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Old 04-12-2010, 05:35 PM   #1
MouseEarsJenny
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June 2010: A Tribute To All Nations, But Mostly America - Update 8/22 MK FotD

Just for the record, we were NOT going to Disney this year. No, no, not us. Uh-uh. We don't want to go to Disney every year. That would be overkill. We have so many other places we want to see. In fact, we planned a whole trip to Washington DC, Colonial Williamsburg, and the Outer Banks. So what are we doing writing a pre-trip report on the DISboards, you ask?

Well. Um. About that.



Let's just say... they made us an offer... we couldn't refuse...

(Which in this case has less to do with sleeping with the fishes and more to do with free quick service dining and GAD fastpasses.)

So without further ado, meet the cast:

MouseEarsJenny and Flightless Duck (aka me and dh, aka Jenn and Scott, aka Mom and Dad)



UGH! Wait! No! That is NOT us!! Well, okay, maybe it WAS us last summer. But that was before a certain chest pain incident in Animal Kingdom led to a certain ultimatum regarding Disney. Something along the lines of "Until you lose fifty pounds, you are NOT allowed back to Disney". (For full details, see our previous trippie here.) Suffice to say, that threat was enough to make BOTH of us lose over 50 lbs. In fact, we've lost 161 lbs. between us so far. So, let's try that again...





There we are.

Jenn - 33 - Teacher, drama club director, Sunday School teacher, VBS director, scrapbooker, avid reader, Packers fan, DIS addict.

Scott - 33 - Computer programmer, Sunday School teacher, handbell player, Eagles fan, bigger DIS addict.

Then we have our two great kids.



Kairi - 13 - French Horn/Mellophone/Trumpet player, pianist, marching band member, jazz band member, district band member, handbell player - aw heck, you get the idea. From Guitar Hero to philharmonic orchestras - if it's music, she's all about it.



Nick - 10 - Trombone player, TKD purple belt, Packers fan, football card collector, video game junkie, all around BOY. And future director of the Penn State Blue Band, to hear him tell it.

Now for some quick trip details:

When - June 25th - July 1st
Where - Pop Century Resort, 1.5 Days at MK, 1 Day Each at Epcot, AK, and MGM, .5 Day at Typhoon Lagoon

We're getting GAD fastpasses nearly every day. We lost the weight, now we're gonna lose the waits! Come along for the ride!

**PRE-TRIP TABLE OF CONTENTS**
Project Linus - GAD Volunteer Project
Tenative Itinerary
We Are VERIFIED
Planned New Experiences
Must Eat Snacks
Packing List
Recommended Reading
Family Favorites
Weather Forecast
Packing Pile and Vacation Playlist
BIG Changes!
Cheap Splurge - Waterproof Camera
All Packed Up and No Place to Go
**TABLE OF CONTENTS**
On My Summer Vacation, We Took A LOOOOOONG Car Ride
On My Summer Vacation, We Travelled Back In Time
On My Summer Vacation, We Fought Pirates
On My Summer Vacation, We Were Fed By A Celebrity Chef
On My Summer Vacation, I Went To A Cheesy Roadside Attraction
On My Summer Vacation, We Went On Safari
On My Summer Vacation, I Met A Walking Plant
On My Summer Vacation, I Climbed Mount Everest
On My Summer Vacation, We Piloted a Spacecraft
On My Summer Vacation, We Went Hang Gliding
On My Summer Vacation, I Ate In 11 Countries (Part One)
On My Summer Vacation, I Ate In 11 Countries (Part Two)
Food Break!
On My Summer Vacation, I Went Over A Waterfall In A Tube
On My Summer Vacation, We Survived a Typhoon
On My Summer Vacation, I Rode A Runaway Mine Train
On My Summer Vacation, We Met Haunted Pirate Space Rangers in the Hundred Acre Wood
On My Summer Vacation, I Went Backstage with Aerosmith
On My Summer Vacation, We Were Magic Kingdom Family of the Day
On My Summer Vacation, I Was A Celebrity
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Old 04-12-2010, 05:48 PM   #2
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Project Linus



For our Give-a-Day Get-a-Disney-Day project, we signed up through Project Linus to make fleece blankets for pediatric patients. We made four blankets in all (one for each of us), so all four of us got credit for volunteering. This lets us get four days of FastPasses.



We decided to do the FastPass because we already were getting a package with free quick service dining. Plus, it was going to be a short trip.



This was a great way to give back, and was even more special since I empathize with the patients, having spent most of the time between St. Patrick's Day and today in the hospital with complications from gallbladder surgery. I'm a grown adult and was bored out of my mind. I can't imagine how little kids feel when stuck in the hospital!



The blankets got mailed today, now we just have to wait for Project Linus to verify our service and send us our vouchers. We are a little worried that they might not give us the vouchers now that GAD is closed even though we were registered in time. But, even if we don't get our vouchers, it was a fun project and still worth doing.
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Old 04-12-2010, 06:10 PM   #3
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Just wanted to pop in and say you look fantastic! Good for you!!

We also did the Project Linus blankets and completed ours AFTER they closed the GAD promotion. We got our vouchers with no issues!! It was a fun project!

My kids are about the same age as yours...I have a 15 year old, an almost 13 year old and a 9 year old. My DH is also a big Eagles fan and my college roommate and BFF () grew up in Bethlehem, PA!
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Old 04-12-2010, 07:11 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mommytothreeboys View Post
Just wanted to pop in and say you look fantastic! Good for you!!
Thanks! We still have some to lose, but we're getting close to goal.

Quote:
We also did the Project Linus blankets and completed ours AFTER they closed the GAD promotion. We got our vouchers with no issues!! It was a fun project!
Phew! That's good to know. Ours just went out today, so we will be watching our inbox anxiously.

Quote:
My kids are about the same age as yours...I have a 15 year old, an almost 13 year old and a 9 year old. My DH is also a big Eagles fan and my college roommate and BFF () grew up in Bethlehem, PA!
Small world! I'm from upstate NY, so there's another connection for you.
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Old 04-13-2010, 06:00 PM   #5
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Why is there STRESS?

Planning a Disney vacation is supposed to be fun. Right now, vacation is mostly causing me worry.

Our original plan this year was to start our vacation on June 3rd. We were going to spend a day seeing the sights of Washington, DC, and then spend the 4th of July watching the national parade, Capitol Fourth, and the fireworks over the national mall. Then, we were going to spend a day at Busch Gardens, 4 days at the Outer Banks, a day at Colonial Williamsburg, and a day at Baltimore.

Well, then we got a free quick service dining pin from Disney. We had always wanted to take advantage of free dining, because we are dining plan junkies. But we can never vacation in August or September because of school and VBS. So when we got the pin, we were dying to take advantage of it.

We crunched some numbers and realized that for the same price as Baltimore and Busch Gardens, we could afford a whole week of Disney. That seemed like a no-brainer, so we added a Disney week to the start of our vacation, switched Colonial Williamsburg to the Busch Gardens day, dropped Baltimore and Busch Gardens, and planned the whole works as a two week summer vacation extravaganza.

So why the stress??

In January, Scott had a gall bladder attack. Horrible pain ending in a five day hospital stay. He was told he would need his gall bladder removed, but he had to wait for the inflammation to go down. So he was scheduled for a one day outpatient surgery on March 18th. Should have been no problem. Sure, he was going to miss a week of work, but he's a stellar employee with a good company that offers short term disability so he didn't even have to lose any vacation days.

If only that were the way it had worked.

Since the surgery, Scott has spent 12 days admitted to the hospital and 2 more days in the ER. The doctors call him "unlucky" but since they were the ones who left bile leaking into his abdomen from an extra duct they knew he had, I'm thinking we all know who's to blame. Lucky for them, my dh is a saint, and believes in giving everyone second chances. (And third chances. And tenth chances. And... *sigh*)

This adds up to vacation stress because as of right now, the problem is not fixed. In fact, the doctors aren't really sure how to fix the problem they've caused. They sent him home on painkillers and antibiotics and told him to wait three weeks because they can't operate again until six weeks after the original surgery. They MAY be able to do some non-surgical procedure involving glue in about a week. Otherwise, they may have to do major surgery at the beginning of May. And if that surgery is "open" instead of "laparoscopic", it will mean he will be recovering for several weeks. And that will bring him right up to our Disney vacation.

He IS a stellar employee. But he's missed three weeks now. And he'll have to miss more time when they fix this. So even in the best case scenario, we may have to drop the second half of our trip - the part we planned first - since Disney has to be pre-paid. Worst case? If he is out for a significant part of May, they may not let him take his vacation in June or July at all. Which would be awful, because that's the only time the rest of us can vacation.

It may sound like I'm more worried about our vacation than Scott. That's just not true. His health is of course a priority. But we all work ridiculously hard all year long, and our vacations mean a lot to our mental health.

This is a downer start to our trip report, but I needed to vent. Besides, I could sure use some pixie dust and good vibes that our trip will happen as planned, if anyone is reading out there!
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Old 04-13-2010, 09:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MouseEarsJenny View Post
But he's missed three weeks now. And he'll have to miss more time when they fix this. So even in the best case scenario, we may have to drop the second half of our trip - the part we planned first - since Disney has to be pre-paid. Worst case? If he is out for a significant part of May, they may not let him take his vacation in June or July at all. Which would be awful, because that's the only time the rest of us can vacation.
This is my worry, too. I want this bile leak fixed, but I would love for it to "clear up on it's own". Even the glue idea is better than surgery. I'm not really afraid of more surgery (although maybe I should be with the doctors I have...). I'm more concerned about screwing up this vacation. Everybody's worked so hard all year, and this was going to be our one break from the rat race. Even my time recovering hasn't really been a break.

But I'm trying not to worry about it too much, because that's just borrowing trouble.
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Old 04-14-2010, 07:56 AM   #7
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Wow...that really does sound like a lot to deal with while trying to plan a 'vacation extravaganza'! I had gall bladder surgery in 2005, but it went off without a hitch. They did explain all the risks though...I'm so sorry you are having to deal with such complications.

Well...I'm praying that all will work out and DH's health will return to normal and your trip can happen. Try to keep your chin up!
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Old 04-14-2010, 05:33 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by mommytothreeboys View Post
Well...I'm praying that all will work out and DH's health will return to normal and your trip can happen. Try to keep your chin up!
Thanks!
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Old 04-14-2010, 05:44 PM   #9
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Tenative Itinerary

We think we've figured out a way to squeeze the maximum amount of fun into the minimum amount of vacation days. Our original plan had Scott missing 11 days of work. With the new plan, he'll only miss 6. Here's the basic plan:

Thursday, June 24


Leave right after Scott gets out of work and drive as far down I-95 as we can stand, stopping for the night at a Hampton Inn somewhere.

Friday, June 25

Drive to Disney World and check in at Pop Century. Go to Downtown Disney if it's early enough.

Saturday, June 26

Animal Kingdom

Sunday, June 27

EPCOT

Monday, June 28

Typhoon Lagoon AM, Magic Kingdom PM

Tuesday, June 29

Hollywood Studios

Wednesday, June 30

Magic Kingdom

Thursday, July 1

Drive to the Outer Banks and check in at the Hampton Inn Corolla. (We adore this hotel because it's right on a quiet beach and has a lazy river.)

Friday, July 2

Beach Day in OBX

Saturday, July 3

Drive to Washington, check in at the Hampton Inn Convention Center. (Yes, we're addicted to Hampton Inns. Sue us.) Visit the Smithsonian museums and the monuments on the National Mall.

Sunday, July 4

Watch the National Independence Day Parade. See A Capitol Fourth concert. Watch the fireworks over the National Mall.

Monday, July 5

Finish sightseeing in Washington and drive home.

Whaddaya think? Sound like a plan? And because Scott has July 5th off, that's only 6 vacation days! Of course, we lost several beach days and Colonial Williamsburg, but it'll be a whole lot easier to get 6 days off than 11. And with even a LITTLE luck, he should be able to take that much. I hope.


Oh please.
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Old 04-14-2010, 08:03 PM   #10
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Being able to celebrate Independence Day in Washington DC sounds awesome!! How cool to be able to experience that!

The plan looks good....better to give up a few days at the beach than to have to scrap the entire vacation. And now you can plan another trip just to enjoy Colonial Williamsburg in the future.
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Old 04-18-2010, 11:29 AM   #11
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We are VERIFIED! :)

Project Linus got our blankets a few days ago and submitted to Disney that we finished our volunteer work. We looked online this morning and saw we were VERIFIED!

Printed our vouchers:



Pretty sweet.
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Old 05-03-2010, 05:54 PM   #12
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Woohoo!

Scott officially has a clean bill of health! And his vacation time was approved. Disney, here we come!

Well. Once we get through this last month and a half, that is. It's really hard to wait this time because we have so little planning to do. Don't need much in the way of touring plans - we have GAD fastpasses. Don't need ADR's - we're going QSDP.

So what to do? Well, for starters, today I printed all our confirmations and directions and put them in a binder. I made my first packing list.

And I'm busily planning our Disneyland trip for next year.
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Old 05-07-2010, 02:17 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MouseEarsJenny View Post
We think we've figured out a way to squeeze the maximum amount of fun into the minimum amount of vacation days.

Thursday, June 24


Leave right after Scott gets out of work and drive as far down I-95 as we can stand, stopping for the night at a Hampton Inn somewhere.
FYI, I took the afternoon off on Thursday, so we will be able to leave that much earlier. We are hoping to get to somewhere in South Carolina before we stop for the night.
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Old 05-13-2010, 08:05 AM   #14
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Paid in Full



Just wanted to say we're all paid up.

Is it time to go YET????
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Old 05-16-2010, 04:05 PM   #15
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HA! I win!

Flightless Duck has an irrational fear of matching shirts. Okay, so it's a mostly rational fear due to a nasty trick my mom inadvertantly played on him last year. She knew we all had the same shirt - a blue shirt with a gold pelican advertising her business. So she told him that "everyone" was wearing it on our last day at MK. Being a very good son-in-law, he wore it, even though he hates it like Gollum hates hobbits, precious.

I admit, we all looked pretty horrible in the shirts. But worse yet, only our family and grandma actually wore the stupid shirts.



So as you can see, Scott spent most of that day hiding and being miserable, and has therefore declared matching shirts taboo.

But I like the way it looks in pictures when we don't clash. So, very sneakily, I took the family to the Disney Store.

And wouldn't you know it, we came home with four shirts that match enough for me, but don't offend Scott's sense of individuality.

Scott got:


I got:


Nick got:


and Kairi got:

(Yes, I know. Last one is my pathetic attempt at simulating the Disney store pictures. But the online Disney store didn't have this shirt. It has sparkles when you see it in person. So does mine, for that matter.)

So now you will see us (oh, so very soon) in front of the castle matching. But not really matching.

(But I KNOW I won. So that's okay.)
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