View Full Version : After FIVE LONG years, we're going back....

10-01-2009, 01:24 PM
:cool1: cool1:
As you can tell by my post count, Iím completely new to this board. Iíve lurked for quite a while, but never really posted anything until recently. The reason Iím finally starting to post is because if I donít, Iím going to drive my kids :banana:!!!
See, the kids and I are planning a SURPRISE Disney vacation for DH in late May/early June 2010!!!!! Iím so excited all I want to do is plan, plan, plan, but the hubby is in the dark and my son (9) just asked me to stop talking about the trip because Iím getting him tooo excited and the trip is tooo far off. :confused3 So, basically, I NEED YOU guys to be my listeners! Please!!! Anyway, hereís the background on our little family and how we've gotten to this point...
Iím a 36yo work from home mom. My hubby just turned 37 and in 2010 weíll be married 15 years. (That's a pretty good reason to celebrate!) We have DD12 and DS9. They are very much what you expect for a boy and girl of their ages. DD loves all things girly (dressing up, makeup, manicures, Taylor Swift, Hannah Montana, every other Disney Channel star EXCEPT the Jonas Brothers. Donít ask me - she swears she canít stand them????:rolleyes1:snooty:) DS plays football (even though he is the second smallest on the team) and loves wrestling camp (he canít wait until heís old enough to be on the team). We are Ďanxiouslyí awaiting his next trip to the ER as he is the accident prone member of the family....:eek:
On to the Disney part of this report. Back in 2005, hubby and I got a nice surprise on our tax return thanks to a new job (working for myself) and overpaying on my taxes the entire year. (I guess if you gotta make a tax error, this is the direction you want to go! :cool1:) We decided to use the windfall to take the kids (then 7 and 5) on a trip to Disney World. We figured that a Disney trip would be a one-time deal for our family and we wanted to do it right, so we opted to stay on-sight for 10 days (POP Century) with Hoppers, fly (Delta), use ME, and purchase the DDP.
I should probably mention that hubby was only doing this trip because I wanted to. He figured he would ďput up a good frontĒ for the kids and I since this was a once-in-a-lifetime trip. :love: I also thought Disney was not his thing, so I invested in some good tour books (no internet for us then) and read, read, read, hoping to make it as painless as possible. I learned about ADRs and booked our meals. I also learned about EMH and the bus system and all the information I could get on the attractions. Thanks to this information, we not only had a magical trip, but a relaxing one as well. And, guess what, hubby LOVED IT!!!! He came back raving to all our family and friends..... :woohoo:
So, getting to NOW!!! As I mentioned before we had an amazing trip. The best vacation we have ever had!!! Well, in the summer of 2008, we finally got the internet at home so that I could use it to work on an associates degree program for my job. I started popping on the Disney website, trip advisor and the DIS, just looking around during my spare time. :surfweb: I checked out a Disney trip, but it really wasnít in the budget, :sad1: but I discovered that a Universal vacation was. I knew even then I was just trying to curb the Disney bug, but we went for it and traveled to Orlando for Christmas 2008. It was a great time, had a lot of fun (but again, just not quite the same). :confused3
Hubby and I decided to start saving in earnest for another trip. Well 2009 arrives, and with it, job insecurities. Hubbyís company takes a 15% across the board pay cut, there are layoffs (thank goodness, not him), a lot of nervous tension. We decide that even though Disney is offering great deals, we really shouldnít take a big trip this year. We just add our vacation savings to the emergency fund and decide to wait a little longer. :headache: :mad: :sad1:
Well, by the end of the summer, things at work are looking stable again, but hubby is busy coaching sonís football team, school is back in session, and there is no way to take a trip now. So, I decided, to start socking away toward a trip early next summer 2010. :idea: Hubby and I will be celebrating 15 years and I thought how great it would be to surprise him by saving for another trip (without touching what we put in the emergency fund). He would never expect this and really deserves it. He works so hard (and now for lower pay) and I know this would be just the thing to celebrate surviving a somewhat nerve-wracking year. :lovestruc :thumbsup2
Since Iím in charge of the budget, DH really doesnít notice when I make adjustments. We learned early to cut back when times were tough, and so eating out less and making fewer splurge purchases doesnít surprise him now that his job is seeing tough times. The thing is he doesnít really keep track of MY income and Iíve had a nice upswing in work so really there has been no budget shortfall this year. :rotfl2::rotfl2: Thanks to this and a little belt tightening, Iím already half way to my planned vacation budget with hubby none the wiser! party: I let the kids in on my idea, and they LOVED the thought of surprising dad. He has always been the one to surprise us with things and it's almost impossible to surprise him. So, we all love the thought of getting one over on dad!!! DD even volunteered 10% of her ďincome.Ē :littleangel: Yeah, there's nothing in it for her! :lmao:
Our plans at this point are 10-14 days (depends on time available and budget) at POP. I considered a moderate, but it really seems a waste since the only difference that matters to us would be the better pool and I plan to get the WP&M added this time. And while hubby and I would appreciate our own room, thatís simply too much of a budget buster when staying on-site, so I Ďm keeping it simple at the same resort we enjoyed the last time. I plan to get 10 day park hoppers with WP&M and the DDP. Iím really hoping for 14 days, 10 in the major parks and four at the water parks and Disney Quest.
So, that's it! The whole crazy plan!!! :cool1: I am trully hoping I can pull this off because if I do, hubby will be so shocked!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hope I haven't bored anyone too much and I apologize for the lack of pictures to break up this ginormous novel of a first report, but I'm technologically challenged. :badpc: And adding these cute little smiley guys are about the limit of my abilities!!! Thanks for listening!!!!

10-01-2009, 01:51 PM
Wow! What an awesome surprise for your DH. Your "story" sounds similar to ours. Our "once in a life time" trip was in Feb. 2007. I too, was sure my DH was just going to tolerate it for our sake. He loved it. But, the economy got in the way. So we haven't been back. But, we are planning for Feb 2011 and I can't wait.

I'll be following along on your pretrippie!

10-01-2009, 03:10 PM
You post - I'll read!

It's always fun to plan a trip, and planning one as a surprise ia even better.

10-02-2009, 01:27 PM
:wave::wave: I'm so excited! :cool1::thumbsup2:woohoo: See?
Now, since I'm completely new to all this, could someone tell me how to do the countdown clocks and pictures. I've looked around but I can't seem to figure out how??? I'd love to include some pictures. :confused3 Is there some place I can go to figure out how???
And I WANT A COUNTDOWN CLOCK :mad: Hey, how come there is no 'tantrum' smiley guy??
Oh well, thanks again for reading, hopefully this will keep me sane for the next eight months and I won't bore you completely in the meantime! Enjoy your weekend!party:

10-20-2009, 01:40 PM
Wow. What a sweet surprise for your DH! How are you going to tell him? Doesn't he need to ask off work?

To post photos, just upload them to a site like Photobucket or Webshots and then press the little button that looks like a photo and copy the link. Google "Countdown Tickers" or something like that. There are tons of them. The go to User CP and edit your signature.

10-23-2009, 01:33 PM
I actually have an "inside man" (or woman in this case) who checked on this "little" problem at Hubby's work for me... She talked to hubby's department head who said that I can fill out the vacation request forms ahead of time and send them in with my friend so they will know when the trip is ... and then hubby can cosign them the day we leave !! Woo Hoo!!! :cool1: :woohoo: Sometimes small companies are really nice, they are willing to bed the rules and work with you a bit more than big corporations! Love It!

The kids and I have come up with a tentative plan for Dad's surprise. We're going to send dad off to work on our final day, then while he's gone, pack, pick up the rental car and load everything. The kids are going to decorate the car windows with those window marker/chalk things. They're planning to draw Mickey heads and balloons and write "Orlando Here We Come" "Off to Meet the Mouse" stuff like this. Then we're going to "hide" the rental in the detach garage. (Hubby parks in the drive and comes straight in the house.)

After he gets home, we're going to tell him we have a special evening planned and send him off to get a shower and changed. :rolleyes1 While he's doing this, the kids are going to wind a trail of yarn from the bathroom door all around the house, outside and in, ending in the garade. They are going to set up in there with the video camera for the final unveiling.

At least that is the plan at this point.... what do you think??? Any other ideas would be greatly appreciated. We didn't want anything that would take too much time, as we are hoping to drive past hubby's work for the final papers, and hit the road before it gets too late... :woohoo:

My only real work-related concern about this whole plan is using two-weeks of hubby's three-week vacation time all at once without his go-ahead. We generally discuss any major plans (trips, moderate to large purchases) at some length before we commit to things. I know he rarely gets sick, but he has used vaca. time in the past to cover sick days or appointments or the occasional "mental health" day; and I'd hate to be cutting him short on his remaining days. :confused3 I was also worried he would just plain not enjoy taking this long of a trip, until a conversation we had THIS WEEK. :thumbsup2 We were talking about a trip we are taking to visit family during the kids' Christmas break. I suggested going Dec. 26 - Jan. 2 and he asked "Why not go both the week before and after Christmas?" I couldn't believe it!!! He's never suggested taking two weeks before! Now I'm reassured that he will really like this idea!!! This is the part of the trip I am looking forward to the most, surprising my Honey! :love:

By the way, we're still only taking one week at Christmas. I told him "fish and family smell after 7 days" as my excuse. But I really don't want to take that much time off from my job twice in six months. Sounds way too much, especially since I have to make a lot of extra arrangements and do not get paid for my vacation time. I really tried to talk him out of any trip at Christmas, but didn't have any ammunition to back it up since I couldn't say "well, we'll be traveling in May/June." :rolleyes1

Anyway, that's the plan... :wizard:Really Hoping It ALL Turns Out as Planned!!! :wizard:

12-14-2009, 01:44 PM
Well, I decided to get back on here and crow a little bit...


I wasn't sure how this would pan out since we're staying off site and I had to make them one at a time, day by day, but Mission Accomplished!!!

I guess everyone who tries to make ressies at 180 days out runs into the same issue...park hours come out at almost the same time. I had a guesstimate of my park days going by the 2009 park schedule and that worked out pretty well. I really only had to adjust two of my park days to avoid EMH. I also knew which restaurants I wanted, I just had to make them work with parades and the nightly shows. All in all, I think it came out pretty well.

So here's the plan...

Sunday, May 30. Animal Kingdom with ressies at Bomas after the park closes.
Monday, May 31. Magic Kingdom with Crystal Palace for lunch.
Tuesday, June 1. DHS with Sci Fi for lunch.
Wednesday, June 2. Epcot with Chefs for lunch (hoping to see Remy).
Thursday, June 3. Typhoon Lagoon and dinner at Mickey's Backyard BBQ.
Friday, June 4. Epcot and lunch at Tokyo Dining.
Saturday, June 5. Magic Kingdom and lunch at Whispering Canyon Cafe.
Sunday, June 6. Disney Quest/Shopping and lunch at TRex.
Monday, June 7. Blizzard Beach and Cindy's dinner at 1900 Park Fare.
Tuesday, June 8. Animal Kingdom with dinner at Rainforest Cafe at closing.
Wednesday, June 9. Magic Kingdom and dinner at Chef Mickey's
Thursday, June 10. DHS with lunch at the 50s PT
Friday, June 11. Epcot with lunch at Le Cellier.

I did a lot more lunch ressies this time since we are not on the dining plan. There were several that were cheaper for lunch and this seemed like a painless way to trim the fat from the budget. You can probably tell from my choices that we like the meal locations with some sort of built-in entertainment (characters, shows, videos, animatronics, corny humor). Really the only locations I chose solely for the food was Le Cellier, Tokyo Dining and Bomas. We loved Bomas last time and the other two choices were locations I thought hubby would particularly like.

I did a sample budget based on what I thought my family would probably eat at these locations and one counter service restaurant each day. I was really pretty happy with the results. I really think I included more desserts, fun drinks for the kids and adult beverages for hubby and me than we'll actually eat, but I wanted to budget high rather than low. (And anywhere I went over, would account for the occasional snack I did not include in the budget.) Anyway, my guestimate came to about $2,250 with 18% gratuity included at table service locations.

I'll be interested to see how close I come to this guess after our trip because if this is accurate we'll actually be saving money by not using the dining plan. I really didn't expect that.:confused3 But when you add tips and drinks to the cost of the dining plan for the four of us, it was more like $2,400. (I think it comes down to the fact that we just don't eat quite as much food as the dining plan calls for an we're doing a lot of lunches).

Either way, I'm thrilled with this budget and hope it pans out...

Feel free to add any dining/snack advice you have. I'd love to hear it!!!!

12-14-2009, 02:14 PM
Hello!!! Joining in our your planning fun. Your plan to surprise your dh sounds great. Don't let them kids slip!! We took our first trip to Disney World this past May. We have been to Florida before and went into the MK with a 1 day pass, but this trip was our first right in Disney for 7 days and we went all out too, it was amazing. We cannot wait to go back next year. Right now i'm looking at 7 nights again, from setpember 20-27, at All star music in the suites because we are a family of 6. This past trip we had 2 connecting rooms at the movies, but I figured the suites would be something different.

I know what you mean by having to come on hear and talk about Disney ,because everyone else starts to go crazy, even the kids. It's just too far away for them to think about it every day.

Your adrs look great too, can't wait to make mine.

12-15-2009, 12:33 PM
Thanks for joining. I'm pretty new to all this, but it's fun having people to talk to who enjoy Disney too!!

I see you have a ticker...How Do I Do That??? I'm clueless...
I see options for adding photos, which I haven't figured out yet, but I'm working on it. BUT Where, Oh Where, Do I get a ticker??? I would love any advice!!

Thanks again for chiming in, getting this close to 2010 and having ressies done makes it feel so REAL finally! Good luck in a couple months on your own ressies!

02-07-2010, 09:05 PM
Here is a link to the website. It should walk you through it.


02-08-2010, 02:35 PM
Okay, here goes...

First, the secret is out. :headache: I knew I was going to have issues keeping a surprise from my DH. He misses nothing. :worship:

We went to a boat and travel show in January and there was a pretty good timeshare offer being thrown out for Williamsburg, Va. and suddenly he is all gungho to sign up. For A Timeshare deal!! :sad2: I kept telling him we didn't have the money for a trip, but that's a pretty hard sell, when they are offering lodging for $250. You know?? :headache:

At about the same time, I had gotten a pin code offer in my e-mail from Disney. It was a pretty good deal and I started having second thoughts about staying off-site. So I talked to the kids about it and we decided to spring the trip on dad and let him make the call. He couldn't believe it! Especially the length of our trip! We've never taken two weeks before (and probably won't again)!!

:lmao: He's enjoying giving me all kinds of grief over this:
"What if I get sick?"
"Man, I could have taken a day off after the Super Bowl if I had any vacation days left.."
"I've got to drive to work in a blizzard because someone is using all my vacation days..."
:rotfl2: He's such a brat.

I'm actually glad we told him now because he is soooo excited and I would have missed all of this if we had waited until the day of.

After we filled him in, we let him make the final decision between Pop Century or the Lake Buena Vista Village Resort and Spa. He chose Disney. This saves us $800 and gives us all the on-site perks! Yeah!!! I've gotten past the lack of space and privacy. We'll make it work. I've already gotten some pretty good tips for making the small room managable for a two-week stay.

So, long story short, at the end of January, I was back to the drawing board... :eek: I had intentionally planned around EMH for the off-site stay.
BUT We loved EMH when we stayed on-site in 2005, so we decided to get hoppers and make use of them again. This meant rescheduling my park days and getting all new ADRS! :scared1:

It ends up, this was very easy and I got everything I wanted again! :wizard:(Probably thanks to the fact that most of the meals are at lunch time.) I booked Le Cellier,Sci Fi, Crystal Palace, Rainforest, Backyard BBQ,50s Prime Time, Chef Mickey's, Cinderella's Gala Feast, Yak & Yeti, Whispering Canyon, Bomas, TRex, and Chefs De France. :yay:

I also found a fridge swap that still had an opening for most of our trip, so I've signed up for that too. So, we're all set. Now, I'm back in a holding pattern. Just waiting for May 28th!

And Weezy, thanks for the info. As you can tell, my ticker is up and running! :yay:
Any advice on posting pictures??? :rotfl2: :worship:

02-08-2010, 03:23 PM
I don't think I have actually put pictures on but my daughter (PiratesFan) has so I will ask her and see if she can help. It has been 4 years for us and we are planning on going back this summer.:cool1:

02-10-2010, 12:31 PM
You're back! The new plans sound great.

To post photos upload them to a site like photobucket and then use the insert image button. Or you can just copy the img code directly from photobucket. It should look something like this: "[IMG ]http://i108.photobucket.com/albums/n34/......jpg[/IMG ]"

There is a video tutorial here:


02-11-2010, 06:09 AM
Thanks eliza,
I'm going to work on the photos this weekend and see what I can do...

All the changes have been kind of crazy, but it was funny watching it all unfold. First, the kids and I wanted to stay on-site, but opted for off-site just because it cost the same and gave us a lot more space. Eventually the kids got excited about this and were looking forward to it.
Then when we changed the plan back to Pop Century, the kids were not overjoyed. But in the weeks since they are starting to get excited about this.
I guess we can talk ourselves into anything...:)

The kids and I were also a little dissapointed about telling dad early, but they are enjoying talking about the plans now... I'm VERY relieved because I was having a couple "issues" that I wasn't sure how to handle like DH's glasses. (Sometimes when we take vacations, he would suddenly decide to go back to contact lenses, so I was debating about ordering some for him for this trip. But then I was fretting about whether he would want to wear contacts at the water parks or if he'd be better off with prescription sunglasses. Needless to say, it takes a load off, now that he can make his own decision!)

I just read about the new Summer Nightastic offerings this morning and that's pretty exciting too. On our last trip, we saw WISHES and Spectro so it will be fun to see a new parade/fireworks. Someone posted that these changes start June 1. Since our trip starts May 29, we may have to try to hit the MK in May and again in June so that we can see both! :yay:

02-11-2010, 08:19 AM
We went back and forth about on-site vs off-site as well so I know where your comming from. No matter what, you will be at Disney with your family and that's what will make the trip special.

I've planned a few surprise weekends for DH but he is easy to pack for. I still don't think I would attempt DW without his input though. In the long run, I think it is good that you told him.

What is Summer Nightastic?! Yeah, something I haven't researched. :cool1: I'm off to check it out.

Happy planning.