God help me I’m way behind in blogging. And I’ve got many entertaining things to blog about — it’s not like we’ve been bored or anything. But one thing I HADN’T been able to write about was Will’s birthday.
He turned 40 this past January, and way back in September I started planning. First we were going to go skiing in Santa Fe, but then a friend of mine said this: “You say he didn’t have the best childhood? You should take him to Walt Disney World so you can recreate his childhood.” I was dumbstruck by that insight, but as she is childless and has gone 4 times with her husband and loved it, I thought she might know something.
The first thing was, how to keep this secret? Because after doing a bunch of research on the web, the first problem was that Disney has very aggressive cookies and now all my ads on my websiteshad Mickey Mouse on them (which Will actually noticed but I lied and said I was doing research for a friend of mine. I lied a lot during this whole thing.) Then, I had to hide paying for it, since we share the same accounts. So I took money I earned writing articles and opened up a secret bank account. I’m pretty sure the people in the bank thought I was having an affair.
It took months of figuring out where to stay, which room, meal plan, how many days, airline stuff, car to pick us up, all the while “pretending” to be busy with other things (in air quotes, since I’m not really pretending to be busy ha ha ha). The week before, I lied some more when Will said I couldn’t use the credit card and I replied, “How am I supposed to buy you a present?” (I already had, with cash). And then I showed him websites of B&B’s a couple of hours away and said maybe we should stay there… the day before we left, Will’s making comments about how he has to go get a chiropractic adjustment because his neck hurts and we should squeeze that in before our drive out and all I replied was, “Uh huh… sure.”
The next morning (2:15 a.m.) I wake up with this GINORMOUS crack of thunder, and considering that I had to wake Will up at 4:00 a.m., I just stayed up and worriedly watched the radar. With good reason, as it turns out. I woke Will up (and was immediately suspicious when he’s remarkably pliable to getting up at that hour), and pile us in a cab, lying some more to Will when he asks if we’re going to the airport, while all the it’s pouring. And I don’t mean a little. Austin got over 5 inches of rain that morning, and our plane was sadly, sadly delayed. I’ll leave the details out, but let’s just say that it was many flights later before we got to Orlando. At this point he still didn’t have any idea where we were going. Until we drove in the entrance to Disney World.
After that, everything was good. I had arranged for a room in the Animal Kingdom Lodge that overlooked a savannah, and this was the view the minute we walked in the room:
We saw zebras, gazelles, some crazy-looking things with horns… every morning and at night. They even had night vision goggles so you could see the animals after the sun went down.
And while I thought it would take Will a little while to warm up to things, he actually really enjoyed it right off the bat. After all, how can you not like drinks with lighted ice cubes:
I nearly had to wrestle Will to the ground to get this picture, but it’s awesome; Christmas photo for sure:
And you can see Will WAY in the back on the left, screaming:
Well, OK, maybe you can’t. But he’s there and I know this because I took pictures of every single train going by and blew them up to find him ;-)
Will was super impressed at the quality of things — how, in Epcot, each of the “countries” were staffed only with people from those countries (the Japanese women loved my t-shirts from Japan!). How easy it was to get gluten-free food, and how the chefs came out to talk to you for that. The attention to detail. I hadn’t known what to expect but it was WAY more than I thought it would be for an adult. Kids, sure — of course they’ll have a good time there. But there was tons of stuff for adults and things we didn’t even get to, like private safaris with authentic African dinners as part of it, performance driving classes, more high-end restaurants (the French restaurant we ate in was simply unbelievable. And not a child in sight.)
He said he’d go back, and considering that he had always been… reluctant isn’t even enough of a description for how he felt about it, I’d say the whole thing was a success.
Oh, and he loves his new watch :-) It WAS his 40th, after all! And he had absolutely NO IDEA — it was a total surprise, which is the awesomest.