Universal Orlando Resort Brings the Magic for Grad Bash 2023


Sofia Cruz

A group of seniors at Universal Studios with IB Psychology teacher Mr. Nelson.

Continuing a longstanding Coral Gables Senior High tradition, the graduating class of 2023 celebrated their last year of high school with the signature Grad Bash annual event held at the Universal Orlando Resort. Such a trip acts as a rite of passage for seniors, giving them an opportunity to come together and make long-lasting memories before they move on to the next chapter of their lives.

“I think Grad Bash is such a special event because it can be such a great final memory for seniors as since they spend time with their friends and teachers,” senior Julio Bonjoch said.

Early morning on Feb. 9, the participating seniors gathered at Gables and drove off to Orlando, arriving at 9 a.m. This two-day trip will be divided between the theme parks of Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios. 

Upon arrival at Islands of Adventure, seniors and accompanying chaperones took off in all directions to go on their favorite rides and attractions. Lines filled up at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade, Jurassic Park and Marvel Super Hero Island, as students prioritized popular rides such as Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure and a recently added attraction, the Jurassic World VelociCoaster. Seniors also enjoyed the park’s endless dining options and themed foods like the famous ButterBeer or primal smoked turkey leg.

“I had been to Universal over five times and had never stepped foot on Hulk or Rockit, much less Velocicoaster. I honestly am so glad because not only did I push myself to go on them but so did my friends and I had such a blast. I even got to ride with Mr. Molina and Mr. Wood in the front row,” senior Sofia Rodriguez said.

As the day winded down with the sun setting at 6:30 p.m., seniors settled for the night at the Hyatt House, a hotel within walking distance of the park. Ending the day together, they enjoyed a pizza party and relaxed in their room with friends. 

I think these four years have gone by faster than I could have imagined and I’m thankful for all the things I participated in and the memories I made with my friends. I would tell underclassmen to be involved, make as many memories as possible and have fun,

— senior Gabriela Martinez

The next morning, the graduating class was up at 6:30 a.m. for an all-you-can-eat breakfast, packed their bags and set off for Universal Studios to arrive right at the opening of the park. Once there, seniors made their way through the recreated streets of New York, Hollywood and even the fictional Springfield U.S.A.

Students were anxious to take on the revered Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, featuring a 90 degree climb, thrilling drops and turns, with many groups embarking on it multiple times. Additionally, musical performances, carnival games and photo opportunities with famous characters filled the time when students were not on the park’s most thrilling rides.

Concluding the second day of Grad Bash, seniors made their way back to Gables at 6 p.m. The class of 2023’s Grad Bash at the Universal Orlando Resort was filled with adventures, allowing seniors to make unforgettable memories to commemorate their last year of high school. 

The trip was a fitting tribute to their achievements and a celebration of the bond they have formed over the past four years. With a mixture of excitement, thrills and relaxation, the seniors left feeling both nostalgic for the past and eager for the future.