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Old 02-21-2011, 03:18 PM   #1
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This doesn't look like New Orleans...

A Surprise Adults-Only Trip!


We are a very experienced and devoted Disney family, but it didn't start out that way. I'd gone to Disney a couple of times as a kid, and before we were married, my wife had never been. Her father, a NYC police officer, died young and unexpectantly and they never had the money. But then in 2005, I unexpectantly received a letter from the IRS... Always scary, but in this case, they had some good news for me. Years earlier, when I was working several jobs at once, I had made a mistake and overpaid our taxes! They were sending me a check! Our oldest at the time was 5, and a huge Blues Clues fan. Our middle DS was 4 and our youngest DD was 2. The Nick Hotel was just opening and we made plans to go to Florida to stay there and go to Disney with some friends from Chicago (who were more experienced Disney travelers).

I should also mention that around this time, our oldest was going through the process of being diagnosed with autism. We'd known that he was different for years, but hadn't been able to put a label on it. Fortunately, with some supportive and loving friends and doctors, we were finally able to give it a name and start him getting the services he needs. A scary and emotional time for us and for our whole family (and for another trip report)

And then we went to Disney. Magical gets overused, but that's what it was for us. This was the first place that we had ever been where people didn't look at you funny when your 6 year old was having a "freakout" like a toddler. Cast members (and other families!) were supportive, not judgemental! And we could go out to eat! We'd never been able to do this before as his diet was so limited. But at Disney, they'd always get you a plate of plain pasta (which is one of his few foods). And surprising us, he made progress with social skills on the trip (talking to cast members, pin trading!) We were hooked! And since then, we've been able to go every year. With each trip, he makes progress and the family memories and bonds that the trip creates are priceless.

From Our First Trip: Molly, Jack, & Dan

So to Start

A couple of times per year, I have to travel around and give a lecture at some national conference. Usually, it is at tourist-unfriendly city, but sometimes it is somewhere cool. But with three kids, my wife almost never gets to go with me. “No one loves you enough to watch three kids!”, we like to say.

But this past May, we had a sitter all lined up. My father and his wife (my step-mother) had volunteered to watch the kids for a weekend. I had a conference in New Orleans where I had to give a lecture on Monday morning. My DW was going to fly down from CT with me on Friday (after the kids got dropped off at school) and then leave on Sunday (so she could be there for Monday school). My step-mother was going to pick the kids up from school on Friday and stay until Sunday at our house. My dad (whose health is not great), was going to join them on Saturday. We had rides to soccer & lacrosse games/practices all lined up. We were all set!

Now I should mention here that my wife is a huge fan of the Grand Floridian. We play a game with our kids while waiting for things: virtual hide and seek. In virtual hide and seek, you pick a place to hide (anywhere in the world) and everyone else asks yes or no questions until they find you. Think 20-questions, but with a place. When we play, 9 times out of 10, my DW is at the Grand Floridian. When asked, she will tell you that the Grand Floridian is her favorite place in the world.

I should also mention, that we don't get away alone often (about once every 1-2 years). With our oldest's issues, it is difficult to find someone besides us who can take care of him like we do. But coincidently my wife and I had spent a weekend alone in New Orleans 3-4 years ago. So although New Orleans is a lovely place, we'd kind of done it already.

So, the time comes for me to start looking into buying flights to New Orleans from Connecticut. But I hit a snag. In the winter-spring of 2010, the price for flights from Connecticut to New Orleans was outrageous. At least $800/ticket. No matter when I looked (and I looked almost daily), the prices did not go down. And, it is not easy to get to New Orleans from Connecticut. Since we had to drop the kids at school, we couldn't get a really early morning flight. With connections, for any possible flight we'd get there after 6pm (unless we wanted to pay even more!). It was getting closer and closer to May and I still hadn't bought the tickets.

So, one morning, after my daily trolling of the Dis sites, it occured to me, for that amount of money, we could just go to Disney World instead. And that was the end. We actually had a surprise trip scheduled for our kids in June, but I couldn't get the idea of an adults-only trip out of my head. I priced flights. Much cheaper! And direct! I could even fly directly to New Orleans myself from Orlando in time to make my lecture and my DW could fly directly home to CT.

I started to ask around work. "What would you think?" I'd ask people. And uniformly, they said do it. Especially the women. They loved the idea of a surprise trip. So, still somewhat apprehensively, I called Victoria and Alberts to see about dinner reservations. If I was going to do something this crazy, I was going all in. Even though we were only a month out, shockingly the woman at Victoria and Alberts had a reservation at a reasonable time. I called the tour hotline. They even had openings on the Segway tour (something she's always wanted to do).

I took these as signs. It was meant to be. We were going to Disney World!

Next up: Planning the Surprise
Chris DisDad#403
Me DW DS(15) DS(14) DD(12)

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As Dad: Apr 2006 Nick Hotel - Feb 2007 Nick Hotel -
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June 2010 BWV - April 2011 BLT - Feb 2012 AKL -
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Last edited by DisDadDoc; 02-22-2011 at 05:14 PM.
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Old 02-21-2011, 03:38 PM   #2
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I am liking how this story is going so far!! Looking forward to the next edition!
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Old 02-21-2011, 03:38 PM   #3
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Subbing!!! Can't wait to hear all about it!

We are still scheduled for Friday morning scans at 8:30. We should be in the cafe around 9 for breakfast before the clinic visit. If you have the time, this could be the first DisDads meet in a hospital!
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Old 02-21-2011, 03:45 PM   #4
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Love the introduction. Look forward to the rest of the report!
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Old 02-21-2011, 04:02 PM   #5
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I'm in! Great start.

Getaways with the wife are awesome. Can't wait to see how it all turns out.
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Old 02-21-2011, 05:03 PM   #6
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Old 02-21-2011, 05:16 PM   #7
Romance at Disney...
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How Exciting! I happened upon the start of your TR and in reading learned you are from CT! My DBF and I are from southwestern CT and We just returned from a 10 day trip to WDW in January- we managed to get out despite 22 inches of snow the day before we left!!

Can't wait to hear more!
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Old 02-21-2011, 05:28 PM   #8
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You sly dog, you! Surprise trip...awesome

I'm in for more!
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Old 02-21-2011, 09:01 PM   #9
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Ok I have to see how this goes and I am in. That is a great surprise.
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Old 02-21-2011, 09:43 PM   #10
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Love the idea about the surprise.
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Old 02-21-2011, 10:24 PM   #11
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Surprise trip?!? I'm in!
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Old 02-21-2011, 11:09 PM   #12
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I'm in!
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Old 02-22-2011, 07:58 AM   #13
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mmmmm... a surprise trip! Wonder where you'll be staying...
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Old 02-22-2011, 08:18 AM   #14
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BigTex present and accounted for, sir!

Looks like this is going to be a good one.
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Old 02-22-2011, 08:44 AM   #15
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I'm in!

I can't wait to read about your wife's reaction!
Me - Jen DBF - Mike DS - Creighton (10/31/2009) DS2 - Cooper (07/31/2013)

2011 - March 13th-18th - AKL (Creighton's first trip) Pics ~ June 4th - Day Trip - SWW ~July 9th-11th - Offsite : Oct 12th-15th POP
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