I'm home from what turned out to be one hell of a vacation. I had a mental picture of what this vacation was going to be like and it turned out to be anything but. I don't think I've talked about the trip here, so this will be a brief recap of what the vacation was going to be all about.
A few months ago, Ken came home from work and told me that the wife of a co-worker of his won a trip to Disney in March. Unfortunately they weren't going to be able to go, but Ken's co-worker offered to sell the trip to Ken. They went over the paperwork and it was transferable, so he jumped at the chance. We haven't been to Disney since September 2009 and I think we were both a bit anxious to go back. The one downside to this trip is that it was for a week during all sorts of school breaks, but I didn't have much of a problem with that. We've been a million times in the past and if we didn't get to do everything, no big whoop. People watching can be just as fun as going on the rides.
As time went on, Ken decided he wanted to expand the trip. He started looking for hotels and stuff and decided we were going to go down a few days in advance, stay at a hotel off property and maybe hit a park or do some shopping. Again, I was fine with that. He asked that if I wanted to get together with friends down in Orlando to please confine that to the days before the Disney part of the trip officially started. He thought it would be a nice treat to just do Disney by ourselves again. The last couple trips we did the parks with friends. I agreed and set to making plans with friends for the first few days.
So those were the plans. Things didn't exactly go that way.
We arrived last Wednesday evening. Ken needed to get a haircut and I needed to eat, so that's basically all we did the first night. No big whoop. We got in too late to really do much of anything anyway. Thursday, though, we decided to hit a park. We went to Magic Kingdom and had a really fun time. The crowds were much heavier than we were used to and we didn't get to do the park like we usually do, but we got to do most everything we wanted to do that first day. Thursday night we had plans to meet up with friends Ryan and Scott for dinner. We went to Gloria Estefan's restaurant Bongos. The food was good, but the service was absolutely repulsive. From the hostess who did nothing but give us shit, to the waiter who disappeared after taking our order, only to show up at the end of the meal to give the check. The appetizer came out after the entrees, refills on beverages were non-existent. But we had a great time anyway.
Just as we were getting ready to part ways for the night, Ken's phone rang. It was a co-worker of his. He excused himself to take the call. When he came back, he told me I wasn't going to like this. His co-worker was calling to ask Ken a huge favor. His mother was flying in to Orlando on Saturday night around midnight and needed a ride to her hotel. Ken felt like he was put on the spot and agreed to pick her up. I wasn't very happy about this. It's our vacation and I found it really rude.
Friday we got up and went shopping all day. Actually, we went shopping for a little bit of the day and sat in traffic for most of the rest of it. It was infuriating. The traffic was horrific. But we've never been to Orlando during such a busy time, so it was to be expected. I was happy because I got four new pairs of Converse, including a pair of Batman Converse! Friday night we went over to Ryan and Scott's new house and then out to Banana's, a drag queen diner. Again, the food was terrific.
Saturday was spent at Disney Hollywood Studios. We met up with friends Michael, Al & Erick and spent most of the day there. Michael had to leave us around 4 to go to work and the rest of us headed back to our hotel for a while until we could meet Michael and Kevin for dinner. Ken kept insisting I take a nap. I was beat, but I was having a lot of fun with Al & Erick, so I didn't sleep. We talked for a few hours and then headed out to dinner. That was a lot of fun. I had such a great time and that's where I totally blew what little good I was doing in the eating department. Oh well.
Dinner ran long enough that when it was time to part ways, it was time for us to go pick up this woman neither of us had met at the airport. On the way to the airport, it was really starting to hit me how tired I was. I didn't sleep well the night before and then spent the day on the go. We got to the airport and I played on my phone for a little bit before I started to crash. Eventually he flight landed and we waited for her. I was slouched down in my chair, in a foul mood and completely over it. That's when someone walked up to me and just stood next to me. I waited about fifteen or twenty seconds (at least in my head that's how long it was) before I looked up. And let me post a picture before I continue.
I don't know how clear it is to you, but that look I'm giving is of shell shock. I looked up to see one of my best friends and favorite person in the world staring back at me. Freddy. And Jed. And the kids. I never, ever saw this coming. It took me most of the rest of the night to make any sense of what was going on.
Ken and Freddy had been in cahoots since last August, right around the last time I was in Texas visiting, planning this trip. Ken has known about this for the last seven months and never once let the cat out of the bag. Freddy never mentioned a word of it to me. And this is why Ken wanted me to make whatever plans I was going to make for the first part of the trip.
This surprise was not only for me, but also for Freddy's kids. They had no idea that they were going to Disney World. This was their first trip.
The next day was so messed up for me in so many ways. I was working on no sleep, the clocks had to be set ahead an hour, I needed to pack because we were checking out of the hotel and heading over to a Disney resort and I still wasn't quite sure any of this was real.
The rest of the week has turned into a giant blur. We had four days to hit four parks and try to take in as much as we could. And I have to tell you, I think we performed like champions. We hit just about every single attraction we wanted to. Some were brand new for me, others old favorites. We lost a child, which was the single scariest events I think I've ever experienced. We ate so much food (or at least I did -- I'm up nearly 9 pounds from this trip). It really was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I got to see Disney through the eyes of a six and seven year old, which was pretty incredible. I also got to see Disney through the eyes of two adults who, for all intents and purposes, haven't been before.
I've spent the last week feeling emotionally overwhelmed. I know I wear my heart on my sleeve a lot of the time, but it's hard for me not to. I know this vacation wasn't all about me, but there was a huge chunk of it that was and just thinking about it makes my eyes water up. The fact that these amazing fucking people in my life planned this out with me in mind is a real kick in the pants. It makes me want to work harder to earn to love and respect they give me unconditionally. I don't know how I managed to hit the jackpot, but I'm grateful every single day of my life for who I have in my life.
I won't bore you with too many vacation pictures, just some of my favorites. I posted a shitload on Facebook today and will start putting a bunch up on my photo blog soon, so if you really want to see them, check out those places.
|This is Ryan and me. I did a piss poor job of taking pictures when I was with him.|
|Al, me and Michael with Erick photobombing us in the background!|
|I absolutely love this picture of Michael and I. Wearing dark colors definitely hides my fupa.|
|Me with my nephews. I love these little bastards so damn much.|
|Okay, maybe not "so damn much." They were my alarm clock Sunday morning.|
|He's an animal.|
|Freddy & me|
|There really aren't too many good pictures of Ken and I together. I love this one.|
|Nathan never fails to make me smile. Never.|
|Best moment of Magic Kingdom was when Freddy was continually picked on during the Monsters Inc Laugh Floor attraction|
|Me, the morning after getting home, exhausted|