So, have some catching up to do regarding the day to day activities of my adventure thus far.

Friday, once arriving at Orlando airport, I immediately get lost. Luckily, David finds me quickly. Our first meeting face to face ensues, but in some ways, it felt to me like we were just long lost friends reconnecting after many years. He begins to show me the ins and outs of Orlando. But one of the first things we do? Stop at a Wal Mart…can’t seem to escape the place! After picking up a few sundry items, he takes me to his home, where I meet Kathryn, his wife, and Liam, their newborn. Luke, their 20 month old, was down for naptime. From there, David drives me through some of the snazzier neighborhoods, where the likes of Shaquelle O’Neal and Tiger Woods live. These are some of the nicest homes I’ve seen. We show up at his office where he has some business to attend to. But he has a surprise for me. Cezar Cunningham shows up, and I get to meet him face to face! (Cezar is a Jamaican reggae artist and actor and all around artist/businessman who is close to the Mullings family. I have purchased some of his music and I work out to him on a regular basis.) It was such an honor to meet him.

After this we go to Downtown Disney, for dinner at Paradiso 37, a restaurant that features food from the Americas –  North, Central and South. I had beef enchiladas and a Sangarita, (Sangria and Margarita), David has Mahi Mahi Sliders. Delicious food. Downtown Disney was a first for me, and I loved the Disney Magic displayed in the multiple restaurants, stores, street musicians, arcades, and entertainment venues. From its own Cirque de Soliel, La Nouba, to Splitsville, a multi-level bowling alley and restaurant, to its own Lego Store, and a Harley Davidson store, this place has a vibe that is truly unique.

The next day we went to our first park, The Magic Kingdom. One of my favorite rides is a ride that’s not inside any theme park. The Monorail! We ride over via express right through The Contemporary Resort, disembark, and prepare to enter. I began preparing myself, for I knew I was going to be a bit emotional on my return after 26 years. We walk under the tunnel that goes under the train station, and enter Main Street USA, Sure enough, I get a heavy lump in my throat. No tears, just overwhelming emotional release of being reunited to an old “friend”.

I quickly make my way to the end of Main Street to The Crystal Palace, where I have a reservation that I’m late for. Well, sort of. Turns out I made the reservation on the wrong day. So they cancel that one, and quickly seat me for an all you can eat breakfast buffet. The Crystal Palace is also the home to a character breakfast with Winnie the Pooh and friends. Winnie, Piglet, Tigger, and Eyore make the rounds from table to table, posing for pics and hamming it up with guests. Piglet stops by my table to shake my hand. Sorry folks, no pics. I blew it, I know. (sorry Kim…) The breakfast was wonderful, and I love the Victorian theming of the 20th century setting.

I catch up with David, Kathryn and the boys, and we begin the rides. Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (twice for me), Splash Mountain, Country Bear Jamboree, The Haunted Mansion, It’s a Small World, Winnie the Pooh, Peter Pan’s Flight, Stitch’s Great Escape, Monster’s Inc.’s Laugh Floor, Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, Space Mountain, The People Mover, Carrousel of Progress, Mickey’s Philharmagic, The Tea Cups, Tomorrowland Speedway, the Train, and we witness the last half of the Main Street Electrical Parade. We decide to call it a night, so David and I catch part of Wishes, the spectacular Fireworks show, from the ferry over the Seven Seas Lagoon. Then we hop on a tram to our parking lot, Simba 20, and find our way home after a very tiring, but lively and emotional day.

Splash Mountain, Stitch’s Great Escape, Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor, and Mickey’s Philharmagic were all new rides for me. Have to say I love Splash Mountain. Got soaked. It’s just part of the experience you can’t avoid. Also love Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, The Haunted Mansion, and Space Mountain…I love it all, but some of them I’m a bit more endeared to.

David’s Kermit the Frog Mickey Ears drew a lot of attention, as well did Luke his 18 month old, who was flirting with all the ladies.

So, tomorrow I will highlight today and tomorrows activities. This tired boy’s going to bed.

David and Me, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad


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