When I last left off, it was time to jump in the shower. Normally, only an hour and a half of sleep would leave me cross eyed, delirious and irritable...not today!
You see, this dream had been several years in the making. I originally applied for the Walt Disney World Moms Panel in '08, then again in '09. I came painfully close last year...but it was not to be. I have always believed that, "If I can dream it, I can do it" (Walt Disney). Another quote I live by is: "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams" (Eleanor Roosevelt). I always tell my children to never give up on their dreams, and to just keep believing. My very beautiful dream had finally come true...and I was incredibly excited to see what the weekend had in store for me :)
I quickly got ready, blew kisses to my kids and at 2:50am I was off to the bus station. Steve told me how proud he was of me for sticking to my dream, and it brought tears to my eyes. His support meant the world to me.
I boarded the 3:30am bus, bound for Boston. My stomach was full of butterflies and I was a bundle of mixed emotions. I updated Facebook, sent texts and a Tweet or two to fellow Panelists while on the ride...and the bus pulled into Logan Airport at 4:45am. My bag was 8 pounds too heavy, so I was grateful I had thought to grab a zippered beach bag on the way out the door. I proceeded to empty 8 pounds worth of shoes and clothes into that bag...no way was I paying an extra $90!! Schlepping my bag full of things, I was off to the gate. I was the first one to arrive ...
Soon a couple joined me and I learned they were off on their first trip to WDW in 15 years. I was more than happy to fill them in on all the "must do's". I met '09 Panelist Jodi at the gate, and was so excited that she would be flying with me. Her seat was directly behind mine, and it was fun to hear little tidbits along the way. :) I tried to sleep a little on the plane, but was quite unsuccessful in that endeavor.
Fellow Panelist Kathie and I had planned to meet at the gates in Orlando. As previously mentioned on my blog, she and I were "fellow rejects" from previous years. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and all in due time. After having the amazing experiences that I did, and forming the friendships that I have...I know this timing was all meant to be! 2010 is without a doubt the year that I am supposed to be serving!
Here is Kathie and I at the gate:
My Dad lives in Florida, and unfortunately I don't get to see him very often. Prior to leaving New England, I had learned that we would have several hours before our first scheduled event. I called Dad and arranged for him to meet me for lunch. :) Upon arrival, Panelists were presented with THE Itinerary in an envelope!! We had been (impatiently) waiting and were SO anxious to read all about what exciting, magical moments waited ahead for us!! Dad met me in the lobby and after checking in, he helped me locate my room. We spent a few moments looking at the view from my window, and reading through the itinerary together. I was giddy...ecstatic...on top of the world!! We headed through the lobby towards lunch where I ran into Diane L and several other Panelists. Dad and I had a wonderful visit and enjoyed lunch at The Wave in the Contemporary. Time flew much too quickly and he was soon on his way back home.
I headed back to my room where I unpacked my things and quickly got settled in. It was a gorgeous room:
The view was lovely, even though it was still raining (and would continue to do so for much of the weekend).
Inside my packet, I discovered THIS...and I squealed with delight. That was MY name!! I can't count the times during the weekend that I had to remind myself that this wasn't all a dream...