“Are you crying? There’s no crying in Walt Disney World!” – Tom Hanks, probably.
Yes, I’m a grown woman who cried at Walt Disney World.
This isn’t the first time I’ve cried while at Disney. I’m sure I had a few childhood tantrums. And there was the time my boyfriend told me he started dating someone else while we were sitting on a bench outside Adventureland. Yes, that happened.
But this was my first time in Walt Disney World, and it started with tears.
And for the record, I am not one to cry very easily. It takes a lot for me to have a public meltdown. At the Orlando airport. And then on the Magical Express bus. And then the lobby of Disney’s Yacht Club. (If you’re counting, that’s three meltdowns in one night, a new record for me.)
So how did this happen? Sit back, relax, and I’ll tell you a little story. Just kidding. It’s a super long story. Grab a snack and a bottle of wine, because you’re going to be here a while.
Also? I didn’t take a lot of pictures on this day because, angry, so I have included a few amusing gifs for your enjoyment.
I’ve talked about it here before, so most of you know the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration (will be referred to as simply “Celebration” going forward) was actually interrupting a family vacation in Cancun. We had planned this vacation with Mr BFT’s family long before I received the invite to the Celebration. Mr. BFT and I had long discussions about what I should do and ultimately decided this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up! So I rearranged my flights to go from LAX to Cancun, then Cancun to Orlando, then Orlando back to LAX. Mr BFT stayed in Mexico with his family and flew home from there. We talked about him flying to Orlando and meeting me after the conference, but ultimately I decided I wanted to do WDW solo so I could be sure to see and do all the things I wanted.
I decided to fly from Cancun to Orlando on Thursday, with the Celebration activities beginning on Thursday night. I wanted to spend as much time as possible with my family in Mexico. There were only two flights from Cancun to Orlando, and I chose the 10:30am flight, which would put me in Orlando at 1:30pm, plenty of time to check in to my hotel and clean up for the Celebration kick off.
When I arrived at the Cancun airport at 8am, I checked in for my flight and was told the flight would be delayed at least an hour. At least an hour? She couldn’t tell me any more than that. I have a bad feeling about this, I thought to myself.
I made it through security and set myself up at a table and did some writing on my laptop. Every 10 minutes or so I would get up and check the status board. My flight was still listed as on time. I was hungry, but too nervous to eat. I wanted to text Mr BFT but I had no internet or cell service.
Around 10:00 the status board updated, and showed my flight was now 2.5 hours delayed. Panic panic panic. A 2.5 hour delay would get me to Orlando at 4pm. I would miss the opening remarks but could still potentially make it to the dessert party inside Epcot. At this point I was starting to feel the hunger so I went to the bar area of Bubba Gumps and ordered a mimosa and breakfast sandwich. While there I met Ernesto who was on my same flight. We got to chatting and turns out he works on the Disney Dream! He is an assistant dining server and was traveling from his home in Mexico to Orlando for his third contract. We talked all about cruises and Disney and how he started working with them (we had a lot of time to talk). What really touched me the most was when he took out an envelope from his backpack. Inside were photos that were sent to him from a family on one of his sailings. He also had children’s drawings and Christmas cards. He was really proud to show them off, and it almost brought me to tears because you could tell he really loves his job and he understands the Disney magic. Ernesto was a total sweetheart. I bought him the beer he was drinking. While we were at the bar, the board updated – another hour delay. 3.5 hours now. I ordered another mimosa.
At some point I got restless and needed to get up and walk. I did a lot of laps around the terminal simply to kill time and keep myself busy. Flight delay and no internet makes Mindy go crazy. Every now and then I would check the flight status board, and at one point it said my flight was delayed until 6pm that night – an 8 hour delay! My heart dropped into my stomach and I started seeing red. By now it was around noon, and the thought of being at that airport for another six hours made me furious! I went to the gate area to try to find anyone with a Jet Blue uniform to find out what was going on. After waiting in a line five or six people deep, I got to the front and learned the 6pm board time was wrong (whew), and our plane had actually just left Orlando and would be here in about two hours. I asked “Are you sure?” probably three times because I didn’t believe them. Then they apologized for the inconvenience and handed me a $15 voucher for lunch. So I went back to Bubba Gumps, made sure Ernesto had gotten his voucher, and ordered lunch.
I spent the next 90 minutes at the bar, eating and drinking and chatting with Ernesto and others from our flight. The board finally updated with the real flight arrival time and gate. Once I arrived at the gate I chatted with more folks on the same flight. It was like we had our own little special bond. “We survived the delay of flight 1714 from Cancun to Orlando.” I handed out business cards since I was explaining to everyone that I was missing the opening night of my conference. At that point I still wasn’t sure if I could make it to the dessert party, but the math wasn’t looking good for me. We all see our plane taxiing to the gate and everyone erupts in cheers.
I decided to break up this story into two posts, since it’s getting so long. How’s that for a cliffhanger? Will our hero get to Orlando? Or will she be stuck in Mexico FOREVER???? Stay tuned for Part Two.