spreadsheets and suitcases

organization + travel = family fun

Some lighting, some watching, some planning

on December 21, 2017


Lighting: I hope everyone had a Happy Hanukkah if your family celebrates the Festival of Lights.  This year, my son was finally old enough to remember the candle-lighting prayer from one night to the next.  He previously would just hum along with big sister and dad, but now he knew the words and sang more confidently.  This bodes well for the future, since my husband’s family tradition is that the youngest family member leads the singing, and my little guy will have to step up to the musical plate once DD leaves for college.  I received some fun Disney-themed gifts for Hanukkah this year, including this trading pin jigsaw puzzle and Mickey sanduche-caliente maker.

Watching: recently saw some Disney TV that I greatly enjoyed.  Decorating Disney: Holiday Magic aired on Freeform and is available in full on their website.  I really loved this show and appreciated just how many women are in charge at Disney Parks all around the globe.  They focused on the US Parks, but did offer a glimpse at Disneyland Paris and the other international Parks.  I especially liked the parts where they trained the Parade dancers and made the amazing gingerbread house at the Grand Floridian.

Every few months, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) has a “Treasures from the Disney Vault” event, and December’s was yesterday!  I only found out by scrolling through the cable guide and seeing the original Pete’s Dragon airing.  I recall watching this movie over and over with my sister when we were little.  I started watching yesterday, about 40 minutes in, and realized that I had completely forgotten the plot and all but one of the songs- I hummed along to “Brazzle Dazzle Day” via muscle memory I guess.  I couldn’t bring myself to watch the recent live-action Pete’s Dragon due to the previews showing Eliott (the dragon in question) to be too realistic-looking.  I like the cartoony version myself.

pd new

Pete’s Dragon (2016): Meh.


pd original

Pete’s Dragon (1977): So cute! Plus I remember loving the sound of him eating these apples for some reason.


However, NOTHING beats my very favorite rendition of Eliott ever:

pd parade

Smoke comes out of his nostrils!


Planning: so I’m getting very close to being able to book our flights TO Europe for Spain and France in 2018 or So Help Me.  The update here is that my sister made a house move earlier this year and we’ll be heading to her place for Christmas in 2018!  So we won’t be departing the US Mainland to Europe from the NYC area after all- we’re heading out from North Carolina!  I had to step back and redo all my calculations/arrangements.  Thank goodness I hadn’t made any nonrefundable purchases yet, because I was almost ready to pull the trigger on NYC Xmas stuff as soon as it was available: Radio City Christmas SpectacularThe Nutcracker at Lincoln Center with the New York City Ballet, Aladdin on Broadway, etc.

Now I’m looking at using our Alaska Airlines Companion Fares to book our flights to and from the mainland.  The plan is to grab some award seats on the nonstop Raleigh (RDU) to London (LHR), spend a day in London (new addition to the trip!), take the Eurostar train to Paris, spend several days there including a visit to Disneyland Paris (eee!!!), fly to Sevilla (SVQ) for a few days, then fly to Barcelona (BCN) for end of the trip.  Then we have to start making our way back to Hawaii.  I’m planning 3 days of travel on the return to reduce our discomfort and disorientation- we’re talking thousands of miles here.

This is where I can get creative.  I’m still trying to fit in some sort of flight on Aer Lingus for my daughter.  I can use Avios or use a low-cost carrier (LLC) to get from BCN to Dublin (DUB).  But from there, it was tricky- I wanted to get as far into the mainland as possible, but when I started looking at routes, the furthest I could get was Chicago.  I DO NOT want to try land in Chicago in early January.  Well, just a few weeks ago, this was announced!

sea dub

Photo from TravelMedia.ie


Hmmm, it’s a longer flight at 9hrs, 45min.  Still shorter than the 11+ hr nightmare that was EWR-HNL.  But if we can get from Barcelona to Seattle (SEA) in less than a day, we can take the entire 2nd travel day to relax in Seattle and get some Pike Place Chowder.  Then, on the 3rd travel day, do the easy hop from SEA to HNL that we’ve done so many times.  The catch: we’d likely have to pay out of pocket for the DUB-SEA leg, and outside of the super-cheap initial promo period, they’re looking to be about $800 each one-way.  Booo.

More likely: we will take Aer Lingus BCN to DUB, then try to snag United award seats on DUB-EWR and spend the night at my parents’ place.  Or if that timing doesn’t work out, which I suspect it won’t, we’ll have to skip Aer Lingus altogether in hopes of traveling directly from BCN to EWR with United/Lufthansa.  The next day, we would start the ol’ SEA-HNL routine using the Companion Fare, with the added bonus of the reduced layover time.  Previously we’ve had 7-9hr layovers, now it’d be just about 5.  We’d arrive home the same day we leave EWR, at ~11p, and have the entire next day at home to recover from the trip and do laundry, etc.  This sounds good to me.

So, exciting stuff coming up, especially the unexpected day in London!  Thanks to my sister for so courteously moving near an airport that has a nonstop flight to the land of tea and crumpets.  Not sure if I mentioned it previously, but the first plan when departing to Europe from Newark was to stop for a 12-hr layover day in Vienna.  I’d still like to go there someday and see the Schönbrunn Palace and eat Linzer Torte, but I admit London appeals more right now, especially since it allowed me to add on a train trip (the Eurostar) to our itinerary.  You know how my boys love their trains.  Plus….

london baby


4 responses to “Some lighting, some watching, some planning

  1. Gina says:

    Well, it looks like fun. How many thousand of miles will you guys be traveling? Any way i will do it also😎😎😎🛫🛬🛫🛬🛫🚝🏟🎠🗽


  2. VivaLaDiva405 says:

    What can i say, except, YOU’RE WELCOME!


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