trip came to an end. It treated us well and will be sorely missed!

To continue the fun, we headed to Animal Kingdom. The first thing we did when we got to Animal Kingdom was to make use of our Lightning Lanes for Expedition Everest. This truly has become a crowd favorite for the group and is something we will all miss once this experience is over! This was one of the most fun times I’ve had on Expedition Everest because we all got to be on it together and the energy was insane (Taylor here!)! The goal of many of us has been to ride Expedition Everest ten times by the end of the trip, which sounds outrageous, but it really is just as much of a rush each time. You’ll have to continue reading in order to find out if any of us actually achieved this impressive feat. Following up our venture on Expedition Everest, we went to use our Lighting Lanes for Flight of Passage within Pandora. Our group review of this is that we, uhh… flew. You had to be there for that one :). All jokes aside, it is still crazy to us each time how real it feels when you are soaring through breathtaking environments and the breathing of the banshee below us. The group then broke apart to go find dinner and spend our last moments in Animal Kingdom however we wanted. Some of us went to Satu’li Canteen, while others headed off to Flame Tree Barbecue. The food was all around delicious and was a much needed break from our jam packed day! After dinner, the priorities were to ride Expedition Everest multiple times and to get Dole Whips. This was overall a success because many of us ended up riding Expedition Everest at least ten times and all those who wanted Dole Whips were able to enjoy them! This was an amazing end to our time in Animal Kingdom and a reminder of how much we will miss this park!

Overall, today was an amazing day and a wonderful way to say goodbye to these two parks! None of us are quite ready for the end that tomorrow will bring, but it will surely be a fantastic end to a fantastic trip. Check back for that final blog!

Your blog authors, signing off:

Taylor and Sam (pictured left)

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Day 19: Pack Up Your Knapsack! We're Going To Hollywood!


Today started off with a problem reminiscent of the Traveling Tourist Problem (TTP): the Knapsack Problem in Hollywood Studios! As you can imagine, our competitive nature took over and the stakes were high: bragging rights. That afternoon we met with Dr. Ron Dupuis, a retired industrial engineer for Disney. Finally, to cap off the day, we collected data at the Magic Kingdom and once again saw the enchanted fireworks display at Big Thunder Mountain.

Hollywood Studios: Knapsack Problem

As part of one group's final project, we started today simulating the Knapsack problem. In essence, the idea behind the Knapsack Problem is to accrue the most value in a given time frame. In our case, we surveyed our peers to figure out how to value each ride, with Tower of Terror ranking as the group's favorite. Every time we rode a ride, we would add that ride's value to our pair's scores. The pair with the highest ride value after four hours wins. As soon as the Hollywood Studios rope dropped, we were off to the races! Most groups rope dropped Tower of Terror, but a few teams had different ideas. By the end, there was a clear winner, Lily and Dr. Bouzarth, who rope dropped Rock 'n' Roller Coaster and rode it twice in a row (the second time for half the value). They finished with a grand total of 291.5 points, winning by a slight margin of about 20 points, and were rewarded with some well-deserved bragging rights!  

Here are some pictures of group's hitting various attractions in attempt to get the most points: 

Dr. Ron Dupuis Makes An Appearance

After the Knapsack Problem, and a quick lunch at Backlot Express (a quick-service restaurant by Star Tours featuring 'Star Wars'-themed food items), we came back to the hotel to listen to a guest speaker, Dr. Ron Dupuis. Ron went to the University of Waterloo and got his Ph.D. in Operations Research. To supplement his talk, Ron gave us problems to think through beforehand. He wanted to teach us the value of reframing problems and making connections across disciplines. One problem he gave us was a game called Sum to 15. The rules were simple: start with the numbers 1-9 and take turns picking a number. Once you pick a number, it's off the table and cannot be chosen again. The goal is to be the first to have the sum of your numbers equal 15. He told us about reframing the problem by visualizing it as a tic-tac-toe board. The even numbers would go in the corners, and the odds numbers would fill in the center cross, so that every row, column, and diagonal summed to 15. By viewing the game this way, we gained a deeper understanding of the strategy and mathematics behind the game. In addition, Ron discussed long-term strategy, in particular, keeping your opponent from understanding your methodology. Sometimes, this involves putting yourself into potential losing positions so that your opponent doesn't catch on to your winning strategy. 

Ron connected problem reframing to his work at Disney. On one occasion, Ron was presented with a problem regarding Rock 'n' Roller Coaster. He wanted to maximize throughput given the choice between a 5-second audio pre-show and a 15-second pre-show. After considering the problem, he reframed it as a problem of preventing cascading, which means the compound inefficiency of continually mistimed cars. In this light, he determined that the audio pre-show should actually be longer than 15-seconds in order to maximize throughput. To end his talk, Ron listened to our final projects and gave us commentary on what else we could be doing or times where actual Disney employees were working on similar problems. 

Magic Kingdom 

Our last stop of the day, after some fire Firehouse Subs was Magic Kingdom. Due to some expected weather, we decide to make a detour to Laughing Floor after Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (BTMRR) was temporarily closed. We were treated to a comedy special with loads of laughs. After that quick stop, BTMRR reopened, and we headed right over. Unfortunately, we did not have Lighting Lane passes, so we all went in pairs through the standby line. But it was all worth it to see that fireworks show one more time! (See picture below!) After we finished collecting data at BTMRR, the professors gave us free time in Magic Kingdom. We (Joshua and Nathan) went to the Many Adventure's of Winnie the Pooh, a great classic of the park. Afterwards, we made the trip back to Frontierland to ride Splash Mountain. To close out the day, we got our last group photo in front of the 50th Anniversary Cinderella’s Castle, capping off yet another wonderful day at Disney! 

Signing Off For The Day, 
Joshua (Front Right) and Nathan (Back Right)

Day 18: Disney Tour and Project Time

The day started bright and early for a backstage tour of Magic Kingdom! After the tour, we went back to the hotel and spent the afternoon working on our final projects. We ended the night with a rewarding dessert from Twistee Treat!

The 5-hour backstage tour started promptly at 8 AM, which meant we needed to leave our hotel at 7AM, but the hotel breakfast didn’t open until 7:00, so we ended up leaving a few minutes late so we could grab food and most importantly coffee. This was the earliest we had to wake up in a while, so we were all pretty exhausted. However, once the tour started, we all livened up. Our tour guide, Dallas, told us all about the history of Magic Kingdom, informed us of some of the Disney secrets, and took us on a couple rides, like Jungle Cruise and The Haunted Mansion. We stopped for a quick lunch at 10:30AM, and then continued on our way until the tour ended around 1:00PM. The class really enjoyed our tour and getting to hear about all things Disney! We then made a stop at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad to collect data for another groups final project!

After Magic Kingdom, we went back to the hotel to work on our projects. Several hours were spent on the projects, as most people had finished their data collection and were now working on data analysis. On group worked on building a giant matrix to represent a graph they had been working on, while another group organized their data and made visual's of the data they collected. One group hadn’t begun their data collection yet, and announced their assignment to us all. We were split into pairs to begin strategizing for our adventure that would take place the next morning, but you’ll hear more about our special assignment tomorrow.

Later that night the professors were super sweet and decided to take us to Twistee Treat to finish off the day! It was great to catch up after the long day and have some fun after being hard at work, though some pairs kept strategizing over their ice cream. When we got back some project groups met back up to keep working, while others took a break for a small game night by the pool to unwind. All together, it was a pretty long day, but we got so much done and had a lot of fun doing it.

Well, that's all for us today. We'll see you tomorrow!

-Regan (left) and Maddie (right)