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Old 09-22-2004, 03:22 PM   #1
gopherit
I'm not in the book, you know.

I'm a certified "geekus optima", if you know what I mean!
 
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Neither here nor there...
Posts: 1,277

Exclamation On the 13th Day of Disney... (LAST REPORT!)

On the Thirteenth Day of Disney…

Mickey waved Bye-Bye.



Cast of Characters:

Cindy
(that’s me, 37 yr old “Mom”, obsessive-compulsive planner of these trips!)
Rich (DH, 38 yrs young “Dad”, basically wonderful and easy going, but occasionally known to slip into the less-loved persona, Mr. “How Much is This Going to Cost Me?”)
Evan (9 yrs old, our deep thinker and comfort seeker)
Ryan (8 yrs old, our tireless spark on an endless thrill quest)
Caroline (4 yrs old and already has the role of drama queen mastered!)


CLICK HERE TO READ THE FIRST DAY!
CLICK HERE TO READ THE SECOND DAY!
CLICK HERE TO READ THE THIRD DAY!
CLICK HERE TO READ THE FOURTH DAY!
CLICK HERE TO VIEW PHOTOS FROM DAYS 1 THROUGH 5!
CLICK HERE TO READ THE FIFTH DAY!
CLICK HERE TO READ THE SIXTH DAY!
CLICK HERE TO READ THE SEVENTH DAY!
CLICK HERE TO READ THE EIGHTH DAY!
CLICK HERE TO READ THE NINTH DAY!
CLICK HERE TO READ THE TENTH DAY!
CLICK HERE TO READ THE ELEVENTH DAY!
CLICK HERE TO READ THE TWELFTH DAY!



THE THIRTEENTH DAY

No doubt about it -- the end of a vacation is a terrible, tragic thing. Technically, we weren’t at the end of ours yet; we still had a few more days on the road before we would arrive at our West Virginian home. We planned to pit–stop in South Carolina and visit my mom and my sister’s family for a few days (yes, the same sister of BWV and Beat-Charley-Outta-Town fame). None of these forthcoming diversions did anything to allay our general malaise, however. We were about to leave our wonderful Disney “HOME”, and the “End of Vacation Blues” were hitting us hard. As one child noted profoundly: Leaving Stinks. And while the kids do love their “Grammoolie”, the reality is – Mickey Mouse, she ain’t.

The kids were slow to rise that morning, and even slower to move. Much like Kryptonite to Superman, leaving Disney World will do that to a young child. It’s quite sad. The kids checked out what was left of the breakfast-type foods… and also on some that weren’t. Caroline saw me packing Doritos and asked for a bag – is she serious? At 8 am, this girl wants a spicy nacho chip? Ryan then asked about the dill pickles. Ewwww!? With his breakfast cereal? No no, he clarified – not WITH his cereal…INSTEAD of his cereal. My response to their eccentric requests: I think not. As desperate as I was to unload some of this produce, the idea of Ryan getting queasy mid-trip with a stomach full of sour pickles, and me then doing the 10-yard cross-luggage lunge with the open bag – and missing – did not sit well with me. So it was corn flakes and toast for the gang – like it or lump it.

I packed up the rest of our stuff for DH to haul to the car. Once he got it down there, I would then swap places with him so as to work my van-packing wonders. Packing a van is kinda like playing Tetris – you gotta know the shapes of your luggage “pieces” intimately, and how they fit together, for maximum packability! I am the undisputed Tetris Packing Queen of our family. And I admit it: Yes, it’s a “control thing”. I really don’t WANT my DH to help with this. Hey, I need to know where every little intimate item is stashed in the car at all times. Why? Because I will guarantee you that before we have traveled one tenth of the necessary distance, all passengers of the vehicle will begin to simultaneously ask me, “Mom, where’s my _____?” “Have you seen my _______?” and “You DID pack my ______, DIDN’T you?” “Honey, have you seen the ________?” Mind you, it’s not that they NEED any of these things they ask for – they just want to see if I know where they are. I learned a long time ago that my packing knowledge was inversely proportional to the amount of time I would spend in an inverted position, flashing my posterior to all of I-95 as I root through luggage in transit. I therefore do this packing as not just a benefit to myself, but to you, my fellow interstate-mates, as this is NOT a side of me you would ever want to see. Feel free to thank me profusely at any time.

And so DH began the process of hauling our wares down to the car. Meanwhile, in order to boost troop morale, I had a small parting-day gift for each of my kids that morning. I invited them into the master bedroom and sat them all down on the bed. I then held a little “Closing Ceremony” of our own. I gave a speech that cited each of their talents, and bestowed them with a gift that represented them. (I felt rather like the Great and Powerful Oz!)

“Evan, my son, you are a scholar, you share my love of EPCOT, and you study the world around you in such a way you leave no detail unexplored. I hope you enjoyed this vacation, discovering new parts of “The World” and also enjoying many of your old favorites. But I know you also endured immense pain this trip, due to your ear. For your patience and tolerance, we commend you. I therefore present you with this small token – Dr. Pooh, at your service.”

I handed him the small Pooh, resplendent in his physician’s garb and even toting a little black bag. Evan smiled broadly and genuinely, admiring his Pooh bear, and said (as if I didn’t already know), “And I love Pooh! Thanks, Mom!”

The Great and Powerful Oz continued.

“Ryan—my wonderful, spark-of-life Rhino! You are an adventurer, an untamed spirit out to find excitement in this world! You showed remarkable determination on this trip; you were ready to take on any challenge. We are so proud of you, and in your newfound realization that there isn’t anything you can’t do! I therefore bestow you with a fellow voyager to share the journey home – Space Dog Pluto!”

Ryan loves all animals, but especially dogs, and had been upset that he didn’t get to see Pluto this trip. I had toyed with an Animal Kingdom Pluto, but then selected the Mission Space Pluto instead. It appeared I had made a good choice, as Ryan immediately snatched it from me and began to admire it, with a quick “Thanks” and flash of those killer dimples.

And now for the Scarecrow – oops, I mean Caroline.

“And for Caroline… my little Princess, how I so enjoyed spending time with you on this trip! But I learned that you are not about to be set upon a shelf like a breakable china doll – you too have the Spirit of Adventure inside you! You are so brave, and so “thrilled to be thrilled” by life! You amazed me with your desire to do anything your height would allow, including riding Splash Mountain FIVE TIMES this trip! And so for you, I present this fellow friend to share your laughing places with…. Brer Rabbit!”

And that’s when it happened.

“WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!”

Dumbfounded, we all looked on, mouths gaping, as Caroline loudly wailed. The boys looked at their sister like something they had scraped off a shoe – WHAT was HER problem?

“WAHHHHHHH!” she cried, as the rabbit kerplunked on the floor.

“Caroline, honey, what is wrong?” I said as I scooped up the rejected rabbit from the carpet. I held him out towards her, and asked, “Don’t you LIKE Brer Rabbit?”[/I]

“WAHHHHHH! NO! WAHHHHHH!”

“But, look at him, sweetie. He’s… he’s cute!” I offered, fluffing up one floppy Brer-ear. “And see, he’s from Splash Mountain, your favorite ride! What’s not to love about him?”

“WAHHHH! HIS…HIS… PAAAAAANTS! WAHHHHH!”

Those words sandwiched between the tears were just bizarre enough to make the boys loosen the grip of their hands over their tightly compressed ears. Looking at each other, they made the simultaneous expression of, “HUH?” Had they heard what they thought they heard – his pants? Before any of us could even ask, Caroline obliged us with a repeat chorus.

”WAHHH! LOOK AT HIS PANTS! I DON’T LIKE HIS PANTS! WAHHH…”

Well, now the boys were downright snickering (which of course was SO helpful in getting her calmed down, much like poking a fallen hornets’ nest with a big ol' stick.) I admit it – it so took me by surprise, I had to turn away briefly from the scene and stifle a laugh as well – again, NOT helping the matter at all. When I finally recaptured my composure (while Caroline recaptured her breath), I asked her what, specifically, about the, umm, “pants” was so… troubling?

(slowly sniff-sniffing herself towards composure) “Well L-L-L-LOOOOOK at them, Mommy! Sniff sniff…He’s all FAT and…and…FAT...and.. and just LOOK at his FAT BELLY! IN THOSE PAAANNNNTS!” And as if, in pointing this out, she had realized anew just how VERY disturbing this was, out poured her tears again.

“WAHHHHH!”

I had to boot the boys out of the bedroom amidst their giggles ( “Evan – did you hear her? She didn’t like the pants! THE PANTS! Bwaaahahahahaha! Snort!”) As I tried to get her calmed down, the bottom line (no pun intended) became quite clear: I needed to exchange this “Bunny Fat-Pants” at a Disney shop somewhere and STAT! My daughter’s emotional health (and my ear drums!) depended on it! I would leave the deeper conflict (as in, when did my 4 yr old daughter suddenly become obsessed with big bellies and rabbit fitness/fashion?) for a later date.

By now, DH had finished his part of the pack-up deal, so down I went to work my Tetris magic. But yowza – we STILL have this much STUFF? We hadn’t even begun to shop yet! How can this be? (And why does it seem like our stuff grew while we were at SSR?)

As I try to sort out my “playing pieces” to this puzzle, a couple ambles past on their way to the bus stop. The man laughs and says, “Looks like you need a bigger van!”

“Nah,” I respond back, leaning against my piled-high stack o’ stuff. “My kids happen to like that wind-in-their-faces sensation that can only be found on the roof rack!”

But a new car – hmmm, I LIKE that man’s thinking! At this point, I’d give my kingdom and 2 eye teeth for about 10 more cubic feet of car space. We actually do own one of those soft-sided roof-top carriers (for luggage – not the kids, mind you. If you didn’t realize that roof-rack comment earlier was a joke, please tell Child Services you called them in error and hang up the phone now.) But DH absolutely hates using anything that straps to the car and creates wind resistance; it just plain makes him nervous. And a nervous DH is an unhappy DH. Of course, in the summer, there’s also the issue of sudden torrential rain. That’s always lovely with a canvas carrier. No matter how we try to weather-proof it, in the end, you still have a soggy wet bag as big as a twin mattress to deal with. Couple with that the fact that not all roof tops were apparently ever MEANT to actually carry anything of mass greater than, say, a bucket of fried chicken. Our rooftop limit, for example, on our Toyota Sienna van is stated at under 100 lbs, I believe. We tried to get one of those “X-Cargo” snail-tops for it, but were instantly denied. To do so and place one atop our vehicle, claimed both the snail-seller and Toyota, would “greatly upset the stability of the vehicle.” Now I don’t know how you feel about this, but where I come from, “stability of the vehicle” is a pretty good thing to preserve, ranked right up there with, “ability of vehicle to NOT burst into violent flames” and “four wheels that all stay ON the car”. So no car-top carriers for us, if at all possible… it’s all gotta fit IN the van, or it stays behind. (And by the rules of “ohana”, no family member gets booted out for the sake of souvenirs…. This ain’t Survivor, there will be no voting anyone off the island today, folks.)

Anyway -- I manage to do some creative compressing and nesting and at long last, voila’! I have successfully put in everything without too much compromise on our comfort! Ok, granted, the boys can’t recline fully, but at least they wouldn’t be at 45-degree forward angles for the next 8 hours! They had about a 10-degree recline from upright, and they should surely be thankful for THAT, given the amount of cargo we had.

But hey now, what’s this? More stuff? Say it ain’t so! DH brings down the fridge contents and a few last bags, and each of the kids comes toting their individual bag – yikes! We somehow manage to carve out a bit more space in the center of the van. With every last item except our own bodies finally stuffed in the van, we are relieved to see we will all have seats, and that those seats are indeed INSIDE the van. Small miracle, I say, as I admire my own cozy seat, situated just inside the glove compartment.

With the car now packed to bursting, I take a few quick shots of the kids outside the Saratoga Springs building for memory’s sake. We pile into our respective van-nooks and head out. It’s about 10 am, and when DH pulls up and around to the Saratoga Springs front building, I can already tell there might be a crowd. There are 2 families checking in, so I wait in the lobby, unsure where to stand for check-out, really, because of the whole circle-in-the-round setup. Where does one stand in a circular cue?

Getting edgy, I decide to bolt on down to the Community Hall and return Caroline’s “wife jacket” personally. The CM there takes the vest from me and then does a double-take, saying, “HEY! Where did you get that awesome SHIRT?!” Today I am wearing my prized “Swedish Chef” shirt, bought on a previous trip at MGM. No one at home EVER comments on it… but I think they secretly discuss it amongst themselves, however, and just assume I’m nuttier than a bag of boiled peanuts. (Which really isn’t an off-base assessment, it’s just a shame they can’t appreciate the fine humor of the shirt.) But it seems in this CM I have actually found a fellow Muppet afficianado! She high-fives me and says she has GOT to go to MGM to see if they still sell my shirt there. She confides to me that she owns all the Muppet movies. AH – I then said, perhaps a bit smugly, but do you own the DVD boxed set of ALL their TV shows from the 70’s? She had not heard of this collection, and claimed she would definitely look it up on the internet for purchase too. So now, by my way of thinking, the CMs at SSR were not only nice, they were obviously SMART too. I respect that in a CM, you know.

I headed back past the pool… some people are begin to mill about, setting up their chairs for the day, grabbing their towels, slathering on the sunscreen. You lucky rascals I thought to myself. Outwardly I smile at them and bid them “Good Morning!”, but privately I am swamped with Kermit-green jealousy. I entered Artist’s Palette and quickly grabbed a few goodies for the road. Evan doesn’t think a trip to Disney is complete without Goofy taffy. Mind you, we get Dolle’s salt water taffy every year at the beach – the Goofy stuff is not nearly as good. But nonetheless, he expects Goofy taffy, so Goofy taffy we shall have. On impulse, I also grabbed a blue SSR shirt for myself. Hey, I’ve earned it, I thought to myself, as I tossed my items up onto the counter.

“Find everything you need?” asks the CM.

“Oh yes, fine, thanks. And how are you today?”

“Tennessee!” he blurts back.

(Huh?) “I’m… I’m sorry?”

(louder – as if hearing is the issue?) “TENNESSEE!” he says, with a big grin on his face.

“Ummm, you’re… you’re from Tennessee?” I ask, puzzled.

“No – but YOU are!” Really? It’s news to me… and my driver’s license must be lying. Seeing my confused expression, he added less surely, “Umm, aren’t you?”

Apparently this CM bides his time playing “Name That Accent” with the guests. “Bob, I can name that accent in three syllables!” I felt certain he didn’t stand a Mickey Bar’s chance in Hades with me. Nonetheless, I decided to play along.

“Nope -- Try again.”

Well, he named a few more southerly states (Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina), but no dice. Finally I had to come clean. After all, how many tries would it take this guy to guess I was raised by New Yawker parents in South Carolina, where I lived for 20+ years, then lived in Virginia for another 5, Australia for a year, then West Virginia (but a stone’s throw from Ohio) for the last 10 with my born-n-bred Delawarean hubby? Plus, it didn’t help that I am a lingual chameleon, to boot. In the presence of Deep Southerners, I can drawl along with the best of them, and up north, my accent fades away substantially. My DH can always tell if I’m talking to friends from back home on the phone as my voice evolves into something just a slice of pecan pie short of Dixie Carter.

But enough of these games and tomfoolery – egad, I have family in the car! I am being very naughty just dawdling along in the store, trying to drag out my last few minutes of DVC-dom, while my poor family waits in an overstuffed van! Feeling remorseful, I race through the building, do a hasty check-out, and then head for the car. DH puts it in gear and we make the big 2-second drive over to DTD. Waving a final goodbye to SSR was very hard to do…So long, new friend!

Over at DTD, Caroline and I accompanied Evan into World of Disney to comb through the joint in search of his heart’s desire. Meanwhile, Rich took Ryan through the Lego store, where Ryan readily unloaded his wallet on 3 or 4 different kits he had been eyeing since last week. Ryan moved swiftly and surely in his purchasing until the money was gone and his bag was full. Back in World of Disney, however, Evan was having a much, much more difficult time. Decisions are, after all, the very bane of his existence. He tried on the Stitch fanny pack, but now decided the pouch and its weight around his waist really “bugged” him. And of course he HAD to note that “wouldn’t a Wal-Mart fanny pack be cheaper and more cost-effective?” (I swear -- Is my kid on the payroll there or something? No? Well he SHOULD be.) He truly did like this one Stitch stuffed animal, but noted miserably that now that he’s 9, he “probably shouldn’t be spending his money on stuffed animals, because it’s not like he USES them, or gets anything OUT of them, they just sit on a shelf at home, so they aren’t very practical….” (And Mom, does Wal-Mart carry Stitch, by any chance?) It’s so much like looking at a mini version of his father, it’s just plumb scary. Dolly the cloned sheep has nothing on my son and his dad. He wandered around World of Disney for a bit, but in the end, bought absolutely nothing there.

Through it all, Caroline wailed on.

“Wahhhh! I have no munnnn-eeeee!”

Her usual pleas of “Please?” had gotten her nowhere, and the grim truth had sunk in – stick a fork in yourself, honey, ‘cuz you’re done. She trailed and wailed behind us at every turn. Evan finally offered to just let her buy something with his money – a gesture I found so unbearably sweet, but nonetheless, I discouraged. Caroline needed to swallow hard, breathe deep, and admire all the stuff she already had. We would exchange her poorly attired rabbit, if possible, over at Once Upon a Toy, and that would have to suffice Her Royal Whinyness. But Evan insisted again that he wanted to do this for her, and it was his money, after all. I finally agreed to his plan; if he wanted to give his sister his money, he could go ahead… (and then I made my own plans for secretly giving him his money back. It just didn’t seem fair to me that HE had to “pay”, but I didn’t want to wreck his warm fuzzy do-gooder feeling or squelch his initiative for doing noble deeds, either!) Ironically, Caroline then decided there was nothing at that store she really wanted, so the crisis was temporarily averted. Just as we’re leaving, a small boy clutching a $10 Disney buck asked his mother how much a particular Buzz Lightyear toy would be. She read the tag and announced back to him, “It’s eight dollars and 50 cents.” “WAHHHHH!” cries the boy. I’m amazed -- for once, it was someone ELSE’S kid cranking out the tears. The boy holds up his $10 and the toy and announces, “WAHH! BUT I DON’T HAVE ANY CENTS!” (Be sure to say that aloud and listen to yourself saying it to capture the full humor.) The mother and I cast knowing smiles at each other as she patted her small son’s shoulder and confided that it would be fine, as she would “lend him” some of hers. I should have asked her to lend some to me as well; I had oodles of copper change, but increasingly little of the "other" stuff. (Three kids will do that to a person, I'm told!)


I took Evan and Caroline over to Once Upon a Toy, and we browsed around. Evan was still admiring a stuffed “Stitch”, and he could stand it no longer, be it “unpractical” or not! He handed a carefully selected alien to me and said emphatically, “This one!” I think he was afraid that if we didn’t buy it, then and there, he would have second (well, actually more like one thousand and second) thoughts and put it back!

I took Caroline’s Brer Rabbit over to the clerk and explained the whole “She doesn’t like the pants” deal. The clerk was very helpful and said Caroline could absolutely take a credit on “Bunny Fat-Pants” (BFP) and put it towards whatever she really wanted. Well, Miss “Dream Big” decided she realllllly wanted this huge stuffed “Duchess” (from Aristocats). But the cat was easily 14 dollars more than “BFP”, and even Evan raised his eyes on that one. Fourteen dollars? (and Mom, doesn’t Wal-Mart carry a cat something like that?) We tried to get her to look at other less expensive animals, but she was so adamant about her choice, it was frustrating. (I had no idea where it would even fit in the car, and it sure wasn’t sharing the glove compartment with me.) Once again, it was Big Brother to the rescue. Evan searched around and finally found a small Figaro cat, priced exactly the same as BFP, even! Caroline instantly loved it, largely because Evan had personally picked it out for her, and because he had offered to "buy it for her”. Theirs is, indeed, a special relationship. The fact that it was a cute kitty was just icing on the cake.

At this point, DH and Ryan showed up. I told Evan he should please just take a peek at the pin shop across from Once Upon a Toy. I still contended he would enjoy pin-collecting. Perhaps not TRADING… but nobody said you HAD to trade, now did they? So DH took Ryan and Evan over to the shop to browse around. Meanwhile, I snagged a few small items for Christmas while Caroline’s attention was diverted towards all the princess “fluff and stuff”. I was even able to build a really cute charm bracelet for her with all different sport “Minnies” on it (and NO rabbits in clothing of ANY kind). With our final purchases and precious Figaro in hand, we headed over to the pin shop to catch up with the guys. Evan was VERY excited to see me – he had picked out 3 cool Stitch pins for purchase! Evan had clearly decided this pin stuff was right up his alley after all. (Dey don’t call me “Mom” fer nuthin, folks.) He had debated on a Stitch lanyard, but apparently between him and his dad, they had unanimously decided that “Mom could probably make one just as good, or even better, for less money.” (Hmmmm, I see... no doubt with supplies I would buy at Wal-Mart, right?) While I applaud their high confidence in me, I thought that overall, it was a pretty tacky way to save a dime. I shoo-shooed my overly thrifty DH and the kids on back to the car, and then bought a Stitch lanyard (does buying one count as “making” it?) I also got a Mission:Space pin, a Test Track pin, and a pin box and starter set, all for Evan for Christmas. After all, he’s so hard to buy for, when you find something he likes, you hafta seize the moment and RUN with it!

Speaking of running, I grabbed my bag of treasures and scrambled back quickly to the car and its occupants. Amazingly, they weren’t that testy – I guess they were too entranced with their new goodies. Ryan, in fact, was so into his Legos, he didn’t raise so much as an eyebrow of disappointment when we suggested that perhaps we buy his new Gameboy up at Grammoolie’s house instead of scrambling around to get one here. Wow – a Ryan that is content un-plugged? Sans Gameboy? Who is this child, and in what shop did we leave the REAL Ryan? No, what am I saying, OF COURSE he’s the real deal! After all, he had already told us there would be NO ditching him anywhere – he’s Disney-streetwise and can always find his way back home to us! He’s just in a LEGO-induced stupor, that’s all. Nothing that 8 hours on the road won’t cure.

With that, DH inched us out of DTD and headed towards I-4. It’s always so sad to make that final departure, that final quick scan. You try to absorb as much of it in as possible, and then sadly, it disappears, and it’s interstate, and the magic is left behind….

(Or is it?)

As we made our way north, we discussed our trip in detail, and polled opinions for who liked what best/least, everything from pools to meals to beds to bathrooms, you name it!
DH commended me again for the Ohana meal, while Ryan wrinkled his nose and said, “Next time, I’m getting a Hot Dog!” Ryan then raved about how cool RFC was, while Evan protested, saying, “No! Never again!” (He knows those gorillas will still be there, just waiting for HIM.) Caroline talked at length about “The Yellow Guy” at HDDR, and our meal there (which we ALL agreed was among the “tops” of our respective lists!) We also declared Beaches and Cream an all-family favorite (an honor only met by a few other places, like Chef Mickey’s and Whispering Canyon Café). Crystal Palace is definitely on our to-do list again, although we think maybe we will try dinner next time instead of breakfast or lunch. That’s right – “next time” was already being mentioned, and then some! We did quite a bit of vacation planning on that drive homeward. In fact, the time passed so quickly, next thing we knew we were in Kingsland, Georgia. We stopped here to refuel the car and our growling, lunch-less stomachs. We grabbed some Wendy’s burgers via drive-through for the picky Evan, then went over to Burger King for the rest of us. It was quite nice out, so we decided to sit outside at the ol’ BK lounge and soak up a bit more of the southerly sun.

When we had passed through here before, we had high hopes for a fantastic family adventure. Now 2 weeks later, it could be easy to dwell on the misfortunate events and give them starring roles as the major pinnacles of our trip:

We were in a hurricane!
We visited Florida Centra Care twice!
I ate a whole bowl of dip in the closet!


But I refuse to let those items take center billing for our vacation. Let it be herewith known that we DID have our Fantastic Family Adventure, as planned! To say anything less than that is to take away from the wonderful moments we shared together. We were stuck in a hurricane, yes -- but we had each other, great company, good food, and safe shelter. Evan had an earache – but no one contracted the stomach flu or SARS, there were no broken bones, or anything requiring hospitilization. And I had a whole bowl of dip with a side of depression, but I don’t think I can blame others for how I felt. I let myself get emotionally down-trodden early in the trip, and likewise, I can proudly say I pulled myself right back out. Every person, every family, and every vacation has its flaws; but do you treat them as such, as something to be hidden or mentioned only in disgust or despair, or are they unique “trademarks” of who you are and where you've been, to instead be humored and/or cherished? I’ll take the latter. Life is too short to be spent on the Island of Negativity (or for that matter, in a closet…even if you DO have good dip!)

We arrived at my mom’s house at 9 p.m. that evening, dead from driving but alive with the details of our travels. Grammoolie supplied us with ample soup, snacks, and a place for each of us to rest our Disney-weary selves that night. Ryan and I surfed the internet there together and found several wonderful companies all more than happy to sell us glowing ice cubes (“…and a cup!” added Ryan. Don’t forget the cup!”) We stayed for an additional day and night with my mom before finally making tracks towards West Virginia. By this time, the kids seemed ready to be home again; after all, they wanted to share the details of their trip with all their friends and neighbors! School would be starting in just a few days; that would give them yet ANOTHER audience to hear of their travels, too! Drafting the usual “What I did on my Summer Vacation” report was not going to be difficult for them, unless of course they were limited in how much they could write – now THAT would be a problem. By now Ryan was also desperately missing his guinea pig, and no doubt Gracie was equally ready to see her boy (and an extra carrot or two).

When we finally arrived home, a little present was waiting for us in the mail: the new “Three Musketeers” DVD (ala Disney). I had pre-ordered it before I left on our vacation. The kids immediately all chimed, “LET’S WATCH IT NOW! LET’S WATCH IT NOW!”

I mused back at them, “NOW? Are you sure? Didn’t you guys get ENOUGH of Disney already?”

“NO – NEVER!” came the trio’s response.

Never indeed. I'll second that emotion.

I can look back over the photos of trips from years past and still feel the warmth of those memories as strongly as I feel these new ones, a scant month or so later. I have a screen saver that shows all of our vacation photos, fading one shot into the next, picture after picture. When we came home, I immediately updated it with all of our newest Disney moments. (Ah – the joys of digital.) Now I often find my children – even DH -- drawn to the computer in our study, hovering around the monitor at times like moths drawn into the light. We gathered around it one night just to watch it together, all the way through! We laughed so hard at some of the favorite shots…and also about moments that weren’t captured on anything other than our own memories.

And so again I ask – does the magic stay behind?

Or…does it embrace you, move with you, like the aura that surrounds a candle’s light, such that you can’t help but feel warm in its glow for the next few days, weeks, months, even years?

In our family, the flame is still burning quite brightly; we definitely brought the magic home to stay.



Final Thoughts:

It’s been great fun reliving our trip through this forum and sadly bittersweet to say that now, the trip – and the report – are done. I have a few pictures yet to post for days 6 through 13, but other than that, with the turn of this page, the book closes. I apologize for taking so long to report on this last "day of days", but honestly, I just wasn't ready to bring the journey to an end. Seems like there's always one more detail to add, one more event not to be forgotten.... As I complete this final installment of our story, however, the realization is that our vacation --and its magic -- haven’t ended at all. We are still basking in the benefits of our time together, and of all the trips prior.

I wish the same for all of you on your future vacations – may you light the candle and let it burn.

Thanks so much for your attention and your kind, supportive comments – all are greatly appreciated!

And oh yeah – lest I forget --

Have a Magical Day!


COMING SOON: Those pictures I promised of Days 6-13... and then, that's alllll, folks.

Last edited by gopherit; 06-28-2005 at 11:12 PM.
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Old 09-22-2004, 03:54 PM   #2
luvpooh
oh bother!
 
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I just want to say that I've loved your trip reports and thanks for posting them! You've made me laugh so many times!
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Old 09-22-2004, 05:21 PM   #3
Colleen P
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These trip reports were some of the best I have read!! You have done such an excellent job I felt I was right with you in the closet and could taste the dip.
Thank you for such an enjoyable time!!!!!
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Old 09-22-2004, 05:55 PM   #4
tonga
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Wonderful trip report!
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Old 09-22-2004, 06:48 PM   #5
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Hands down the BEST trip reports ever to hit the DISboard! I'm sorry zurgs but these blow Delswife's away! Let's have another contest!

Thank you so much for writing all these. I hope you've saved them "for forever and eternity.." (Did you see Holes?) I should have some good material for my next reports when I get back from a trip with my 80yo father and aunt/uncle 70's. Them all on ECV's. Real possibilities there....

Oh, I snagged some smilies off ya too!
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Old 09-22-2004, 07:53 PM   #6
tigger53
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i enjoyed your trip reports soooo much. each night i eagerly looked for another installment, i felt as though i was on the vacation with you all. i too believe the magic is always with you giving you that added spark to plan another trip even while still on the current one. look forward to seeing those pictures.
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Old 09-22-2004, 08:44 PM   #7
OhMari
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Quote:
Hands down the BEST trip reports ever to hit the DISboard! I'm sorry zurgs but these blow Delswife's away! Let's have another contest!
Delswife has older kids and gopherit deals with younger ones. I think both are right up there for top trip reports.

Some people just have the gift for writing and Robin (Delswife and gopherit-what is your real name, truly have the magic.
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Old 09-22-2004, 09:17 PM   #8
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In the words of another famous song - Thanks for the memories!!
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Old 09-22-2004, 09:23 PM   #9
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Thanks. Great report.
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Old 09-22-2004, 09:30 PM   #10
Ellester
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Thanks for an awesome report. I really enjoyed it!
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Old 09-22-2004, 09:41 PM   #11
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Thank you sooo much for the awesome trip reports. I wanna go BAACK!!!!
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Old 09-22-2004, 10:07 PM   #12
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Great report! Thanks for all the time you took to write it - a wonderful gift to the rest of us. You've given delswife a run for her money and that ain't easy. Talented people on the DIS!
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Old 09-22-2004, 10:25 PM   #13
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I`m gunna say Hi, Cindy (not gopherit) because I feel like I`ve met you and your family up close and personal, on this wonderful trip report journey!
THANK YOU ,for many fantastic episodes of your family`s experiences on each of your vacation days. I`ve laughed (alot, )felt sad (sometimes), and related (mostly), with many of your thoughts and actions. We have 2 grown DS`s, now, making lives for themselves, (with thier wives), and you brought back soo many memories of our trips when they were younger! Enjoy them, they grow sooooo fast!!!!

So I`ll say to you ......(until your next trip report)...have" MANY MAGICAL DAYS"!

thanks again
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Old 09-22-2004, 11:11 PM   #14
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I CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S OVER!

Merci, Danke, Gracias for a great journal!

I laughed. I cried. I ate chips in the closet!

I, too, feel like I know you....If you're ever in Michigan, let's do lunch!

Peace, my Disney friend and you, too have a MAGICAL DAY!

brock
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Old 09-22-2004, 11:27 PM   #15
Catzeyes
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Your trip reports were fantastic! I really felt like I was there with you. You have a wonderful style of writing and I am sad there done for now. Hurry back!
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