08 May 2024 • 8 Mins Read

“It was just made so easy” - Woodlands School chat about our Disneyland Paris Netball Festival

In April 2024, Woodlands School took 29 players to the Sport Experiences Disneyland® Paris Netball Festival.

We had a chat with Chelsea'Lee Hutton about their festival highlights, the organisation of the tour, and whether they would recommend the festival to other teams!

How was your experience organising the tour as a busy coach with lots of priorities?

This is my first time fully leading a trip. The information was so clear. I got responses within a couple of hours or by the end of the day when I needed it, and the process was just really simple.

I've been on other tours with other schools, but I was quite apprehensive about it being my first trip! However, it was just made so easy. We had different year groups, but things like rooming, fees, and making sure we have enough squad members - everything was made so simple.
Woodlands School, Disneyland Paris Netball Festival


Even as a school, we have to go through different stages of putting proposals in for trips and if there's not enough information it gets knocked back - but this was very much smooth sailing. I think a lot of schools use Evolve as well for risk assessments, and that's usually something that bounces back when they need more information. But the itinerary and just everything is so detailed, so it was just smooth from beginning to end.

Were you happy with the communication from us throughout?

Yes, the whole time throughout I didn't have any issues at all. All my questions were answered. I feel grateful really, even at the event we weren't left out of anything at all. We were kept in the know throughout. It's been absolutely brilliant.

Did you find the app useful for keeping track of teams in the tournament, using site maps, etc?

The app was fantastic! It’s the first tour we've ever been on where they use an app, so that was a highlight. I think having everything together, the itinerary, the packing list, even the tournament details, was brilliant.

We loved having it all in one place and something that each staff member could use. The tournament link was a bonus, especially having been across two sites, it was great to keep track of our other teams in their tournament. To have that on the app was absolutely amazing.

I think having it so that every single group leader can access it made it so much better. It's the first tour I've had that used anything like this. It was the best thing about the trip in terms of how easy that made it for us, and I think that's very unique to your tour company.

How was the organisation of the tournament and coaching sessions with Elite Netball Academy?

There were quite a lot of strong athletes and they picked up on it straight away and advanced them. I think the coaching sessions were about 25 minutes, but I can't tell you how much our girls got out of each session. They were great at challenging them and really did adapt it well for each player.

Woodlands School, Disneyland Paris Netball Festival


I'm a fan of Elite Netball. They were brilliant at looking at the different abilities between the teams and clubs. I was watching a coaching session, and they made it clear that was an opportunity for teachers to go outside and enjoy a bit of free time. However, I stayed and watched the coaching sessions and I thought they had an absolutely brilliant way of adapting and differentiating it to challenge each group.

In regards to the tournament itself, this was also faultless! The organisation of the games, the coaching and umpiring from Elite Netball Academy and the all-round feel and atmosphere of the day was incredible and both staff and students had a fantastic day.  There was a mix of ability amongst the schools/clubs, and this was clearly organised in a way to best suit everyone which must have been a big task in itself.

It was a very inclusive tournament, but also set enough challenge for those schools that are quite competitive.
Woodlands School, Disneyland Paris Netball Festival


The level of coaching in the session I thought was incredible and how Elite Netball adapted for our girls to challenge them was fantastic. Also to keep them working for over 2 hours and still enjoy every minute was a success. The academy coaches were so friendly to us as staff and our students, it really did them give a world of confidence and enjoyment. 

I think the whole attitude and the way they spoke to the teachers from the beginning, to say that it's about enjoying the netball but also watch your conduct, be mindful, I thought that was really nice.

How were the Q&A's with Elite Netball Academy?

They loved it! My lot can chat for hours, so they asked lots of questions, that's for sure! They built a really good relationship when they did their Q&A's, they had some fun photos with them afterward, and even had them there at the presentation.

It's just that added extra, having Elite Netball there to support their Disney tour, it was just such a nice experience for them. Even some of our girls that aren't as competitive, it still inspired them and they had fun. Whereas you've got some of our other girls that are in academies, and they got even more out of it, so I think it benefited everyone in different ways.

The presentation was also a wonderful touch to end the tour. We thought it was very inclusive and great to have Elite Netball there to deliver other awards and pass over trophies. The setting was lovely and it's a great atmosphere having so many schools together sharing the experience.
Woodlands School, Disneyland Paris Netball Festival


How was Disneyland Paris as a setting for the tournament and was it nice to have a break from netball in the parks?

Absolutely, they love Disneyland Paris! They had a great time and time in the parks went down really well. I've been on another tour before, where the time in the parks was just half a day and netball the other half of the day. But this worked much better and the fact that they were staying at the hotel meant they could stay and watch the fireworks and make the most of their day at Disney. They loved all the netball, but they were also so excited to be at Disneyland Paris and do all the fun stuff too!

Was the atmosphere at the tournament a positive environment for the players, balancing the competitive with friendly sportsmanship?

Yes definitely. I think that was made clear from the opening moments. Before the tournament they made it very clear that it is about enjoyment as well as competition. We were put in a good cup and there was a mix of abilities. The umpires at the end always made sure that the teams would shake hands, or even do three cheers.

The whole idea around good sportsmanship was there, so I think regardless, it was very much about keeping it enjoyable whatever the outcome. Even in the semi-finals and finals, you definitely got the more competitive nature.

They definitely developed with the level of competition throughout the different stages, but regardless of how competitive they got, they always kept the enjoyment side of it as their first priority.

I think the whole tournament was adapted to how far along the players were and how competitive it got, but always was about them enjoying themselves too.
Woodlands School, Disneyland Paris Netball Festival


Would you book this tour again in the future or recommend it to others?

Yes, definitely! We obviously speak to a lot of other teachers, and they see a lot of our photos and if we go to Paris again, I always say it's a tour I'd do again without a doubt! If anyone is looking to go to Paris, I'll definitely recommend you as well. 

It was a great trip and incredibly easy! We actually had a girl that wasn't well throughout our trip and it was great to have support from your staff members, always asking and checking up on how she was. It was nice to know that we're not just another school on your trip, you've actually remembered that she was quite poorly, and that they were asking how she was.

I would highly recommend study experiences to other schools and even though I definitely need a year without it (taking care of 29 kids is certainly not easy), you will certainly hear from me for another!

I would just like to say a more personal thank you. This was by a mile, the most organised school tour I have ever been on. I could not fault the level of communication and response rate after my many questions.
Woodlands School, Disneyland Paris Netball Festival

Make some magical memories with them next year!

If you’re interested in taking your netballers to our Disneyland® Paris Netball Festival  you can find out more here or contact us today to request a quote.

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