If you’re new to this story you can catch part 1/day 0 here.
Sarah and I woke up extremely early to catch our flight. I’m talking 5 a.m. early. Normally you can’t wake me up before 7 a.m., but catching a flight to Disney is a whole other story! I quickly popped out of bed and got ready for the day. Sarah’s husband drove us to the airport.
We breezed through security (the perks of flying at a super tiny airport!) and then waited at our gate for about an hour where I was happily distracted by the therapy dogs they brought around for anxiety. I don’t have anxiety about flying, but if I get a chance to play with a puppy I’m playing with a puppy!
Once we boarded, we were all getting settled into our seats. I sat next to a really sweet family who was also going to Disney. We chatted for a few minutes about our Disney plans and then I got my GRE prep book and began to study. However I was quickly interrupted with screams and yells. Two men bounded on to the plane full force running! One had a handkerchief filled with what appeared to be ice held over his bloody face! “We’re here! We’re here! We made it! We made it just in time!” the other man yelled as he looked for his and his bloody friends seat numbers, quickly walking down the aisle.
At this point the whole flight was alarmed. Lucky for me they sat diagonally across from my seat so I got a front row view of the action.
The flight attendants, who were visibly shaken and concerned came over to the two men. “Are you okay? What happened? Are you sure you’re okay to travel?”
The bloody man (that’s what I refer to him as) had to have his friend communicate for him since his whole lip was blown up to the size of a banana and blood was still dripping from his fresh wound. His friend explained that they were playing with a very gentle and sweetly natured pitbull when the dog got confused and bit his friends face. But it was okay, they went to the doctor for stitches (I always thought that stopped bleeding??) and were told to put ice on it for the swelling. But all was okay, because the dog it just so sweet and would never hurt a fly. She just got confused in all of the “playful fun” they were having. Yeah, okay buddy.
The rest of the flight was a lot calmer and less eventful. Thank goodness! I was anxious to get to Disney, but even more anxious to see Erin. I had texted her a little bit, but I was ready to really talk to her and see how she was doing. Texting just can’t convey emotions or comfort the way conversation can.
Sarah was smart enough to remember to bring snacks to which I thankfully munched on. I was excited for Disney food, but my lack of planning just made me hungry for any food!
Once we landed at the Sanford airport we gathered our carry on’s and were off! We skipped luggage check as we had already sent our luggage in the car with my mom, Erin, and Heather. We walked to the car rental center and once Sarah had paid and signed all of the paper work we walked outside to the parking lot. Boy, did that Florida sun feel good!
We were so hungry at this point that we knew we would never make it to Disney property before we both had severe cases of “hangriness”.
We saw a sign for a Chik-Fil-A and happily drove towards the exit. Once we were there we ordered our food and I waited for our name to be called while Sarah used the restroom. A Chik-Fil-A worker behind the counter was holding a frosted lemonade (I highly recommend these, by the way) calling out the name on the order as “Deb-orr-ahhh!”. The crowd was silent. She yelled the name again. Still silence. I turned thinking “What kind of name is “Deb-orr-ahh”? She yelled again, “Deb-orr-ahh!”. All of a sudden a woman walks up and says “Debra?” and takes the drink. I laughed so hard at this since my name always gets mispronounced. I felt her pain.
We continued to drive and finally made it to beautiful Orlando! Our GPS took us to Disney Springs (where we would be staying in the Best Western) by way of the Disney College Program Housing. I screamed as I saw the friendly familiar sign that read “Little Lake Bryan”. Oh, how I missed the palm tree lined pathways and the bus stops full of costumed cast members.
Heather, Erin, and my Mom were still napping, but Sarah and I were ready for some Disney! We made a B-line for the outlets where we spent a good amount of time at the Disney Outlet. We didn’t buy too much, I got a Mickey Mouse phone case and Sarah got some Christmas décor.
After the girls woke up we let Erin decide what to do next. This was her trip after all. She recommended Disney Springs, which was particularly exciting to me since I hadn’t been here since it was Downtown Disney. On the walk there from our room, I got to talk with Erin. To my surprise she seemed really quite good. She wasn’t her Disney vacation self, of course, but she was doing well. I was proud of her for how she handled the situation and how she was composing herself.
We parked in the parking deck (whoa, where did those come from!?) and then headed down the stairs towards The Springs (that’s what the locals call it don’t ya know). Everything looked so much fancier! There were water fountains, twinkle lights, and upscale stores like Anthropologie and Lilly Pulitzer. The Disney music they used to play on the speakers had now matured into soft instrumental Disney music, only recognizable to an attuned ear. I felt like I should be wearing heels and a trendy, designer dress. My Toms and jean shorts definitely gave me away as a tourist.
Once we were done touring “grown up Downtown Disney” we decided we were hungry. We all agreed that The Kona Café would be an ideal first night’s meal.
Once there, I think we all ordered the Pan-Asian noodles with shrimp. It was delicious as always! A family favorite. We could see the glowing purple castle from the windows of the Polynesian. The castle, to us, was a sign of what was to come the following day. To Erin, I believe that castle was a sign that dreams really do come true, and if not today, than surely tomorrow.