Monday, January 30, 2012

Room For One More

Where can I get this as wallpaper?
So, I dunno if you know this about me, but I have a fantastic fiance named Tom. (I know it's a bit late for this now, but I wonder if I should't have changed his name to protect him from a slew of admirers. Hands off, kiddos. He's mine.) Well, we went down to City Hall in NYC just last week and got a marriage license. (Yes, yes. That means I'm off the market, too. Try not to get too upset. We're open to being just friends with you.) We've been together for a bit over a year now. (He bought me a D23 membership for our one year anniversary. How awesome is that?!?!) I know that I have already told you about our Disney-related meet cute story, so I'm sure that you've been chomping at the bit to hear the engagement story, since, wouldn't you know it, it's Disney-centered as well. Since our wedding is in one week, on September 23rd, I thought that today would be the perfect day to do it.

From our first meeting, Tom and I got very close very quickly. You know that whole soulmate thing? The one we've all made fun of while sitting on our couches watching season five of Sex and the City and cursing our love lives? I found that in him, despite fifteen years of kvetching about how it would never happen. Pretty soon after we got together we started circling the idea of taking things to the next level and putting a ring on it. We talked about it in somewhat general terms and knew an engagement was on the horizon without nailing down when or how the question would actually be popped.

About six months after we met, we planned a trip down to Florida where Tom would meet the fam and we would make a lengthy detour down to Orlando and spend one day in each other four parks in Walt Disney World. Tom had not been down there for about a decade and I hadn't for almost a year myself, which is about 11 months too long, in my lil' ole opinion, so opportunity was ripe and our trip to Disneyland together two months after we met had gone so well that I knew that we would have a blast.

Sigh. So romantic.
Little did he know, bless his heart, that I had a bit of a surprise up my sneaky sleeve. Mama and I had been communicated on the DL about finding rings so I could propose to him while we were in WDW. After many clandestine phone calls and internet links passed back and forth, we decided on a lovely, simple silver band. It was one of those you-know-it-when-you-see-it moments when Mama showed it to me. Seven months prior, I thought I would end up being alone forever, and yet, here I was, seeking out ring advice from my Mama.

The next step was deciding where in the parks I wanted to do the deed. The answer was pretty obvious. Both me and Tom's favorite attraction is The Haunted Mansion. Tom, who's a fantastic musician, loves to play the music from it on the piano and knows the narration by heart (as well as the unused Vincent Price narration from Phantom Manor in Disneyland Paris). I know, I know. It's a bit macabre and weird to propose there unironically considering that we are both pretty much the opposite of goth. But we're also both odd ducks and so in the end it all makes sense.

Stretching Room + 60's =
Tom's dream come true.
Thanks, Shag.
Once that decision was made, then it was time to decide where exactly on the ride to do it. I thought of doing it in the Seance Room with Madame Leota overseeing the proceedings, but quickly decided against it. The scenarios I came up with for giving him a ring during the ride itself were not pretty. What if he gets excited or nervous and drops the ring into the abyss below the track? What if he can't hear or see what I'm trying to do? What if he gets annoyed that I'm interrupting the ride? I quickly ruled that out. Doing it in the queue seemed a little silly, too. Almost like an after thought. "My, this line is long. How to pass the time? Well, I guess I can ask you to marry me."

Then it dawned on me. The Stretching Room. Of course. It's Tom's favorite part of the ride. We even have one of the portraits hanging up in our room. More importantly, though, if he drops the ring we can just pick it up and move on through. The decision was made. The rings were ordered. The trip was planned. Tom suspected nothing save one night where he turned to me and asked, "Are you going to propose to me in front of Cinderella's Castle?" I told him of course not because that would be corny. It was a close call, but I didn't even have to lie to distract him from my ghoulish plan.

We headed down to Florida, where Tom met my awesome mama, my rad sister, and my crazy dad. He made a wonderful impression and a few days later, after I collected the rings and buried them in my luggage, we made our way from Tallahassee down to Orlando. (By the way, every time I say the name of the city, in my mind I sing it like the song from Book of Mormon.) Our first day was in Epcot and so it was easy for me not to get too nervous. I was busy listening to the dulcet tones of Judi Dench explain the history of human communication.

Can you spot the boxes? Tom didn't :)
The next day was the Magic Kingdom. The Magic Kingdom means Liberty Square. Liberty Square means the Haunted Mansion. And the Haunted Mansion means the moment was nigh. The morning was rainy and chilly. I was extra careful to slide the rings and their tell-tale boxes into my hoodie pockets when Tom's back was turned. They were still bulky and so I kept my hands in my pockets the whole morning as we drove to the TTC, took the Monorail over and waited in the rain for the gates to open. Luckily, since it's our fave, we headed straight in that direction first thing. I'm sure Tom noticed something was off with my energy, but probably thought that it was just because the rain rain rain was coming down down down.

I was nervous as the dickens while we made a beeline over and walked right up to the door. It was us and a small British family. They had an adorable little girl with them who kept on asking if there were really ghost in there with her cute little accent. She would jet out from behind her mom, knock on the door real quick-like, and then hide behind the mother's legs again asking if we were all going to turn into ghosts if we went inside. Finally, the door opened and we all went inside and then into the Stretching Room.

I know they smell a bit musty, but they need
a ride to the bachelor party. Please. Anyone?
I had decided that I wanted to wait until after the spiel was over so that a) we wouldn't intrude on other people's vacation with our big proposal production number and 2) so Tom would be able to enjoy the whole thing. After the room had stretched and the door that wasn't there slid open, Tom started to walk away. My heart leapt into my throat, I grabbed him by the elbow and pulled him back, and he looked at me like I had lobsters crawling out of my ears. I got down on one knee, pulled the ring out of my left pocket (that was the one with his size 7 in it), and asked him to marry me.

The rings right after the proposal.
He had a scant moment to process it, but luckily that's all he needed. He said yes, I got up and gave him a kiss and said "Hurry, let's go before they close the door on us!" As we waited to board out Doom Buggy, Tom took the other ring and sealed the deal. I love the Haunted Mansion every time I ride it, but I must say, that was one special trip through. After we got off, we walked outside and the sun had broken through the clouds. The rain had stopped and the weather was absolutely lovely for the rest of the day. I could not have asked for things to have gone any differently. It was a series of perfect moments that I will remember forever.

Don't get any ideas, Tom Tom.
I was so surprised to find someone who fit so well with me, and the fact that he was as big a Disney geek as I was really sealed the deal. With a week until the wedding, and our immediate families soon descending on City Hall in NYC for a small ceremony, I can't help but thank whichever star I wished on that finally decided to listen to me when I said that I had room for one more in my life. That star sent me a mortal who was as foolish as I was. That day I took my loved one by the hand and we watched our step as we boarded the ride. I expect our lives together to be one heckuva swinging wake.


  1. This is so sweet-never thought of the Haunted Mansion as a proposal spot, but I get it: it's my favorite attraction too. I'm guessing that next to the attic bride would not have such good karma, however!
    Lucky you for finding a Disney spouse-I converted mine to Star Trek, but no dice on the Mouse.
    I found this blog yesterday, and really enjoy it. I read almost exclusively about the parks, so your movie recaps are of interest. I have not seen most since the days of VHS and re-releases (by the way, is it just me or has DVD killed non-3D rereleases?)

    1. I'm so happy that you stumbled onto my blog! I am indeed a lucky so-and-so that my spouse not only enables my Disney habit, but shares it.

      I have a LOT of opinions about the way that Disney handles their back catalog releases. They seem very aware of how important keeping the studio's history alive is, but many of their decisions make no sense at all. I'm hoping (somewhat naively) that the Blu-ray format will encourage them to continue releasing older material.