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Old 08-29-2008, 08:13 PM   #1
CarolinaMomOf3boys
I stepped onto the grass on the other side; it wasn't any greener, just different.......A candle loses nothing of its light by lighting another candle......I wasn't born a princess, but if the tiara fits......
 
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Talking Aaron & Ethan's Excellent, secret, Adventures

Introductions are a necessity. I am Melissa and married to Randall.

I have 3 sons from a previous marriage, 2 of whom currently live with us, Aaron age 12 and Ethan age 9.
They have been to Disney for the first time 5 years ago when I was dating Randall; it was his first time there, as well. Randall and I got to go to Disney without the children in April of 2008 and stayed at All Star Movies. We had such a good time. Disney is truly magical, even for just the grown ups!


I am sorry to hear that Pleasure Island is getting ready to undergo some major changes, as we really enjoyed the nightlife for adults while we were there.


Once we returned home from our trip in April, I DIScovered the DIS boards and boy was I HOOKED! That is when I learned of a little something that would consume our lives over the next several months. That little something is called “FREE DINING”!!!!. I thought, “WOW, we are a family of 4, that would save us a fortune, we can shoot for next year“, as the dates were just being released and you only had until sometime in June to book it. I mentioned it to my husband and he very casually said ‘we can do that’ …just like in the Disney commercial when the mom and dad are talking about the price of Disney!!! I thought he HAD to have lost his mind, WE JUST GOT BACK!

But, he was not kidding and so the planning began. I learned about the Creative DISigners and couldn’t stay away and started collecting everything I could to have things personalized to plan our magical trip. After over 10 ink cartridges, more than a dozen packs of transfer papers, I started ironing for the first time in YEARS! This was planned WITHOUT the boys ever knowing. So needless to say, there were many, many late nights of getting shirts out, heating the iron up, learning which transfer sheets to flip and which ones not to, AFTER making sure the boys were in bed, I started working on all the many projects to make this a memorable trip. I started collecting things for their goody bags, I knew I wanted them to wake up each morning with a gift from a different character. So I enlisted the help of wonderful, talented Natalie…donatalie. She created the gift tags for each morning, along with the magical personalized invitations, envelopes, and many of the shirts we wore throughout our journey. I made pillowcases for them, night shirts with a sleepy pooh …there were many nights my husband came downstairs and wondered if he had walked into a sweatshop! I found Mickey Mouse cinch saks from eBay for them, autograph books from eBay, Mickey Mouse washcloths from dollar tree, disney coloring books, Disney crayons, bubbles, light up wands that do the twirly whirls from Party City, I even made them tattoos, with many thanks from the helpful DISigners. I was able to make some window clings for the resort room, because after reading about it on the DIS boards, DIDN’T EVERYONE DECORATE THEIR RESORT WINDOWS??!!?
My husband and friends were sure I was certifiable at this point. Its my Disney Addiction, I am among many, as it turns out, and am in GREAT COMPANY.
I also learned of 2 fabulous things called a fridge swap and photo pass share. What a wonderful idea!! The fridge swap went off, almost, without a hitch….details later…..
Next up…..how are we going to get to the airport without the kids finding out? And how on earth do we get from Sanford to Disney without spending a fortune? Ugh, all these dining reservations!!! Which restaurants do we want to try that we never have before? And HOW exactly does FREE dining work and what IS the Disney Dining Plan? How am I going to keep up with it all? We are taking my DMIL who will be in an EVC, how is that going to work for us? And, finally, HOW do you do free dining when school has already started and STILL keep it from the children?? But letting all the teachers know!!
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My Magical Surprise of a LIFETIME POST trip report
http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1936235
T-shirts, invitations and goody bags I have made for my surprise trip!!
http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1864352
Epcot Passports Completed!!
http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1882833
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Old 08-29-2008, 08:47 PM   #2
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Welcome home Melissa!! Can't wait to hear all about it.

Last edited by OhMari; 01-02-2009 at 07:09 PM.
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Old 08-29-2008, 08:54 PM   #3
iluv2go2disney
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Great start. I can't wait to hear more.
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Old 08-29-2008, 08:56 PM   #4
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Hey Melissa!
I'm so glad you had a great trip. We can't wait to hear more, more, more!!!!!!
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Old 08-29-2008, 09:15 PM   #5
A.Mickey
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ooo ooh welcome back!
Can't wait to see all your pictures!! Will be waiting to hear how it all went !
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Old 08-29-2008, 09:38 PM   #6
CarolinaMomOf3boys
I stepped onto the grass on the other side; it wasn't any greener, just different.......A candle loses nothing of its light by lighting another candle......I wasn't born a princess, but if the tiara fits......
 
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aww thanks so much, guys!! I am still remembering the moment they found out! I am working more on my trip report and will post more tomorrow, its off to bed for me!!
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My Magical Surprise of a LIFETIME POST trip report
http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1936235
T-shirts, invitations and goody bags I have made for my surprise trip!!
http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1864352
Epcot Passports Completed!!
http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1882833
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Old 08-30-2008, 05:51 AM   #7
witch yoo hee
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wow so nice of you guys! i wish i can have a good trip too.. my kids would love it...
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Old 08-30-2008, 06:51 AM   #8
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Waiting to hear more
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Old 08-30-2008, 06:55 AM   #9
CarolinaMomOf3boys
I stepped onto the grass on the other side; it wasn't any greener, just different.......A candle loses nothing of its light by lighting another candle......I wasn't born a princess, but if the tiara fits......
 
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Talking Countdown to Blastoff!!

I had my checklist ready and was anxious to start getting things completed. First up, restaurant ressies! I knew from our trip in April that I wanted to eat at the following: SCI FI dinner theater, San Angel Inn...my FAVORITE, I just love the atmosphere and the food and margaritas are pretty darn good, too . I also knew that I definately wanted to do a character meal, as I have never experienced this. But which one? I wanted to do a princess meal, but with 2 boys and a husband, not sure they would be so excited . So to the Disboards I went and decided on The Crystal Palace. I LOVE POOH...and Eeyore is just so adorable and the boys would think its cool, too, not too girlie, yanno? I also knew I wanted to do a 'fine dining' I know alot of people on the meal plan, especially 'free dining' get better mileage out of doing as many fine dinings as possible; but with all of us, I figured we would stick with the restaurants I knew I already liked, throw in a character meal and 1 fine dinner that we had to get a bit dressed up for. My 12 year old is on the adult dinner list and he hated all of his choices. He is still a 'kids meal' kinda kid . So I decided on California Grill high atop the beautiful Contemporary Resort. Plus it would be nice to take the monorail as my DMIL would like that, too. Here is our schedule and how we wanted it to play out...
Sunday, August 24 arrive at All Star Sports around 6 pm, check in, head to Magic Kingdom, as our Crystal Palace ressies were at 9:30 pm, Monday was Animal Kingdom at opening to catch the early morning safari, Monday night was Hollywood Studios for the Rockin Rollercoaster Little did I know months ago that a little storm called Fay would have other plans for our evening
Tuesday was all day at epcot, open to close, with whatever breaks we would need in throughout the day...
Wednesday AM I planned on a waterpark, my DH and I had already did Blizzard Beach, so we opted for a more relaxing Typhoon Lagoon, not really knowing what to expect...as I had not researched this park thoroughly, yet
Wednesday night was Downtown Disney, BAYBEE!!! We were takin' the kiddos to Planet Hollywood and then onto their gaming heaven, also known as Disney Quest My husband was jonesin' for this day! And my kids have a nintendo growing out the side of their wrists, so I knew this was the place for them.
Thursday, our plans were all day Magic Kingdom. Be there when they opened, see as much as we could during the day, head back to the hotel to get ready for dinner at Cali Grill, then if we wanted, after dinner--back to magic kingdom or back to the hotel to call it a night....our last night at disney. Seemed wayyyyy to far away to fathom such a thing when I was planning all of this in April.

Ok, ressies in place...after changing a BAZILLION times the times of the reservations for Crystal Palace and California Grill....dang it, I just couldnt decide which times would be best...Crystal Palace at 9:30 at night?? UGH! How would the boys be able to make it that long?? Our original ressie for Cali Grill was also about that late....would we want to see the fireworks from there or would another late ressie be the death of my growing boys? Would we need to make it earlier and head into the Magic Kingdom to see the fireworks? But I heard the view was spectacular at Cali Grill for fireworks?....ok this back and forth went on for about 2 weeks...I drove my travel agent crazy
In the end, I stuck with the 9:30 at Crystal Palace the day we arrived, as we were arriving late and worst case scenario, we still had a CS and Snack on our dining plan before we ever used our dinner credit for that day, so we could grab a snack to tide them over. Not to mention I found out about this wonderful little place called Garden Grocer later in my planning and had some stuff delivered to our room

Next on my list, an electric scooter for my DMIL....researched the DISboards, yet again....see a pattern?? Then googled a few companies, and found one I was comfortable with, ordered her scooter for the week, they were to have it waiting for us upon arrival....I am skeptical about everything....so would they?

Ok, ressies-check!, electric scooter-check! Tshirts completed-almost check...i keep finding more designs I want...and as I have said before...why cant we wear 3 shirts a day??
Completed the memory books for the boys, thanks to much help from the DISigners and MUCH patience from the folks at CVS
Completed the Epcot Passports....BEAUTIFUL
You can check them out in the links below my siggie....
Pillow cases---wait, Pillow Cases????....sure, why not?? Doesnt all the DISsers???
I made my sons teachers some tote bags, too, to take back to school. that was a 'day before we left project' My husband just figured I was running out of stuff to do and needed more....see, its called Disboard Addiction
Next up, Meet the Teacher the first week of August....have to take the boys, because well, they have to meet the teachers and need to speak with them privately about our upcoming trip....
was able to pull it off, almost, without a hitch. My youngest sons vice principal was standing near some tables at the meet and greet, so I was able to make the boys sit still for a few seconds and go over to him...I explained what was going down as quickly as i could while mentioning SEVERAL times about it being a secret/surprise...and for some reason he felt the need to walk over to Ethan, introduce himself and start talking about the TRIP I was like "SHHHH SHHHHH SHHHHHHH" UGH!! Luckily, Ethan was all interested in checking out everyone walking through the doors he really didnt pay any attention, whew!! I got the usual, 'just remind his teacher right before you leave and have any make up work sent home with him, yadda yadda'
Aarons school went pretty well. I spoke directly to the principal in his office and had to come up with some great explanation as to why i was in there in the first place....I ended up telling Aaron that I wanted to make sure the principal had my cell phone and email in case he ever needed it....Aaron hates it when I do this, I stay in constant contact with his teachers via email throughout the year
Dogsitter checklist.....who would keep my little princess, cupcake?

We also have a boston terrier, Nikki and a cat Noel...
My DMIL usually keeps them while we are gone, and if its a short trip and she goes with us, our neighbors pop in and check on them, let them out, feed them, etc. But Cupcake has never been left alone for more than a couple of days, so she needed a sitter. I asked around and ended up getting very lucky. A very good friend of mine suggested her daughters best friend. She was in her early 20's worked part time and went to school part time...I had ran into her briefly at a get together at her house in the past. Made contact with her, Megan, and planned for her to come over and meet the critters, meeting went great, she is to come and stay at our house for the week. I made her a little gift basket with 4 pages of notes and left it for her on the table when we left. She was to show up anytime after 2 pm on August 24th...Dog Sitter--CHECK!

Next up...one week to go...and the boys STILL DONT KNOW Bags are being packed, another checklist is formed....what to pack!!
AND the boys FIND THE LOOT!!! we had hidden
__________________




My Magical Surprise of a LIFETIME POST trip report
http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1936235
T-shirts, invitations and goody bags I have made for my surprise trip!!
http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1864352
Epcot Passports Completed!!
http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1882833
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Old 08-30-2008, 07:05 AM   #10
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Welcome back! My kids have found the loot I've got hidden too!! Luckily, they are too young to realize what is in there. (1 and 3) So I just said that stuff is for later, and they left it alone! They didn't get a good look at it, though, so that was good.

Can't wait to hear more!
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Old 08-30-2008, 07:06 AM   #11
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cupcake is sooooo cute. Eagerly waiting to hear about what happens when the boys find the loot.
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Old 08-30-2008, 08:04 AM   #12
iluv2go2disney
Please Oh Please! Can't we live at Walt Disney World
 
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I'm lovin' it. It's great reading a TR by a Creative Designs addict. (I understand your addiction.....My name is Wendy and I'm addicted to Disboard designs)
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Old 08-30-2008, 08:23 AM   #13
kristisomer
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I am loving your report and can't wait for more. I followed you over from the Disigns board also.

I can't wait to hear how the surprise went as we leave in 6 days and the kids are clueless. They are 7 & 4

Keep up the great writing.
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Old 09-04-2008, 06:46 PM   #14
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great pics
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Old 09-05-2008, 06:42 AM   #15
caz1712
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Oh Melissa! I've just come across your trippie and my oh my what a wonderful job you did of making it a surprise for your boys! They will remember it forever!

I can't believe you managed to keep it to yourself for that long! I just can't hold my water!!! When we booked up I just HAD to tell my boys! I have lots of surprises for them lined up but yours has got to just be fantastic - there faces are a real picture!

Well done girly! Can't wait to read more!

Carreen
xxx
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