Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Good Idea

by: LaLa

Although our first day of Vacation had gotten off to a slow start (kinda like this trip report), once we finally shook off the sour mood and got moving, we didn’t stop. For quite awhile. Among other things, we treated ourselves to a few of these ‘never to be Elusive again’ little beauties….

… went to infinity and beyond with this guy….

…stumbled upon a lovely bunch of coconuts….this fascinated me enough that I had to take a picture of them. Coconuts are the new “Wish you were here”. Who knew?

Tried adjusting to the look of things to come…

And finally, decided to grab one of these….

….and head back to our resort du jour.

When we headed out from the Pop earlier that day, we’d initially planned to stay in the MK for just a couple of hours. In order to ease ourselves into the groove. Our gameplan for this trip was to slow down the pace. Take it a little easier. Relax a little more. To not go commando and to not be so ‘us’ all the time. And maybe, just maybe, feel what it‘s like to be ‘them‘ a little bit. Oh, we had good intentions alright. But even the best laid plans of men (and women, especially when it involves mice) can go awry.

Or …something like that.

By the time we decided to call it quits that day, our ‘just a couple of hours’ had turned into approximately six. Six hours. Even though we said we were going to shut it down early, once we got there and got in the groove, we just couldn’t tear ourselves away.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Seems like I’ve heard that before. Somewhere.

Heh Heh.

We’d gotten up at 2:30 that morning and had been traveling all day. So by the time our butts found a resting place on the coolest and most comfortable bus of all time and we were headed back to the Pop, our backs were breaking and we were so drained we felt as though we’d never be able to move again. I do remember taking a few shots of my family on that bus ride and in every single one, everyone’s eyes were closed and they were dozing off. Sitting straight up. Well, except for the girl. She was wrapped around her Daddy. And Daddy did NOT seem to mind.

And although I was dog tired like everyone else, I couldn’t seem to sit still. I couldn’t WAIT for the next day to come.

Because I had a secret.

One that I had been dying to share with my husband for the past six months.

Back when we decided to celebrate my husband’s birthday with a trip to Disney, I came up with an idea. A crazy cool, fantastical idea. One that would take a good bit of planning and scheming, severe restraint, a little bit of pixie dust, and more than one set of tight lips in order to pull it off.

As long as we have been going to Disney, my husband has longed to stay in one particular resort above all others. For one reason or another, we never have. But this trip was something special. It’s not every day that you turn 40. So while my husband was under the impression that we were staying somewhere else entirely, I booked his dream resort, paid the difference myself, and began the six month long charade that became known as “Project Surprise Mr. LaLa”.

Not really, but if I’d thought about naming it, I might have called it that.

Or not.

I have to say right here and now that this was the HARDEST secret EVER to keep. At times I would be busting at the seams and wishing I could talk to him about it. But we, as a couple and separately, love to surprise the people we care about with things they wish and hope for but are in no way expecting. And I knew in the end, the surprise would be worth it for him. So I kept mum.

To him.

And instead brought the boy into the circle of trust. Even though I knew full well at the time that this was a risky decision on my part. Considering this is the same child who told my parents one Christmas (as they were opening our gift of a new digital camera), “Whatever you think it is, it’s not a camera.”

But that was a long time ago, and as I learned, he has matured tremendously since then. And after many hushed, completely giddy, long one on one conversations (and more than a few inside jokes thrown around between us) along with his heartfelt statement, “Mom, I’m really glad you felt like you could trust me with this”, I knew I’d made the right choice in letting him into the Burns Family Circle of Trust. He enjoyed it so much that I believe he's following in his Dad's footsteps as far as the mad appreciation for surprising others goes.

Over the years, my husband has made a practice of surprising me with trips for my birthday and anniversary, with over the top Christmas gifts and other various cool stuff. Each and every time it’s happened, I can honestly say that he has caught me completely off guard. Homeboy knows how to keep a secret. But turn around is NOT fair play. Not in this house. I can’t get ANYTHING by him. The latest example of that includes his “surprise” fortieth birthday party. The one I threw for him prior to our leaving for the World.

I had planned and schemed for months and thought I had everything worked out. But on the way to the restaurant that night, he nonchalantly assured me that he’d “act surprised” when he walked into the private room I’d reserved. And then proceeded to recite the ENTIRE GUEST LIST (correctly) to me as he deftly snaked in and out of traffic. With a cocky expression on his face.

Dang man.

And it was THIS turn of events, this last straw that broke the camel’s back, that made me even more determined to keep mum, not to arouse his suspicions about ANYTHING, and actually pull off the surprise on the day of his birthday.

It was this sneaky little secret that I’d worked so hard on keeping sneaky and secret all those months that stirred the butterflies in my stomach on the ride back to the Pop that late afternoon. I'd envisioned the moment in my head several times over and I wanted it to go perfectly, I wanted him to be completely caught off guard the next morning. But more than anything, I just wanted him to be happy. To be pleased.

Would he be? Or would he rather stay where he THOUGHT we were staying all this time instead? I couldn't be positive and the thought of that was making me nervous.

We'd decided to clue the girl in on it at the last minute so we (the boy and I, aka: The Board Members) gave her the skinny the day before we'd left. Reason being: my husband can get ANYTHING out of our daughter. Without even trying. All he has to do is look her way and she'll spill EVERYTHING. Including, but not limited to, even the neighbor's secrets. Or else she grabs the video camera and gives a running narrative. Of our ENTIRE plan. For posterity.

Awwww yeah!

Notice she’s bringing the, “wiff a big pool with sand on the bottom and a giant slide” at the end.

Because really, isn’t that all you need for a great hotel stay anyway?

My husband wasn't around for this little video production. He'd actually gone on a 'broke my sunglasses, have to go buy another pair for three times what I'd pay for them at home' run. But when I realized what she said on the tape, it made me nervous. Er. For one: because he came in shortly after and I didn't have the time (or the heart) to destroy the evidence. And two: because one of our favorite Disney pastimes is watching video tape from the days' events while we unwind in the room at night. Laughing at our goofy selves and digging into the snacks. If he watched the clip, we were sunk. Right before the trigger was pulled. I stressed for a little bit, with visions of the surprise slipping through my fingers, but then realized that hearing that sweet little voice break the news would be a pretty cool reveal in and of itself. Not a bad way to find out.

But as it turns out, he was too tired to do anything other than hit the hay when he came back in. With his cheaply made insanely expensive new sunglasses.

Proof that it pays to walk around a theme park for six hours when you’ve already been awake for 72.

Second winds worn off, we all collapsed into bed early that night and before we knew it, the next day was upon us. It was time to pack up, move out, and … it was also time for the big (ish) reveal.

We all gave Daddy some big time birthday lovin’ that morning and showered him with gifts. One of which included the REAL vouchers for our hotel stay. The one that informed him we would be staying at the place he'd longed to stay for the last eight years. The one with the big pool with sand on the bottom and a giant slide. But like most highly anticipated reveals, the initial reaction wasn’t quite what we’d (I’d) pictured in our (my) minds for the last six months.

The three of us watched closely (while being a little giggly) with my camera trained right on DH’s face. Zoomed in on the right nostril. Mistakenly. Looking for any sign of reaction.

What we would witness is a man caught completely off guard.

For a change.

When he opened the larger than necessary package and saw the paperwork inside, his right eyebrow shot up. He may have frowned. Ever so slightly. Maybe he was expecting a red Mustang, I don't know. Then as he picked up the paperwork and began to read it, his reaction changed to one of confusion. And it stayed that way for the next three minutes. Until I convinced him that it was no joke and that we were ACTUALLY checking into the Yacht Club that morning and staying there for the remainder of the trip. At that point, once it sunk in, the man became FULL ON GIDDY. It was very cool and oh so fun to watch. He was in shock, but he was loving it.

At least I think he was.

Because he kept looking at me in awe and saying, “I can’t believe you did this!”

Which, I realize, could be either good or bad. But the expression on his face and the way he was jumping around, laughing at nothing and urging us to get our butts in gear because we were wasting daylight told me all I needed to know.

The idea was a hit and all the work it took to pull it off had been completely worth it.

And if all of that didn’t convince me of that fact, the second we rounded the corner and spotted this baby for the first time (and immediately fell head over heels in love with the place)...

...there was absolutely no denying that we were in for a good week. And that a good idea had been done right.

If I do say so myself.

Hold whatcha got, YC- country done come to town. You ain't never gonna be the same again!


  1. Woo Hoo!

    First of all, I loved hearing the sweet girl's voice. Thanks for that window (no pun intended) into the LaLa's world!

    Second, Great Job!! To both you and the boy for keeping it on the down low and to the sweet girl for only giving it away to the video camera and not to her Daddy. AND, of course, on the epic surprise. Yes, those really good surprises never quite go as planned. When you really get 'em good, that initial confusion often postpones the full-on giddy. But I'm so happy that it all worked and Mr. La ended up being as happy and excited as you had hoped! I have heard fab things about the Yacht Club (cue Princess V...) and I am sure you had a wonderful time. Can't wait to hear the rest!!

    As for the 4 or so extra hours in the MK. Well. Duh. You shoulda known that once you got there, on your first day no less, you wouldn't have been able to resist. Does make for a nice sound sleep, though, doesn't it ; )

  2. La at the Yacht Club. Hmmm. Did you ever find the ramp where you could unload your bass boat into Crescent Lake? 'Cause I know that's how you roll.

  3. CHAPPIE!!!!!!!

    If I could make the font bigger, I would. I'm that excited.

    I can't believe the Chapster's back! NOW it's a party!! Do you have any idea how much I have missed your quirky wit? SO glad to see you back around, my friend. And you better stick around. Or else I'm bringing the Crane Kick.

    And you know what they say about that.

    For the record, it's a shrimp boat. Not a bass boat. Where do you think we are, Georgia?!

    Ash, did you see Chappie's back?! Lovin' it. And I'm lovin' the window pun. It was SO intended! As that dork Z would say, 'good show'.

  4. Yes, yes, yes... I've been waxing poetic about the Yacht Club for a month - I'm so excited that you guys were there and that Mr. La loved his surprise! Doesn't it just scream (only softly and in a calming manner) relaxation? Aaaaand... it looks like a sunny day arrival, no? So are the La's about to hit Storm Along Bay?

    About your "do less" MK day - I believe that park is some kind of vortex. Once you're in, getting out is quite the challenge.

    Can't wait for more! :)

  5. Mr. LaLa - “I can’t believe you did this!”

    La, well done!! I love surprises and I am not only impressed with your surprise itself, but with the craftiness for which you kept it concealed. So again, I say "Well done".

    You were bold to bring in additional Board Members for your venture and I am not sure I could have done that. I love to surprise NM but the little NM's have never come into the circle of trust on them. Perhaps you have inspired me. Or not?

    btw, the bass boat ramp comment was excellent.

  6. Great surprise La!

    You brought a boat to Disney???

    Kidding (NOFrick)

    The little surprise video was too cute!

    Keep it comin'

  7. Roger said:

    You were bold to bring in additional Board Members for your venture and I am not sure I could have done that. I love to surprise NM but the little NM's have never come into the circle of trust on them. Perhaps you have inspired me. Or not?

    Our kids are very close in age, and I would DEFNIITELY recommend letting them in on the next secret thing you've got going on for NM. I have a feeling they'd surprise you and step up to the challenge. If you think the boy might crack sooner than the girl, let her in on it first and break it to him right before the reveal. That way he doesn't feel left out.

    I'm telling you, there was a time I was really nervous about letting the boy in on it, but I rolled the dice, and now I wouldn't do it ANY DIFFERENT. We had so much fun together, scheming and planning. He kind of stepped into his dad's shoes for this one (because DH and I have SO much fun bringing the inside jokes when it comes to surprising the kids), and both of us really enjoyed sharing something, something that only the two of us knew about. Until we let Ms. Videographer in on it, that is.

    Good, good times.

    The only downside is I now think I'm addicted to surprising people.

    Which is why I'm mailing ZZUB what's left of our Big Block of Cheese. From last year's celebration.


    Just skim the teal colored mold off the top and you're good to go. Keep the hair on there though. Adds to the flavor.

    Princess V: Wasn't the YC great?! We loved it so much we'd marry it. If that was possible. And sunny skies + Yacht Club + four giddy individuals can equal only one thing.

    You know it, sister!

    Man, I wish I was there RIGHT NOW!

    Yakkity Yak: Of course we brought a shrimp boat to Disney. After all, it's where Cap'n Dan lives.

    Hi Mel!

  8. Great update LaLa! Loved the surprise! I’ll be 40 in 3 years. (Which frightens me frankly) I'm going to need you to call First Lady Biscuit and extol the virtues of such a gift.

  9. LaLa! I LOVE this installment! First of all, I love Mini-LaLa doing her rolling video commentary of the Yacht Club pool "wif the sand bottom and the big slide." Cutest voice ever.

    And you know I have mad love for you pulling off that awesome surprise. That is GOOD STUFF right there. Mr. LaLa was wanting YC all along, and you had the wool pulled right over his detective eyes. Very well done.

    The YC is my sentimental favorite Disney resort. We've had two of our top trips staying in that resort, and we love everything about that Epcot area. I never thought I'd say I love it better than the MK resorts, but I sho nuff do. There's just a vibe about it that can't be beat. And SAB? Best pool on the planet. Nothing tops it.

    I'm looking forward to hearing about the rest of your trip. And I love all the pics you're bringing. You obviously thought ahead and took some pics without the LaLas in them. I didn't do such a good job of that this year. I'll bet Mr. LaLa got tired of waiting on you to snap a pic, didn't he? :)

    Keep bringing it -


    P.S. CHAPPIE!!!! SO good to have you around. Don't be a stranger!

  10. I forgot to comment on the photos. Excellent job! I LOVE the pano shot of the YC entrance. (BTW for those who were not aware, you can click any photo for a full sized version. And that's a GREAT photo to start with.)

  11. I might have licked the screen when I saw the Dole Whip. Yum.

    La I think I would have done the same thing at the MK. What a great start to the trip. My legs hurt and my eyes got droopy on the bus ride back to the Pop with y'all. What fun though that you had SO much to look forward to and this day was pure gravy!

    I'm glad your birthday surprise for your man worked out! What a sweet wife you are and I know Mr. LaLa was jazzed about your wonderful gesture! I threw a big surprise party for Mr. Frick's 40th and it was the best fun ever! Glad you were able to pull it off!!

    Speaking of Suprises.... welcome back Chapster! Ded over the boat comment!!!

  12. Love the Circle of Trust! How fun to scheme together! That video was so cute. Surprises are the best pixie dust ever.

    Can't wait to hear about SAB.

  13. I thought for sure I had commented, but I didn't... Great update; I got a little nervous when you decided to tell the girl, but I'm glad it worked out! We've never stayed at YC, but we have stayed at BC and absolutely love it!!! --praisehisname

  14. I've never been a big fan of the YC but having now seen it up close and getting a good gander at the SAB, I'm inching closer and closer to wanting to stay there.

    That's pretty dadgum cool that you surprised him with a stay. I'm pretty sure if Mrs. Z tried that on me, my reaction would be similar, disbelief, followed by confusion which really just amounted to him running the math in his head.

    Your pictures are really good, LaLa. Who took them?


  15. Your pictures are really good, LaLa. Who took them?

    That was really funny, Z. Who wrote it?

    Frick: no lickin' the screen. You're only allowed to lick the toilet bowl. Or are you?! Good for you for pulling off a 40th surprise party for Mr. Frickles. I agree, surprises are the best ever. Unless it's a bad one. Then they stink.

    Steph: SAB is coming up next. Wish we were back there RIGHT NOW!

    Denise: I think we are forever spoiled by our stay in the Epcot area. Specifically, YC. You just can't beat being able to walk in the backdoor of Epcot and hanging out at SAB. Good, good stuff.