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TandLMommy28 05-15-2012 01:42 PM

Grumpola's Going Back: A PTR for Septmeber 2012 So many updates! 34 days...
If you don't believe in the magic of Disney, than how do you explain this?

Grumpola is going back to Disney World. Willingly.

Before our 2010 trip, my dear husband, who I referred to as Grumpola on my last PTR, said to me, "No one needs to go to Disney World more than once. I went as a kid. You've been twice. We are going because our kids should get to say they've been once. But just once. Because nobody needs to go back."

But then we arrived, on September 26, 2010. He seemed to have an OK time. He wasn't miserable or complaining, at least. We were having fun. But I didn't think he was having enough fun to convince him to ever come back.

And then it happened.

On September 29, 2010 around 9pm (yes I remember the date and time. This was historic!), we were in the pool at Port Orleans French Quarter. And without thinking, these words slipped from his mouth... "So, on our next trip, I'd really like to spend more time at Epcot."

At that moment, I felt like the world had stopped. He seemed to be in disbelief at what he had said! I stared at him with my mouth hanging open. I couldn't even breathe! And then... I smiled the biggest smile of my life!

I've been planning this return trip ever since!!!

So, welcome to our September 2012 PTR.

TandLMommy28 05-15-2012 01:53 PM

Here's the basics of our trip!

Dates: September 15-22, 2012

Place: Port Orleans Riverside

People: Me, Grumpola, and the kiddos. The Princess will be 7 on the trip. My little Prince will be 4, but very close to 5 (his birthday is the 28th). This is technically his five-year-old trip. But that's a story for another post. Also, my mom and my aunt will be joining us from the 16th to the 20th. Due to limited options for free dining, they are actual booked in a Royal Room. I'm banking on the kids wanting to sleep in their room!

Travel: Flying! In 2010, we drove. We drive everywhere. I love a good road trip. We probably do a solid 6,000 miles in road trips every year. But driving to Disney is hard! The excitement on the way there makes it hard to not go crazy sitting in the car. And the drive home? You are just so tired and 1,100 miles is a long way when you feel that kind of exhaustion--not to mention the sadness at having to leave! We scored a really good deal on flights. Good enough that I would say we will almost break even with the cost to drive. Plus we arrive at 10am AND we don't leave until 7pm, so it's like we got two extra vacation days out of it, too.

TandLMommy28 05-15-2012 02:17 PM

The Planning... From September 2010 to March 2012
I love planning a trip.

But when you start planning so early, things change constantly.

We thought about doing a Disney cruise.

We thought about doing a two week trip and staying at Pop.

We thought about Art of Animation.

We thought about doing a shorter trip and staying Deluxe.

We thought about renting points for Bay Lake Tower.

We thought about waiting for Home School Days and doing that. Or just doing YES tickets.

We thought about staying at a non-Disney resort. Hahaha. Nope, just kidding. THAT is one thought we never had. Offsite is not an option. Staying onsite is what makes the trip, at least for me.

We were going just the four of us. We were going with my mom and aunt. We were going with my mom, dad and two aunts.

In the end, we decided that a cruise was out this time. The prices for AoA came out and I laughed at the idea that this was supposed to be a "value". Then things got messed up with my spring break plans (long, boring story) and Grumpola ended up taking a week of vacation to rescue me (my hero!). We already had another non-Disney trip planned for summer and that meant he only had one week of vacation left for Disney. So two weeks at Pop went out the window. Our last trip was check-in on Sunday, check out on Friday. It was too short! So we decided less days to do deluxe would NOT work. Renting points and getting YES tickets was still a top contender, though.

And then free dining was announced. We really enjoyed it the last time so we decided to do it again even though we'd really wanted to do the YES program. I started number crunching all the different resort options. I was trying to talk us into Pop Century because it's cheap and we could walk over to Art of Animation and check it out.

But no matter the price, I couldn't picture us at Pop. I just couldn't. It's not my Disney home! Two out of my three trips have been to Port Orleans and that is for sure my Disney home. We ended up settling on Riverside this time even though we LOVED every single thing about French Quarter. The thing is, we kept going to Riverside for the bigger food court and to rent bikes and everything else. So this time we are going to try just staying there in the first place! We will see if that works out better!

My travel agent rocks and she got us a standard room at POR the day FD started. A lot of people were having to upgrade to higher room categories to get FD and I really just wanted Standard because I'm not picky. She managed to score that for us and I was THRILLED!

TandLMommy28 05-16-2012 09:36 AM

Sad Day. Loss and Disney.
My dear friend was battling melanoma.

A bunch of friends and family did a fundraiser to help pay for her to take her children to Disney World because if there was anything that family needed, it was some happy memories!

Then a miracle came through. A charity that specifically works with parents who have stage 4 cancer offered to book, pay for and plan their entire trip! They were scheduled to fly out on May 15--yesterday.

Unfortunately, about two weeks ago it became evident that my friend would be too sick to make the trip.

And yesterday, on the very day she was to surprise her three girls and take them to Disney World, my dear friend lost her fight.

The devastation is beyond anything I can really make sense of right now. I am so broken hearted for those girls, who will now not get to make new memories with their mom. No getting ready for prom, no pre-wedding talks, no calling her for advice when they have their own children. And no magical memories of special vacations together.

I feel like I need to do something. I need to find a way to honor my friend and the fact that her final wish was to take her kids to Disney World before she died and that wish was NOT granted. Ugh...

ZFamily5 05-16-2012 09:59 AM

I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend. :(

I'm excited to read about your trip plans though! My family loves POR! We stayed there this past summer and had an amazing time! When you feel up to it, I can't wait to read more!

TandLMommy28 05-17-2012 11:14 AM

The Grieving Process?
Grieving is a funny thing.

I can't seem to cry. :confused3

I'm definitely snappy and edgy and miserable to be around, though.

And mostly all I can think about is planning this trip.

Maybe part of me feels like planning a perfect trip for my kids is the way I can live out Michelle's dream. Maybe it's honoring Michelle, who put family bonding time and special memories above almost everything else. Maybe it's just selfish to distract myself with these plans. I don't know. All I know is that writing out my plans and working on this PTR are the distraction I need at the moment. I suppose I may just be at that denial phase? Whatever it is, the PTR must go on for now.

Shazzasmd 05-17-2012 11:30 AM

So very sorry about the loss of your friend.

The title of your PTR caused me to stop by, as I just experienced something similar. DH (Grumpy Bear) recently said he'd like to do another Disney Cruise - so I booked it!

All the best to you in this difficult time, and hoping you have a wonderful family trip.

TandLMommy28 05-17-2012 11:34 AM

The Cast
And so, here's the cast.

That's us on the 2010 trip.

Here we are individually:

Before the 2010 trip, Grumpola's one and only experience with WDW was a one day excursion to Magic Kingdom while in Florida visiting his grandparents when he was about eight. And, as far as he was concerned, one day was enough.

Disney nut. The obsession began when I was a kid. My parents surprised us with a trip to Disney World before surprise trips were the thing to do. I'll tell that story another day. There were nine YEARS of build up to the big day. It was wild. And now I'm obsessed.

The Princess
This was about one hour into her first time in a Disney Park. She was glowing. After meeting the princesses, she seriously floated out the exit. I'll dig up that picture later.

The Prince. But we usually call him Bubby.
This was at his birthday breakfast at Crystal Palace. The paper in his hand was the birthday card from Mickey that was left in our room. He carried it around all day. He was celebrating his third birthday!

My Mom and My Aunt
My mom's first and only trip to Disney before 2010 was the surprise trip she took us kids on in 1995. The 2010 trip was my aunt's first, just a few months before 50. "I made it before fifty!" she said all week. The funny thing is that they ended up going to California to visit their brother in 2011 and went to Disneyland (another hilarious story to share later! Boy, I should be making a list of all the stories I'm promising!). And now WDW again in 2012. So I think they are doing a fine job of making up for a childhood without Disney, hehehe. :)

My Mom by herself:
My favorite picture of her, ever.

My Aunt:

My family lives about 900 miles away, so one of the things they like best about coming along to Disney World is that even though they might not be in the day-to-day memories my kids have, they ARE in the big memories.

TandLMommy28 05-17-2012 12:05 PM


Originally Posted by ZFamily5 (Post 44900241)
I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend. :(

I'm excited to read about your trip plans though! My family loves POR! We stayed there this past summer and had an amazing time! When you feel up to it, I can't wait to read more!


Originally Posted by Shazzasmd (Post 44911513)
So very sorry about the loss of your friend.

The title of your PTR caused me to stop by, as I just experienced something similar. DH (Grumpy Bear) recently said he'd like to do another Disney Cruise - so I booked it!

All the best to you in this difficult time, and hoping you have a wonderful family trip.

Thanks for stopping by. And for the sympathies. Grief is a funny thing. I don't feel like I'm doing it "right". And I'm just frustrated by that. For example, right now I should be getting ready to go to the funeral home and here I am writing my PTR. Sigh. I think I am just fairly happy in my state of denial at the moment.

TandLMommy28 05-17-2012 02:26 PM

I'm all dressed and ready to go to this wake. Or whatever they call them here in Indiana. In Rhode Island, they were wakes. Whatever. A wake by any other name still leaves me with a friend gone much too soon.

And here I am sitting here, trying to absorb it. Trying to feel something. And instead I am going crazy with this thought "When on earth will we squeeze in Animal Kingdom on this trip?" Seriuosly. There is something wrong with me. I'm mad at myself, I'm mad at my brain for escaping reality and yet... I can't stop it. Grumpola is definitely worried about me. I'm worried about me. Why can't I just cry? Maybe at the wake, or the viewing or whatever people in this state call it... maybe then I'll cry.

The thing is, I cry at everything. I cry at commercials and movies and TV shows and I cry when I read the news and I cry when I see the neighborhood cat with no owner that is now limping. I cry when I look at baby pictures of my kids. I CRY!

So why? Why am not crying over this? This is my very first real encounter with death of someone other than an aging and very ill grandparent. I should be falling apart. I should be crying. I should probably be a little bit hysterical. Instead, I'm waking up in the night having panic attacks about whether or not we scheduled enough time at Epcot this time around.

She looked me right in the eye five weeks ago today and said, "As of Monday, I will be on the road to recovery. They are probably even going to upgrade me from stage four." So much hope. All the way to the end. And now, she's gone. It's not fair. Her daughters ar 5, 7 and 9. And they have no mother and it's not fair. One of those girls is MY daughter's best friend and my daughter is struggling with the idea that mommies die. I should be crying all day long over this.

Why am I not crying? Why am I having this weird sort of grief process? It's not ME. I feel like I don't know myself and I don't understand myself right now. It's so odd.

Well, I guess I'll start outlining our trip schedule while I wait for the tears to finally start falling.

TandLMommy28 05-18-2012 12:12 PM

I'm home from the funeral. It wasn't as bad as I thought. The worst part was at the beginning when they played the song she always sang to the girls and one of the little ones was just sobbing, "Momma! MOmma!" It broke my heart. Those girls were supposed to be in the Magic Kingdom today. Not at Mommy's funeral. Sigh.

Last night I had a good cry, finally. Grumpola seemed relieved that it finally happened. I was relieved, too.

When Michelle was first diagnosed with cancer, she pulled her children out of school, opting to home school them because she knew her time on earth was short and that they would need as many memories of time spent with Mommy as possible. Losing most of the day to the kids being at school was simply not an option. Family memories are the most precious thing you can give your children. That's what she believed. ANd so I will continue my planning, but now not as an escape but as a way to live out what Michelle believed--in giving kids special memories.

TandLMommy28 05-18-2012 12:36 PM

Our ADRs were a special sort of challenge because we have my Mom and Aunt arriving a day later than us. I had charts and graphs and lists of where everyone wanted to eat before I worked it out.

So here they are!

Sunday September 16 8:10am CRT! Yea! This will be just the four of us before the other two arrive.

Sunday September 16 4:30pm 1900 Park Fare This will be our meal when they arrive. After this, we will spend the night at MK. Possibly late for evening EMH.

YES. this is a whole lotta Cinderella in one day. But this is the best way I could work it out. I'm excited. My almost-five-year-old boy might feel differently.

Tuesday September 18 Chef Mickey's 5:10pm Pre-MNSSHP meal. Even though it's for 5:10, I know that at CM they tend to seat you in the order you arrive as long as you have an ADR at all so we will get there right at 4:30 and hope we get seated quickly. In 2010, we showed up 90 minutes early and were seated right away.

Wednesday September 19 Akershus 9:45 Everyone's favorite meal from last time so it was EVERY SINGLE PERSON'S must do meal. OMG, those muffins. What do they put in them? I have no idea but it's been nearly 2 years and I still dream about them.

My mom and aunt also have a dinner ADR at Via Napoli on this day. They end up with an extra meal credit because of the way we scheduled things so we will split up and send them to Italy.

Friday September 21 Ohana 8:05am I haven't eaten here before so I'm excited for something new.

Saturday September 22 T-Rex Noon We have three princess meals booked. This is my apology to my son for dragging him through all of that! :)

MelMel11 05-18-2012 03:33 PM

Sorry about the loss of your friend. Can't wait to hear more about your trip!! Count me in!!

TandLMommy28 05-18-2012 03:57 PM


Originally Posted by MelMel11 (Post 44923618)
Sorry about the loss of your friend. Can't wait to hear more about your trip!! Count me in!!

Thanks. And welcome to my crazy planning!

My next "to-do" item is getting a top 10 "Must Do Disney" list from each person so we can try make sure everyone's Disney dreams come true. Six people with 10 items. That's 60 things. Let's pray for some SERIOUS overlap!!!!

TandLMommy28 05-20-2012 03:17 PM

A look back at 2010
The kids and I were watching our 2010 video today and it made me extra sappy and excited for this trip.

Our 2010 trip was perfect. PERFECT. It even only rained once--unheard of in Florida in September! And it rained as we were leaving MK... my mom thinks rain is magical and she danced a bit in the rain on the very empty Main Street. HER dream come true. :)

We didn't tell the kids mom and my aunt were coming. Instead, when they arrived, we posed the kids in front of the fountain in the POFQ lobby. Mom ad my aunt snuck behind them so they were visible in the picture. After I took it, I handed the camera to my kids who ALWAYS need to see how the picture came out. When they looked, they saw they weren't alone in the picture. It wa so awesome! People in the lobby were crying, hehehe. :)

So here it is. All of our amazing 2010 trip condensed to fit the duration of two songs.

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