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Old 08-26-2010, 12:34 PM   #1
DIS Veteran
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 2,367

Giving Thanks for How Far We've Come at the Happiest Place on Earth

Okay, I thought I'd try this as a talking journal as I plan so feel free to comment. I'm planning our first trip to Disney World as a family. I went with my father when I was my daughter's age and have not been back since. First a little more about our family.

I'm 37 (will be 38 when we go). I'm a widowed mom of two wonderful children. I work full time. My husband after bravely battling heart disease, lung problems and diabetes for years, passed away in March of this year.

My daughter is the main purpose of the trip. She is 7 years-old most days. She's 15 some days and 2 on others. She's mainly a princess, but she is Tinkerbell in my signature. Always the best intentions, sometimes over zealous, but full of love and the light of my life. She loves most things Disney, especially the princesses. Only thing she clearly does not like is anything pirate because "Pirates are for boys." She and I have been to hell and back a few times over the duration of her father's illness. She has both kept me sane and driven me crazy, but she has always loved me and made me feel like somebody when everything else told me I was nobody.

My son does a great job going with the flow living with 2 women, but he's still a baby. He is 7.5 months old. He will be 10 months old when we go on this trip. He is Tigger in my signature. That is partly because he loves my daughter's Tigger toys. She has the one that tumbles and the one that bounces on the long spiral tail. But it is mostly because he loves to bounce. Whenever I hold him, he will make his way to his feet and bounce. His sister did the same thing as a baby. He was my unexpected blessing, making it here in the 11th hour when I thought I'd never have another baby. He was 2 months old when dh died and he may never know how much it has meant to his sister and me to have him with us.

So, I've wanted to take my daughter to Disney World since she was 4. I mean I always planned to take her. I think I ordered my first planning video when she was 3 months old. But it was when she was 4 when I really wanted to take her and she really wanted to go. It wasn't in the cards then given her father's illness and the effects of that on our finances. As time went on other things were done…family events and such that required travel. That and knowing her father would not be able to really "do" Disney, I tried not to think about it. Then he seemed to get a little better, but then we got pregnant. I thought…maybe in 2011 when the baby is walking. January comes and the baby arrived safely and all was well. Dh still had his struggles but we were okay.

First week of March, I returned to work off maternity leave. That weekend none of us were feeling well. There was a virus going around and we all had it except the baby. But to a man with dh's issues even a cold can stop you. He came through it but his other issues crept up. I tried to feed him…he refused. Offered him several different drinks. He refused them. He was way way nicer and more patient with me than usual and very very quiet. He'd had far worse episodes so I just tried to let him rest. Tuesday I checked him before going to work. He was sleeping. He'd been up and down a lot overnight so I let him rest. Came home and found him dead in his recliner. It appeared he had sat down for a nap and just kept sleeping. Rigor was starting to set in. There was no saving him. Called my children's Godparents (who thank God live 2 minutes from us) to get my daughter out of house. The wife took her to their house and the husband called 911. When all was said and done, they estimated he had passed probably within 2-3 hours after I left the house. He'd often spoken of being tired and wanting it to be over. I had released him...told him when he'd had enough it was okay. He'd suffered tremendously, but dang sure wasn't expecting it that weekend. I thought the birth of our son would give him new resolve, and in some ways it did. But mostly what he saw in the baby was someone he'd disappoint later when he could not run and play with him. After he died, I was talking to him one day and said, "You little stinker...how am I supposed to raise this boy to be a man without you?" He came to me in a dream and told me he was sure I was strong enough and that I would be fine.

So here we are almost 6 months later and I decided there was no need to wait until 2011 to do this trip. His life was short, but I’m not of the "life is short" school of thinking. I'm just of the "no need to put stuff off" thinking. From what I've read on here, it may be easier to do this before my son walks. I'm just aware of how things can change. I'm not expecting it, but my daughter right now while she is aware the characters are people in costumes, she will still say "OMG, it's Mickey!" "OMG, it's Ariel…it's Tianna…it's Cinderella!" Who knows how long that will last. She has already had to grow up so fast.

I knew I wanted to do a fall trip because we would not do well in that summer heat. Her school has a fall break each year when the teachers go to a conference, so I just needed to find out when it would be. At this year's orientation we got the calendar and low and behold, the conference is the Monday and Tuesday before Thanksgiving, so school is closed that entire week. Wow, we could get 5 days in without her missing school…SWEET!

I went home that night, put my children to bed, then got on the computer and got all my ADR's done. I have 7. One at Crystal Palace, 1 at Chef Mickey's, 2 at Cape May Café, 1 at Akershus, 1 at 1900 Park Fare and 1 at Tusker House, My dd's main thing when I ask her about Disney World is seeing characters. I figure 6 character meals ought to take the pressure off of trying to find them in parks. Actually the only character she really wants to see that we definitely won't see at a character meal is Tiana, but the schedule for her at MK is very well laid out. If we can't get to her in 5 days, Lord Help us. The dinner at Cape May isn't a character meal, but we love seafood and I heard Cape May is amazing. I couldn't get CRT, but we should see Cinderella at two of our meals. Only time open was Monday night at 9:45 and trust me. Nobody wants to see my children in a restaurant at 9:45. I think I made out great.

We are leaving here on Monday, November 22nd. Our flight, which I booked yesterday leaves here at 7:40am and gets to Orlando at 9:30am. Thank you Southwest for direct flights. (now if they would just join the ranks of participating airlines for RAC ) Anyway, we should get plenty of time in at MK the first day. I have a dinner at Crystal Palace that evening at 5:20 (our normal dinner time is 5:30 to 6:00). I'm hoping we have a little left in us after dinner, but I'm not counting on it. We haven't flown since dd was 4. This will be her first time actually having to walk in an airport. We'll probably be tired from getting up for that flight and turn in early the first night.

I have a breakfast at Chef Mickey's the next morning which will hopefully set us up for a nice day at MK. I heard it is best to get MK in at the beginning of that week. We don't have dinner reservations for Tuesday so I figure we'll do a snack midday and we'll do a quick service spot that evening.

On Wednesday, I have a breakfast reservation at Café Cape May. Not sure which park we'll do on Wednesday yet. I'm thinking DHS for most of the day as this is the park with the least amount of things I know dd wants to do. We have a dinner at Akershus on Wednesday evening so we'll go back to the resort, rest and change before going to Epcot. I'm hoping seeing it will gear us up for Thanksgiving Day at Epcot. I heard that is the best park to be in on Thanksgiving Day. Thing is though, MK's EMH is on Thursday morning, so I'm not quite sure if we'll try to spend the morning there. Depends on how Monday and Tuesday go there. No breakfast reservation on Thanksgiving morning so we can just go with the flow.

My daughter has an interest in Science and learning about other countries, so I figure I can get some education in on this trip to Epcot. We have a dinner reservation at 1900 Park Fare on Thanksgiving Day. It is at 5:40, so maybe (depending on how we feel) we'll do more touring afterwards.

All our dinners are around that time, so it will still be kind of early when we're done. Hoping to see some fireworks, or that night time parade at MK during the trip, but they are done kind of late in the evenings for us. I thought with daylight savings Wishes and such would be at 9:00, but the calendar still says the park will be open until 10:00 and of course "Wishes" is done at closing. I'm not into Commando style touring and being alone with two small children "go with the flow" is the name of my game. I'm using this as an excuse to make sure this is not the last time we do this.

For Friday, I want to feed my daughter's crazy love for animals and spend some time at AK. We have a breakfast at Tusker House and hope to do Kilamanjaro Safari afterwards. Friday night is our dinner at Cape May Café. Depending on how we feel, I hope to get over to MK for one last visit.

Saturday is departure day. Our flight isn't too early at noon, but I’m sure it will be a busy day at the airport.

So there isn't a lot of detail yet. I am using TourguideMike.com and have an AVP which is very helpful. I am also going to use the customized map the disneyworld.com website offers. We're only going to be doing rides my son can get on, but there are plenty of them. My dd is 48 inches tall, but she won't have any interest in the bigger rides. Dh used to tease her calling her "scary larry." Closest thing to a thrill ride she'll want to get on is the Tea Cups. But I'm not pressured into doing a lot. Truth is my daughter is not really aware there are 4 parks there. She just wants to get a picture outside that castle and see some characters. She'll be amazed at all there is to do there.

Now, the other thing that should be mentioned is that this trip is a surprise for her. I'm doing that for several reasons, but there are two main ones. One is she will drive everyone around her including her baby brother up every wall with the "is it time to go yet" thing every day. The other is on the off chance it doesn't happen, I'd rather she never knew about it. I’m not even going to tell her we're going anywhere for the break. Going to let her think she's going to her Godparents' house like she does for every other break. Still not sure how I'm going to tell her. Thought about waiting until we got to the airport, but don't want the police running to us when she starts screaming…which she will. I'm thinking I'll tell her that morning when I wake her up. After all, I better have a pretty darn good reason for waking her up at 4:30am.

Let's see…did I leave anything out? Oh yeah, we're staying at All Star Movies. Value resort fits my budget and the make up of my crew very well I think. And the décor at All Star Movies will blow them away. Still have to go back to my vacation and put in my flight reservation information for ME. I guess that's it for now. I've been planning this for months, but actually having it booked brought my excitement to a whole new level.
Me DD 11 DS, 4

June 2012: Going with the flow with Tropical Storm Debby TR (1st 5 days): http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2953583
June 2013: Our Disney World Road Trip TR: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3137685
May 2014: Best trip yet. Working on the TR
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