As many of you know, my online friend/boyfriend-type person came down from Chicago for the long weekend. It went great!! Here's the report.
Day One, Sat July 2
Got a late start, despite being up and moving before 8 am. Had planned to do some last minute stuff after work on Friday, but ended up having to close and didn't get home until after midnight. Did my packing, a bit of cleaning, had a HUGE fight with my father (this factors in again later), and got to the hotel around 1:30 pm.
We weren't able to stay on property, as booking at the last minute for a holiday weekend means super expensive rates. So we stayed at the Marriott Fairfield Inn near Universal Studios. I was really nervous on the way to the hotel, as I am not normally the type to meet some guy at a hotel for the weekend. But I figured we were doing Disney, how bad could it be?
Chicago Andy (not to be confused with my dad Andy or DaddytoMJM Andrew) was already in the room when I got there. We went through about three minutes of the expected awkwardness, then were chatting like we had known each other all of our lives. We had both been nervous about meeting, and it turned out fabulous!
We had debated back and forth and up and down all sides of various ticket options. Andy hadn't been to the parks in about 10 years, and really didn't understand my obsession. I had told him that going on Monday was non-negotiable, as I had already planned meetups, but that if he only wanted to do the one day it was fine. So you can imagine my shock and excitement when Andy decided what the heck! He was in town, we were getting along great, and he wanted to hit the parks. So we headed for Epcot, where he purchased an Annual Pass A great guy, a nice hotel room, an awesome rental car, and both of us with APs...life is good!!
We headed straight for Soarin'. Standby line was 80 minutes, but Fast Passes were still available so we picked those up and headed out. First stop was the Tangerine Cafe in Morocco. I had raved about the food to him, and it did not disappoint. Great meal, great price, we were happy. Then a quick stroll around WS, rides on the Maelstrom and El Rio del Tempo, then into Future World. We hit Mission:Space and Test Track, neither of which Andy had done before, then Spaceship Earth and Living With the Land to kill time before our Fast Passes. Soarin' was definitely worth the wait. I took charge of getting us into the front row and pointing out the Hidden Mickeys (which would become a theme of the trip), and Andy loved both the ride and the "VIP tour"...yes, I was starting to convert him already!!
We decided to skip Illuminations and head out early, as we had planned to hit PI that night. A quick change of clothes, and we were ready to party the night away. We spent a lot of time in the AC, did the tour of the other clubs (including me kicking his butt at darts in the Beach Club), and caught the 1:00 Comedy Warehouse show.
I hadn't been to PI in awhile, and I noticed some definite changes from the way it used to be. One was the inordinately high number of small children. I know a lot of parents take their kids early in the evening, which I do not condone but do understand, but even at the 1 am CW show, there was a six year old sitting next to us in the front row!! Come on people, utilize the kids clubs or the in-room babysitting! On a better note, PI now offers bucket drink deals--$9.25 for the first drink, served in a beach bucket, then $4.75 for refills. Can't beat that deal, the drinks are huge!! So we drank a bit more than intended, but not "too" much.
Went to Waffle House after to sober up for the drive back, then back to the hotel for some much-needed rest. Poor Andy was exhausted, having been up at 5 am to finish packing and catch a plane.
Day Two, Sun July 3
Despite our late night the previous evening, we were up and moving around 8:30. We took full advantage of the free breakfast at the hotel. The plan was to hit MGM early, then head to my cousin's house in Lakeland to make our audition video for the Amazing Race. But when Andy got online to print out the AR apps, he saw a pop-up, advertising a casting call in Orlando for Monday!!! Talk about incredible timing, it was the only casting call in this area, and it just happened to be on the weekend he was in town! It's gotta be fate
So we cancelled with my cousin and headed to the parks instead. First stop, MGM. We grabbed Fast Passes for Tower of Terror then hit Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. After a disappointing showing in which neither of us even made it to the top ten, we headed back to ToT. I wasn't feeling well, so I sat out the ride and let Andy use both Fast Passes to ride twice. Meanwhile I grabbed our Fast Passes for RRC. Andy came out of ToT having been given a Rider Switch pass from another guest, good for a party of three on any day until 7/9. Since I didn't feel like riding, he decided to save the pass. We took our spin on RRC, rode Star Tours and the Great Movie Ride, and saw the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular.
By this time we were getting really hungry, and we had promised to meet up with both Bonny and Joey at the MK that night for Fantasy in the Sky. So we left MGM and went to lunch at Chili's at Crossroads. Monterey Chicken is good stuff. Then it was off to the Kingdom.
We grabbed Fast Passes for Space Mountain, which would not be valid until 10:45 pm, then took a tour around the park. Naturally, it being 4th of July weekend, lines were ridiculously long, but we toured Mickey's house and shopped our way around the park. Soon it was time to meet up with Joey and Bonny and crew at the disabled parade viewing in the Hub.
The meetup was great!! Really enjoyed finally meeting Joey and his lady friend Karen, and of course Bonny and company are always a pleasure. Andy and I ended up buying MJ one of those light-up spinny things with Tinkerbell on it, which she then had great fun spinning right in our faces and bumping our noses with. Good times, good times. We also gave Joey our Rider Switch pass for ToT, as he mentioned that they were headed to MGM the next morning.
I was disappointed in the fireworks. The show seemed sadly lacking compared to that of past years. It was good, but not great. At least the company was enjoyable.
Joey left right after to hit some rides, and we agreed to meet up with him at Space Mountain to use our Fast Passes. Andy and I stayed to watch Spectro with Bonny and family. This is when the pre-trip drama with my father interjected itself into the vacation. I had tried a few times to call him and he refused to answer, so by this point I was a little concerned. He had apparently spoken with Bonny, who now found herself in the uncomfortable position of mediator. Meanwhile I was concerned, Andy knew I was concerned, and the whole situation became messy and awkward for all involved. Fortunately both Bonny and Andy are reasonable, mature people and the mess was able to be smoothed over as far as our group was concerned, and the awkwardness quickly passed.
It's always fun to watch MJ enjoying things, and she had really taken to Andy immediately. So watching Spectro with her was a special treat, as was watching her and Andy interact. Unfortunately, by the time the parade ended we did not make it to our scheduled SM meetup with Joey in time.
So we used our SM Fast Passes, then braved the lines for Splash and Thunder before heading to HM to catch last ride. I was disappointed though, when I did last ride last week, one of the CMs did a ride-through in the car behind us, standing the whole ride, turning around in the car to interact with us, and generally having fun. Alas, no CM ride-throughs this time Was great fun anyway though, the HM is definitely creepier at 1 am.
Back to the hotel and back to dreamland.
Day Three, Mon July 4
We got moving late today. We had planned to meet up with my father early at MK before heading out for the AR audition, but since my dad was no longer speaking to me, and had informed Bonny that he would not be visiting the parks that day, there was no point. We had breakfast and hung around the hotel for awhile, finally leaving around 11:00 am.
We decided to make the drive to downtown Orlando first thing, to locate the audition area. At this point we were still planning to go to the parks for a couple of hours, then come back to the audition (open casting call from 4-7 pm). But when we arrived at Wall Street Plaza, a line was already forming. We decided to change our plans and just stay put, getting ourselves spot #6 in line. Had lunch from a bar/restaurant right there in Wall Street, and had a fabulous time filling out our apps and getting to know our competition. The audition was short and sweet--on camera, two minutes exactly to tell the producers why we should be cast, no re-takes. We were out by 4:15 and headed back to the MK.
We had discussed meeting Bonny at MGM, and Joey at Epcot that day, and sincerely hope neither is mad at us, but Andy hadn't had the opportunity to really do any rides at MK and would be leaving the next day.
Despite the dire warnings that the MK would be at capacity for the 4th, a lot of people had apparently already left by the time we arrived, as we were able to park close and the park was not much busier than on any summer weekend. Fantasyland was jammed, so we decided to skip it, but the other lands were not horrifically crowded. We grabbed FP for Space Mountain (11:45 return time, yikes!), rode the TTA (is there ever a wait for that thing?) then hit Adventureland, where we did Pirates (20 minute wait), Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse (no wait, obviously), and the Jungle Cruise. Our skipper was horrid! The last twenty or so times I was on it, I must have lucked out, because my skippers were terrific. But just my luck, the day I took Andrew we got the skipper who couldn't spiel to save her life. After that, I realized that the blister I had developed on Day One (note to self, Disney is not the best place to break in brand-new combat boots) had ripped open and gotten infected, and I was suddenly in a lot of pain. So off to Mickey First Aid, in the middle of the crowds now vying for spots for Fantasy.
First Aid was surprisingly un-crowded though, and within five minutes my blister had been doctored with antibiotic ointment and a nice cushy band-aid. I took a couple of Advil and was on the road again. Unfortunately my blood sugar was now plummeting, so we headed back to Adventureland and stood in a long line for a Dole Whip...which Andy had never tried and really enjoyed (more conversion going on...hehehe)
We finally made it into line for Splash along with a thousand of our closest friends, just as the fireworks ended. We got lucky though, getting in with just a 40 minute wait. As we exited we noticed that the wait time was now up to 70 minutes. We got FP for Thunder then went ahead and rode standby (30 minute wait). After a couple more rides on Thunder, the Splash line was down to 20 minutes, I think because the first Spectro was getting ready to roll. So we spent most of the evening going back and forth between Thunder and Splash.
We then headed to Tomorrowland to use our SM FP. We got in one ride, then decided to ride the Astro Orbiter before getting in line for last ride on SM. Unfortunately, last ride was not to be, as the ride went down while we were on Astro Orbiter. Took our time strolling out, then went to Steak n Shake for food before returning to the hotel to pass out.
Day Four, Tues July 5
I had been really sad the night before, thinking about Andy and me, knowing he would be leaving the next day, and wondering what was going to happen after he went back to Chicago. He knew this, and made it his personal mission to keep me smiling all day.
It started with breakfast in bed. At 8 am he woke me, bearing a tray of goodies from downstairs. What a sweet guy, huh? Eating, showering, packing up, and messing around at the hotel took us till our 11 am checkout. I think neither of us really wanted to leave. We were actually scheduled to go to Bonny's house in the early afternoon (I'm so sorry Bonny, I'll talk to you about it later), but we got involved in one of those necessary "where is this relationship headed" talks. His flight didn't leave till 7:20, so when we had to check out of the hotel, we decided to continue the talk at MGM. Back and forth a few times between RRC and ToT, discussing our relationship and our future while standing in line. He now understands why I think of the parks as a hangout, and why I feel that they are a great backdrop for meaningful conversation (sensing a theme here? the transformation is almost complete, he is becoming one of us )
All too soon, it was time to leave. We headed to Chevy's for a late lunch (yummy) and a Prickly Pear margarita (so-so). Then he brought me home, where he had time to take a quick glance around the place and meet my dad for all of two seconds. At least my dad was civil, which is good for him when we're fighting. I'm glad Andy was running late to the airport though, cause we didn't have enough time to get into really sad goodbyes.
Thoughts About the Trip
Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous weekend!! Andy is absolutely amazing, and we hit it off well. He truly didn't understand the whole Disney thing, but after his four day vacation he really gets it now We're definitely planning to do it again during value season, this time staying on property As for our relationship, at this point we are dating exclusively. We're both aware of the pitfalls of long-distance relationships, but we're willing to give it a try. We're not expecting it to work out, but we're not expecting it not to work out. And most importantly, at this point, neither of us is moving or anything. I think no matter what happens and how it all works out, we'll stay extremely close friends. I'm going to Chicago next month to see him, then we'll alternate every month or so. Hoping we make it onto Amazing Race, that would definitely give us a chance to get to know each other and explore our relationship...wish us luck!!!
Had a great time...as often as I'm in the parks, it's still not the same as doing a whole vacation. Was a truly good time! If anyone has any questions, I would be more than happy to answer them! Thank you for reading!
Sounds terrific, Lisa! I'm so happy for you! :yeah:
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It sounds like a great weekend! I am so glad y'all got along well, I wish you great success in that relationship. It will be hard, but the good things are worth it.
I hope you make it onto the amazing Race (one of my FAV shows!) cause then I can say I know someone on the show and I will definately have someone to root for!!
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