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Clemson Campers 09-24-2012 12:13 AM

Torture or Treasure? You decide!
Forward: To Kim and her family! I loved your pictures, your writing and your passion for sharing your Disney vacation with the rest of us on the DIS Board. You are my inspiration to do the same! T-Minus 4 days to the surprise of our kids' lives!! I honestly thought I'd never see this day!!

Treasure or Torture: You decide.

Imagine being young parents on a budget, sitting at Macaroni Grill in Orlando with three young children, just five minutes away from the entrance to the mother of all credit card temptations - Disney World!! Our kids were completely oblivious to where we were and why we were even there! DD, DS1 and DS2 are living the dream as far as they are concerned. It's a rare night out at a restaurant, complete with crayons, pizza and lemonade. In their world, life was as good as it gets! DH had a school board conference which coincided nicely with a family gathering in Jupiter. Now we were at the Gaylord Hotel and the sights and sounds were more than enough to keep these kiddos entertained. Seriously, what parents would selfishly torture their children, drive under that magical arch welcoming worldwide visitors and utter these agonizing words: "Kids, check it out!! We are in Orlando, FL - the home of Mickey Mouse and Walt Disney World!! Hold on tight because we're going to give you a sneak peak of this incredible vacation destination, BUT.... for a myriad of reasons...just this once, (think Seinfeld) "NO PARK HOPPING FOR YOU! ... NEXT!"

Total torture!

Can't you just hear those hyper screams that only surface when kids are truly surprised? Car seat straps had an entirely new meaning other than safety that day. In no uncertain terms, these kids were FREAKING OUT! Now try to imagine the painful, albeit well-intentioned, inner turmoil for us parents. "OMG, what have we done? Why did we do this? We have definitely scared our kids forever - they'll never forgive us!!" And just when we thought we'd made the worst decision in our life, the ultimate grace was uttered from our oldest DD who was 9 at the time. Like an amped up angel on an epic sugar high she screams, "I DON'T CARE IF WE CAN'T GO INTO THE PARKS. I'M JUST HAPPY I CAN FINALLY TELL MY FRIENDS THAT I'VE BEEN HERE!"

Be still my mommy heart!! I will never forget that moment in my life or those precious words - EVER! For me, it was total treasure!

Commence Operation Free Disney

As we drove thru WDW apologizing for all the reasons we couldn't go into the parks on that visit, we pulled up to The Boardwalk with a modest plan to make some great memories. First we headed thru the hotel and ventured out to the buzz of boats, bikes and people all around us. Ice cream was first and then we headed out for a FREE Disney transportation tour to MGM. Life was good! We disembarked at a new location and the sites and sounds were different in front of the Beach Hotel. We headed to the bridge between the two properties knowing a bird's eye view of Epcot fireworks was about to begin. And they're off!! Illuminations had officially redefined fireworks forever for these happy campers! Life was great! And wouldn't you know, we managed to catch a free cast member magic show! You all know the odds of being picked in that crowded venue among 100 kids is really small, but guess what? Not only were our boys picked, but the magician gave them his deck of cards! Life was magic! "This was the best night ever..." as we all returned to our vintage Ford Explorer. But the adventure wasn't over quite yet!

The next day we ate a quick breakfast and jumped the hotel shuttle to Epcot. You guessed it. We hopped on the free Disney transportation every child dreams of riding - The Monorail. We did the entire loop chatting about Mom and Dad's childhood memories of Disney the entire way. We stopped at The Contemporary for a cafeteria lunch which our kids loved! They couldn't stop watching the birds that were inside -- eagerly eating all those crumbs! "How do they get inside?" Don't you just love their level of interest? So simple - so innocent! And after we left the monorail, we took free Disney transportation the Animal Kingdom Lodge. When you live in a city with no zoo, The Savannah at this property ROCKS! No shortage of African Savannah wonder or beaming smiles from my kids. I thought to myself, "We WILL get back here one day and we WILL go in these beautiful parks!!"

Last, but not least, when my husband had to attend his official meeting the next day, I took the kids to Downtown Disney and played at Lego Land... yep... for free! They were in hog heaven!! And so was I! I thought patiently to my stay-at-home mom self, "Have no fear - there will be a next time."

Fast forward three years!! The magic has finally arrived! Stay tuned!

To be continued...


KimIce 09-24-2012 06:47 AM

Can't wait to hear the rest of your story / trip report.

2goofycampers 09-24-2012 07:25 AM

I love a happy ending. popcorn::

angelmom27 09-24-2012 11:24 AM

Yay. Looking forward to the rest of the story.

kcp1377 09-24-2012 02:31 PM

Aww - this brings tears to my eyes!! I'm so happy that the day is almost here!! You're going to have an awesome trip! Can't wait to read along with you!

Clemson Campers 09-24-2012 10:04 PM

If only I could post PDF's on here!!! If only I could post videos on here!! I feel like a total child on Christmas Eve! I'm losing sleep thinking about seeing their faces when they turn the beautiful customized black/white pages of historic Cumberland Island and hit the last page BURSTING with color announcing we're going to DISNEY WORLD!

I do believe there is a distinct possibility someone will faint! Yes, I have the first aid kit ready!

So I'm a bit worn after losing to Florida State (ugh!!!) work, work work, meal planning, dog sitter planning, proactive road side assistance planning, outfit planning, and in general just preparing to leave planning. After tomorrow's big day at the office, I will be able to breathe a bit easier. I'm in charge of a field trip of elementary students coming to visit our children's picture book company. They have been preparing for weeks reading and studying 5 of the meteorology/ecology picture books we publish and will be playing a customized game of Classroom Jeopardy! as a fun retention finale! It's going to be awesome and I will be 100% Disney when it's over. Pray that I don't collapse!!

All I can think about is the reveal... So until tomorrow, TTFN! - G

ps - I hope you all know I didn't really say, "NO PARK HOPPING FOR YOU!" to my kiddos! :) Did I mention I was exhausted? And yet here I am... on the DIS Boards. Clemson Campers burning the midnight oil...

until next time,


2goofycampers 09-25-2012 07:26 AM

You can upload a video to a host site and post us a link. :thumbsup2

Clemson Campers 09-25-2012 10:50 PM

Thanks for the insight Denise!! So if I upload to YouTube, I can post link in this thread? I thought moderators didn't permit that. Then again, I'm such a DIS Board newbie - I'm all "EARS" to tips!! LOL! Oh Lord, I am punchy!

Ok, Remember how your eyes felt after a week of cramming for exams? That's me in a nutshell right now... AND... I'm baking 3 banana breads (thanks to the help of my DD) and spegetti sauce! After the dreaded trip to Sams and watching my paycheck vanish, my kitchen table is now looking prepared for a Category 5 Hurricane. I'm already to the point where I'm saying, "If we forget anything, we'll get it when we get there!" (I normally don't think that way until I'm actually loading the car!!)

I guess I work better under pressure, but I'm wiped out and so excited at the same time. Has anyone coined the phrase "Disney fatigue!" Seems fitting. :) Our pop-up is looking clean and ready to roll thanks to DH. I'm thrilled about how easy this will be compared to a tent. I still think the kids are clueless. We'll know soon enough!!

10:48 - time to collapse. Until tomorrow!! TTFN

2goofycampers 09-26-2012 07:38 AM


Originally Posted by Clemson Campers (Post 46268954)
Thanks for the insight Denise!! So if I upload to YouTube, I can post link in this thread?

Yes. As long as you aren't asking people to vote or selling it's OK.

kcp1377 09-26-2012 11:24 AM

Haha - yeah, Disney fatigue is something else. DH just said the other day "Did it really happen? One day we were planning the trip and the next we were driving home. The rest is a blur." So that fatigue just gets worse and worse... :) Our kids knew we were going, but didn't know when. DS1 put it together the night before (he swears he didn't know before then) when he saw me loading my camera bag into the van and DH hitching up the RV. I went up and talked to him that night and he said "Oh, it's just dad checking the RV brakes" but later admitted he knew what was going on at that point. The things kids do to protect their mom and dad. ;) That said, I'm sure your kids are still in the dark! They are going to flip!

Clemson Campers 09-26-2012 10:09 PM

9:52 pm - Departure Eve

Is anyone else willing to admit they bicker with their spouce when packing. (bicker might be mild) I'm trying not to let the stress get to me, BUT...

Our vintage Suburban started SMOKING from the dashboard tonight. I steered CLEAR of DH. It was literally an electrical fire. Something to do with the GPS wires... I focused on the part I do best - kids clothes and games. Yes, he literally ripped out wires and fixed said problem. I'm waiting for the other shoe to fall.

Other shoe:

You know when you need to hide a Disney document and you're too lazy to go "put it in the special Disney document folder" and then you can't remember where you put it? Anyone else out there suffer from this symptom of Disney fatigue? Well, after reading all about the Disney "Special Photo Registration" thingy... I told DH to hide the paper in one of those places.

It's missing!!!!! AND!!! My boys got in trouble this week for snooping thru my draws looking for "their missing $7 dollars" and found our Elf on the Shelf hidden in a fluffy sock!! Oh boy - the drama!! DD called me in a panic at work yesterday afternoon, "MOM - the boys found Wando!" "They are crying their eyes out!" (I, was not happy they went thru my stuff, but felt equally sad about the reveal) I was not much help from work so I said, K - do the best you can.... I'll tell the rest of THAT story later.

Ok - so now I'm freaking because I think the kids went thru my stuff and found the Disney photo registration and I'm thinking "THEY KNOW!" Or maybe I moved it from vulnerable place to more secure place and I forgot where the secure place is and they know nothing. And now I'm on this board praying that someone can tell me I can get my photo number when we check in.

Sigh... gotta pack more. I know this will all work out, but I'm kinda stressin' right now.

To be continued...

2goofycampers 09-27-2012 07:29 AM

Sounds like you're really gonna need this vacation. pixiedust: I hope the pixie dust helps.

AuntBJ 09-27-2012 09:04 AM

The big day is finally here!!party:

I have to say your excitement is LEAPING off your posts! Hope you get a chance to get some rest on the trip down.

BTW, I am the queen of hiding things from myself. The old "I won't forget where I put that" doesn't work like it used to. It couldn't be age could it? Naw, I didn't think so.

Disney Bunny 09-28-2012 12:33 PM

Nope.....not just you that "bickers" with your DH when packing for a camping trip. Nope....not at all. In fact, that's a MILD word for the throw downs we had when we used to tent camp and we had to pack the roof top carrier and put it on top of the car or van. I just didn't have the upper body strength to lift it up that high when it was mostly loaded and he didn't want to have to put it on top of the car and THEN load it. I can only imagine what the neighbors must have thought.......:rotfl2:

kcp1377 09-28-2012 06:11 PM

Hope your trip is going well! DH and I bicker too - usually ending with me wondering why the heck we even bother to go away. But then we get in the car and its all worth it. :)

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