Prologue, Part II
We’ve Never Won Anything
(Originally posted July 18, 2012)
Now it’s time for a few more pieces of backstory. Tracy and I have been living in NYC together since the beginning of 2010. I went to school for Musical Theatre with the goal being to become an actor. After graduating, I auditioned full time for about a year without much success. My only promising callback out of all those auditions was actually for the Voices of Liberty, though I didn’t make it past the first round of callbacks.
Last fall I started having several health issues mysteriously, which is also important to know because of how it affected our trip. I have been diagnosed with vasovagal syncope, which basically means that I might pass out at any time depending on a series of factors. I haven’t ever actually passed out, but I am dizzy A LOT of the time and have heat and cold intolerance as well as problems with prolonged standing, so my life has changed a lot.
Getting sick happened to coincide with our trip to Disneyland last September. I already hadn’t been feeling well for about a month and was starting to reconsider the path I had wanted to take in NYC. Between being dizzy all the time and having problems with cold in the winter and heat in the summer, Tracy and I realized that our plans had to change. Basically we decided to move, but we were locked into a lease until the end of August 2012, had almost no money saved up, and had no idea where we wanted to go.
Cue our trip to California. Tracy’s brother lives in LA, so we got to spend a day with him touring various parts of the city before spending a week at Disneyland. We fell in love with the whole Disneyland resort as well as the climate, pace and everything that we found in California. We decided that was where we were going to move. Alas, we still had almost a year left here and a cross-country move is very pricey.
We buckled down at our “day jobs” knowing that the more money we could save, the better off we would be for our move. Unfortunately, one consequence of this was that another Disney trip—specifically the return trip to Disney World that we dreamed about—was basically out of the budget, and hence out of the question.
But just because we didn’t think we would be able to go to Disney World didn’t mean we couldn’t dream about it. Part of our dreaming included extra reading of the boards, reading of Disney books, and listening to the aforementioned WDW Radio Show podcast.
February 11th, 2012 was Lou’s fifth anniversary of the podcast, and as part of the show, he hosted a trivia contest with his partner Beci Mankhen from Mouse Fan Travel. For the contest, there were 45 questions about Disney World trivia and the history of the podcast. Tracy and I worked together to figure out the answers, and we both submitted our entries for the grand prize—a six-night trip to Walt Disney World in a moderate resort with the dining plan included.
Going into the live fifth anniversary show, we were excited but not too hopeful. After all, we’d never won anything before. We had a busy schedule that day, and were out and about the city for the bulk of the show, but we constantly tuned into the live stream on my phone both to enjoy the hijinks of Lou and the gang as well as to listen for the big reveal of the contest winners—just in cases.
Lou put it off until the very end of the live show to draw the winner of the contest. By that time we were back home watching the show and getting ready to make dinner. A few minutes before the actual drawing, one of the WDW Radio team members read the names of the 17 people who had all gotten 100% of the answers to the trivia questions correct. Both Tracy and I were among the finalists and we finally allowed ourselves to start getting really excited. Between the two of us, here we were with better than a 1 in 9 chance of winning a trip to Disney!
The minutes ticked on and finally Lou drew a winning name, but rather than reading it on the air, he called the person so as to be able to tell them directly that they had won. As we reached the height of our anticipation, we realized than neither of our phones were ringing. The person who did win didn’t answer the phone, but Lou left a message letting them know that they had won the trip, and they were going to Disney World.
We were bummed. Not exactly surprised, but bummed. For some reason, I had really had a feeling that we were going to win. Tracy and I congratulated ourselves for making it that far and started making dinner.
Then from the kitchen, I heard Beci on the stream saying just how impressed she was that 17 people had gotten all the questions correct. So impressed, in fact, that she was going to give away another trip.
We put our cooking on hold and resumed our place on the couch as once again a name was drawn and Lou dialed the phone number of the prize winner. Again, our phones stayed silent, and once again Lou got the voicemail of the person he was calling.
As he prepared to leave another message and we prepared to go on with our lives, Lou said, “well this is pretty anticlimactic. Should I just hang up and keep calling until someone answers?” Someone agreed with him, so he ended the call just in time.
So the process started for a third time. Scott Otis, another member of the team, drew another name and Lou called. This time, as my heart was basically pounding out of my chest, my phone started ringing. I answered immediately and he told me I had won. I don’t really remember much of the conversation—I just know that Tracy and I got pretty hysterical and jumped around a lot. We thanked Lou and hung up the phone.
In an instant, everything had changed. We were going to Disney World. In a year when things had pretty constantly kept going wrong, something went right. We had won something.