Aaron & Ethan's Excellent, secret, Adventures

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by CarolinaMomOf3boys, Aug 29, 2008.

  1. CarolinaMomOf3boys

    CarolinaMomOf3boys I stepped onto the grass on the other side; it was

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    Introductions are a necessity. I am Melissa and married to Randall.:love:
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    I have 3 sons from a previous marriage, 2 of whom currently live with us, Aaron age 12 and Ethan age 9. [​IMG]
    They have been to Disney for the first time 5 years ago when I was dating Randall; it was his first time there, as well. Randall and I got to go to Disney without the children in April of 2008 and stayed at All Star Movies. We had such a good time. Disney is truly magical, even for just the grown ups!
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    I am sorry to hear that Pleasure Island is getting ready to undergo some major changes, as we really enjoyed the nightlife for adults while we were there.
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    Once we returned home from our trip in April, I DIScovered the DIS boards and boy was I HOOKED! :surfweb: That is when I learned of a little something that would consume our lives over the next several months. That little something is called “FREE DINING”!!!!. :rolleyes1 I thought, “WOW, we are a family of 4, that would save us a fortune, we can shoot for next year“, as the dates were just being released and you only had until sometime in June to book it. I mentioned it to my husband and he very casually said ‘we can do that’ :confused3 …just like in the Disney commercial when the mom and dad are talking about the price of Disney!!! I thought he HAD to have lost his mind, WE JUST GOT BACK! :sick:

    But, he was not kidding and so the planning began. I learned about the Creative DISigners and couldn’t stay away and started collecting everything I could to have things personalized to plan our magical trip. pixiedust: After over 10 ink cartridges,:eek: more than a dozen packs of transfer papers, I started ironing for the first time in YEARS! :rotfl2: This was planned WITHOUT the boys ever knowing. So needless to say, there were many, many late nights of getting shirts out, heating the iron up, learning which transfer sheets to flip and which ones not to, :confused3 AFTER making sure the boys were in bed, I started working on all the many projects to make this a memorable trip. I started collecting things for their goody bags, I knew I wanted them to wake up each morning with a gift from a different character. So I enlisted the help of wonderful, talented Natalie…donatalie. She created the gift tags for each morning, along with the magical personalized invitations, envelopes, and many of the shirts we wore throughout our journey. I made pillowcases for them, night shirts with a sleepy pooh :faint: …there were many nights my husband came downstairs and wondered if he had walked into a sweatshop! I found Mickey Mouse cinch saks from eBay for them, autograph books from eBay, Mickey Mouse washcloths from dollar tree, disney coloring books, Disney crayons, bubbles, light up wands that do the twirly whirls from Party City, I even made them tattoos, with many thanks from the helpful DISigners. I was able to make some window clings for the resort room, because after reading about it on the DIS boards, DIDN’T EVERYONE DECORATE THEIR RESORT WINDOWS??!!? :smickey:
    My husband and friends were sure I was certifiable at this point.::yes:: Its my Disney Addiction, I am among many, as it turns out, and am in GREAT COMPANY. :grouphug:
    I also learned of 2 fabulous things called a fridge swap and photo pass share. What a wonderful idea!! The fridge swap went off, almost, without a hitch….details later…..
    Next up…..how are we going to get to the airport without the kids finding out? :confused3 And how on earth do we get from Sanford to Disney without spending a fortune? :rolleyes: Ugh, all these dining reservations!!! Which restaurants do we want to try that we never have before? And HOW exactly does FREE dining work and what IS the Disney Dining Plan? How am I going to keep up with it all? :confused3 :faint: We are taking my DMIL who will be in an EVC, how is that going to work for us? :drive: And, finally, HOW do you do free dining when school has already started and STILL keep it from the children?? But letting all the teachers know!! :teacher:
     
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  3. rumblytumbly

    rumblytumbly <font color=deeppink>It showed up better at the to

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    Welcome home Melissa!! Can't wait to hear all about it.:cool1:
     
  4. iluv2go2disney

    iluv2go2disney Please Oh Please! Can't we live at Walt Disney Wor

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    Great start. I can't wait to hear more. popcorn::
     
  5. donatalie

    donatalie DIS Veteran

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    Hey Melissa!
    I'm so glad you had a great trip. We can't wait to hear more, more, more!!!!!!
     
  6. A.Mickey

    A.Mickey Meeska Moouska

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    ooo ooh welcome back!
    Can't wait to see all your pictures!! Will be waiting to hear how it all went:banana: !
     
  7. CarolinaMomOf3boys

    CarolinaMomOf3boys I stepped onto the grass on the other side; it was

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    aww thanks so much, guys!! I am still remembering the moment they found out! I am working more on my trip report and will post more tomorrow, its off to bed for me!! :cool1:
     
  8. GoofTroop79

    GoofTroop79 DIS Veteran

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    Welcome Home Melissa!!!! I can't wait to see the pics and read your trip report. Now get some sleep girl ;)
     
  9. M_I_C_K_E_Y

    M_I_C_K_E_Y It Was All Started by a Mouse

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    Melissa,
    I can't wait to hear more - please don't sleep until Tuesday! ha ha!
     
  10. island cricket

    island cricket www.declareliberty.com

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    wow, we are so excited to hear and see! my story is so similar i could practically cut and paste yours, the part about the surprise, the sweat shop and late nights, :surfweb: heck, i am sometimes on the board in hawaii and someone else on the east coast is on but it's morning :lmao: thanks for sharing, get some rest we'll be waitingpopcorn::
     
  11. dogodisney

    dogodisney DIS Veteran

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    Welcome back Melissa!!! I'm looking forward to hearing about your trip. You can't sleep until Tuesday. :eek: I leave for my trip in 6 days and I want to hear about yours before I go. You will help build the excitment. :yay: I'm looking forward to hearing about the boys reaction and seeing the pics. :banana:
     
  12. witch yoo hee

    witch yoo hee Earning My Ears

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    wow so nice of you guys! i wish i can have a good trip too.. my kids would love it...
     
  13. tinkerbell/pixie

    tinkerbell/pixie DIS Veteran

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    Waiting to hear more:surfweb: :goodvibes
     
  14. CarolinaMomOf3boys

    CarolinaMomOf3boys I stepped onto the grass on the other side; it was

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    I had my checklist ready and was anxious to start getting things completed. First up, restaurant ressies! I knew from our trip in April that I wanted to eat at the following: SCI FI dinner theater, San Angel Inn...my FAVORITE, I just love the atmosphere and the food and margaritas are pretty darn good, too :lovestruc . I also knew that I definately wanted to do a character meal, as I have never experienced this. But which one? :confused3 I wanted to do a princess meal, but with 2 boys and a husband, not sure they would be so excited :confused3 . So to the Disboards I went and decided on The Crystal Palace. I LOVE POOH...and Eeyore is just so adorable :love: and the boys would think its cool, too, not too girlie, yanno? I also knew I wanted to do a 'fine dining' I know alot of people on the meal plan, especially 'free dining' get better mileage out of doing as many fine dinings as possible; but with all of us, I figured we would stick with the restaurants I knew I already liked, throw in a character meal and 1 fine dinner that we had to get a bit dressed up for. My 12 year old is on the adult dinner list and he hated all of his choices. He is still a 'kids meal' kinda kid:lmao: . So I decided on California Grill high atop the beautiful Contemporary Resort. Plus it would be nice to take the monorail as my DMIL would like that, too. Here is our schedule and how we wanted it to play out...
    Sunday, August 24 arrive at All Star Sports around 6 pm, check in, head to Magic Kingdom, as our Crystal Palace ressies were at 9:30 pm, Monday was Animal Kingdom at opening to catch the early morning safari, Monday night was Hollywood Studios for the Rockin Rollercoaster :woohoo: Little did I know months ago that a little storm called Fay would have other plans for our evening :sad2:
    Tuesday was all day at epcot, open to close, with whatever breaks we would need in throughout the day...
    Wednesday AM I planned on a waterpark, my DH and I had already did Blizzard Beach, so we opted for a more relaxing Typhoon Lagoon, not really knowing what to expect...as I had not researched this park thoroughly, yet :confused3
    Wednesday night was Downtown Disney, BAYBEE!!! We were takin' the kiddos to Planet Hollywood and then onto their gaming heaven, also known as Disney Quest :dance3: My husband was jonesin' for this day! And my kids have a nintendo growing out the side of their wrists, so I knew this was the place for them.
    Thursday, our plans were all day Magic Kingdom. Be there when they opened, see as much as we could during the day, head back to the hotel to get ready for dinner at Cali Grill, then if we wanted, after dinner--back to magic kingdom or back to the hotel to call it a night....our last night at disney. Seemed wayyyyy to far away to fathom such a thing when I was planning all of this in April.

    Ok, ressies in place...after changing a BAZILLION times the times of the reservations for Crystal Palace and California Grill....dang it, I just couldnt decide which times would be best...Crystal Palace at 9:30 at night?? UGH! How would the boys be able to make it that long?? Our original ressie for Cali Grill was also about that late....would we want to see the fireworks from there or would another late ressie be the death of my growing boys? Would we need to make it earlier and head into the Magic Kingdom to see the fireworks? But I heard the view was spectacular at Cali Grill for fireworks?....ok this back and forth went on for about 2 weeks...I drove my travel agent crazy :lmao:
    In the end, I stuck with the 9:30 at Crystal Palace the day we arrived, as we were arriving late and worst case scenario, we still had a CS and Snack on our dining plan before we ever used our dinner credit for that day, so we could grab a snack to tide them over. Not to mention I found out about this wonderful little place called Garden Grocer later in my planning and had some stuff delivered to our room :thumbsup2

    Next on my list, an electric scooter for my DMIL....researched the DISboards, yet again....see a pattern?? :rotfl: Then googled a few companies, and found one I was comfortable with, ordered her scooter for the week, they were to have it waiting for us upon arrival....I am skeptical about everything....so would they?

    Ok, ressies-check!, electric scooter-check! Tshirts completed-almost check...i keep finding more designs I want...and as I have said before...why cant we wear 3 shirts a day?? :confused3
    Completed the memory books for the boys, thanks to much help from the DISigners and MUCH patience from the folks at CVS :rotfl2:
    Completed the Epcot Passports....BEAUTIFUL :lovestruc
    You can check them out in the links below my siggie....
    Pillow cases---wait, Pillow Cases????....sure, why not?? Doesnt all the DISsers??? :rolleyes1
    I made my sons teachers some tote bags, too, to take back to school. that was a 'day before we left project' My husband just figured I was running out of stuff to do and needed more....see, its called Disboard Addiction :cheer2:
    Next up, Meet the Teacher the first week of August....have to take the boys, because well, they have to meet the teachers :laughing: and need to speak with them privately about our upcoming trip....
    was able to pull it off, almost, without a hitch. My youngest sons vice principal was standing near some tables at the meet and greet, so I was able to make the boys sit still for a few seconds and go over to him...I explained what was going down as quickly as i could while mentioning SEVERAL times about it being a secret/surprise...and for some reason he felt the need to walk over to Ethan, introduce himself and start talking about the TRIP :scared1: I was like "SHHHH SHHHHH SHHHHHHH" UGH!! Luckily, Ethan was all interested in checking out everyone walking through the doors he really didnt pay any attention, whew!! I got the usual, 'just remind his teacher right before you leave and have any make up work sent home with him, yadda yadda'
    Aarons school went pretty well. I spoke directly to the principal in his office and had to come up with some great explanation as to why i was in there in the first place....I ended up telling Aaron that I wanted to make sure the principal had my cell phone and email in case he ever needed it....Aaron hates it when I do this, I stay in constant contact with his teachers via email throughout the year :rotfl:
    Dogsitter checklist.....who would keep my little princess, cupcake?
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    We also have a boston terrier, Nikki and a cat Noel...
    My DMIL usually keeps them while we are gone, and if its a short trip and she goes with us, our neighbors pop in and check on them, let them out, feed them, etc. But Cupcake has never been left alone for more than a couple of days, so she needed a sitter. I asked around and ended up getting very lucky. A very good friend of mine suggested her daughters best friend. She was in her early 20's worked part time and went to school part time...I had ran into her briefly at a get together at her house in the past. Made contact with her, Megan, and planned for her to come over and meet the critters, meeting went great, she is to come and stay at our house for the week. I made her a little gift basket with 4 pages of notes and left it for her on the table when we left. She was to show up anytime after 2 pm on August 24th...Dog Sitter--CHECK! :thumbsup2

    Next up...one week to go...and the boys STILL DONT KNOW :rotfl2: Bags are being packed, another checklist is formed....what to pack!!
    AND the boys FIND THE LOOT!!! we had hidden :eek: :scared1:
     
  15. belle41379

    belle41379 Disney is my happy place.

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    Welcome back! My kids have found the loot I've got hidden too!!:rotfl: Luckily, they are too young to realize what is in there. (1 and 3) So I just said that stuff is for later, and they left it alone! :rotfl: They didn't get a good look at it, though, so that was good.

    Can't wait to hear more! ;)
     
  16. GoofTroop79

    GoofTroop79 DIS Veteran

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    cupcake is sooooo cute. Eagerly waiting to hear about what happens when the boys find the loot.
     
  17. iluv2go2disney

    iluv2go2disney Please Oh Please! Can't we live at Walt Disney Wor

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    I'm lovin' it. :) It's great reading a TR by a Creative Designs addict. (I understand your addiction.....My name is Wendy and I'm addicted to Disboard designs) :rotfl2:
     
  18. kristisomer

    kristisomer Earning My Ears

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    I am loving your report and can't wait for more. I followed you over from the Disigns board also.

    I can't wait to hear how the surprise went as we leave in 6 days and the kids are clueless. They are 7 & 4

    Keep up the great writing.
     
  19. stcassidy

    stcassidy Mouseketeer

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    Melissa -

    Welcome back. I can't wait to keep reading your TR!!!

    Tricia
     
  20. CarolinaMomOf3boys

    CarolinaMomOf3boys I stepped onto the grass on the other side; it was

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    One week to go. August 18th, had an upper GI scheduled by my doctor. I had gastric bypass a year ago, having some minor issues so he scheduled it. Was hoping results would be back before we left!
    The appointment was early that morning, so I was home around 10 am. Ethans best friend Philip had come over, I was in a frantic cleaning mode. Around noonish, Ethan and Philip run downstairs carrying HIS PERSONALIZED MEMORY BOOK I had made him :scared1: :eek: :mad: and asked so sweetly, "Hey, MOM, whats this? It says ETHANS MEMORY BOOK"....:faint: I must have turned every shade of white there is. Composure is needed, stay calm, think reallyfastasyoucan, remember to BREATHE! Find out facts first, ask questions that wont make a 9 year old think too much. I asked them where did they find it....he said 'in your closet'....it had been packed with EVERYTHING...all 20+ tshirts, pillowcases, passports, 5 other memory books, bags and bags of goodies/gifts. I asked what on earth he was doing in my closet, he was playing hide and go seek, of course :mad: Then I said to my darling son, 'haven't I told you a million times to not go into my bedroom without permission' to which he replied 'no mommy, you have only told me about 10 times!!!" :rotfl2: Ok, its funny now, but you get the seriousness of the situation. I grab the book, make a mad dash up the stairs, close the door and head for the closet....WHEW, not a single thing had been moved. Everything was tucked and packed exactly the way i had it with tshirts no where in site, which meant they had not rummaged through the rest of it.:sad2: ok, BREATHE
    I dont think he really realized what he had found at all.
    The following day they started school, and I was able to get tons of things completed, finished packing everything, made sure they had enough underwear, toothpaste, their toothbrushes, shorts, socks, sandals, crocks, etc, packed....CHECK!
    We arranged for a driver to pick us up at our home at 1:30 on sunday, as we had to be at the airport at 2 for the 4 pm flight.
    Friday, August 22nd, was my scheduled spa day....it was a surprise from my husband a little while back and boy did i need it by this time!! It was 3 hours of heavenly bliss! I arrived at noon, was given a plush, pink terry cloth robe and matching plastic flip flops....that place smelled heavenly! :cloud9:
    First up was my massage....the music, candles, scents, lovely! I kept dozing off and was in there forever, but ended way too quickly....
    Next was my facial....i had never had one and it was soo amazing! She had all these gadgets and brushes she used, tons of lotions, masks, etc.
    Then came my glass of bubbly champagne...a place after my own heart :love:
    Last was my spa pedicure....with foot and leg massage. I picked a new, fabulous color from the fall OPI collection...its called Eiffle for you, or something like that, very pretty dark, rich purple color.
    Then it was back home to finish any last minute things that had to be done, by this time everything was pretty much completed, and I had cleaned my house in places that had never been cleaned before due to the fact that a stranger was coming to stay :rotfl2:
    Saturday, the day before we leave!!!
    Tried to act, business as usual. I enlisted a friend of mines help. Her son is Aarons best friend, she offered to have the boys spend the night with her, so we could try to get a good nights sleep, get the bags downstairs and stashed away somewhere and keep the boys busy at her house most of the morning, so they wouldnt be running in and out here. Saturday night we all went out to eat at our favorite pizza place, then they took the boys home with them. they were due home around 1 pm the next day.
    The race was on....the countdown started, hearts were pounding...it was almost GO TIME :thumbsup2 and the boys STILL HAD NO CLUE!!! :lmao:

    Next up: Sunday....D DAY....DISNEY DAY....would the boys figure it out?? what would we tell them when the car service pulled up? :confused3
    How would we explain going to the airport and what were we doing there?
    And when they found all our luggage in the back of the van, what did they ask, what was our answers?? :rolleyes1

    Stay tuned~~ :yay:
     
  21. iluv2go2disney

    iluv2go2disney Please Oh Please! Can't we live at Walt Disney Wor

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    Nooooo, you can't leave us hanging like that. :goodvibes We have to know the rest of the story. I'll just sit right here and wait. popcorn::
     

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