Hey C2D friends! It’s Crystal again, and I am here to share with you all how I planned the biggest surprise I have ever pulled off.
As some of you know, I am a homeschool mom. Last January, I had a complete meltdown, and decided that I didn’t want to “adult” anymore and needed an immediate trip to Disney, and I was going to live there for the rest of my life. My husband, being the voice of reason, reminded me that we had been there 3 months prior to that, and it wasn’t “in the budget,” nor could I live “in” Disney World. One can dream, though, right?? I realized that I was being irrational, but the wheels started to turn.
A few days later, I read a post someone had written about the Princess Half Marathon weekend. Not only am I a homeschool mom, but I am also a runner. (It helps to keep the crazy away). I had heard about these races, but had never physically tried to enter one (just an FYI…if you do decide this is something you want to do…plan way ahead. The races sell out in HOURS and they are MUCHO expensive). This particular year, 2016, the half marathon is ON my birthday. It’s like Walt was looking down saying, “Here’s your sign.” That day in January, I decided that I would plan a trip to Disney AND run in the Princess Half Marathon AND not tell anyone I was doing it. Yep, crazy, I know.
So over the course of 2015, I scrimped and saved, putting away every last cent I earned. I sold things on a local yard sale page, I cut hair on the side from my home (yep, I do that too), I used Swagbucks, and Shopkicks to earn gift cards, and I sold a few things in my Etsy store. Every time I had enough money to buy a gift card, I would run over to Target and buy a Disney gift card and enter it into my Disney Vacation Account. The DVA made everything much easier to conceal. It was fun at times, and then at other times, it was the most stressful thing I have ever encountered. There were several close calls. I watched the mail box like a hawk the entire year because Disney likes to send random things in the mail sometimes, and I really didn’t need them spilling the beans.
I worked with an amazing travel agent for the entire year and she took care of everything. The hotel reservations, dining reservations, Fast Passes, and all of the extras I wanted to add in. She put up with my indecisiveness, all of my endless questions, and sometimes the same questions just asked months later. She was so patient. I really could not have pulled it off without her.
I decided about midway through the year that I would tell my husband and kiddos about the trip on Christmas morning. I started to collect ideas from Pinterest, and looking through thrift stores, the Dollar Tree, and Hobby Lobby for anything that might contribute to the decor. I slowly started making a stock pile of everything I was going to use. It was fairly inexpensive, and the Fam was blown away with the decor.
So Christmas Eve night, I sent the kiddos to bed in our bedroom. They had pallets on the floor, and watched a movie with their dad while I worked in the kitchen. They new I was planning a surprise, and that I didn’t want them to see. They were so sweet about staying tucked in our room the rest of the night. Thankfully I was able to get everything set up in around an hour because I had made so many things prior to Christmas Eve.
The backdrop idea came from Pinterest. I love how it turned out. I actually had the mesh and ribbon up prior to Christmas just in case I ran across any issues. Fortunately, it went up fairly easy and as an added bonus-it matched my Christmas decor. I added the Mickey pants and hands with a glue gun making sure not to get any on the walls or the curtains(I think…it’s still up because I thought it was too pretty to take down. I guess we’ll find out after our trip ;-)
The Mickey head is black poster board, yellow letters from Hobby Lobby, and construction paper that I had on hand. I used several round items in the house(large bucket and a bowl) to make the mouse head.
The “Disney” chip board letters were purchased from Hobby Lobby on sale. I found another cute idea on Pinterest and used it as my inspiration. I made a little stand and hot glued the letters to it after I had finished painting them. The black and white polka dots and the red and white polka dots are wrapping paper from Hobby Lobby.
The black table cloth is actually a black full size flat bed sheet. I needed a large table cloth because our table is wide. The bed sheet was the perfect solution. The red chargers are from Walmart, red dishes and over sized mugs are from the Dollar Tree. The cute little napkins are from the Target party section.
If you notice the scrapbook(from Hobby Lobby) in the background, this was where I put all of the information about our trip. There was a cute little note on the front page to hubby and the kiddos from Mickey and Minnie. There was also a note from Tiana letting them know that she was so excited for them to be staying at her hotel. The following pages contained itineraries for each day.
I didn’t sleep a wink for fear of someone waking up too early. After I took pictures of everything set up and got the video camera ready, I led my family into the kitchen with their eyes closed. They were giggling the whole way. When they opened their eyes, there was an immediate “WOW!” from all three. It took a minute or so for things to really sink in. My husband was completely shocked. He is an engineer, and things usually have to be processed. Once it all sunk in, he had tears in his eyes, and he gave me the best hug EVER. He tolerates my Disney obsession, and it’s not his first choice for vacationing, but he realized the time and effort I put into this trip, and he was so grateful.
This was probably one of the hardest things I have ever done, and I feel like I grew so much over the course of 2015. I am not usually a very good saver, but I realized that on this journey that it truly was possible for me to save for BIG things. I hope that this has inspired you with your Disney reveal as well! Thanks for stopping by!