For your 45th Birthday - you really are "Denali Bound" - Complete w/final thoughts - 2/17/2013 - PassPorter - A Community of Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel Forums
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Old 05-07-2012, 09:52 PM   #1
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For your 45th Birthday - you really are "Denali Bound" - Complete w/final thoughts - 2/17/2013

I have to start this PTR/TR with a confession - I have been blatantly lying to my husband for more than a year....

Him - "Whatcha looking at?"
Me - "nothing"
Him - "whatcha reading?"
Me - "Nothing"
Him - "What's in the box"
Me - "Nothing for you..."

And so it has gone for about a year.... Yep - a year. But I had a REALLY GOOD REASON - really... I wanted to surprise him with a trip for his 45th birthday. I started thinking about this trip more than a year ago. January 2010 to be exact. Don't believe me - ask evil travel agent Sara V (Belle*) - I peppered her with non-Disney Alaska cruise questions all the way back then. Why non-Disney? Well - I knew I wanted to do 2 things in Alaska - Denali National Park was a biggie - and I wanted to spend time in Fairbanks and Anchorage. I've been to Anchorage in 2009 for work (have I said how much I my job sometimes?) but I had not been to Fairbanks - and I wanted to find a way to do that and still cruise... Well Disney does not offer a point to point for Alaska - they only offer an Inside Passage route - this meant I was on a non-Disney cruise... wow. Me - Miss - I love to cruise Disney so much my last 7 cruises (and my honeymoon!) were all Disney cruises had to admit she could not get what she wanted from DCL.... oh well - next time!!

Ok - so back to lying to my husband... this could be much cheaper than therapy. How do you plan a two week massively complicated trip to Alaska that includes land and sea and not let your husband (who may have earned the nickname "Snoopy McSnooperton") find out?

Well - it ain't easy... that is for sure. Fortunately... (he will get me for this) sometimes Chris works in the evenings - meaning I am alone at night until 11pm and fortunately... Alaska is FIVE hours behind Jacksonville... so I can email and call at night - and its business hours for them...


OK - so - I lied, I saved, I scrimped, I lied some more... I hid boxes of stuff (Alaska guide books from, and large envelopes labeled "" all over them... and yesterday I FINALLY got to tell him (Hey - the boy needs to pack).

Now he did know he was going SOMEWHERE... I had to tell him that part, since I had to get him to put in a leave request. But that is all he knew... And on Thursday - his official 45th birthday - I undertook my first sneaky mission - to get him a cake on his actual birthday. Now normally this would be no big deal - but I was in the process of flying home from a public meeting in Fort Lauderdale the night before, and a good friend of ours had just gone into labor and thus there was a possibility I might need to assist with her 3.5 year old daughter.... well Sammy got taken care of between the time I was wheels up in FLL and wheels down in JAX - so I got the car, called him to tell him I was driving HOME... (would work from there for the rest of the day) and then I made a beeline for the nearest publix between the airport and the hospital, picked up a cake, had the baker decorate it, grabbed candles, plates, forks, even a lighter - and then headed for the hospital. One of Chris' co-workers snuck me into the Pharmacy and we surprised him with birthday cake....

Sneaky.... If only he knew how sneaky I really am...

After cutting and distributing cake to all his Pharmacy co-workers - I left, headed home and actually did do some work - before heading out to dinner and for a nighttime lighting inspection of a dredge. Do I know how to celebrate a birthday or what? I even got him locked in a city beach park for an hour... exciting.

With all of this going on - he had not been asking TOO many questions about where we were going... (only 5-10 a week) and some of our friends had been helping me with dropping hints for places we weren't going (London (sorry chezP not yet), Scotland, Iceland...). And yesterday I threw him a surprise party with about 25 friends and family in attendance to tell him where he WAS going on May 19.

First - I didn't tell him about the party. I invited folks and at 330pm - I called him as he was getting off work to tell him I was at our favorite pizza place for dinner and I wanted him to meet me there... he said ok and the wheels had started to turn.

The present

He arrived.... and didn't have a clue!

See the look of confusion?

We all settled info pizza, beer, good company, laughter, etc...

And then it was time to open his present

It had to be a BIG box...

To hold 7 balloons... Wrapping balloons is not fun!!

I had put some clues in the box... he called it a polar bear... my answer - "REALLY??"

Then a sea otter

Then a Megaptera novaeangliae (Big wings of New England)... Humpback whale

And a bald eagle...

I asked him what these things had in common - his answer - "they are dead and stuffed" - quite literal, isn't he?

So we tried again... and he could not figure it out - then he found the folder in the bottom that said "For Your 45th Birthday, You Really Are"...

Denali Bound.... Denali National Park

Chris and I play trivia at the pizza place most Monday nights - and our team name for the last 6 months has been "Denali Bound". Before that we were "Yosemite Bound" as we prepared for our trip to Yosemite. When we came home in November, I asked him which National Park he wanted to visit next (our team name is that park's name) and he said "Denali"... I thought he had somehow found out about the trip - and then he said - "We should go in 2013 since that will be a hard trip to plan...." If only he knew....

So - here are our plans

May 19 - Leave Jacksonville on Delta for Fairbanks via Atlanta and Seattle
May 20 - Explore Fairbanks
May 21 - Train to Denali; White Water Rafting
May 22 - Wildlife Tundra Tour of park
May 23 - Explore in the am, noon train to Anchorage
May 24 - Explore Anchorage
May 25 - Drive to Seward, exploring on the way
May 26 - Explore anchorage in the am, pack, return rental car, shuttle picks us up at 1pm. Wildlife rehab center/tour; on to Whittier. Board Sapphire Princess ~430PM. Sail at 830pm
May 27 - At Sea - Hubbard Glacier
May 28 - At Sea - Glacier Bay National Park
May 29 - Juneau, AK - Whale watching & Mendenhall Glacier hiking
May 30 - Skagway - White Pass train & bike ride
May 31 - Ketchikan - Kayaking
June 1 - At Sea
June 2 - Vancouver, BC - train to Seattle at 5pm
June 3 - 6am flight to Jacksonville.

So there you have it - more than a year of sneakiness on my behalf to give my hubby a fabulous 45th birthday present!!

I know there will be a few more PTR updates between now and Saturday the 19th. Not sure how many live updates there will be since I've been warned internet connections can be an issue and I don't think we will get the package on the ship... but there WILL be a TR on this one!!
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Old 05-07-2012, 10:02 PM   #2
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Awesome start! I'm sure Chris has forgiven you for all the lies and deceipt!
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Old 05-07-2012, 10:23 PM   #3
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What a terrific TR start and reveal! Happy Birthday, Chris! You guys really are trying to outdo each other every birthday!
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Old 05-07-2012, 10:30 PM   #4
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awesome, can't wait for marvelous photos of Alaska
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Old 05-07-2012, 10:32 PM   #5
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Awesome!!! You will have such a great time. Nice planning and great surprise for Chris!

Me and my hunny!

Fall Festival Fun with Friends!

Eagles, and Whales, and Bears - Oh My!!
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Old 05-07-2012, 11:12 PM   #6
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GREAT way to celebrate a birthday. Looking forward to your TR. Back in the 60s, I was stationed at the Air Force base outside of Fairbanks and I met Judy (my wife) there. Her Dad was stationed at the Army base in Fairbanks. I am sure there have been a lot of changes since we last saw Alaska so I am really looking forward to your pictures.
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Old 05-08-2012, 12:52 AM   #7
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I know how hard you worked on this! I'm so glad the reveal went off without a hitch!
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Old 05-08-2012, 01:02 AM   #8
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Wow, what an amazing birthday present that is - and congrats on pulling off that surprise!

Relaxing on board the Magic. The trip report for our back-to-back cruises on the Disney Magic has started!
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Happy New Year!
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Old 05-08-2012, 06:24 AM   #9
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What a great surprise for Chris! Great plans! I hope you guys have a great time!
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Old 05-08-2012, 07:56 AM   #10
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What an awesome surprise for Chris!!! Can't wait to read more!
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Old 05-08-2012, 08:44 AM   #11
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Awesome job on surprising Chris, Terri! Can't wait to see your photos and read the trip report!!

Looking at Arthur's Seat from Edinburgh Castle

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Old 05-08-2012, 05:41 PM   #12
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Looks like you have an awesome trip to Alaska planned to celebrate Chris' Birthday!
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Old 05-08-2012, 06:50 PM   #13
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Great job, Terri!! You are good!!!

Awesome trip!!
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And away we go !!!
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Old 05-08-2012, 07:05 PM   #14
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Happy (belated) Birthday, Chris and awesome job on the surprise, Terri! It sounds like an amazing trip!

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Old 05-08-2012, 07:58 PM   #15
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This trip sounds awesome!!! Congratulations on planning and pulling off such a big surprise! Can't wait to read all about the trip ...

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