George and I went to Walt Disney World in September 2013 over the exact year to date of his suicide attempt. Because of my mental health, I did not think I could be at home during the actual dates. I was working through PTSD, anxiety and panics attacks. The happiest place on earth seemed a fitting place to get away. It is where we went on our honeymoon and have visited five times in eight years of marriage.
The night came for our celebratory boat ride, and we were in for a treat! I had a Migraine, but not severe enough to cancel. Once George & I arrived, we met our boat driver who was old enough to have known Walt Disney (he really did). In our scheduling of our cruise, lines had gotten crossed and apparently they thought we were celebrating a birthday and were given the "pirate" boat that had a huge "Happy Birthday" sign on it. It made it more fun and actually it was a celebration of George's life. "Yo-ho-yo-ho a pirate's life for me."
As soon as it was time to get on the boat, it started raining. It didn't start off slow, it just poured. We had ponchos, but were still soaked to the bone. Everything was soaked. Part of the boat was covered, so we had some refuge, but once we started on our way, the spray was...well...wet. It was like sitting in the front of the boat on Splash Mountain. Again, we couldn't help but laugh. Who doesn't like Splash Mountain? The only thing we were missing was the song from the ride: "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah! Zip-A-Dee-A! My! Oh my! What a wonderful day!"
Our driver was chatty, telling us about Walt and special things about the parks, which we enjoyed. We drove down to the area near Disney Hollywood Studios (DHS) before heading back to Epcot for the fireworks. Suddenly our driver stopped talking. The boat's engine stalled and then completely died. We were drifting, in the pouring rain and in the dark. Our driver was a bit hard of hearing, so it was a comedy of errors as he attempted to radio back that we were adrift. The driver couldn't hear the base of operations. And they couldn't understand our driver.
Then came a passenger boat that regularly transports people to and from the resort hotels and DHS. At first they were headed directly for us as we had drifted to the middle of the passageway. Our stressed out driver flagged the boat down and yelled that we needed help.
The honest truth is that the whole time, George and I were cracking up. We tried to keep it to ourselves because our poor driver was frantic. But, we thought it was hilarious that it was one mishap after another. This is exactly what we are used to - everything not going according to plan. But, we actually were enjoying it.
Eventually two rescue boats came for us. Our hard of hearing driver could not hear the rescue driver repeatedly asking him to sit down. We were towed back to the dock. With great haste, we were moved to another boat and our driver raced us to the area where we were supposed to watch the fireworks. It had stopped raining, but the fireworks had already started. Our poor driver was so frazzled that when he opened the box containing our cake, the cake fell sideways into his hands. And I can guarantee they were not clean hands. But, he still served us the cake. George and I exchanged secret smiles while telling our apologetic driver that it was okay he had dumped the 8 inch double layer round cake into his hands. I ate around the contaminated part and it was yummy! The speakers on our side of the lake went in and out during the fireworks presentation, Illuminations, but it really didn't matter. Everything still felt magical.
Had everything gone exactly how a specialty cruise was supposed to go, I do not think we would have had as much fun. We genuinely enjoyed ourselves.
After a quiet and romantic ride back to the dock, upon disembarking, our driver apologized profusely for all the mishaps. Little did he know we tipped him more than we would have had it been exactly what we ordered. Our driver had been so sweet and kind and had been grandfatherly to us. Even through all the craziness, he had done everything possible to make the cruise special and it was special. We even hugged him before we left.
To my husband, George, I love that you laugh with me in the rain. Happy eight years, hon.