I Excel

I’m getting tremendously prepared for our trip to Tokyo. I’ve done a ton of research of things to do and see over the past few months. I bought advanced tickets online for some attractions as well. I even waited at my computer refreshing a website to open up ticket sales in order for me to jump on and get them. (Studio Ghibli Museum better be worth the headache!!!) Needless to say, I am a planning machine.

For the past week or so I have brought some ideas from work home with me to use for our vacation. No, I’m not taking work with me- I’m using my knowledge base of Excel spreadsheets! I’m making cue cards and an itinerary using Excel. I’m such a dork. But it’s working for me. We have so many things we want to do and see, that planning it out in advance is great. I understand that there may be travel times or waits at certain places and I’ve taken that into consideration. I have been careful to make sure that our big plans are staggered out each day and that we can enjoy some wandering time as well. I don’t want to rush the experience of a foreign country.

Incorporating places and sights that interest the kids is high up on the list. As I mentioned before, even our 11 year old is helping to plan the trip. Our 13 year old daughter also has a notebook with details about which part of Tokyo has the stuff she wants to see. Putting it all into spreadsheet form makes sense to me.

All I have left to do is fill in the last three days of our trip, format the cells and font to make it pretty. I’m really going to excel at making this trip worthwhile.

Dad joke.

Tune In Tokyo

Our trip to Tokyo hasn’t happened yet and it’s costing us a small fortune already. Some days I wish that my Bucket List travel destination was my backyard. I could afford that- except I’d want to landscape or build something. Like a shed or archery range or some other thing. Back to one of my bucket list destinations… Tokyo.

I really have no idea where my desire to see Tokyo stems from. Finally when I hit age 42- I will be there. I’m dragging my family along for the journey. As I said, it’s already more expensive than I want it to be. But if you’re going somewhere that is important to you, it makes sense to have it be memorable.

There are tours and places and food and culture that I need to see. I want to experience it all in the ten or so days that we will be there. Our planning is getting to be a lot of fun. As I mentioned before- Even our 11 year old is planning for our trip. It’s a family thing now. Getting ideas and opinions on what to see and do. It’s still very daunting.

Time to tune into what else Tokyo has to offer. Or at least browse the interwebs for anything unique or crazy that we could experience. Besides a random reference to an old movie.

Trip Planning at Age 11

Today I came home from work and our son was really excited to see me. He was standing at the front door talking rather quickly as I got out of the car. It seemed he had something really important to share with me.

As much as I was on the verge of being annoyed, I also knew he needed to speak. Our son has to get it all out before you can answer him. Interrupting him just prolongs the story… So I listened. It was about a zoo. A zoo in Tokyo.

The Ueno Zoo. I learned many facts in record time as our son spilled his guts to me. In under two minutes he shared so much information that I barely had time to walk in the house and take off my shoes. The zoo is now on our list of must see sites on our upcoming vacation.

I’m really happy that our 11 year old is finding activities in Tokyo. It seems the excitement is building amongst our family. Over dinner we spoke as a family of more things to do and sights to see. Our son was jittery and wanted to get on a computer to do more Google searches about Japan.

Maybe I should let our son plan this trip. His first pick was studied up on and well received.

Vacation Planning Pt.3

Here is the planning stages thus far for our trip that we are planning for 2018.

1st Stage: Decide To Go On a Vacation.

This was easy.  Everyone loves vacations.

2nd Stage: Decide Where To Go.

This was a bit more challenging.  The family wanted to go somewhere warm or exotic.  We did Hawaii the one time and I realized that swimming in the ocean can be relaxing.  As I mentioned previously in Vacation Planning– we haven’t done much more than a few road trips up and down the West Coast.  I also pointed out our love of Disneyland and how it’s our “go-to” location.

3rd Stage:  Laying Out a Plan


I love the idea of visiting Disneyland.  It’s always the first place that comes to mind when my family talks about vacations or traveling.  I offhandedly mentioned to my wife the idea of Walt Disney World next year with a possible Disney Cruise as well.  We had some friends who have done similar trips and it seemed like a great idea.  So I began searching up Disney Cruises.

But then it dawned on me:  Why not visit a Disneyland in another country?  So I began researching every Disneyland on the planet.  Each one is fairly similar in the basic rides and visual look.  There is also rides and attractions unique to every location.  Plus they are located in beautiful cities that I have wanted to travel to.  Paris, Tokyo, Shanghai, Hong Kong… all of them with much more to see than just Disneyland.  There are entire cultural differences to experience.  It has made it very difficult to decide which Disneyland to go to…

Next, I did what any father would do.  I sat my kids down and asked their opinions.  They were no help.  They couldn’t decide which one they would want to go to if given a choice.  So I made the decision for them.

We are going to travel to see every single Disneyland on the planet.  I can’t find anyone online who has done a single trip traveling from city to city visiting each and every Disneyland.  There are people who have been to all of the parks over the years.  I found one person who planned on visiting all of the parks in one year: Disney Around the World 2016: My Quest to Visit Every Disney Park in 1 Year.  

I figure it’s about time someone does it in one non-stop circular journey in under a month.  We are that family.

4th Stage:  Getting There


I mentioned in Vacation Planning Pt.2 that my wife figured out we can buy an “Around the World” airfare for about half the cost instead of individually buying tickets for city to city.  So now she is on board with the idea.

Because of my height, I haven’t ever really enjoyed plane rides.  I figure why not get as many flights over and done with in a short amount of time.  By flying westward first, it will keep the jet lag down to a minimum.  That way we can also end in California at the original Disneyland.

5th Stage:  The Details

We need to figure this part out still…

6th Stage: Enjoy Our Trip

Even Princesses need a break.


This will be a once in a lifetime trip.  A trip that most people would think is crazy.  But we aren’t like most people.  We are excited to see “The Happiest Place On Earth” in all of the many locations.

Now to come up with a title for our trip…

Disneyland World Hopper

Around the World in Disney Days

A Month of Disneylands

Planet Disneyland 

I need to find something that expresses the joy and the absurdity as well as the Disney-ness of it.

We’re going to Disneyland! 

All of ’em!

Vacation Planning

When my wife and I got married, our honeymoon cost us about $400 and lasted three days.  This was our first vacation together.  We made the most of it.  We stayed at a B&B.  We had a couple of dinners out, bought some cheap kites to fly around the lagoon, rented a couples bike for an hour and went canoeing up a small creek.  I learned never to let my wife paddle a canoe, she learned that I can’t fly a kite.  It was simple and relaxing.  We went back for our one year anniversary for a night.  My wife was due with our first child within a few days of this.

But we didn’t vacation much after this.  We began to save for a home.  We also bought our first new car.  Then our second daughter was born.  We became busy with raising kids.  Our family was growing.  We had a third child a few years after.  We were now married for five years and no vacations were in sight for the near future.  Such was life.

First day at Disneyland in 2009. Early enough to stand at the gates waiting with anticipation.

Then it happened.  Early 2009 I got laid off.  I was given two days notice.  We had three small kids.  Six, four and two.  Being forced to take time off, I went on to the Disney website and booked a hotel and park tickets for us.  We left on the Friday driving straight down (24 hours with one four hour nap in a rest area).  We spent a week in Disneyland and forgot about all of our worries.  For under $2000 we had the experience of a lifetime.

When we returned home, we vowed to go to Disneyland every couple of years.  Turns out 18 months is the maximum time away that we can endure.  We have returned for Trick or Treating a few times and once for Spring Break.  Every time we go we make a new experience and set of memories.  I’m no expert on Disneyland, but I have a few tricks up my sleeve on how to make the most of a trip.

Sunset in Hawaii. 2014.

Besides Disneyland, we haven’t done much in the way of vacations.  We made it to Hawaii once for a Cheerleading competition.  We bought plane tickets and booked our hotel so far in advance that we ended up paying less than some of the other families that went along.  We stayed at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, and had all of the amenities we could need.  We loved that trip, but I’m not sure we will ever return to Hawaii.  There are plenty of other warm locations that we would love to travel to.

Side trip back from California through the desert.

Over the years we even incorporated a few extra days into my wife’s convention circuit.  Attending a variety of Comic Cons, we have had opportunities to see more of the world as we drive to and from the venues.  This is another huge money saver for us.  Adding a small detour doesn’t really add anything to our trip.  Plus my wife’s business makes enough that we pay cash for the hotels and use some of it as spending cash as we travel.

All of this is wonderful.  And generally inexpensive.  We budget like crazy to afford the trips.  We also plan months/years in advance.  We also enjoy that aspect of the vacation.  (At least I do.)

Planning their next stop back in 2009.

This year we have a couple conventions that were already booked and we also plan to go for a few days camping.  All of it either paid for already or not going to cost us much.  I have decided that we need to really expand for our next big vacation.  Worldwide expansion…