Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Prodigal Mouseketeer

I can't believe it has been 3 years since I wrote in my blog... So much has happened in those 3 years -- some good, some pretty bad & scary, but all of it serving to only bolster my love of all things Disney, as well as my commitment to creating memories with my son that nothing will ever be able to take away. My sweet little boy is 16 now, towers over me, has his own car, and we're beginning the college-shopping process. Before long he'll be venturing off on his own path, discovering his own destiny, and we won't have the chance as often to make these memories together.

Along those lines... WE'RE GOING TO DISNEYLAND!!

I've only been once when I was 5, and my son has never been. My only sibling lives in Southern California, and has been trying to get me to "come see where Walt started it all!" for a bunch of years now. I have always balked at the idea -- 1.) airfare from here to California has been absolutely insane every time I've checked, 2.) no onsite hotels except the 3 that would cause me to take out a second mortgage to afford, and 3.) NO EPCOT. (*gasp*) That last one has been the biggest deal-killer for me. I love Epcot. I dream about Epcot. When we go to WDW, I would be thrilled if the plane landed right in the Epcot parking lot just so I could get to Mission:Space that much quicker.

But then I got an email from Southwest Vacations about some Disneyland deals, and for grins I decided to go have a look-see. The package price was amazing -- less for the airfare and 3 nights' hotel (non-Disney) than every time I had priced out airfare alone. The wheels started to turn. I had told my brother last year that I was trying to get out there to visit him around my birthday in October, but ended up being in the hospital instead. So now I thought, what about aiming for this October?

I still had several large obstacles between us and this wishful trip, however. We were just on a cruise in February (Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas, for anyone interested), so we both needed to miss very little school and work. Even more importantly, October puts us in the heart of football season. My son is in marching band, and hey, we are Texas-born-n-bred -- Friday night football is a religious experience for everyone. Plus, if he missed a game, his band director's head would likely explode.

So... I grabbed the calendar and the football schedule. As luck would have it, one of only two Thursday night games of the whole season just happens to be the Thursday before my birthday the next week. Even better, that weekend is a long weekend because of Columbus Day, and my son doesn't have school that Monday. Deciding it was fate, I booked it. Holy smokes, we're really going to Disneyland!!

And the very best part to me is, the whole thing will be a complete surprise to both my son and my brother. I *never* get to surprise my son with something this big -- our lives are so entertwined, it's just difficult to keep something this big a secret, especially since the topic of Disney comes up in conversation for us so often. I have kept this secret since February so far, and have almost slipped up and said something about it roughly 3,972 times per day. But if I can just keep my big mouth shut, the look on his face is going to be SO worth it.

Since that Thursday game is also an away game, it won't kill me as badly to miss it, so I'll be able to use that time to run our dog to the kennel and quickly pack our bags. That part alone is going to be so hard for me -- I'm one of those pack-a-month-ahead-of-time type folks. :p Oh well, this will be a change of pace! When he gets home from the game, I have a neato Disneyland t-shirt with a metallic Mickey on it I ordered from the Disney Store to give him. I'm simply going to tell him, "I thought you could wear this when we go to Disneyland. In about 8 hours. To surprise Uncle Scotty." *grin*

He's going to flip. Seriously flip. And all the biting-my-tongue-in-half will have been worth it. :)

We're only going for 3 nights/4 days, but it seems like for DLR that will be adequate. I know it will be crowded because it's a holiday weekend, and because it's Gay Days (which I couldn't care less about), but I'm seriously hoping that some of our WDW planning/touring strategies can be ported over to this trip and might come in handy. We'll see.

And as much as I'm going to miss Epcot, I have to admit that the thought of being where Walt himself tread is pretty darn exciting to me. Not to mention getting to ride Mr. Toad again after all these years!

So the planning machine starts rolling. I have the shiny new "guts" for my PassPorter, my Touring Plans subscription, and my favorite websites. It does seem, though, that this is going to be a very different experience! But our favorite Mouse will still be there waiting for us, and that's all that matters, right?

Let the memory-making begin!!

Next up: Shuttles, and locals, and hopping - Oh my! ~ The planning differences are daunting to a WDW vet

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