Part III: Mid-February-May 2013
What’s Different About Today?
(Originally posted July 10, 2013)
February 22, 2013
There was nothing obviously special about the week leading up to February 22nd. I was still working from home, and Tracy had finally given in and was interviewing for various jobs that matched up with her past experience in New York.
While she had been working with an agency to try to find a position, the interview that she had on that Friday afternoon was actually with a company that she had found all on her own. A technology company that we’ll call CoolTech, she struggled at first to figure out what the company even did. After a talk with her dad the engineer, however, Tracy was able to decipher the technical mumbo-jumbo behind CoolTech. The potential job likely wouldn’t have jumped out to anyone else, but the hook that got Tracy interested was the fact that the company was actually based in Boulder, CO with another office in Denver. Their Anaheim office was their newest outpost, and it was close enough that she wouldn’t have too long of a commute each morning. Further sweetening the deal, the job seemed to be almost exactly what Tracy had experience doing in NYC and the company seemed like a similar “cool” tech startup. Among the office perks listed on the job description were free beer in the office, a ping-pong table, and Nerf gun wars. On the whole, it sounded like a good place to work.
Almost immediately after submitting her resume, Tracy was contacted to do a phone interview. On the afternoon of the 22nd, therefore, she had her call with CoolTech. It went really well, and they asked her to come in for an in-person interview the following week. Without even getting any feedback after the phone screen, Tracy had a good feeling about this job. It seemed like they wanted to move quickly and have her interview with several people. And even if this job didn’t work out, she had another interview the next week with a big medical company. Once she entered the market in her specific field, Tracy suddenly seemed to be a hot commodity. It wasn’t Disney, but at least she seemed quite employable.
Suddenly, we were left with a quandary. We didn’t know exactly when Tracy would be starting a job, but it seemed to be inevitable within the next month or so. We knew that once that day came, our relaxed routine would quickly become a thing of the past, giving way to 40-hour workweeks (or more). We would have spent all this time living so close to Disneyland, and now finally get passes, but we would only be able to go with the masses on the weekends.
We were sitting on our balcony talking through these latest developments when we asked ourselves if it really made sense to keep waiting. After all, Tracy WOULD get a job—she needed to (and soon) if we were going to be able to keep paying our bills. So we could either wait until the job officially came through, or we could pounce now and enjoy at least a week (if not more) of Disney parks time when we could actually go for the majority of the days and enjoy missing out on the crowds. We knew it wasn’t exactly the smartest choice (after all, the jobs might all fall through), but we were honestly just too tired of waiting. We had moved here for Disneyland, and we wanted to see Disneyland.
Once the decision was made, everything seemed to kick into high gear. If we were really doing this, we were going to do it NOW. It didn’t matter that it was 3:00 on a Friday and our previous plans for the evening had involved going to Target to pick up toothpaste. No, we were going to Disneyland. This evening. We dug through the closet and prepared my fanny pack for its first excursion in almost a year. We grabbed electric and cable bills to prove our California residency (we still hadn’t gotten CA driver’s licenses). Most importantly, we got down some of our favorite ears from their displays so that we would be appropriately dressed to go to the parks. All of this accomplished—in a matter of moments—we headed out to the car and began the familiar drive to Disneyland.
Despite the fact that we had done this drive more than ten times since moving here, something was obviously different this time around. Getting off the 5 at our usual exit, we FINALLY got to get into the lane marked “Theme Parks Only.”
Following the signs, we entered the massive Mickey and Friends parking structure.
We had to pay to get in this time, but we knew that we would get it reimbursed when we bought our passes.
Since it was a Friday evening at the beginning of what looked to be a fairly busy holiday weekend, the structure was already pretty full. They sent us to the roof and we parked a decent walk from the escalators.
We got out of the car and officially donned our Disney gear.
Next, we took one of the many enormous escalators down from our level. This structure is very cleverly built to avoid bottlenecks as much as possible, and it does a very good job at least 90% of the time.
Having familiarized ourselves with the trams just a week or so before, we actually knew what to do from this point.
We boarded and could barely contain our excitement.
Our trip on the tram was pretty uneventful, and when we made it to the Main Entrance Plaza, we headed straight through bag check. Our first stop, of course, had to be the ticket booths that had been taunting us for months.
Now, while it might not have been the BEST idea financially, we knew that we needed to get Premium APs. Once we were able to hit the parks, we couldn’t handle the idea of blockout dates. Plus, since we are locals, we were able to sign up for the monthly payment plan. After paying a down payment, we could pay off our passes throughout the rest of the year. When you choose this option, the difference in monthly payments between the different passes is almost negligible—especially when you consider the perks associated with the Premium pass, like free parking and heftier food and merchandise discounts.
Our ticket agent cast member was very nice. She was able to very quickly take down all of our information, check our utility bills for proof of residency, and draw up the payment contract. Soon we were signing the commitment to pay off our debt over the year, and that was the last step before she handed us our shiny new APs.
It was hard to believe what this little piece of plastic represented. Sure, people get to go to Disneyland every day. There are thousands of Annual Passholders and thousands more tourists showing up to Anaheim and swiping their way into the Happiest Place on Earth. But for us, this really felt like an accomplishment. We had a dream back when we were still living in New York, having just come back from our first trip to this park that both wowed us and wooed us. We wanted to know what it would be like to live near Disneyland and always be able to go to our happy place—a place where magic lives and where dreams DO come true, no matter how cliched that may sound. We had moved almost 3,000 miles from our original home, encountering more than our fair share of bumps along the road. It was already more than six months since we had left NYC and more than a year and a half since our dreams had first been hatched. To many people who just don’t “get it,” this day may have seemed like any other, but to us, it was literally one of the most exciting things that could be happening. And I’ll admit, one of the many things that crossed my mind as we prepared to enter Disneyland was how I was looking forward to sharing all of our upcoming Disney adventures with all of you who have been so faithful in reading along with our story.
This report is obviously going to take a bit of a change from this point out. Hopefully you’ll enjoy reading about our exploits IN Disneyland as much as all the buildup.
Hold on tight, because, in the iconic words of Peter Pan, “Here we goooooooooooooo!”