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Old 09-24-2012, 12:13 AM   #1
Clemson Campers
Earning My Ears
 
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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...


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Old 09-24-2012, 06:47 AM   #2
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Can't wait to hear the rest of your story / trip report.
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Old 09-24-2012, 07:25 AM   #3
2goofycampers
Sounds like something a camping trip could cure
Enjoy the beer and wine you will love it
 
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I love a happy ending.
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Old 09-24-2012, 11:24 AM   #4
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Yay. Looking forward to the rest of the story.
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Old 09-24-2012, 02:31 PM   #5
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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!
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Old 09-24-2012, 10:04 PM   #6
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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,



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Old 09-25-2012, 07:26 AM   #7
2goofycampers
Sounds like something a camping trip could cure
Enjoy the beer and wine you will love it
 
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You can upload a video to a host site and post us a link.
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Old 09-25-2012, 10:50 PM   #8
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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
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Old 09-26-2012, 07:38 AM   #9
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Sounds like something a camping trip could cure
Enjoy the beer and wine you will love it
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clemson Campers View Post
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.
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Old 09-28-2012, 06:11 PM   #10
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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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Old 10-03-2012, 10:31 PM   #11
Clemson Campers
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And I really thought I would be able to post at night LIVE FROM THE FORT! What was I thinking?

Home safe, first load of smelly stuff in the laundry and unwinding w/DH and vino. So much to share... Loved the comments @ bickering! Nice to know we're not the only ones!

It was exhausting fun! Kids had a blast. School & work tomorrow.

Stayed tuned for details tomorrow.
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Old 10-04-2012, 07:57 AM   #12
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What?! Home already? That went way too fast! Glad you had a wonderful trip! Can't wait to hear what the kids thought!
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Old 10-04-2012, 11:29 AM   #13
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Wow, reading about all the pre trip stress that some of you go through with all the planning, etc. makes me glad we are not big planners We decide on dates, I make a few ADR's, pack and off we go. Lots of fun, relaxation and best of all - no stress

Glad you are back and had lots of fun!
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Old 10-04-2012, 11:41 AM   #14
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We used to be like that too. Spur of the moment trips were our specialty. We'd decide one day to go on vacation and were there the next (literally). Or wake up one morning and decide to go to Vermont for the weekend and leave that morning - worrying about hotels and such when we got there (after all, worst case scenario we sleep in the car).

We need to plan farther out now for obvious reasons (and we own a company, so DH needs months in advance to plan his schedule). I'm looking forward to the days again of throwing a few undies, extra jeans and a few shirts into a bag for myself and heading out (once the kids are old enough to pack for themselves). Although who am I kidding - I'll still end up packing for them.
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Old 10-08-2012, 10:04 PM   #15
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Unhappy

Well friends, I've officially transitioned from Pre Disney fatigue into Post Disney depression. Again, anyone else out there ever experience this rollercoaster of emotions?? Our trip was amazing and the reveal was a bit more subdued than I expected. Once DD realized we weren't going to Cumberland Island, she smiled sweetly and proceeded to cry with joy. The boys smiled with a hint of confusion and asked, "Wait - does this mean we're not going to see the horses?" The screaming later surfaced in the vintage Surburban when the kids flipped thru the hardcover picture book titled, "How the World Began." On every page, "Will we see THIS?" (yep - screams!) "Will we see this STAR WARS too?" (yep - defeaning screams!) The Clemson fan in me LOVED all the screams - NOW we were rollin! Operation Vacation had lift-off!

So not to bore all of you, I'll hit on the highlights - like the torrential downpour our first night which was supposed to include surprise guests for dinner. (much missed 1st cousins who moved away last year) Plan B - we drove over to their luxury studio at Animal Kingdom lodge and surprised the kids there! It was hysterical to watch my boys all confused as their cousins walked up in stealth fashion. They were afraid to say anything, so my boys kept silent and just looked at them with that, "What are they doing here...look." Then my older neices saw me smiling at them and THEY FREAKED OUT! Just like funniest home videos! It was a BLAST and then we all spent the day together in MK which was awesome! I will go on the record and confess, I doubt I will ever see the inside of "Small World" ever again. My sons were patient, but they will survive if they never ride a second time. It's hard to sell the originality of that dated attraction to young boys, agreed?

Next surprise on the list? More cousins from my side of the family. I was beginning to fail miserably at keeping all these surprises under wraps. While driving to HS, I reminded DH - "We need to see if I have to leave a pass for Lauren." Immediately from the back, "Lauren WHO? You mean Aunt Lauren? Are Teresa and Eric coming?" sighing over my forgetfulness, but laughing at myself... "Yes, yes and yes again." At least they didn't know about Grandpa. (blew the lid off that an hour later. Oh well.) They don't get to see Grandpa often so it was really neat to pull that off too!

Did I mention I love surprises? We had one more up our sleeve. We told the kids we were leaving on Sunday with the intention of surprising them with the 3 extra days - later! Well, one night DS literally fell asleep on his knees leaning against a chair while visiting cousins. He is my sleeper child and he was OUT COLD! The only way I could wake him up enough to make the long walk back to our car was to whisper a secret in his ear. "Guess what, we're not leaving until Wednesday!" He woke up alright, smiled like a lottery winner and promised not to say a word. Oh boy - would I live to regret that later with DH!! Mild bicker session was resolved with DH equally excited to tell the secret to DD. There - we're even. Two competitive Type A personalities... we've literally been told it's a miracle we're still married. lol. 20 years in February - maybe we'll return to Disney sans the kiddos!

Ok, I have more, but can someone please tell me how to post an image on here from my pictures file? It wants a URL address and I'm too lazy to figure this out tonight.

I have the most incredible picture from the night of the parade that will make EVERY DISNEY lover smile! It included a Full moon! Stay tuned. Back to the grind of normal, non magical life.

TTFN! - Gretchen
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