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MousePlanet Mailbag for February 10, 2005

Valentine's Day Special

When we announced our Valentine's Day Special Mailbag, we got numerous stories from readers; all of them touching and personal. We think you might end up saying “Awww” a few times over, as we did! Happy Valentine's Day to all our love birds!

Pam Baca dedicates her story to her husband, Rob:

My husband and I vacationed at WDW for our honeymoon. I am the lover of all things Disney, and Rob is my patient and tolerant husband. He, however, is still acquiring his taste for Disney. That's what I think makes our story romantic.

We visited Epcot during the Food and Wine Festival. After a day spent in Future World and the World Showcase, we decided to grab a bench and watch Illuminations [Epcot's fireworks show].

I went to pick up some steins I was having personalized for Rob and he went to seek out a seat. We agreed to meet near China. When I returned, there he was sitting on a bench in front of the China pavilion with the biggest grin on his face. He had pear wine and apple strudel waiting for me. We laughed about having German wine and strudel in China, while in the middle of Florida.

As we sat and watched Illuminations, my decidedly non-Disney husband told me life didn't get much better than this—fireworks over our head, wine in our hands and me sitting next to him. As you probably already know, China is not the best place to view Illuminations and, truthfully, we didn't notice. All I knew was that all was right with the world at that moment and what made it right was Rob.


Matt Ankley dedicates his story to his wife, Jenn:

Greetings, MousePlanet staff! Ask and ye shall receive. Here is how I proposed to my wife 10 years ago at the Adventurer's Club, with the help of several awesome cast members:

My wife (then-girlfriend) was in Orlando on business, and I joined her at the tail end of the trip so we could have a vacation when she was done. When I arrived in town, I began calling around and was soon speaking with the manager of the Adventurer's Club. We set a time and date we would be there (as it was to be a surprise proposal), and I nervously began practicing what I was to say in the mirror of my hotel room. My wife's boss and co-workers were all in on the plan, and we agreed to go out to dinner and some clubs that night. Boy did my wife get mad when she was unanimously overruled when she suggested they go somewhere else than the Adventurer's Club that night!

We all arrived at the Adventurer's Club and sat to have a drink or two. I excused myself to “go to the restroom,” but actually was going to find the Club Manager. I went to a bar, and spoke with a cast member, who warmly replied, “Oh, welcome, Matt. We all are expecting you. Wait here.” Shortly, I was joined not by the club manager, but by a cast member who plays the (Samantha Sterling?) character. We promptly laid out what we could do, and agreed it would be showtime in 15 minutes. OK, I now realized I shouldn't have had that one glass of wine, as I began to feel the biggest, worst case of stagefright I have ever had, and I do a lot of public speaking!

There we were, sitting in the main room at the base of the statue, chatting with our friends and co-workers. Samantha walked by, glanced at my fiance to be, and I nodded that was her. Samantha raised her voice, got up on the stage, and indroduced herself. She began the Adventurer's Club new member initiation (my cue to be ready) and taught the packed room the club creed and secret handshake. She needed someone to help demonstrate, so she asked me to help. Hey—that's my cue! And she said, “Matt, why don't you join me up here!” So up I went, with all those people watching from all the floors! Samantha promptly stepped down and let me have the stage all to myself (yikes!).

There I was, with my girlfriend Jenn wondering what I was up to. “Ladies and Gentlemen, we gather here at the Adventurer's Club to share our stories of adventure from around the world. I'm doing something a little different—I've going to share an adventure I am about to embark on, and I'd like to introduce you to my partner in that adventure…” I said.

I held out my hand to Jenn, who timidly took it and came up on stage. She meekly stood there, with this half-happy, half-goofy, shy and coy smile. I held both her hands and said, “We've been together for 5 years now. We've shared so many adventures so far, and we've stood by each other. It's time we embark on the greatest adventure of all.” I simultaneously dropped to one knee and pulled out my grandmothers wedding ring, our family heirloom.

“Will you marry me?” I said. She replied softly through her sobs of joy, “Yes!” and we hugged. The entire crowed erupted in cheers, and we continued to hug. As the noise died down, the butler rang his bell from the top floor, and shouted, “Attention, attention! Matt, your test results have come back from the clinic!” The crowed erupted in laughter and cheers again!

Immediately after, everyone was congratulating us. We even had two or three people come up to us and ask if that whole thing was real, if we were Disney actors. Wow, so many people were buying us drinks, even though we didn't know who they were! The free drinks even continued after we went to other clubs at Pleasure Island—“Hey! you're the just engaged couple! Let me buy you two a drink!” continued well into the night.

I can't begin to thank everyone at the Adventurer's Club who helped make this such a memorable event. I wanted this to be something that was so special, and it was. To this day we still revel in the experience, and it couldnt have happend without the help of the Disney cast and the willingness to play along. Disney Cast truly made a dream come true that evening- and we caught it on tape.

Now, lets see what kind of memories we can make when we go back for our 10th anniversary this September!

Matt wrote back with some more details:

…The entire club cast worked together to help pull this off, and that was a huge enough gift. I flew in that morning, checked into the Port Orleans resort, and made the calls.

Practiced in front of the mirror, went to meet my then girlfriend and co-workers for dinner, and then off to Pleasure Island. Walked into the club, sat and chatted, and walked up to the bartender—the rest you know!

It was such a wonderful experience, and what the cast did was certainly magical. Our friends went to WDW shortly after and bought us an Adventurer's Club T-shirt, that we still have today. One side note—we had our wedding rings inscribed with a fairly famous quote: “Remember, it all started with a mouse.”


Melissa M. writes:

While the person and I aren't together anymore (but best friends now), this had to be the most magical and memorable day in my life.

I'm a often vistor to the Disney parks. What better way to experince Disney, than to be a cast member. So I went through the College Program process, and moved to Florida in January 2002. My first night there I met Joe, and by the third night of knowing him, we were together and inseperable.

Come Valentine's Day, we had some rough spots in our relationship (…in a month, I know what you are thinking) and he wanted to make my day. So, we left Chatham, and he had me close my eyes the entire time as he drove me to the Magic Kingdom.

We got to the Ticket and Transporation Center, and I headed to the ferry, but he led me to the monorail. We waited for almost an hour so I could ride in the front of the monorail, just like it was when I was kid. We headed into the Magic Kingdom, and he closed my eyes again, and when I opened them, we had on our mouse ears with our names on the back. (which was funny, because he's just about the most “manly guy” I know.)

That whole day was about romance, so we played in the Magic Kingdom for most of the day, then headed to Epcot for a romantic dinner in Paris, then headed back to the Magic Kingdom for my last surprise. We had the best seats ever for the fireworks, and sitting there waiting for me was a Mickey Mouse plush holding roses and the two Valentine's Day limited edition pins. I don't know how he did, but he had some help from his fellow cast members at the Magic Kingdom.

So as the fireworks came to an end, he and I stood up and he kissed me, and there was a photographer waiting to take a picture of that.

Now, how hard is that Valentine's Day to follow, impossible to say the least. But, every time we experinced Disney together during that internship, it was just that way every time.


TJ dedicates his story to his wife:

I asked my wonderful wife to marry me outside the hydrolators after leaving the Living Seas near a garbage can. I coaxed her over to the area just to left of the exit where it's a concrete circle with a bench and garage can. This may not be seen as romantic, however the Living Seas was our first experience at Epcot and I was worried about the ring being in my pocket. Well, I got down on one knee and asked if she would marry me, she said yes, then we proceed to The Land where I ended up being the one crying while waiting for the environmentally friendly film “The Circle of Life.” She was in shock. It was a nice ring!


Al Edwards dedicates his story to his wife, Angela:

Here is my proposal story…

I was struggling on how to propose to Angela. I decided that the only way to really make it special was to rely on my old faithful…the Disney Company. Another reason is that we had been to Disney in September 2002 and she had kind of expected a proposal then so this added to the special meaning of the trip. I booked a vacation for March 26, 2003. I realized much later that this was the day we had met 1 year prior.

We stayed at the Wilderness Lodge Resort (in Walt Disney World) so we could be close to the major resorts, and I like riding the boats to the parks and such. I had told her that we were going to Disney so I could have a meeting with a program director at Disney. (I have done contract work for Disney in the past). We had a really early flight from Atlanta (6 a.m.), checked in and then hit the Magic Kingdom.

We were pretty worn out by the time we got back to the hotel and I was nervous already. I had told her that we had been “comped” a dinner at Victoria and Albert's cause I thought the folks at Disney were going to offer me a full-time position. Total [fabrication], by the way.

We got ready for dinner and went on the boat to the Contemporary and rode the monorail to the Grand Floridian. I had made sure to let the cast members at Victoria & Albert's know that I was going to propose and that I wanted a private table. We got there and I was very surprised to see how small Victoria & Albert's actually is. We had a table that was right next to the harpist, which kicked up the romance factor a couple of notches.

We elected to do the wine pairing with dinner. I was really struggling with choosing the wine pairing over my favorite wine by Silver Oak but I thought the wine pairing would be fun. Boy was I right! After we chose what we wanted from our personalized menus we got a separate glass of wine with the particular dish we were served. What a treat! Every wine was perfect for each course….not the typical red with heavy meat and white with seafood. We even had wine with Sorbet! Let me tell you that I was thinking…"what the heck are they doing serving wine with a sweet dish like sorbet"? Well after a bite of the sorbet I took a drink… the wine actually tasted like the sorbet! Incredible!

Anyway… after the sorbet dessert there was a surprise course. The maitre d' came over with a silver-domed platter and placed it in front of Angela and told her that this was a special dish prepared by me for her. When he took the dome away, there was the ring in a white ring box with rose petals around it and a poem that I had written for her rolled up in front of the ring. The had also just poured a rosé wine that literally tasted like roses. So this is where she figured it all out and started to cry. I read the poem with the harpist playing “How Can I Remember” (from the movie Sabrina) in the background and then got down on one knee and asked her to marry me. She said yes, of course, and here we are!


Steve Brunton writes:

The World Showcase pavillions are largely deserted during and the Illuminations show. With nobody else around, the waterfall area in the Canada pavillion is a nice little romantic spot.

Two other romantic activities are unfortunately no longer available. Discovery Island in Bay Lake with it winding trails, beautiful birds, and limited crowds, was a great spot for two people to stroll.

My second no-longer-available activity for romance was riding the Magic Kingdom Sky Ride during the nighttime fireworks. The ride attendants would allow us to ride back and forth from Fantasyland to Tomorrowland without getting off since nobody was in line. It was great gazing down at the park and up at the fireworks.


Anthony Festa dedicates his story to his fiancée, Kelliann:

Ever since I first visited Walt Disney World for the first time five years ago, I knew right inside Cinderella's Castle would be the perfect place for a wedding proposal whenever I found the right woman. Well, last March I had rekindled a friendship with someone I hadn't spoken to in over 10 years. Within the matter of a couple of weeks, I knew Kelliann was the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. Being that she is in a Master's program in Michigan, I knew it would be difficult to convince her to take time off for a long weekend in Walt Disney World to fulfill my secret plan. However, after only some very light coaxing, she agreed and everything was set in motion.

We made the trip the last week in October and I made sure to purchase tickets to Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party on Sunday the 24th. We both love the Renaissance era, so we brough down our finest garb to don and hit the Magic Kingdom.

I had everything planned right down to the last detail. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to check to make sure the castle would be open during the party. That plan disrupted, my mind started reeling and I quickly tried to come up with another spot that would be just as perfect.

We found ourselves strolling by the lake and I decided to propose right then and there. I cleared my throat, reached into my bag to get the ring… and got upstaged by the Headless Horseman riding past us. When I finally got Kelliann's attention back, I handed her a Micky and Minnie engagement pin and got down on one knee. We both started crying, and to make a long story short, the date is set for December 17, 2005, and you know we will be back to Walt Disney World on December 18 for our honeymoon!


Patrick dedicates his story to his wife, Cheryl:

I have quite a story for you.

My wife and I had our first date (blind date, met online) at the 2001 Christmas Party for Disney Cast Members. We had a wonderful, romantic time, enjoyed each other's company, and the scarcity of people in the park (one of the best things about the CM Christmas Party), and ended the evening by kissing for the first time in front of the Snow White wishing well.

Less than two years later, on Aug 2, 2003, we were married in the exact spot! Bringing friends and a licensed minister into the park (but without telling Disneyland!), we exchanged vows right next to the same wishing well, with our family all around us. A very magical and unique wedding, to be sure.


Peter writes:

Hi, late in 2000, my girlfriend Heather and I went to Disneyworld for New Years 2001. I had planned out a whole week's worth of excitement with the holiday, but nothing more exciting then the ring and proposal I had planned.

We go to Walt Disney World every year, so we really know what we like to do. I booked our stay at the Polyesian Resort and packed our bags. Upon arriving in Orlando from the frozen Northeast, we were a little stunned at the lack of warm Florida air. When we checked in, we found out that events we had planned like the Polynesian luau had been cancelled due to cold weather. On our second day, we went to the Magic Kingdom and spent most the day waiting on lines as the parks were fairly crowded at this peak time.

Right before sunset and dinner, we walked over near the castle. Toward the west side, there is a nice little walkway with benches that even in this crowded time of year was still secluded. It was there I presented the ring and my request for her hand in marriage. She accepted and the following days of freezing temperatures (literally 32 degrees), layers of clothing and red noses were joyous and warm. And, of course, we know that a happy marriage is only made happier with an annual visit to see Mickey. Since we are expected this spring, that means that holiday 2005 will be our first 'family' vacation. We couldn't be happier.


Alison Smith dedicates her story to her husband, Phil:

The first time I went to Walt Disney World with my then-boyfriend, now hubby, Phil, the most romantic evening of my life occurred.

We were in college then and so poor that we shared a room with my parents. About 10 minutes into the trip, Phil came down with a stomach flu and proceeded to spend three days in bed. Not an easy thing when four adults are all sharing a tiny hotel room.

On the fourth evening, Phil felt slightly better, so I hustled him up and made a dash for The Magic Kingdom. It was 8 p.m. by the time we got there and the park closed at 9 p.m.—so I committed the “Disney Cardinal Sin”—I used an entire day pass to get in for one hour.

We were in line for Splash Mountain at 9 p.m., and had just floated to the outside area when the fireworks exploded overhead. It was like a private showing just for us. As I watched those shimmers and sparkles, and snuggled with Phil, I thought that we must be the only couple in the park.

We made wishes on those fireworks—and four years later mine came true: I came to Disney World as a bride, with a man who loves The Mouse as much as I do.

…And I remembered to pack Pepto-Bismol just in case!


Katy dedicates her story to her husband, Walt:

I am writing you in response to your search for proposal stories at Walt Disney World! Well I have a good one!

You must know that when I met my husband, Walt (don't you love it?), one of the first things we discovered that we had in common was a love for all things Disney. Our first date was Disneyland as I was living in Los Angeles at the time and he lived in the San Francisco area where I am from originally. My sister introduced us and he came to see me in L.A., and naturally we went to Disneyland. Onemonth later, I moved back home to the San Francisco area.

Two years later, we went on vacation to Walt Disney World with his parents who live in Lexington, Kentucky, and whom I adore. My mother-in-law was a travel agent at the time and set the whole trip up. I was so excited as I never thought I would get to Walt Disney World. We stayed at Dixie Landings.

Our first day, May 15, 1995 we spent at Epcot. It was a great day despite the high heat and humidity. We ended the day with dinner at the Coral Reef Restaurant. We were seated in the center of the restaurant right down by the aquarium.

While we were reviewing our menus, we saw some divers in the tank feeding the fish. It was very exciting and they even waved to us. A few minutes later as I was reviewing my menu again I noticed that the noise level was raising in the restaurant and I looked up to see in the aquarium, right in front of me were two divers holding a very large banner that said, “Katy, Will you marry me?” I have never been so shocked in all of my life as this was truly a huge surprise, and I looked over to my boyfriend and cried.

At that moment, a waiter appeared and placed a champagne glass in front of me with a large strawberry on top. Tied to it was a string that hung down to the bottom of the glass with my ring. Needless to say, I said yes. We had dinner, which I don't remember, and then went out and saw Illuminations! It was the most incredible evening I had ever had and I will never forget my first day at Walt Disney World.

Thanks for letting me share my story!


Elizabeth W. dedicates her story to her husband, Ian:

I wanted to dedicate this to my wonderful husband, Ian who created the most wonderful, imaginative, magical wedding proposal at the Magic Kingdom.

We love going to Walt Disney World in October, so in October 2002 we took our annual trip down to Disney World, but I didn't know the surprise my husband had in store for me!

At the end of the week, we had tickets to attend Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party which we were really looking forward to. It was such a beautiful day and my husband suggested that we wait in a quiet spot for the Halloween party to start. We decided to sit on a bench next to the castle were Cinderella's wishing well is located.

As the sun was setting behind the castle, my husband started to tell me a story he had been working on (he's a writer). It was a fantasy story with wizards and fairies. As he was finishing up the story of how there was only a little fairy dust left in the world, he asked me to close my eyes and hold out my hands. He continued telling me that this fairy dust was all that was left in the world and if you make a wish with it, it would come true. He was left the dust as a gift from a wizard and wanted me to have the last wish.

While my eyes were closed, I felt the soft fairy dust piling up in my hands. He then told me to open my eyes, blow the magical dust and make a wish. As I was blowing the dust off my hands, I noticed something sparkeling. And when I got to the bottom, I realized that it was an engagement ring! My husband got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! I was sooooooo estatic, excited, amazed and of course I said “Yes” right away! It was the most magical moment in my life (along with our wonderful wedding!).

I still feel that exciting flutter in my heart every time I think back to that special day. My husband put his whole heart and soul into creating the most romantic proposal. I can't believe he had the ring in his pocket the whole trip!

His sister happend to be there on vacation, too, that week, and walked by a few minutes after the proposal and took a beautiful picture of us engaged. I was still awestruck at what had just happened!

Now every year when we go back to the Magic Kingdom, we always have to stop, relax in our favorite spot and take a picture next to the wishing well where all our dreams came true!

I am so blessed to have such a wonderful, loving person in my life that I can share the magic of Disney with. Happy Valentine's Day Ian! I Love You!


Stewart writes:

I had it all arranged. I had bought a “token ring” to give to her. It was in my pocket—we were riding Splash Mountain—I was fumbling to make sure my timing was just right… OK, we're starting up the final hill before the big “plunge”—I was getting ready—still fumbling a bit, as we get almost to the top of the hill, I tap her on her shoulder:

"May I ask you a question,” I asked?

"Of course,” she said, “What is it?"

When we got to the top of the hill, I pulled out the ring and I popped the question, just as the camera took our picture. She screamed, “Yes! Yes! Yes!”

Of course, we bought the picture: it's sitting in our living room in one of those Splash Mountain picture frames.

So that's how I “took the plunge” at Disneyland!


David Alonzo dedicates his story to his wife:

I met my wife in July 2000. I sort of had a hint that she was interested in me when we met, since she and I were “introduced” by her cousins.

We did a lot of stuff together and so forth—as a pair and with friends. And, of course, we were just friends.

It was Christmas time, December 21, 2000. We had planned to meet each other at the Christmas tree on Main Street in Disneyland to do some Christmas shopping and have dinner and get on some attractions.

It was about 6:20 and I'd finally made it in the park from my office in Laguna Hills. I stood at the Christmas tree (the Mr. Lincoln side) and there I saw her. There was masses of people this night, but the only person I saw walking was her; everyone else was a blur. And it was right then that I knew she was the one I was going to marry. We went into the China Closet from there and I was thinking intently on how I was going to propose to her one day.

My wife and I didn't start dating until the following July 2001. We'd fallen in love and I proposed in August. However, it was sort of a preliminary proposal since the ring was still being made and so forth.

On September 1, 2001 with the help of her cousins, I was able to finagle a way to get my wife onto that same spot on Main Street where I'd realized that she was the one for me. We sat on a bench and it was there that I presented her with an engagement ring and I officially asked her to marry me.

This coming March 2, 2005 will mark our third wedding anniversary—and where are we spending the day? You guessed it: Disneyland! There's nothing like love at The Happiest Place on Earth!


Keith writes:

My name is Keith. I'm 16, and the single-most romantic memory I have took place at Disneyland this past Christmas season. A few friends and I were hanging out at the park. One of these friends was my semi-girlfriend Jayme. We've had one of those typically tumultuous high school relationships, with things starting and ending and fading off due to circumstances beyond our control and all that jazz.

Anyhow, our whole group was trying to part through the crowd at the Believe… In Holiday Magic fireworks show to get to the Matterhorn. Our friends got ahead, and we were trapped between walls of people, me and Jayme alone. We resigned ourselves to simply watching the show.

As the fireworks cracked overhead, the wind rising electric, Jayme slid her hand into mine. I tried to play it cool and pretended it was no big thing, but it was. All the glories of the fires in the sky were lost as I looked longingly at her. Our heartbeats seemed to pulsate through our hands, one and the same. Call me corny, call me cliché, call me a phony, but I fell in love that night.

And just like that, it was over. It didn't end with a big dramatic kiss, or us going out and living happily ever after. We never talked about it again after that night, because there's no point in it. But for that one moment, I felt all that magic that both Disney and love are supposed to make you feel.


Ken Shelton dedicates his story to his wife, Kelly:

My wife and I got engaged last January 2004 at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. I had big plans for the engagment, we were going to go on the horse carriage at the Port Orleans Riverside and there I was going to ask the question.

Well, we arrived at the Animal Kingdom Lodge early in the morning (around 5:30 a.m.) and went out to see the animals (zebras, etc.). With the sunrise coming up from the east, I really could not wait. It was so beautiful, the sun rising, the silence of the morning… and I just asked Kelly to marry me. She said yes, the the funny thing was when I asked her and she said yes, the zebras were making whooping calls; maybe they were happy for us or maybe it was time for their morning meal.

Well, I told Kelly the zebras agree, also. We never went on the horse drawn carriage, but our stay at Walt Disney World was great, and marriage, well, it is everything I have always wanted, to spend my life with someone special.

Oh yes, Kelly and I were married on November 14, 2004.


Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact Lani here.

GENERAL QUESTIONS

Do you have specific questions about an upcoming trip to Disneyland, Walt Disney World or another park, or do you need help with your trip planning? While you can contact one of the columnists, we encourage you to join our special MousePlanet community on our MousePad discussion board. There, you will find like-minded Disney park fans who can try to help answer your questions.

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2002

• December: 5, 12, 19

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