For thirty years (since I was about 5 years old) I have wanted to go to Disney World. How much have I wanted to go to Disney World? I would pick Disney over a cruise to Hawaii. I would pick Disney over a world tour (at least the first time). I would pick Disney World over dinner with Abraham Lincoln if a time machine existed and I were somehow able to secure a special invitation to the White House in 1864.
Disney World has been a really big deal on the airforcewife list of things to do.
After waiting and planning and saving, we decided this year was the year to go. Everything just fell into place, which is particularly helpful. We expected a big expense, and as we started pricing things out on the Disney website, our expectations proved to be right on target.
But then I had a chance encounter with another military spouse, and everything changed.
First off, I should emphasize that in many things I'm quite Type A. With the exception of the time I traveled to SpouseBUZZ Live in Utah with Sarah and Sarah took care of all the travel arrangements and timing (she was the perfect cruise director for my son and myself) I check every option and plan everything down to maps. I even make travel folders for each person on the trip.
But Disney World was proving to be my undoing. The options, the excitement, the hotels... Trying to figure out where to eat, whether I needed reservations, which characters would be where - it all had me nearly in tears, even after I read The Unofficial Guide to Disney World twice.
So, on the advice of a website I found through the guidebook, I contacted Small World Travel. In the contact form I stated that we were a military family and we would be attending Disney while on an R & R.
I'm sure you can imagine the hyperventilating that went on when Caylie from Small World returned my email with a quote - the hotel we wanted, the days we wanted, AND A SAVINGS THAT HAD THREE ZEROES AT THE END.
Incredible. Not only do I get my dream vacation, but I got it at half the price I was expecting.
It turns out that Caylie, our assigned travel agent, is also a military spouse! So when I mentioned the R & R she got right on it and booked us under a special promotion that Disney is offering for military families. She answered all my questions, spoke my language and understood why I was asking things that might sound weird to people in different situations (like: if my husband has some weird thing come up and doesn't get home when he's supposed to, can someone else use his ticket or can we reschedule?).
Military spouses - we're everywhere, aren't we?