Flat Brody takes a Pick-A-Number DISUnplugged Podcast Trip!!! Who says you cant take your dog to Disney World? Who is Flat Brody, you ask? Flat Brody is my taped on foam-core and stuck on a stick version of my beloved dog Brody. You know, like the childrens book Flat Stanley. I got inspired from jordanyoshs TR and his adventures with Flat Winkers. So I planned a trip and made a flat version of my dog - Flat Brody. Seriously, who can resist a cute dog enjoying all of the benefits that Disney World has to offer? Right? Right! How this trip came about. I was lamenting the fact that my Annual Pass expired on January 6, 2008 and I didnt have any trips planned to Disney until October 2008. I have become self-employed in the last year and finances are tighter than they have been in previous years especially since I have to pay for my health insurance now. OUCH!!!. So, a Spring trip to Disney World seemed out of the question. But God works in mysterious ways and all that changed on February 12th. I wrote an email to the DIS Unplugged Podcast with a segment idea. It was about getting Will to start reporting on his adventure in the Parks so we could get a first timers perspective. (BTW, if you dont listen to the DIS Unplugged Podcasts I would highly suggest it. But be forewarned, it is addicting.) A few weeks later, my email was read by Pete Werner himself on the 2/6/08 email show at about 49:22 minutes into the show. (You know Pete - the guy who hosts the Podcasts and owns the DISBoards.) I had gotten a heads up on that Monday about my brush with fame because Julie Martin had sent me an email telling me that my email had been read on the upcoming show and asking if I wanted my email prize to be a DIS Unplugged t-shirt or a pin and lanyard. It was soooo exciting that I got to contribute to the Podcast. I felt famous!!! And Pete even told me to "pick-a-number" from the prize envelopes. I emailed Julie immediately and picked "2"!!! Not sure why I picked "2" but it just seemed right to me. And I didnt really think about what my prize would be. I was just excited about being "famous". But dont you know that things got even better than being "famous" when on the 2/12/08 discussion show at about 11:10 minutes into the show Pete opened the envelope with my Pick-A-Number prize in it and I won a 3 day/2 night stay at the Swan/Dolphin just for suggesting a DIS Unplugged Podcast segment idea. It was so exciting!!! I was giddy and gleeful for days. The first thing I did was call my Mom and tell her the exciting news. I am not sure she exactly gets the whole Podcast thing or the DISBoards thing but we just brushed over that for now. Mom was just as excited as I was and said "so when are we going!!" After she looked at her calendar we decided that April 23rd - 27th would work best - my Dad would be out of town playing golf with his college friends so it was perfect. We wanted my sister and niece to go with us but Skaties (my nieces) spring break was earlier in April and her school didnt get out until late in May. I just couldnt wait until May so we decided to just to go without them. Even having to wait until April was going to kill me though. My free trip was burning a hole in my pocket and I knew I had to use it as soon as possible. Cast of Characters: Me (aka Tonya) I am the "mom" of Brody and daughter of Mom. I am 29 at heart but 40 on the birthday scale. A lover of shoes, baking, and all things Disney. Mom (aka Carol or Meme) My Disney travel buddy, mother of 3 children, wife of Joe/Dad, and grandmother to 4 humans and one dog - except for when Brody chewed up her Bible and she disowned him. She loves Disney also and makes the best carrot cake in the world. And she is 67. A little of our Disney history first. I grew up going to Disney World. My grandmother (my dads mom) lived in Orlando and my family just made going to WDW a part of visiting my grandmother. When my grandmother finally had to move to an assisted living facility it was my mother and me who took several trips to Orlando to clean out her house. On the final trip, my mom and I decided that we would just have to come back in the Fall for a fun trip to Orlando since our previous trips were all work and no play. So, we made good on that decision and started our first in a long line of Mom and Me trips to Disney World. We dont exclude other family members but Im single and dont have any children and Mom works for my Dad so we are the most flexible. Brody (aka Brody Baby, Sugar/Love Bug, Pretty Boy, Cutie Bootie) is a 4 year old Brittany who is full of life and often accused (wrongfully, of course) of being hyperactive. Brody is just energetic and playful. In fact, Brody is a highly trained and recognized bird dog. He loves finding himself some quail. Check out a little youtube video of Brody in action - but only if you arent opposed to bird hunting, please. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BdjnYu88Xc It is hard to leave Brody when I travel - so this trip I look him along on. I really wish it was easier to travel with your pets and wish there was a pet friendly hotel at WDW but I wouldnt have as much fun if I knew Brody was in a strange kennel all day while I was enjoying the parks. Here is a picture of the original picture from whence Flat Brody came. Brody loves to chew things - even at 4 y.o. he is still chewing things up. (Remember this fact.) So in this picture he is chewing on a wrapping paper roll. But at least he doesnt chew my shoes anymore. Or maybe I am just better at putting my shoes out of harms way. There was a period when Brody was much younger when he would go into my closet and open my shoe boxes in order to take the shoes out so he could have a new chew toy. But for some reason he only liked to chew on my VERY expensive shoes. Thank heaven for DSW Shoes and ebay!! Back to the trip We decided on our dates and I email Bob Varley (may he rest in peace) about booking our reservation. Our Mom and Me Trips have always been Wednesday to Sunday, so we knew we would have to pay for extra hotel nights since I had only won 2 nights. Bob got us a reservation for Friday and Saturday nights at the Swan but it was booked for Wednesday and Thursday and the Dolphin was available on Wednesday and Thursday but not Friday and Saturday. So we were going to have to move hotels no matter what we did. And there really is no way to put this delicately so here goes - Mom is cheap when it comes to hotel rooms. There. I said it. She isnt cheap in general - although shes never been that extravagant about clothes and shoes and such - but she just cant grasp the price of Disney hotels. And I usually agree with her when the price goes over $299. But she typically wants to stay under $150. With those price parameters we were looking at a Value hotel for our 2 extra nights. Luckily, I snagged the last AP discounted rooms available (according to the CRO cast member I was taking to) which happened to be at All Star Sports. I think it was $78 a night. Not too shabby!!! We stayed at All Star Music last October and I stayed at Pop Century this past December so any of the Value Resort are fine. It is just the 2 of us and we arent that picky. But having said that, how does a family of 4/5 stay in those tiny Value rooms?!?! It must be like a clown car at the circus. More power to you if you can do it. I just cant even imagine spending more than a few days being that close to that many people. I suppose that is why I have lived alone for most of my adult life. While on the phone with CRO, during the pregnant pauses in the conversation when the computer is doing that voodoo that is does so well, the CM started to chat with me. She asked if we drove to the parks or took the buses. I said I usually try the buses each time but always end up driving to the parks instead. The CM laughingly said "yeah, you don't sound like a bus person." I think she might have gotten the impression that I am sort of an independent type after I told her I didn't want the DDP because I didn't like making dining reservations too far in advance since I never knew where I was going to be on a certain day or when I was going to want to eat. Guess I just give off that kind of vibe. Maybe my family is right and I am not as sweet and lovable as Brody thinks I am. Since Mom and I dont make ADRs, trip planning is really left to figuring out the Park times and what we really want to do on the trip. But this trip we wanted to see the Flower and Garden Festival so we knew Epcot was in our plans and we wanted to do a tour of some kind. But what tour? Have no fear, my trusty PassPorter and DIS are near. After much review, we narrowed our tour decision down to the KTKT and the Undiscovered Future World Tour. Since Epcot was in our plans we decided on the Undiscovered Future World Tour. I really wanted to do the Segway Tour but Mom didnt sound really enthused about it so I didnt press the issue. A girl has to pick her battles, right? Well, that isnt really fair to say. Mom and I get along very well and are both go with the flow kind of people. In fact there are times when it is next to impossible to get us to decide which attraction to go to next. Ill say "it doesnt matter to me" and Mom will say "it doesnt matter to me either." So eventually I will say "ok lets go here first and then we will go there". We have to keep things moving or we would be standing in the middle of Liberty Square all day. The one good thing is that if either of us does actually care about something we let the other one know about it. So off to make the Undiscovered Future World reservations I went. I was a little concerned as I dialed the reservation number since it was a week before the trip. But guess what - the tour was open! The guy I spoke to was very nice but there must have been problems in the past because he told me about 4 times that the tour involved a lot of walking and to wear comfortable shoes. This is nothing new to me since I have read up on the tour but I suppose it could be a problem for people who don't do any research. (And if you ever do make a tour reservation, be sure and tell the CM you are talking to that you want the Disney Visa discount first or you will have to go through putting in all your information again. It must be a different computer screen section or something.) OK, we have hotel reservations, checked the park hours, and a tour reservation. Let the fun begin!!!