16 years in the making…

Well, I’ve been MIA for a while and this comes down to 2 simple facts. 1 – school time is busy so I would expect to not have much time to blog during term time… in a normal school term. 2 – I’ve been super unwell this term and have missed more than half of the term with one illness or another, so of course, if I’m too sick for work, I’m definitely too sick to be out and about taking photos and writing about them or whatever caught my eye. Because really, the only thing that’s caught my eye lately is satellite tv. Lots and lots of travel and food shows and lots of sitcom reruns. And my pillow has also caught my attention a lot lately. Like, for at least 12 hours a day, and at one point, I slept about 18 hours a day for about 5 days.  So anyway, I’m still home sick, 4th week in a row and the reason I’m still home is laryngitis. Haven’t been able to speak more than a whisper for a few weeks now, and given I’m a teacher… well, a teacher with no voice isn’t much good to anyone.

But, in the meantime, just as I began to get sick, with a sinus infection and tonsillitis, we decided that we were tired and run down and we needed a holiday. Now, we never had a honeymoon, and we’ve had a few beach holidays with the kids over the years, but we always said we would talk the kids on a big overseas trip when they were teenagers. And we always thought Disney would be a great place to take them. But we always wanted to go see New York. So after reading plenty of travel brochures and lots of online research,

we decided on both. The kids are 14 and 16 now and are pretty keen for New York, but super keen for Disney, which will of course, be followed by a trip to Universal Studios and specifically, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Being MASSIVE HP fans since day one, when we heard that this park was being created it moved to the top of our list of places to go to, before the kids grew up and moved out (HA!).

So I’ve spent the past few weeks, when not sleeping or staring blankly at a never ending stream of overly cheerful American TV show hosts as they talk about the best food, hotels, cupcakes, etc, organising the holiday we’ve been planning for the past 16 years… since we got married. Gotta tell ya, I am SUPER EXCITED!

We’re staying here, which of course I haven’t been to yet so it’s obviously not my photo

and I was surprised at how much cheaper it was going to cost us for 4 ‘adults’ to stay in NYC than we had anticipated.

We booked the flights… the biggest chunk of cash went on these obviously, but my other half does not cope well with flying, he’s slightly terrified of it, so we’ve booked an Emirates flight because he’s flown with them before for work and he’s happy with them (although he flew business class so I’m thinking this flight, with 2 teenagers in economy, might be slightly different to his last couple of experiences!)

and from there it was a matter of deciding exactly what to do, where to go and when.

So we bought New York Passes to make it just a bit easier for ourselves when we get there… plus we wanted to pay for as much stuff BEFORE we left as we could so that the only things we needed to buy when we got there were food, souvenirs and whatever else catches our eye.

and of course, since we’re going for Christmas, we knew we had to make sure we see all the major holiday windows that we’ve seen so often on TV and in the movies (huge fan of Xmas movies, and so many of them are set in NYC!) so I downloaded a map that shows me exactly where to go to see all the best ones! (For a short time, I was actually looking for Gimbles, having seen ELF with Will Ferrell so many times the name of the store was in my head…)

and after Christmas in NY we’re heading to Washington DC, just for 24 hours. Just long enough to see all the big names. We had looked at day trips from Manhattan, but then figured, we’re catching a train down to Orlando already, why not just get off it for 24 hours and take a look around. So we bought the train tickets and booked a hotel for the night… nice and close to the station so we can leave our bags there for the day while we wander around the city

and once we get back on the train… we’re heading for Walt Disney World in Orlando.

which is so exciting. We’re going to be there for New Year’s Eve and have downloaded the park map and set our itinerary… as far as which park is open late on which day so we’ve set a different park for each day, the one that is open latest each day is the one we’re heading to, so that we can do Downtown Disney and the Boardwalk as well as the parks. Plan is to spend New Year’s Eve at Magic Kingdom so are prepared for a long, long day as all the info we’ve been given says get to your chosen park early on NYE and don’t leave because you might not get back in there for the fireworks show and we so don’t want to miss the fireworks at Magic Kingdom.

The plan is to spend New Year’s Day at Blizzard Beach or Typhoon Lagoon, just chillin’ by the water and taking it easy after what we anticipate will be a mammoth NYE at Magic Kingdom, before we head over to Universal Studios!

so we’ll wrap up our 3 weeks in the USA with a Superstar breakfast at Universal… so looking forward to breakfast with Spongebob and Patrick!

So we’ve spent a fortune, and we’ve got a spending budget that is also quite ridiculous, but we need to account for tips (which we don’t have to worry about here in Aus!) and we don’t want to scrimp when we are there, given it’s taken us 16 years to actually take this trip, but you know what… we can’t take it with us. Money that is. Dad always used to say to me, “it’s made round to go round” and it’s a philosophy we live by. I mean, we pay our bills, we send the kids to the best school we can afford, and we don’t exactly have a house full of amazing technological pieces and wardrobes full of expensive clothes, but as a general rule, we figure, we work hard, we get out of bed every day (well… when I’m not spending weeks on end being home sick!) and go to work and we’ve done our time as a young couple with really not much to show for all the time we spent at work, and now, the kids are a bit older, but still kids really, and we could save our money, but when they’re all grown up and no longer reliant on us for holidays and whatnot, regardless of how much money we have in the bank, we won’t be able to buy the memories that this trip will make. So I can’t wait. I think it’s 11 weeks away now and without wanting to wish any of our lives away, I hope it goes by super quick!

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