Thursday, November 20, 2008

My addiction...

Okay, so I know i've been away from this blog for almost a month. I can't believe it has been that long; I guess that comes with the craziness that is a pastor's life!

As I have mentioned before, I have been busily planning the big Disney trip coming up in less than two months (woo hoo)! One of the addictions I built towards the beginning of my planning was the DIS boards ( This is a great forum site that if you are planning a trip I highly recommend. Lots of great wisdom, pictures, and fun stuff can be found here. It helped me in determining where we would stay and what restaurants to eat at. I have also made many great online friends there.

One of the things many people do is offer up their pre-trip reports. I decided to begin joining in this fun. As I haven't updated you in a while, I thought I might share some of my entries. My report is entitled: "Three Alaskans hit the out for the glare!":

Part I:
Alright, so i've buckled and have decided to do a pre-trip report. I'm just so excited for the trip, I must do something with my Disney fanatacism, even if no one reads this!

So a little background:

As a child, it was a tradition in our family to drive our little Honda Accord from Seattle (where we lived at the time) on down to California most summers. Over the years, we visited Disneyland about four times. From the second my cute little feet stepped on to Disney property, I was addicted.

In 1994, my mother, two sisters and I packed up our bags and headed for the wild's of Alaska. This ended our Disney trips and we haven't been back since. Total heartbreak...

Fast forward to adulthood... In 2003, I entered my Master's program to become a pastor. This was something I never thought I would do and stepping into this future role was a major commitment. In the midst of my anxiety and fear, I made a promise to myself. "Laura, if you finish this program, you can take yourself and your sisters to Disneyworld." I hung on to this promise throughout my four year program.

In August 2006, I called my sisters and asked them if they would want to go with me to WDW. Of course they both said "yes" but didn't take it too seriously. I wouldn't graduate from Seminary until May 2008, and we wouldn't even be going until January 2009. Yet, I stayed committed and the family kind of chuckled as I began making plans.

So, before I go any further, I shall introduce you to the cast:

Me (Laura): I am a 28 year old newby Lutheran pastor living in Pennsylvania. It has been my dream for many, many years to go to Disneyworld. Life has been a bit chaotic lately with some major transitions and personal struggles. This trip is important to me for so many reasons. Relaxation, connecting with my sisters, being a kid again, seeing the mouse... it doesn't get any better!

Brenda: Brenda is my 31 year old sister. She is an amazing person that I really do look up to. She lives in Alaska and works in pediatric home health. Brenda is overdue for a real vacation and is counting down the days with us. I regularly receive phone calls and emails about things she discovers she wants to do. While Jamie and I aren't totally on board, Brenda is ready for T&T (tower of terror)!!

Jamie: Jamie, our baby sister, is 23 years old. She, like Brenda, is my best friend and confidant. She lives in Seattle at the moment and is a dedicated volunteer at the Children's Hospital. During her most recent visit, she helped me build a trip plan which we will of course share with you. Jamie has held on to the excitement of this trip from my first crazy vision and is counting down the days. Her #1 goal is to ride Dumbo, and she doesn't care if people thinks she looks silly doing so! I must admit, i'm right there with her!

More to come so stay tuned....

Part II: Choosing Time and Location..What to do, what to do!

In the midst of the chaos that comes with senior year, I began some of my planning. I found the DIS about a month into it and became seriously addicted. I mean, really, this site needs a recovery program!!!

I started sorting through all the reviews, articles, websites, etc on where to stay and what a good size trip would be. There is so much info out there it felt very overwhelming at times.

I decided that if we were going to go all the way to Florida, we might as well give ourselves time to relax a bit. I watched packages fluctuate in price to determine when would be best to go and when would be best to attempt purchasing one. After a great deal of discernment, I decided we should go in January for 8 days. This seemed reasonable and enough time to enjoy ourselves. Almost a year later, I went a little nutty and added another day; I just couldn't help myself!

In regards to our resort, it wasn't a difficult decision to stay on property. While I recognize it costs a bit more, the perks were just too much to pass up. Plus I couldn't stand the idea of commuting.

At first, we thought about staying in ASMo (All Star Movies). We wanted something Disneyish and that wouldn't send my pocketbook through the roof. All three of us were excited over the characters throughout and thought it would be for us.

As I read more and more reviews however (thanks DIS), I began looking seriously at the Pop Century. At first I was turned off to it as it didn't seem Disney enough for me. When we looked further into it, I saw how it integrated Disney with Pop culture. I now love the theming at Pop, as do my sisters. We know it isn't the most exciting building, we love the 80's building and have requested it. For us, it really is our decade and we think that's pretty special.

Part III: How in the world am I going to afford this???!!!

So as you can probably guess, 8 years of college does not leave much money in ones pocket. This is one of the many reasons my family felt I was nuts for even considering a 9 day trip for three people. Considering the amount of debt accrued through student loans, there were many more reasonable things I could save my money for. I own very little furniture (a bed and tv stand to be exact), and I could really use some new work clothes and a better running vehicle! There were so many reasons why I shouldn't go.

With all the voices in my head telling me to be smart with my money, one stood out. It was the voice asking me, "what is more important: saving money towards my student loans, or enjoying myself when I have the chance?" There would not be many other times in my life when my loans would be in deferment. There would not be many other opportunities around where my sisters and I would all be free to go during the same period of time. While we are all currently unmarried, eventually we would begin building our families. While I could save, buy some furniture, and make a couple larger payments on my student loans, my family is much more important to me. We have never done a trip together with just the three of us before. I hope and pray we will be able to do it again soon, but we don't know that. I decided to take this opportunity and run with it. I praise God daily for the decision that was made.

Next up, Part IV: Approval, Finals, and some Disney planning in between!


bexx said...

I sincerely hope you and your sisters have a wonderful time in Orlando! I've been there a couple of times and thoroughly enjoyed every minute!

Brown Family said...

Yes, you will enjoy the memories you have of this SO MUCH MORE than you would of a new couch or wardrobe. My mom is so excited to see you three girls as well. If she hasn't found this site from your blog I'll point her there so they can start doing some serious planning. :) Our Disneyland trip last month was AWESOME! I'm sure yours will be, too.