Show of hands if this pandemic has left you, too, feeling wildly imbalanced. I know that over here in Sandraville, I have spent the past six months vacillating between frantic highs (back-busting stretches of gardening, mad cleaning, and a fun new obsession with keeping my lawn watered) and why-effin-bother lows (silly crying jags, disinterest in seemingly everything, and boredom that probably borders on clinical.) Most days I get along just fine, going about my life like most of us are – cautiously, probably a bit timidly, but trying. Sometimes showing up is 90 percent of the battle.
But the temptation to slide into pandemic pity has been, on occasion, overwhelmingly tempting. I want to wallow, even when I know – especially when I know – that wallowing is unproductive, and just plain makes me feel bad.
So with the desire to banish those bad feelings for a little bit, Mr. Finger Candy and I recently sat down and talked about all of the things we were fortunate enough to experience pre-pandemic – our year and a half of indulgent Disney vacations chief among them – and how very, very lucky we were to have been given that time. It was a wonderful lesson in a gratitude, and a timely reminder to count our many blessings.
It’s in that spirit that I now present to you THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE! No, really, with zero disrespect to the many important dates and events in my life (high school and university graduations, first date with my husband, our wedding…) this day – October 31st, 2018 – ranks as the absolute best. 🙂
It starts with an obsession with twenty one pilots, Halloween and Disney vacations, as all good stories do. We were – and still are – mad as Hatters for our favourite band, twenty one pilots. We were also going to be celebrating our 14th wedding anniversary – yup, we were married on October 31st – with a trip to Disney World. So when we found ourselves with Halloween tickets to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, an after hours event held at the Magic Kingdom, we decided to dress up like two different video versions of TOP’s enigmatic frontman and maestro, Tyler Joseph.
At the time I proposed attending the party en costume, Mr. Finger Candy lamented that no one was going to know who we were. “Husband of little faith!” I admonished. “Okay, so not everyone is going to know who we are. But the RIGHT people are going to know.” Sure enough, we were in the park maybe 10 minutes before I began hearing delighted cries of, “Hey look, twenty one pilots!” Rock star cosplay – it’s what’s for breakfast.
Actually, what was for breakfast was this obscenely rich – TOO RICH – Poison Apple Cupcake, an $8 item from the Main Street Starbucks (“Home of the Half-Hour Lineup”) that was all Instagram and no taste. It was a real one-and-done, as in take one bite and you’re done. Cute, but way, WAY too much. I generally prefer far less Red Food Dye No. 4 in my baked goods.
We then skipped up Main Street to the hub, where we took the requisite photo in front of Cinderella Castle.
Actually, we snapped photos all over the place. When in Disney!
We got stuck on It’s a Small World – you have no idea how small that world truly is when you’re creeping through it at .3 nautical miles an hour – and nearly missed our lunch reservations at Be Our Guest, the Beauty and the Beast themed restaurant in New Fantasyland. As a reward for our stress, anxiety and patience (what are we going to do, bail out in the middle of Equatorial Africa and wade our way to the exit?) we were blessed with a total sweep of the It’s a Small World goodbye boards. Ciao, Belle-a!
Speaking of, lunch at Be Our Guest – a first for us; we’re normally breakfast people at this amazing themed restaurant – was the very definition of scrum-diddily-yum. My husband continues to rhapsodize about the vegetarian French onion soup two years on, and I think I once had a sexy dream about the beef dip. 😉
This restaurant has special meaning for us. It’s where we like to go for our most romantic and special meals – an anniversary breakfast, now an anniversary lunch, and one very lovely (and very late) Christmas Day dinner. We normally like to grab a table in the West Wing, where thunder and lightning flash throughout the room and the Beast’s shredded portrait morphs from human to monster and back again, but for this meal we snuggled up for the first time in the library, where a gigantic music box of Belle and the Beast twirled gently in the center of the room, tinkling softly.
Between our late lunch and the start of the party, we hit up some rides – nothing that would muss up our costumes too much (sorry, Space, Splash and Big Thunder Mountains.) Instead we kicked back with multiple stately rides on the PeopleMover, a surprisingly zippy, magnet-powered Walt original. Whilst in Tomorrowland, we also tried out our fun new identities as Tyler Two Space Pilots on Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, a black-lit, neon-splattered shoot-the-target ride. And we concluded our time in Tomorrowland with a showing of the Carousel of Progress, a moving, animatronic stage show depicting one American family’s relationship to innovation and progress across the last 100 years. Sounds like a total snooze, but I assure you, it’s a delightful hoot. Also, 22 minutes of seated air conditioning.
It was also in the Tomorrowland bathrooms where I bemusedly overheard a little girl and her mom discussing my costume, with the mom furiously trying to shush her daughter as she, in her best approximation of sotto voce, LOUDLY grilled her mother as to whether she, too, had seen the funny, dirty girl with the crud on her neck. Heh.
Once the sun began to set, we picked up our party wristbands, grabbed a couple of sacks and hit up the innumerable trick-or-treat trails. And we CLEANED UP, because we were SUPER INTO IT. You can’t help but throw candy at the costumed adults shouting “Trick-or-Treat!” and excitedly swapping goodies as they hustle off to the next candy stop. By the end of the evening we had amassed two bulging sacks of candy (PB Snickers, Mars, Skittles, M&Ms and enough Starburst to power an 11-year-old’s birthday party) – or about five pounds of miniature sized sweets that I had to declare and explain to an amused TSA agent on our journey back home. No ragrets!
In between ducking down dimly lit treat trails (or very brightly lit treat trails, in the case of the ones set up inside an attraction) we hit up Pirates of the Caribbean, which featured live actors dotted throughout the ride. I didn’t find that they really added a whole lot to the experience (you want scary, try getting stuck on Pirates for 45 minutes!) but Mr. Finger Candy always loves an excuse to “YEE-AAAARRRGGHH!” with impunity. We also ambled back over to the Haunted Mansion in Liberty Square for the first of the evening’s three rides, which is 10 fewer rides than we took the Halloween previous, when we rode the Mansion 13 times in one day for our 13th wedding anniversary.
Back in Fantasyland, we met Pooh and the rest of the Hundred Acre Wood gang, likewise resplendent in their Halloween costumes. I think Tigger was a big TOP fan, because he kept gesturing excitedly to his neck.
In between riding rides, meeting cool characters, amassing a ridiculous amount of candy and fielding a ton of questions about our costumes, we nabbed an amazing spot in Frontierland for the 11 pm parade, and spent our wait time goofing around with one of the Disney PhotoPass photographers.
Mickey’s Boo to You Parade was so much fun! Here, see for yourself in this video I made of the first Not So Scary we attended earlier in the season (though in this case I failed to record the very best part of the parade – literally dropped my phone – which my husband refers to as Jafar making f**k-eyes at his wife. What can I say, the baddies like me.)
We closed out the night with the midnight showing of the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular, a mildly raunchy stage show featuring the Sanderson Sisters, as well as a whole host of other Disney baddies, including Mr. Oogie Boogie Man, Cruella DeVil, Dr. Facilier, Hades and, once again, Jafar (boy, that guy gets around.) My favourite part of the show were the lights and images that they projected onto Cinderella Castle. Gorgeous.
At that point it was about one o’clock in the morning, so with the tenderest of tootsies, arms laden with bulging sacks of candy, and completely jacked on high fructose corn syrup, we boarded a bus back to our resort…and then began the whole thing all over again five hours later! We are nothing if not committed Disney travelers.
So what made this day the very best? Well, not-so-simply because I was doing something so special, with the most beloved person in my life, on our most important day, dressed like my favourite musician, on my very favourite holiday, in the most magical place on earth. And a Disney villain tried to make me his snake bride. How could that not be the best day of my life? 😉 And one that I have very much enjoyed sharing with you. Thanks for coming along on this gratitude-affirming look back on one of those days that makes life worth living.