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Old 12-11-2006, 08:12 PM   #1
MomofCKJ
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The "I've Waited My Whole Life" Christmas Suprise Trip Report-Final/Video Update 2/21

Before you read I will do my version of the Trip Report Promise (I was a Girl Scout long ago). *ahem* Raising right hand “On my honor, I will try, to write a good trip report, tell you the good, the bad and the ugly and most importantly get it done in less than a month, start to finish”.
I always get sad when I find a trippie I like, get to know the cast, follow their travels, wait each day for more and then months later it is still only half done and I have forgotton who is who. I am going to try not to let that happen with this one!

Let’s start with the cast of characters for this trip….

Me, you can call me Mom. I am Mom to 3 kids who you will soon meet. I am a children’s artist and paint whimsical pieces of art for wee ones rooms. I love what I do! I also love Disney. I first went when I was 3 years old. It was 1972. In 1974 I went again, just me and Mom. We stayed at the Contemporary. Growing up Disney was a part of my childhood. Every Sunday night was spent watching The Wonderful World of Disney on TV. We went to every movie that came out. I had oodles of those little 45 records that came with the books where they would read the story to you and you could read along. After those 2 trips as a youngster I went again as a teen and then since I went to USF in Tampa for college (Go Bulls!) I went many times, often for day trips. The last time I went was in 1997 with my husband. We booked the trip and then I got pregnant. Surprise! No good rides for you Mom!

My husband, we’ll call him Grumpy. Now he is not a Grump unless it is Disney related. In his normal life he is very laid back, very fun and most of our friends call him the funniest guy they know. He makes me laugh. A lot. Except when it comes to Disney. Then he morphs into the most Anti-Disney, Anti Mickey guy I know. It is sad. Really sad. He has only been once, that trip with me when I was pregnant. He never went as a child, that was his first time. First disappointment, the infamous Castle as a Cake. He recalled seeing the castle on tv as a kid and then we he finally saw it in real life and it was this pink, gaudy concoction, well that was a magic sucker for him. And he is thrifty. No economical. No let’s just face it, he is cheap. The man is cheap and he feels like a trip to Disney is just like holding your wallet open to the wind and screaming “Take it, take it all!” He asked me to make him a T-shirt that says “Disney….where debt is made”. I refuse.

DD#1, we’ll call her Belle because she is cute and smart and loves to read. She is 9 and has never been. None of the kids have. And none of them know we are going since this is a surprise trip. They’ll find out the night before. Belle is outgoing, very bright and teeters on the fine line between being a leader and being bossy. She loves rides and fun though she can also be a little bit of a scaredy cat at times. She likes to know what she is getting into, surprises are not her thing. However I think this surprise trip will go over just fine.

DD#2, we’ll call her Bashful. She is 7 and petite and adorable and shy. She loves animals, more than just about anything. She does have an adventurous spirit and is the one who will try anything, from an unknown ride to new foods. She has a quirky sense of humor and makes us laugh. She loves rides and the faster the better. She does not love princesses.

DS, the little guy, we’ll call him Goofy. No explanation needed. He is 4 and does not stop talking. Ever. Not for a minute. He is full of energy and zest for life. He is going to be the class clown, I am sure of it. He is so cute (not just saying that, he really is a cute kid!) and that allows him to sometimes get away with things. He wants to go to Disney and ride everything. The height requirements are going to pose a problem I just know it. He was 40.5 inches tall at his September doctor’s visit. For the rides he can not do, he won’t take it very well, he likes to do everything his sisters do. The other thing he wants to do at Disney World? Meet the Power Rangers (cue the Hallelluia music). They rule his world!


So how did this trip come to be? Well I have only been asking Grumpy for years to go. Years. Since they pulled out DD #1 (c-section, is that TMI?) and said “It’s a Girl” I have been thinking “When can I take her to Disney?!” (hence the I’ve Waited My Whole Life trippie title). It has been a dream of mine to show them the World as I was shown it as a kid. To share the magic and all those other clichés which really are so true. I think Disney is just the most wonderful place on Earth, it is so special, so unique, so magical. Grumpy on the other hand does not see it. He doesn’t feel it. He just doesn’t get it.

So time went on. It seemed, for us (not looking to debate the best age for WDW, whatever works for you is fine by me) it was never the right time. We wanted the youngest child to be old enough to not need naps, not be in diapers, etc. We had DD#1, then DD #2 and then comes along DS. So time marches on and it was January 2006 when the Disney itch hit again.

It was about a month after Christmas. Already toys that they “had to have” were growing a thin layer of dust from lack of attention. It was nothing new. So much of what they get at the holidays ends up living a lonely existence at the bottom of the toy box or in a Rubbermaid container somewhere. It’s frustrating and a complete waste of money. Then I had my light bulb moment. Why not give them a trip instead of presents? Why not a trip to say, oh I don’t know, Disney World? We would spend the money on something they want and they would have the memories to last a lifetime. It would be enjoyed, not wasted and forgotton.

I waited for the right moment. Then I hit up Grumpy. I explained my frustration with the holiday toys. I talked about how it might be cool to do a trip instead, a better use of our money. I waited and held my breath.

“Fine, let’s do that”

WHAT???? I was shocked. He agreed. He did, he really did! I know why he did. As much as he dislikes the Mouse, he loves me. And he loves our kids. And he knew this was something we had wanted for a long, long time. He knew it would make us happy. So for us he will endure a week of magic, and happiness and Mickey Mouse. Man, that is love.

I quickly contacted my Mom and Grumpy’s Mom. Years ago Grumpy’s Mom bought park tickets for my SIL and her family as their Christmas gift for an upcoming trip they were taking. I wanted to see if in lieu of gifts this Christmas she might be interested in contributing to the cost of our trip. She is a very generous giver and very practical too. She does not like to buy things that won’t be used so I knew this would be right up her alley. I was right. She gave me $$$ to pay for all of our airplane tickets and then a little more to put towards the room. I made the same offer to my Mom and she too welcomed the idea of contributing and not having to do lots of Christmas shopping for our family this year. She gave me a check to put towards the package as well.

So it was done. I had permission to book, I had funding to help out. I had a trip to plan!!!


We settled on the week before Christmas. We didn’t want to do the Christmas week thing, too crowded. I needed to try and make this trip as pleasurable as possible. After some research we decided Dec 15-22 would be perfect. Grump works for a boarding school and they close up for the holidays Dec 16 so the timing was good for him. The kids would miss a week of school but that last week before Christmas is usually lots of fun and not much work. They are young enough and both are very bright so I was not concerned with them missing.

Now do we tell them? No way! Since it was a Christmas gift to me it was a no brainer. This had to stay a surprise. Also since it was only February I could not handle listening to Goofy ask every day for 302 days if we were going to Disney that day. I would have surely gone over the edge.

In February we booked our package, 7 nights at the Pop with 2 connecting rooms and the dining plan. The dining plan will help with Grumpy’s cheapness. He won’t be digging for his wallet every meal so the perception will be that he is not spending as much money. I am doing the dining plan just to keep him happy. That and I love to eat out. Restaurants are a big part of vacation for me! We debated staying at a moderate but all of us in one room with a trundle bed made Grumpy, well grumpy. He thought that it sounded absolutely miserable so he suggested doing something with 2 rooms. Good call! Now we will have 2 bathrooms to get ready and when the kids fall asleep we can stay up watching tv or what have you. We booked with Jessica at the Magic for Less and she was just awesome! Friendly, quick to reply, could not have been better. I booked the airline tickets myself and got us non stops Boston to Orlando on Delta for $177 a piece. I was really happy to score that price .

Then it was just time to wait. I discovered the Disboards and Tour Guide Mike. I read, I posted, I took notes, I read some more, I read books, I daydreamed, I night dreamed. Grumpy would humor me and listen to my tales but really I have planned this entire trip by myself. In June I booked all our dining ADRs. In September I booked a Holiday Sleigh Ride and SCORE got an Illuminations Cruise (Grumpy doesn’t even know about that one!). I bought things on ebay like 100 glow sticks and light up spinny toys for parades and Minnie Mouse necklaces and Tinkerbelle barrettes. I got Power Ranger pajamas for Goofy and engraved name badges for all the kids. I hid all my loot and had to always be minimizing windows when they walked by the computer, especially Belle.

We watched the Disney planning DVD a lot. The kids love it and I get to ask what kinds of things they would like to see when they finally get to go. It is a good way to plan and get their input without them knowing they are going! As far as they concerned they are maybe going in March 2008 with me and my parents to celebrate my Mom (their g’ma)’s 60th birthday.

October 31st came and went and final payment was made. The countdown was 45 days now and daily itineraries were being worked on. Still the kids have no idea. Still Mom is more excited for this trip than any trip ever. Still Grump reminds me he is only going for us and out of guilt. He felt he HAD to be there for his kids first time. I am determined to make this man enjoy himself. I may need shovels of pixie dust but I will do what it takes.

Now we are just 4 days away! We are revealing our secret on Thursday when the kids come home from school!

Here are pictures too so you can put faces to the names! Bashful, Goofy and Belle!





And here are Grump and I for good measure!



Next installment, I will let you in on how we plan to tell them!

Last edited by MomofCKJ; 02-21-2007 at 03:13 PM.
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Old 12-11-2006, 08:19 PM   #2
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Smile

How exciting for your kids who by the way are adorable. make sure you take lots of pics and take pics when you tell them.

Have a blast. Looking forward to reading your full trip report.
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Old 12-11-2006, 08:23 PM   #3
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I love your promise. It should be a banner that you have to sign but then again, we like all Trip Reports no matter how long they take.

Hope you guys have a great trip.
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Old 12-12-2006, 04:10 PM   #4
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Have fun.. and see you there.. we leave for Disney on the 18th!
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Old 12-12-2006, 06:12 PM   #5
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I'm loving it so far. My DH wasn't happy about going in June and swore this would be the last trip he would go on to Disney, but he absolutley fell in love with it. We are even going back in February, his idea.
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Old 12-12-2006, 08:06 PM   #6
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Oh wow! I'm so in! I hope your trip is everything you have dreamed it to be and more! Keeping the secret will be sooooo worth it!
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Old 12-12-2006, 08:47 PM   #7
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Wow, I have readers! I am honored, really! Thank you for reading and I hope you will stick around for our story!

Installment 2--How should we tell them they are going to Disney the next morning?

Well an awful lot of thought went into deciding how to announce the suprise to the kids. I loved reading trippies and hearing about how other folks shared their news. I especially loved the one of the family that used fortune cookies, very clever! Lots of treasure hunts too, so fun! In the end here is what we have decided....

On Thursday afternoon my parents and MIL are arriving at 4pm with Chinese food for dinner. Grumpy is coming home early too. The kids think the occassion is that the dog is spending the night at the groomers for a bath (he's really there for his extended holiday but of course they don't know that!) we are having company for dinner. Our dog is a bit, well, neurotic I guess you would say so when company comes and he is here it is a madhouse. So with him gone I told the kids I invited the grandparents over for dinner. They totally bought it.

Once everyone is here I will tell the kids that they can open one small gift since it is something they will get more use out of before Christmas. I guarantee you they will think it is going to be an ornament based on previous years conversations we have had. Actually what will be in each gift bag is their engraved Guest of Honor badges that I ordered through Gifts of A Lifetime (who were great by the way!). I figure that Bashful and Goofy will open it and think "Wow a pin" . But I am counting on Belle to be the one to put it together that we are going! We will definately be getting this moment on video and I sure hope it plays out as wonderfully as it does in my head! Then we eat Chinese food and try to get some sleep! I am already almost packed for myself and the 3 kids (Grumpy is on his own) and will finish Thursday morning so that will be done.

For all you other Keepers of the Secret (KOTS) out there, stay strong! Some of you have a long ways to go, others not much more time, but you can do it! I almost caved so many times but I am so, so glad I didn't. I really think this will go down as something they remember their entire life and how sweet that will be!

Next Installment Coming Soon: A sneak peek to our Itinerary: Breakfast with a Duck, Lunch at the "Nanny Restaurant" and Dinner with our Neighbors to the North!
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Old 12-13-2006, 07:07 AM   #8
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Oh how fun! Im totally along for the ride .. cant wait for more !
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Old 12-13-2006, 08:11 AM   #9
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I'm in!

I tried to keep our last trip for Thanksgiving a secret but I'm too weak and spilled the beans immediately.
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Old 12-13-2006, 02:11 PM   #10
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a day away from the big reveal! If you have a few minutes to tell us about it, I'd love to hear all about it!
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Old 12-13-2006, 07:53 PM   #11
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Installment 3--Just 2 more days!

Okay so we are two days away! Gosh we started at 302! I feel like I entirely wished this whole year away just wanting this Friday to get here. Planning and researching this trip has been like a part time job for me. Well a part time job that costs me money instead of paying me! I worry about what will happen once it is over? Major, major depression and withdrawals me thinks. It is going to be pretty dark and dismal around here for a while. I guess that is why so many people book that next trip right away. It is like a drug and you must get your fix!

So, what does our itinerary look like? I'll share it with you, the cliff notes version.

Friday--arrive, ****** Transportation to Pop, dinner at Chef Mickey's
Saturday--MK with an afternoon break at Pop, dinner at Ohana and then Wishes and the late Spectro
Sunday--Late breakfast at 1900 Park Faire, MGM and staying for late Fantasmic
Monday--MGM, lunch at Prime Time Cafe, afternoon break, Epcot, Illuminations Cruise!
Tuesday--MK all day,Holiday Sleigh Ride at WL, dinner at Whispering Canyon Cafe
Wed--Epcot, lunch at Coral Reef, afternoon break, Animal Kingdom (Evening EMH)
Thu--Donald's Breakfastasaurus, Animal Kingdom, afternoon break, Epcot, Le Cellier dinner
Fri--Check out and store luggage at Pop, MK through lunch, back to Pop, pick up by ******, 4pm flight home

The Donald's Breakfastasaurus (aka breakfast with a duck) was booked purely to get us in the park early so we can get to Expedition Everest fast. We have an 8:05 ADR and it will be paid OOP (we are on the dining plan but this one is an extra one). My girls love seeing EE on the Travel Channel Disney shows and I know we will want to go on, probably more than once if we can.

I also had referenced lunch at "the Nanny restaurant". My kids have heard me talk about Disney many times. I have told them about the 50s Prime Time Cafe and how the servers might quiz you to see if you washed your hands, tell you to get your elbows off the table and maybe even give you your veggies for dessert if you don't eat them. For some reason Bashful equates all this with the previews she has seen on TV of the Super Nanny. You know the Super Nanny is always teaching manners and correcting people so apparently that is the connection she made. So she has dubbed this "the Nanny restaurant". And of course, it has stuck. So to the Nanny Restaurant we shall go!

And dinner with our neighbors to the North? Le Cellier of course! The coveted Le Cellier reservation! Ours is later than I wanted, 7pm. I had hoped for something more like 5pm but no dice. And I knew I was lucky to have one at all so I kept it. The DIS has placed this restaurant on such a pedestal and I felt like I had to eat here! The menu sounds delish but I do have filet pretty often here when we go out so I am not sure why I was so adamant to go here. It is the mystique I guess, all the reports on how wonderful and fabulous and that cheese soup! Actually if I think back to my last trip in 1997 DH and I stopped in here one day mid day for just some appetizers. I believe we were some of the only people there. It must have been before the word got out? I think we just had a fruit/cheese plate or something like that? I remember it was dark and nice and cool.

So where are we at with the kids? Well tonight as we put them to bed I dropped a little "You know if you are good tomorrow after school I might let you open one small Christmas present early.But don't get too excited, it's just a little something" They were all over it! And hey, it is little, it's a Guest of Honor badge right?

Well I will try and post tomorrow night before we go and after the secret is out and the settles down! Now I must go and figure out what exactly there is left to do! I know I am forgetting things. I need to finish packing for Belle but Bashful, Goofy and I are done. I need to finish addressing a few Christmas Cards. I need to get the dogs items ready for our 7am trip to the boarders. I need to pack carryons and gosh I am starting to feel a teensy bit overwhelmed!

Next up: The suprise is REVEALED!
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Old 12-13-2006, 08:11 PM   #12
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oooohhhhhh
mmmmmyyyy
gggggoooooooooddddnnnneeeesssss!!!

I'm so excited for you! I know the Reveal is going to be amazing. If we don't hear from you before you depart, have an incredible time with your family.
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Old 12-14-2006, 02:34 PM   #13
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How exciting! I am sure the reveal will be so worth the wait. Can't wait to hear about the kids responses.
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Old 12-14-2006, 08:14 PM   #14
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Installment Four--The Big Reveal Gone Bad

ROFL! What can I say? This did not go as I had envisioned it! I had played this moment over and over so many times in my head. We'd suprise them, they would be so excited, they would be so thrilled, lots of smiles, jumping around, a real Kodak moment. Well it was a Kodak moment alright but not like that!

A little backstory...Belle does not like suprises. I don't know why (I love 'em!) but she doesn't. I think she doesn't like knowing what's coming, feels a little out of control, etc. But I thought this would be different, it's Disney! Well it wasn't.

A girl in her class, Sam, is moving and tomorrow is her last day of school. Well she and Belle are not super close friends but apparently they are friendlier than I knew. When Belle learned that we were leaving tomorrow, and that she would not be going to school so therefore would not be there to say goodbye to Sam, well we got tears but not tears of joy. Then you have Goofy muttering "We don't get presents? I want presents" and Bashful completely thinking this is just all a joke and we really are not going anywhere.

Well, the video shows it best, if you have 2 minutes click here

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v6...v?t=1166146382


So after some time to digest it all (and for Bashful I had to produce boarding passes and packed suitcases before she would believe me) they are VERY excited and can't wait for tomorrow! We popped in the planning DVD (the old one) and watched a little and Belle started reading out loud from the WDW For Kids By Kids book I got her.

So all is well, kids are in bed now and Grumpy is packing.

Limo arrives at 8:45am and we'll be off!

I will most definately continue this when we return! Have a wonderful week everyone!

Allyson
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Old 12-14-2006, 08:45 PM   #15
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Oh Allyson, I'm so sorry the "reveal" didn't become the joyous moment you were hoping for. ( I secretly feel this will be the case for me too!) You're going to have an amazing vacation with your family. Your kids will remember it forever!

Here's wishing you a safe trip and
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