Here we go. A break from all things political. I am going to write about something I have been asked about – a lot.

Disney.

I live in Orlando. I am a season passholder at Disney. And a lot of folks have asked me what it is like, after Covid. So I am here to tell ya. It is better than you could even imagine.

First, I loved Disney – but I hate crowds. That made my life and Disney love complex. But, my kids always performed in Disney’s Candlelight – so I had to have a season pass to see them perform each time. (Edited: A season pass isn’t required. But they have performed up to three times each before. Which would be six tickets – a season pass is cheaper. And I go all the time since I got it.)

So here you go, a play by play, of the parks after Covid. When you pull in – they scan your band – and off to park. The park you “ever other spot”. This is to ensure social distancing while you get out of your car. And might I just add, this is brilliant. You can get out and have room. Then, they reload the spaces in between, but you are already in the park. So. Stinking. Smart. DISNEY DON’T EVER CHANGE THIS PLEASE!

Next, you walk in and there are two white tents, and people with the scanning thermometers. Quick temp check, and off you go. And I haven’t had a temp, and have walked 100 plus yards in 90 degree heat. I was actually worried it would make me have a temp and I couldn’t get it – but that didn’t happen.

Then you walk through then metal detectors. Once through that, you walk up to the gate, and scan your band again. No fingerprints now. Just scanning the band. I am grateful for that too, because I could never remember which finger I scanned. We have yet to stand in line at the gate. Have literally walked through every step of the way.

Once inside – it is glorious. It’s different. But I like it. No one is on top of you. The waits for rides, are tiny. You can do more than two rides a day, if you choose. The only thing that I found hard, was finding a place to sit and eat or drink. And let me be clear, it isn’t that it was hard, we always found one, it just took a few minutes.

There are a few things that are closed, but none of it affected me, or my good time. I felt safe, it was clean, people were polite, and it was a great experience. The only thing that I think is weird. Is that they require that you leave your masks on with the Disney Photographer. You are over six feet away from them, so I don’t get that – but, go with the flow, right?

We got some amazing food though, some great pics, and the animals in the Animal Kingdom don’t know that there is a pandemic going on. We rode the Safari ride a few times, and saw something new and different each time!

We had amazing food. And amazing fun. Then, we decided to try Universal.

I love Harry Potter. Obviously. So let’s go.

I have been to Universal before. I loved it! This trip thought? It was terrible. You can’t make reservations, so you show up and hope. I wasn’t a fan of Disney having reservations, but it keeps the crowds down – and guarantees your admittance. We wanted to go into Islands of Adventures – but we never made it there. We got there early in the morning, and it was already at capacity. So we went to Universal Studios side.

I have absolutely zero idea how it wasn’t at capacity. I am not sure what their capacity is. And I mean, capacity Pre-Covid. I am not one who panics, etc. But being in there, no less during a pandemic – I was out. In less than an hour. We tried to get a soda. It took 15 minutes, and there was no wait. They guy didn’t know how to use the cash register. Another guy was fixing the soda machine, and then when we got it – it was gross. The employees were less than polite, there was zero spacing on rides, with the exception of two. People were literally standing on top of each other. We rode nothing. We only went into shops to get away from people, and got out free and clear. I only got a couple pics. Here ya go. And that’s from CityWalk. Not even Universal. And you know, if I didn’t take pics – It was seriously bad.

So, wanna go to a park? Disney is the way to go. It’s clean. Hand sanitizer every where. Not crowded. I actually enjoyed it more than Pre-Covid.

Universal? Stay home. Or maybe go during the day during the week? On both all trips, we went on the weekend – but maybe a weekday would be better. But I won’t be back to Universal on the weekend for awhile. We said we would try it one day, and I would take a weekday off – but I am still not excited about it.

To me? Disney won hands down – not even close. I pray that they can bring back some of their employees soon! They are doing so great!

Anyway – if you got any questions… Please ask them! And even if you aren’t comfortable going out much yet, Do some fun things. You deserve it. Get out and live whether it’s dancing in the rain with your sweetie in the backyard, or going to Disney for a day. Do what is comfortable for you – but have fun doing it!

And most importantly –

LOVE FULLY. LIVE FULLY. SHINE ON.

Sat Nam.

I’m gonna tell this story completely Sophia Patrillo style.

Picture it. Orlando Florida. November 5, 2019. Back in February, I had made plans to do the “Eat to the Beat” with my oldest son, for the Boys 2 Men Concert. I had completely forgotten about it, until two weeks before, when I got a reminder email. And when I got that email – I was soooo stoked! You know, it was like a little gift you got yourself, but you had forgotten about it. It was awesome.

*Backstory – Eat to the beat is a dining experience at Epcot here in Orlando. You go have a nice dinner at one of the Disney Restaurants, and then you get preferred seating to the show. For Boys 2 Men, that’s a big deal.

I tell/remind Tariq about it. He is excited, but not to the extent I am. He is more excited about eating at the Spice Table in Morocco at Epcot than the concert. He’s only 20, remember this. Anyway, we leave work around 2 pm, and head out to Epcot. And let me tell you – I am super excited. Like super excited. We walk around, and then show up at the Spice Table for our 4:15 reservation. And it was amazing.

The food – delicious. The company – impeccable. I mean, everything was fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. We had a seat sitting at the lagoon, which was super cool, too – we watched the boats go back and forth, people riding over – it was great.

Once we are done, we walk over to the American Theater, and get in line for the show. It’s the 6:45 show, so it is dark. The gates open… and we are in. And can I tell you – I literally had the best seat ever. It was perfect.

Then, It begins to sprinkle. And then, a full on monsoon. Did I mention that the American Theater is an amphitheater? No? Well, it is. Luckily, I was one of like 5 rows that were covered. We watch, while people are scurrying to get covered up in their ponchos, shopping bags, or whatever they could find. Then we hear the announcement.

GREAT SEATS!

Ugh. I felt for the soaking wet people. This happens for about 10 minutes. Then… the whole crowd starts singing… “End of the Road”. And it was awesome. Some of the guys (set up guys) come out on stage and are filming this crowd singing in a complete monsoon. It was kinda great. A group of strangers united, and sung together, just from their heart and to get through the storm, (and I’d say the physical and emotional). Just as another announcement begins to start, BOYS 2 MEN WALK OUT.

THE CROWD SINGING IN THE STORM!

Ok, One of the best moments ever in life. Shawn, Wanya, and Nathan walk out. And what are they singing? End of the Road. And it was amazing. Wanya looked at me one time while he was singing. My son was cracking up because he saw his 42 year old momma being a fan girl. And the night was now in full swing. Until the end of the song, that is. And Shawn says, “I am so sorry guys, Disney has cancelled the show, but we had to come out and sing one song for you guys.” B.L.O.W.N.

But then, my son was like, “That is so awesome that they came out and did one song! I get why you love them so much! The are so talented, and that’s so great that they came out in a storm for their fans! I am a Boys 2 Men fan now!” To be honest, his positivity was a touch annoying to me, but hey – I wasn’t going to make it worse by calling him out on it. So, we start our hike out to the car. And it’s storming.

Key info – the American Theater in Epcot – is literally the farthest point away from the gate. So we had a hike to go. And it was storming. And it kept storming. More and more. Once I got to Spaceship Earth, I was falling out of my shoes. So, I had to carry those. So yes, I left Epcot – soaking wet. Makeup running down my face. Barefoot. I literally did a walk of shame out of Disney.

We were at that point, where you don’t even walk fast anymore. You just walk in the torrential downpour that you are in, because it won’t help. And I wanted to cry. I was disappointed. I wanted to see Boys 2 Men. I wanted to have some great memories with my kid, who is a grown man. The older he gets, the more I cherish these times- because I know how fleeting they are.

We get in the car, and my eyelashes have literally fallen off my face. Not my originals… LOL…. the fake ones. I look over at my son and he cracks up. And he says, “This night was great! I will never forget it!” And it hit me. I couldn’t see the forest for the trees.

What did I want? A great dinner, a memorable night, to see Boys 2 Men, and go home happy. What did I get? Just that. And when I reflected back on it – it was nothing what I thought it would look like. It was even better. My son gained an appreciation of one of my favorite groups ever – because they came out and did a song when they weren’t supposed to. My dinner was great. I will never forget walking soaking wet through Epcot barefooted. It wasn’t how I pictured, at all. But it was great. Life seems to be that way.

There are times, that we don’t see how awesome something really is, because it isn’t what we thought it would look like. I am not where I thought I would be at 42. But I am learning, that this is exactly where I am supposed to be, in this moment. And just because things are not what “your plan” was, doesn’t mean that where you are isn’t exactly where you need to be to project yourself to best potential.

So, Boys 2 Men, you are still my fave. And, I will make it to see you again – but it will be hard to top this memory.

And hey, I’m gonna own my Disney Walk of Shame.

Love Fully. Live Fully. Shine on.

Sat nam.