Thursday, June 28, 2012

Making Lemonade

We desperately want to go home.  After thirty-eight days on the road, our family is pooped!  Unfortunately, we have no available home to go to.   Our Fripp vacation home is rented for the summer and the lease on our Canton home doesn't end until July 16.  Our Finnish tenants in Canton offered the possibility of vacating the property early; however, my version of early did not coincide with their work schedule so we have two weeks to fill before we can sleep in our own beds again.  This could have sent us into a homesick depression, but I brainstormed a way to rally the troops:  Disney World!

How can we possibly afford Disney World after a year of expensive travels?  We have two aces up our sleeves:  a Disney points credit card that, thanks to all our travels, has been accumulating points for a while and five unused Disney theme park tickets because vacations have not always gone our way.

Stranded, USA
A couple of years ago, we planned a dream Christmas vacation to Orlando.  Sadly, our holiday soon turned into the vacation from hell.  Our car broke down just outside of Valdosta, Georgia.  While Greg had a mechanic at an all night truck stop check out the problem, Emma started throwing up in the car.  Luckily, the truck stop had showers.  After cleaning her up, I hosed the car down with lysol and crammed all her clothes and the coat I had grabbed to catch her vomit into a trash bag I had stolen from the truck stop waiting room.  (A mother does what she must... don't judge me.)  On our way once more, we made it to Gainesville when the car started making the same noises.  We spent the night in the first motel we could find.  By morning, Emma was feeling great and we discovered Providence had led us to a motel next door to a repair shop and a laundromat.  Greg had the car fixed while I washed the clothes.  By noon, we were finally headed to Disney World.  Unfortunately, the fix was temporary and we were completely stranded on the side of the road less than two hours later and only thirty miles to the Saratoga Springs Disney Resort.  Important Notice: there is a Bermuda Triangle/No Taxi Zone approximately twenty miles from Orlando.  We had our car towed without a problem, but no taxi would come get our family of five sitting on the Florida Turnpike.  Greg and I paced the fence line trying number after number while the kids sat with the luggage and the sun rapidly set.  (If you're traveling the turnpike, look for the crimped fence wire near mile marker 278 to see evidence of Greg's frustration.)  Finally, Greg convinced our Volvo roadside assistance agent (located in Canada) of our exact location and a pimped-out van with shag carpet and velour seats picked us up.  I have never been so happy to see velvet dice hanging from a rearview mirror in my life.  All our troubles magically disappeared as we checked into our one bedroom suite at the Disney Vacation Club resort.  My sister and brother-in-law had sent Emma a birthday surprise from Minnie Mouse and the ticket concierge "magic-ed" our stay by giving us five one-day park tickets.  We had already purchased tickets for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party which we used our first day and were saving our free tickets for the following day.  We had an amazing time in the Magic Kingdom at the Christmas Party and stayed until midnight to watch the snowfall along Main Street, USA.  Everything seemed perfect... At two a.m., Wyatt woke with a 104 degree temperature.  I stayed up all night trying to bring his fever down.  It finally broke around seven a.m. when Emma came down with the same fever.  Needless to say, we never used our free tickets.  We picked up our twice-repaired car (to the tune of $1500) and headed home.

Sick Little Boy Disney Dreaming

After this year is over, we will not be traveling anytime soon...  We can't go home... Why not use those tickets and spend our Disney Dollars?  I thought about this on a rainy night in Scotland and booked three nights at the value resort, All Star Movies, in Disney World while rooms were on sale for twenty percent off.  We had enough reward money to pay for three nights' hotel, one day theme park tickets and one day at a water park.  With our free tickets that gave us three days in the parks- free!  The kids have been such fantastic road scholars this year while traveling and learning around the USA and the UK; Greg and I wanted to take them some place just for fun.  Over pizza in London, we told the kids of our Disney Redux plan and they were thrilled.  The idea of amusement parks in their future immediately cured all homesickness.

So, after three wonderful nights with our cousins, we are headed for three nights in Orlando.  With six nights of our "two weeks till we're home" taken care of- Here's to making lemonade out of life's lemons.  Cheers!

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