Michael and I met in November 2012. It truly was a deep connection from the start, and I could write a whole book on our love story. For now, I'm sticking to how we got here, to our ENGAGEMENT (still surreal saying that)! Shortly after we started dating, we were talking about different places we'd been and I learned that he had NEVER been to Disney World. I couldn't believe it. I absolutely LOVE Disney anything...I grew up watching Disney movies on repeat, have dressed up as Disney princesses, and had been to Disney several times (Florida and California). As our relationship progressed and we started "vacation dreaming," we decided to make Disney one of the trips we would take in the not-too-far-off future. We even started a savings jar for our trip, and planned to go in 2014.
|My very first trip to Disney World, circa 1992|
It took some time for it to sink in. It truly did not feel "real" to me until we drove under the famous Walt Disney World arch on our first day there. But...I started planning, reading blogs, booking dining, getting a few new outfits to wear, and making a countdown sign for us to see how close it was getting.
Leading up to the trip, that's exactly what I was focused on. The TRIP. The VACATION. DISNEY WORLD!! As I started telling friends about our plans to go to Disney, over and over again, they would respond with "Oh, I bet he proposes while you're there." I would brush it off, saying "Probably not..." Michael and I had been talking about getting engaged within a year or so, but I didn't suspect anything to be happening any time soon. But, I would be lying if I said those little whispers didn't get me hoping a little. What Disney girl wouldn't LOVE to get proposed to at Disney World? What I expected to happen was for him to propose in front of the castle or something like that IF he did propose on the trip.
So Michael and I got to Orlando the day before our first day at the parks. Part of making this trip happen was booking HORRIBLE, cheap hotels. We got into Orlando on Wednesday, showered, and did Downtown Disney the first day. It was a nice way to start our trip and get into the Disney spirit. That night, we both slept horribly. On Thursday, we got up, showered, got dressed, and headed to Port Orleans Riverside (The Disney Resort we were staying at that night) to see if we could at least drop our bags off. We were tired, hungry, and not too cheerful, but also excited to start our day at Disney World. To our surprise, our room was ready when we got there at 7:30am!! This was such a nice surprise! So, we unloaded the car, squealed at how amazing our room and the resort were, and then jumped on a bus to head to Magic Kingdom.
I won't go through every detail of our day, but will tell you that it was awesome! With resort reservations, we were able to get in a little earlier than other guests, so got in a few rides before the lines were long. We took lots of pictures, met some characters, and rode a lot of the attractions. It was a HOT and HUMID day. After Splash Mountain, we made a plan to go get some ice cream and then head to Animal Kingdom. Unfortunately, the train was stopped, which meant we couldn't get to a bus or the Monorail without going through the parade crowd. By the time we could, we decided to just head back to the room for a little rest before our evening out.
Before the trip, Michael suggested we dress a little nicer for our dinner at the castle. So after a much needed break in the room, a little pizza, and showers, we got all dressed up and headed to the bus stop.
|At our Disney Resort, Port Orleans Riverside, right before dinner.|
I remember throughout the day and especially at this point, Michael had been pretty quiet and a little "off". I definitely asked him at least 10 times if he was okay, if something was wrong, and even if he was enjoying himself. This is the Happiest Place on Earth! How could you not be boasting with excitement? But, he reassured me, saying he was fine, he was LOVING Disney, and maybe he was just a little tired.
We got to the park I think around 7:30 or so. We headed straight to the restaurant to see if we could check in and make sure everything was set with the reservations (Michael did this while I stood aside...little did I know what plans he was actually checking on). He came back and told me we can't check in until 9:00 but we needed to stay close-by. They had already let us through one set of ropes and would soon be roping off even more so they could prepare for the fireworks.
We went in a few souvenir shops and enjoyed site-seeing. While we were in one of those shops (Castle Couture, right next to the castle), Michael spotted a small room where there was a photo backdrop and a photographer. We took advantage and asked her to snap some pictures of us before dinner. I was so glad we found this little gem! The photographer really took her time with us, posed us several different ways, and even took some extra pictures.
After our "photo shoot" we still had a little time to kill, so we rode the carousel. Not the most thrilling ride, but it was definitely part of this memory for me...listening to Disney music on the organs, all lit up, and looking out at the glowing castle.
By this time, it was about 8:50, so we went over to the castle (which was already roped off) and waited until our check-in time. Around 9:00, we checked in, and were brought into a waiting area right inside the building. Cinderella arrived, and we took our picture with her. Then we took a seat along the wall, and waited. And waited. And waited. We were starting to get pretty hungry, and Michael was (I learned later) starting to get really nervous we wouldn't be seated in time for the fireworks. The hostess came over and took Michael to the front, apologized for our long wait, and gave us two BONUS Fast Passes to use whenever we wanted. I do have to say, they were very apologetic, and although we were a little frustrated, it wasn't that bad of a wait.
After waiting for about 40 minutes, the fireworks began going off. The hostess ran over, and told us we could go out and watch the fireworks if we wanted, and she would let us know when our table was ready. We went out and started watching the fireworks in the tunnel of the castle with a small group of people. We were only there about 2 minutes when the hostess came running back and said we could be seated if we were ready. We decided to go ahead and head inside.
I cannot even describe to you the elegance of this room. The incredible view of the fireworks. The fantastic service. We were seated at a romantic, two-person table in front of a beautiful window. We were given two "Wishing Stars" as we sat down, as well as our menus. I could hardly be bothered with the menu because I was so overwhelmed with the fireworks show. I have never been so close. You could feel the explosions vibrate in your body, and had to squint a little because they were so bright! They also had the music for the show playing on the speakers, so it was all coordinated perfectly.
Our server came back with some bread and took our food orders, and also gave me a magic wand, and Michael a sword. Michael and I both got the Crab and Corn Chowder for an appetizer, which was SOOO good. Before I had even finished my soup, our dinner arrived, Steak and Shrimp for both of us. The fireworks show came to an end and I remember saying over and over to Michael, "This is awesome! So cool! Amazing!" As we are eating our meal, the Princesses were announced one by one, and came out to individually visit our tables. Before they introduced each Princess, trumpets would play pretty loud, so you knew a new princess was entering the room. We had fun meeting the princesses, Snow White, Aurora, Merida. They all would say something to Michael about how he needs to take care of me, how I was his princess, all those sweet and cheesy things. At some point during this time, we finished our dinners and our plates were cleared. Dessert was next.
The trumpets sounded again. I looked to the doorway, where the new Princess would come out, but didn't see anyone coming, so I turned back to Michael. Our server came over and set down a white plate in front of me covered in a white dome. He said something like "This is for you, Princess..." and took away the dome. On the plate was a bed of red rose petals and a glass slipper. I was confused.
I'm thinking "Uhh...I didn't order this" and "Where is my dessert?!?!" I look at Michael and he's grinning. I know I looked at him and at the plate several times, frozen, stunned, and speechless. "Well, read it!" he says. I read the side that is facing me and it says Stacey & Michael. The date, July 24, 2014 is engraved on the bottom. I said, "Aww!!" as turn it over to read the engraving on the other side.
Will you marry me? Wait...what?!?!? At this point, Michael is shuffling around. I realize what is happening and look up at him, tears filling my eyes, lips quivering.
He gets up from his seat and gets down on one knee, and I am trembling. I cover my mouth, and the realness of this moment is setting in.
I have always heard women say that at this moment, they don't remember anything. It's almost like they black out and can't even draw the strength to take in the words that are said. I've never believed it...but that is exactly what happens. I vaguely remember a photographer being there. I do remember guests at other tables gasping. I remember his face. His hopeful eyes, his proud and loving smile. Gosh, it's making me tear up again as I write this!
I untie the ribbon from the box, and Michael pulls out the smaller box inside. On bended knee, he opens the little black box and asks, "Will you give me the honor of being your prince for the rest of our lives?" At least that's as close to what I remember him saying.
At this point, I am still in shock and still stunned. Michael says it felt like forever before I answered, and he even heard guests behind him asking "Did she say yes?" So I said "Yes!" and kissed and hugged him.
He placed the ring on my finger, and the photographer came over and took several more pictures to capture the moment. I kept trembling for several more minutes, and sighing and looking at Michael, and looking at my ring, and BEAMING with joy.
We were brought two champagne flutes with sparkling apple cider to toast, as well as DELICIOUS desserts that said "Happily Ever After". They also brought us a box for my glass slipper to bring home, "Just Engaged" Buttons to wear, and some pictures of the proposal. Jasmine came to our table last, and was joking with Michael. She said, "I bet you were nervous carrying that ring around today. Good thing Abu isn't here, he loves diamonds, and he would've stolen it!"
Everything was so romantically and incredibly magical, down to the last detail. Michael thought of everything, especially being sure that the whole thing was photographed. After coming down a little bit from the moment, I called my parents and told them before leaving the castle. We went over to Space Mountain immediately after and as we were waiting in line, I texted my sisters, my brother, and my closest girlfriends to share the news. After Space Mountain, it was about time for the park to close, so we started making our way out, meeting a few photographers for some castle pictures along the way.
The rest of the trip was awesome. Being in the afterglow of a marriage proposal in Disney World is something I would highly recommend. With the buttons we had on, we were congratulated by Cast Members, strangers, and even some of the characters. This trip was the absolute best trip of my life and one I will never, ever forget. Disney was always a special place to me, but has taken an even tighter grip on my heart forever. I feel like the luckiest woman in the world to get to share the rest of my life with such a thoughtful, committed, fun, romantic, and loving man...my very own Prince Charming. He definitely has my heart. Forever.
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