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January 12, 2014
Video/Photos: UCF visits Disney World
Thousands of UCF fans lined the streets of Disney World's Magic Kingdom on Sunday to celebrate the 2014 Fiesta Bowl Champions.
The UCF Knights were honored with a parade through the park, a unique experience typically reserved for Super Bowl MVPs.
Walt Disney World President George Kalogridis, a UCF alumnus, invited the team to enjoy a special day at "The Most Magical Place on Earth" after attending the Knights' 52-42 victory against Baylor in Arizona.
UCF President Dr. John C. Hitt, head coach George O'Leary and Director of Athletics Todd Stansbury joined Mickey Mouse as Grand Marshals and they were followed by a procession of Disney characters, cheerleaders, the KnightMoves dance team, Marching Knights and the football players.
"It was five deep during the parade and I'm sure the players really appreciated the recognition," O'Leary said afterward. "I think Disney doing this is outstanding. It's just a great situation having Disney in the hometown and honoring us like this. The only time I've seen them do this is for the Super Bowl champions. We're very honored to have this done today. I'm sure the players are very appreciative."
How did O'Leary like riding up front as Grand Marshal?
"I just think it was outstanding," he said. "I've never waved and smiled so much in my life. It was great."
After the conclusion of the parade, the team spent the day exploring the world's most popular and iconic theme park.
"Just looking at the fans out here showing their support, I feel like I'm in a game," safety Brandon Alexander said. "And like I'm 10 years old again. It's just ridiculous that I'm at Disney. I haven't been here since I was five. It's a wonderful feeling... It was just amazing."
Center Joey Grant was anxious to explore the park, a place the Orlando-area native had visited several times before.
"It's going to be awesome," Grant said. "Maybe I'll get a turkey leg or two. Space Mountain is definitely a must. You've got to feel the need for speed and get on the rides."
For linebacker Terrance Plummer and many of his teammates, it was their first ever visit to Disney World.
"It was crazy, like a UCF takeover at Disney World, Mickey Mouse's house," Plummer said. "Just a great experience. I had my camera out. The fans showed us so much love. I'm so grateful. I'm going to always remember this."
UCF coach George O'Leary
Junior DB Brandon Alexander
Sophomore OL Joey Grant
Junior LB Terrance Plummer