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Old 06-18-2011, 09:55 AM   #1
bizeemom4
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An Extreme Couponer's Surprise Trip to Tatooine-12/4 Bringing the Magic Back

Hi. Welcome to my Trip Report. I'll be back a little later with more details. I'm getting this report started with a title because if I post it, I will have to write it.

If you are reading this and trying to decide if you should subscribe or check back, here's the bottom line synopsis:
1 mom. 2 sons. 10 nights. 3 hotels. 4 days of Star Wars Weekend adventures. 3 major surprises including telling the boys at the airport that they are going with me to Disney.

Want to come along to Tatooine?

Who-What-Where-When-Why
Mommy Guilt
A Slip Up
The Worst Mother EVER
Are You Serious?
A Bad Check In
Hello to Disney World
No Freaking Way
No Wake Up Call
Room Service
Getting My Geek On
Nonsense Ensues!
Tears on a Lightsaber
Alex's Best Day Ever
SWW Bonus Pics
Boring Old Epcot
Kringla - Kring u lah - Kringa lahh
10 hours at Animal Kingdom (was not enough)
AK - Bonus Pics
Extreme Couponing and Disney Fruit Bars
AK Day Continued
Happy Birthday to Nick!
Nick's Birthday Party Day
'Ohana with Real Cousins
The Freak Out!
Babysitting Night
Pizza Party Picnic
Star Wars Friday!
Jedi Training
Our Night at the Dolphin
Bringing the Magic to the Kingdom

Last edited by bizeemom4; 12-04-2011 at 12:17 PM.
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Old 06-18-2011, 10:18 AM   #2
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I'm in!
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Old 06-18-2011, 10:54 AM   #3
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Yay! Welcome to my first subscriber! I'm glad that you're here.
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Old 06-18-2011, 04:08 PM   #4
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Count me in

Now this should be interesting. . .

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Old 06-22-2011, 05:03 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mindondisney View Post
Now this should be interesting. . .

Hi and welcome. I hope it will be interesting!
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Old 06-18-2011, 04:36 PM   #6
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I love a new trip report! Can't wait!
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Old 06-18-2011, 09:45 PM   #7
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Who - What - Where - When - Why

Thanks for joining me on my adventure. This wasn’t my first trip - it was my 14th. Like my children, each one has been unique and amazing and unpredictable and worth every penny. This one was no different.

Who-What-When-Where and Why -

Who?
I am bizeemom4 -
Here I am on a trip last year -


I have four kiddos and a husband - The husband and the older two did not come on this trip - work, school, life are other priorities for them. Some people just don’t know how to manage their time.

The two boys that accompanied me are -

Alex - 15 years old. Loves swimming, soccer and Star Wars but growing out of Disney.



Nick - turned twelve on the trip. Still loves Disney!



What?
Nick’s birthday is the same day as my niece Zoe. She was born 10 years after Nick. My Dsis wanted to go to WDW to celebrate her 10th wedding anniversary which is the day after Nick and Zoe’s birthday. Got that? Nick and Zoe’s birthday June 8. Anniversary June 9.

When?
As all of my trips to Disney do, it started out with me going for a long weekend. I would fly in late Wednesday, June 8th and leave Sunday, June 12th. We ended up going Friday, June 3rd thru Monday, June 13th. That’s some long weekend, eh?

Where?
My favorite - Pop Century. It’s my favorite only because the transportation and customer service has always been penultimate. I always feel happy and energized at this hotel. Note that is a very important point for later on in the report. We also will be staying three nights at the Dolphin. On Nick’s last birthday trip in 2006, we stayed at the Dolphin. Nick commented then that he wished we could have paid the extra ‘50 bucks’ so that we could have had a balcony - a comment that ripped thru my heart. I suffer from serious mommy guilt at times such as that and the comment has never left me. There was no doubt that when I contemplated a stay at the Dolphin, we were getting a balcony room no matter how many streets I had to walk or kidneys I needed to sell on Craigslist.

Those are the two hotels where we have reservations. As noted in the synopsis, we stayed in 3 hotels. Details on that will come later on that.

Why?
DSis began talking about her plans and I really don’t remember if I volunteered to babysit on her anniversary or if she asked me to fly down to help out but the decision was made that I would join her for Zoe’s birthday and their anniversary. School would be finished and because it was Nick’s birthday also, he is coming along. Initially, I had not planned to bring Alex. I often travel to WDW with a child or a couple of them or a few times just by myself with my Dsis and nephews/niece. So this trip was only going to be a celebration of Nick’s and Zoe’s birthday and my Dsis’s anniversary. But then….Mommy guilt and Star Wars showed up.
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Old 06-20-2011, 08:42 AM   #8
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Mommy Guilt

I booked the trip for Nick and I for Tuesday, June 7 to Sunday, June 12th and shared the trip information with DSis. She offers to pay for 2 nights of my trip if I will babysit her three kiddos on her anniversary!

I tried to justify not taking Alex with me.
He would miss a week of swimming practice.
It would be another $700-800 to bring him.
He had a birthday trip in 2009.
I would have five kids to 'babysit' during my sister's anniversary dinner instead of 4.

There are many compelling reasons to support not bring him with me. A niggle of mommy guilt here and there when I realized that it would be Star Wars weekend. And a little more when I justify the money my DSis would be contributing because I'm babysitting.

I ponder this for a week or so (we are about 3 weeks away from the trip at this point) and then I asked him if he would be sad if I went to Star Wars Weekend without him. His response was "Not saaaaaad. Just probably kind of jealous." HA! Ok so he wants to go. I book the plane ticket but I decide not to tell my sister. I thought it would be a nice surprise. Her oldest son likes to be Alex's ride buddy so this will be a very fun surprise.

At this point, neither Nick nor Alex knows that they are going to Disney. DSis doesn't know that Alex is coming. The trip is less than 3 weeks away. I think - hmmmm - that's not toooo long to keep a secret. Right?

Last edited by bizeemom4; 06-21-2011 at 08:24 AM.
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Old 06-22-2011, 05:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DisneyMissy318 View Post
I love a new trip report! Can't wait!
Welcome to my Trip Report! I hope that you enjoy!
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Old 06-22-2011, 07:51 PM   #10
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I love the way you told your boys. That's awesome!!!
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Old 06-23-2011, 09:23 AM   #11
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Oh my! You got into your room after packing, working, travelling all day, at 11:30 and THEN went to MK to buy tickets?! Wow! The things we do for kids!
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Old 06-23-2011, 06:02 PM   #12
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You are GOOD!!!
It had to be so hard to keep the secret. We made a countdown calendar for my kids but we had it set up with us leaving on friday but we really left on tue
Can't wait to read more.
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Old 06-21-2011, 07:57 AM   #13
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A Slip Up!

My boys know that I'm going to Disney so I can dwell on Disney planning sites without being suspect. It does get tricky communicating with DSis. I have caught myself typing "the boys" in emails to her then backspacing and typing Nick. I am careful. I can do this.

The problem is that now that I think there is too much to do in just one weekend. To change flights from first flight Tuesday the 7th to last flight Friday the 3rd, I have to give up the great $69 one way rate but $84 still isn't that bad. Sold.

Next is to get a spy on the inside to help me keep tabs on her. I send her husband an email with the Subject line: I need a co-conspirator. As her husband is an attorney in the public arena, I knew that would definitely get his attention.

Here's the content of the email to him:
"I am praying that your wife doesn't have access to your email! I really want this to remain a surprise.

J thinks that I'm arriving at Disney on Tuesday the 7th to help you guys with your anniversary dinner. BUT I booked flights to Orlando for a late Friday (the 3rd) night arrival. I plan to surprise her on Saturday morning when you guys are heading in to Magic Kingdom (because she will have Nick's park ticket). I'm also surprising Matthew by bringing his buddy Alex. J has NO idea!

I spent over an hour on the phone with her yesterday trying to ply her itinerary out of her for the trip so I know what you guys are planning to do. What I need from you is to be my itinerary spy. If she goes off the grid and changes her mind about where you will be and when on Saturday the 4th, I need you to update/text me. I can't wait to see her face when I run into her!"

His response was similar to what my husband's would have been:
"Good God do you understand what you are asking of me? Now I have to pay attention to when she prattles on about Disney! Usually I smile and nod at appropriate intervals, perhaps throw a chuckle in there every now and then, but this....you are asking a lot."

He does agree to help me out and we're good to go. I head out of town the weekend before Disney for a girls weekend at the beach. Late one night, I found myself reading a post on here about Star Wars planning. Without reading each post, I typed "I will be there the next two weekends…..blah, blah, blah"

The next morning, I received a message via Facebook from DSis….."SOOOOO, um, you're going to be there for the next TWO weekends eh bizeemom4? is there something you're not telling me about your flight???????"


Last edited by bizeemom4; 06-21-2011 at 08:25 AM.
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Old 06-22-2011, 08:30 AM   #14
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The Worst Mother EVER

What I missed in my late night - post girls night out at the club - is that my Dsis (who is also a member here at DISboards) had just posted prior to my posting. So she read my post and was understandably confused.

Anxiety and a few curse words ensue and I start muttering repeatedly to myself "What do I say to her?" I send her a response of "Ooooh. Well, it was after midnight when we got back to the hotel and instead of typing out my sister will be there this weekend and I will be there next weekend, I just put I will be there the next 2 weekends." Then I try to change the subject and complain about how long the lines have been lately. I have been monitoring the wait times all week to see what lines are like at the park where we would be on that day using the Free WDW Waits app.

Will she buy it? Her response was "Yeah. That is too much information for the Dis. I have to be honest. I was really excited there for a minute." YES! She falls for it. I try to use the Disboards to throw her off track. I posted a question about what time to show up for the Star Wars parade and make sure to mention that she will be there this weekend and I will be joining her the next weekend so that she will read it and know it's true. She never sees it.

When I get home from the beach weekend, I walk in and find Alex and Nick watching a Star Wars movie marathon. I almost cave and tell them about the trip. What a perfect time to do it, right?!??! I run and ask hubby and he says to keep it a secret. We are only 4 days away now. Stay strong.

I almost spilled the whole secret the next day. A better person than I would have caved. I had told the boys weeks ago that my Dsis was going to be paying two nights of the hotel for me as a thanks for watching her kids. So the kids think that this is the only reason that I'm able to go on this trip. Here's the scene: Me - sitting at the computer desk, checking on park hours and so on. Nick - comes up beside me and very quietly says "If Aunt J had sent you $200 more, maybe I could have come along too." OMGGGGGGGGGG. I felt so bad that he was secretly hoping that we had enough money for him to go on the trip too. I AM THE WORST MOTHER EVER. I want to tell him in the worst way. It killed me to not tell him the truth. I ask him to tell me what characters he would like me to meet and get autographs from to bring home for him. Really, he's helping me plan his trip but he doesn't know.

You may be wondering how I managed to pack clothes for the boys for 10 days at Disney without them noticing. I was lax this year in switching out their winter clothes with summer. Their dressers were still full of turtle necks, sweaters, jeans. Well, I also found candy wrappers, legos, pencils, art projects, and snow pants stuffed in them as well. I feign (well not a stretch) disgust and state that we have to clean out and reorganize these dressers. I unpacked the summer stuff, making a few different piles of clothes around their room. To them, it was organized chaos. To me, it was clothes to stay here, clothes to pack on Thursday, clothes that are for my sister's boys. Genius if I do say so.

They need new sandals for the trip. Alex has none at all and Nick has one flip flop. How does that happen? I feign (well not a stretch) guilt that "I have been such a bad mom and didn't even buy you new sandals this year and tomorrow is the very last day of school. I have to get you new sandals or I will feel really bad!" That's the last purchase needed for the trip. I've already hit CVS and purchased my Aveeno sunscreen - 3 of them for $11 out of pocket after coupons and extra care bucks. If you've ever run out of sunscreen at Disney, you know that Disney will be glad to sell it to you for $11 each and they don't accept coupons!

Thursday night after work, swim practice and dinner, the boys are watching TV in their room. I swoop in and snag the 'take' piles and they don't even glance at me. So easy.

I pack everything quietly in my room and Friday morning while they are still sleeping (hooray for first day of summer vacation!) and my dog is still in bed, my husband and I put everything in the car. My dog knows what suitcases mean and she gets depressed so we had to hide them from her as well as the boys.

The boys had agreed to ride along with me to the airport. I want a hug goodbye before my trip. They have no reason at all to be hopeful or suspicious. My DD wants to ride along to say goodbye (really to see their reaction to their surprise) and DH is going to drive and drop us off. Parking for 10 nights at BWI is more expensive than a tank of gas spent driving to Baltimore and back. Besides, what husband doesn't enjoy driving a three hour roundtrip on the beltway on a Friday night?!

I leave work at 3. I walk in the door and yell for the boys. Two little hobos show up ready to go with me to the airport. I guess when I took 12 of the nicest polos and shorts from each kid, it left them with nothing better than gym uniforms and old hand-me-down condition t-shirts. Alex is complaining that he can't find any shorts at all. "I don't know what happened to all my clothes!!!!!!!!!" Hahaha.

We find ourselves at the airport at 5:15 - almost 3 hours before the flight. That's perfect for us. We always get there super early. It's peace of mind for me and also because I need the extra time to obsessively check that I have the plane tickets, my license, credit card, money, everyone's stuff and so on.
Brian parks in hourly parking and I jump out and grab the camera. I can't wait to see the reaction when the van door opens up and they see a mountain of luggage.
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Old 06-22-2011, 09:39 AM   #15
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Seriously??!!

You're going to leave us with THAT cliffhanger??

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