A Safer Kind of Party

Owners Leah and Jonathan Gamel | PHOTOS BY SAM DICHIARA / FOR THE OBSERVER




It’s a familiar conundrum: How do friends go out and have a good time, as well as a few drinks, without having to worry about getting home safely?

Leah and Jonathan Gamel, co-owners of Gamel’s Magic School Bus, offer a solution: a party bus service with an emphasis on both fun and safety. The business opened last January and has been helping people have a blast in a safe environment since.

“Gamel’s Magic School Bus is just a big party on wheels,” Leah said. “It can be used for a multitude of things: wedding events, bachelor/bachelorette parties, birthday parties. We’ve even transported people to concerts and back. It’s just a fun, safe way to transport people and have a good time.”

Jonathon said the point of the business is to prevent drinking and driving.

“We have teenage kids, so we’re hoping to be able to help young people like them — college students especially — go and enjoy their night without drinking and driving,” he said.

The business has already recruited several loyal followers on social media and racked up nothing but five-star reviews along the way.

One customer, Crystal Headley, raved, “This bus is absolutely amazing! A group of us used this bus on March 12 to be shuttled to and from Carl’s Country and when I say it was a freaking blast it was and the driver Ryan was very nice and polite! We definitely will be using them again in the future.”

Another happy customer, Jessica Sudduth Maehr, wrote, “I loved having a safe and fun ride to and from the venue with 20 of my friends… We blasted music, laughed, sang, and worked the pole to the venue… Clean vehicle and great driver. Easy pay options like Cash App etc… Would do this again… 10 out of 10 recommend…”

The two entrepreneurs came up with the idea for Gamel’s Magic School Bus after wanting to rent a party bus for a birthday event themselves. It struck them as a good business idea, and two weeks later they bought a bus and started renovations.

“It’s an old school bus,” Jonathan said. “We gutted it, wrapped the seats, there’s a stereo, there’s 10 6-and-a-half-inch speakers, two 12-inch subwoofers. You’ve got karaoke. You can play YouTube music or connect your phone over Bluetooth. The bar holds like seven cases of beer. We’ve got a wine rack and a liquor rack.”

The bus even provides ice and bottled water, Leah said.

The party bus is available for a wide array of events, including proms, balls, birthday parties, fraternity and sorority events, sporting events, bachelor and bachelorette parties and holiday trips.

“We’ve done birthday parties, pub crawls, concerts, wedding rehearsal dinners, bachelor parties,” Leah said. “We’ve transported people to a wedding before. We teamed up with Auburn Downtown Limo and helped with the rodeo. We’ve done a lot in the short amount of time we’ve had the bus, and it’s been fun.”

The business already serves a massive range of locations across Alabama.

“We’re based in Deatsville, but we serve the Prattville area, Birmingham, Auburn, Montgomery, Tuscaloosa — anywhere within a reasonable distance,” Leah said. “We’re going to take a trip where we’ll be taking people to Bourbon Street in New Orleans.”

And the fun isn’t only for adults. Families and kids are having a blast on the bus, too.

“The bus is family friendly,” Leah said. “We’ve had some kids’ birthday parties, but it’s mainly people who are 25 and up. Kids love this for their birthday parties. It’s becoming a trend.”

So, what sets this party bus apart? How does it compare to other services like it around Alabama?

“What makes us unique is that we can hold more people than most party buses do,” Leah explained. “We can hold 24 people. Other party buses can only hold about 15 people.”

“The sound system would also probably outdo any other bus,” Jonathan added.

Leah said potential customers can find contact information on their website, www.gamelsmagicschoolbus.com/, or follow on Instagram and Facebook.

“We charge a $250 refundable deposit up front to secure the booking, and also just to make sure there are no damages done to the bus,” Leah explained. “After that, it’s $150 an hour for up to six hours, and every hour after that we drop it down to $100 an hour.”

“Keep an eye out for events this fall,” Jonathan added. “We’ll be gearing up for the rodeo soon. Halloween’s coming up so we want to do pumpkin patches and haunted house rides.”

The co-owners also said they aim to treat the safety of their guests as their highest priority.

“We want to make sure all of our customers get home safe,” Jonathan said. “That’s the key behind all of this.”

All the fun without the safety risks? Magic indeed.


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