If I’m being totally honest right now, I’m checked out. Mentally I’m off in la la land, planning our family Thanksgiving and Christmas, ready to get away and play with the kids and have our first-ever family vacation with just the four of us. I wish I could take the rest of the year off and soak up all of this holiday goodness.
My daughter is counting down to our Utah trip. She’s packed herself already. Every morning she exclaims how we’re one day closer, how she can’t wait to play in the snow, ride the train and sing Christmas carols.
I’m SO excited for my kids to see snow for the first time. I hope they freak out (in a good way), and that we can take some fun pictures in it. I’m excited to see family, and for the kids to be entertained by grandparents and my husband’s little cousins.
And then, after a week of bundling up against the cold winter temperatures my kids have never experienced in their little lifetimes, we’ll be heading to the Bahamas.
Lil’ J has been watching Disney Cruise videos on YouTube and begging to go.
“Maybe someday,” we tell her. Giggling underneath our breath.
Unable to contain a part of the surprise, I let her open a mermaid tail I ordered her. We’ve talked about her wearing it for Ariel pictures, but she doesn’t know we’ll be taking them on a beach near Goofy and friends, in a couple weeks.
“I’m finally a real mermaid!” she exclaimed as she wiggled her way into it.
That tail was the last thing she mentioned before bed and the first thing she talked about when she woke up.
“Can I wear my tail when I get home from school?” She asked. “Promise?!”
She was in disbelief for her Walt Disney World surprise. And though we were leaving just a couple hours after we told her, she asked non-stop when we were going.
Before Disneyland she had a birthday surprise and we had a countdown to our trip.
I’ve been doing back and forth trying to decide how to let the kiddos in on the surprise this time. A phone call from Mickey? A video message from Ariel? Ultimately we decided we’re gonna drive right up to the port in Galveston and yell SURPRISE as soon as she notices the Disney Cruise ship.
My husband won’t admit it, but he is starting to get excited too. I told him about the Castaway Cay 5k I want to run (ok walk) in for a metal and he said HE wants to do it, and even offered to let me have his metal.
Then when I mentioned I saw Disney music trivia on a sample schedule he said “Oh man, that could be fun! [Lil’ J] would love that. It’s on!” I can tell this will be fun for us all.
Planning for this trip has been quite different than planning for our other Disney trips. Mostly because there aren’t a lot of decisions you can make beforehand. I have learned a lot already, but one thing I’ll share right now is to have an experienced Disney Cruise friend handy. Here are a few tips for finding one:
1. Facebook groups. I found a Facebook group with people sailing the same time as of and it’s been SO helpful. Around the clock people are asking and answering each other’s questions, and sharing tips and info about your sailing. Check out this page for a list of sailing groups.
2. Our Disney travel agent Matt from Wish Upon a Star is awesome as well and happily answers my plethora of emailed questions and gives recommendations. Travel agents don’t cost anything and can make seemingly overwhelming Disney Vacation planning a breeze.
3. Disney Moms Panelists. You can search the website for cruise questions, or make friends with an experienced applicant for their personal tips. Search using the hashtag #DisneyMP. I have a friend Lori, who is like my personal expert. She has been on 7 Disney Cruises and knows the answer to every single question I ask her. From ideas on what to wear for pirate night, if there are penny squishing machines at the port, how to use gift cards on board. She has been so sweet and generous in sharing her Disney love and wisdom. Follow her blog and check her out on Twitter and try to stump her! I bet you can’t.
In a few short weeks I’ll be free. Sans internet, emails, work. Away with my family on our first ever vacation as a family of four.
Until then there are a few more deadlines, fish extender gifts to make (more on that soon), packing to do, and more surprises to plan.