Hi, I’m Jaime! I love writing trip reports and tend to get very wordy about it. I’ve traveled with many kinds of groups in the past 10 years: friends, family, people I had never met, and now my new husband. I’m hoping to share some new, and old, stories with you all here on my friends’ blog, so grab your hat and reading glasses!
Sometimes you get what you really want. Even when you’ve given up hoping for it, sometimes the Universe decides it’s finally time for the big payoff. I was single for 8 years, mostly by choice, when I met an amazing group of people on a cruise I took in 2009. The shell around my heart, that had formed after my divorce, cracked the just tiniest bit, but enough to know I might eventually be open to letting someone in… at some point… but that they’d have to be a really special someone.
Disney is a just part of who I am. There’s really no way to express in words what that means – you either understand it (and feel that way yourself, about Disney or something else) or you don’t. Every attempt I’ve made to explain it has been pitiful. I can’t convey the warmth in my heart as I watch a child hug a princess or the tears on my face as I stand and watch the Magic Kingdom’s opening ceremony.
I met my husband, Ethan, on a dating site called OKCupid in September, 2012. Like most relationships that begin online, it went from instant messaging to texting to phone calls and then to the actual first date. My dating profile was a little “Disney” heavy – I needed to make sure whoever read it understood what they were getting into. When we got to the phone call stage, Ethan took the plunge: “So, can you explain the Disney thing?”
I fumbled through what Disney means to me, convinced I was scaring him off. When I finished, his only response was, “So it’s not like Disney hoarding or anything?”
Whew. No, I do not hoard Disney merchandise. He revealed he’d never in his life gone to a Disney Park. WHAT??? HOW??? Parents do that to their kids???
So we meet and both realize right away this relationship isn’t like anything either of us has ever experienced before. Months go by and we begin planning a quick getaway to Disney to get Ethan’s feet wet in My World (plus I had some Disney Vacation Club points that were going to expire if not used soon!) We didn’t have a lot of time or money, so we decided to just use the hotel points and not go to any of the parks. We would only be there Saturday through Monday, and there’s a lot to see on Disney property without going to an actual theme park.
Yay, that plan didn’t last long… I convinced us both that $94 for a one-day EPCOT ticket was a decent deal; especially if we were there the full 12 hours EPCOT was open (that’s $7.83 an hour each) (THIS IS CALLED DISNEY MATH – the ability to convince yourself that the numbers only make sense by going to Disney MORE). One caveat on Ethan’s part was that he would not be meeting characters; not at meals, not standing in lines, not wandering down a street. He was a grown man and meeting characters was childish.
Believe it or not, I was okay with this. What I was concerned about was that he wouldn’t like Walt Disney World at all or that he’d think it was okay for an every few years’ vacation … it was nerve wracking, honestly, watching and waiting to see what he’d think.
So I stacked the deck in my favor and made a plan that would show him the very best Disney had to offer: my Vacation Club points were spent on a one-bedroom lake view room at Bay Lake Tower (Ethan loves modern design and water views).
I planned out transportation that would place him on boats, busses, and the monorail.
I showed him the resorts on the monorail line (deluxe resorts), took him to lunch at the Polynesian, and walked him down the path from the Magic Kingdom that looks like it’s headed for the Grand Floridian but actually ends at a bunch of benches (very secluded and romantic!)
We had dinner at Sanaa (Ethan likes Indian food)
and drinks at the Top of the World Lounge to watch Wishes (over-the-top romantic!)
before retiring to our room Saturday night to watch the Electrical Light Parade out on Bay Lake and see Illuminations from far-away EPCOT. It was an amazing first day!
Our EPCOT day was even more amazing: today was Super Bowl Sunday – EPCOT had about 35 people in it! We met up with my friend, Rob, and the 3 of us saw almost everything EPCOT has to offer. We even got a spot at the railing for the fireworks, right before they started! We wore ourselves out! We rode monorails back to our resort, and I had my head on his shoulder and my eyes closed. Ethan nudged me awake, and I opened my eyes to find his pinkie finger crooked in front of me. I hooked mine in his and he says “We will be back next Super Bowl Weekend. That is a promise.” My heart did that melty thing… it still does when I think of this.
Sunday was a blur – we went to Downtown Disney, but our feet hurt so bad from running all over EPCOT yesterday, that all that really stands out is lunch. I was torn between Earl of Sandwich and Wolfgang Puck Express. Ethan says we should do both. And we did! It really was the perfect weekend.