The Engagement

visiting Universal Orlando - 01 visiting Universal Orlando - 02

My girlfriend and I began planning this Universal Orlando vacation back in March when she discovered an awesome deal for the admission tickets.

This was a theme park vacation from the beginning.  What she didn't know was that I was going to use this trip to ask her the question of a lifetime.

We had been in a serious relationship for over two years, and her and I have lived together for over a year now.  We've been through some very tough and tiring times over the past couple of years.  But we've stuck with it and made things work.  Her and I are a fantastic team and we're continually growing a stronger relationship.  It was time to take things to the next level.

My aunt helped me acquire a wedding ring back in May, and by July both her parents and my parents knew that I was going to ask her to marry me when we were down in Florida.  It seemed like everybody was in on the big secret.  The only question was how I was planning on doing it.

Right off the bat I knew that I was going to ask her in a semi-secluded location.  I wasn't going to make it a public event and put extra pressure on her.  Granted, I was confident in knowing her answer ahead of time, but I'm more of a private person.  Now that the event has passed I don't mind sharing the story behind it.

Ever since I was young, I've always been a fan of two Disney resorts in particular --- Disney's Polynesian Resort and Disney's Contemporary Resort.  Both are Magic Kingdom resorts on the monorail line, and they are both original resorts dating back to Walt Disney World's opening in October of 1971.  They're both classic, they are luxurious, and they have their own distinctive theming and romantic spots.

My first choice for popping the question is a semi-secluded place in the Polynesian Resort known as Luau Point.  Luau Point is a small path that climbs up a short hill and overlooks Seven Seas Lagoon, the Contemporary and Grand Floridian resorts, and the Magic Kingdom off in the distance.  It's a great spot that's overlooked by many of the resort's guests.

That was my first choice.  My second choice was asking her on top of the Contemporary Resort while looking down at the Magic Kingdom.  It's a really spectacular view from on top of the hotel.

As the vacation's departure date rapidly approached, suddenly I was having second thoughts about using the Polynesian, especially that exact location at the resort.  I switched the locations and decided to make the Contemp my primary location and Luau Point at the Poly the alternate location.

On Saturday the 14th, we took a bus from Downtown Disney to the Contemporary Resort.  I was going to take her to the top of the resort and see how things looked from there.  If we were good then I was going to ask her the question.  If not, then it was a short monorail ride to the Polynesian and then proceeding with that location.  The bottom line though was that I wanted the event to take place on that exact day.  I'll explain that part in a moment.

We went to the top of the Contemporary and, as expected, she was thrilled with the views.  This was her first time seeing those sights.  Unfortunately for me, there were other people up there as well.  Just as the people were leaving and heading back indoors, more people walked out.  Grrrr.  Time was ticking and I knew that if we stayed there any longer, she'd see me start to get anxious.  We quickly descended down a stairwell to a secluded view one floor down from the top.  It was our own private viewing area.  While my girlfriend was distracted by looking at the Magic Kingdom and Bay Lake Tower, I removed the ring, dropped to a knee, and asked her to marry me.

A dramatic re-creation of that magical moment (taken several days later as my original photo stunk).

She was literally speechless when she saw me with the ring.  We had frequently joked about getting married and lately she was threatening to drag me to the local courthouse so we could do a Justice of the Peace marriage.  The ring showed my serious intentions, and of course she said yes.  I'll always remember that look of absolute joy on her face when she first saw me holding out the ring.

That happened on our first day of the vacation.  Talk about starting things on a high note.

Why was September 14th so important?

Three years ago my parents and I were sitting in a funeral home on that day for my brother.  The viewing was on the 14th and the funeral was carried out on the 15th.  Ever since that point I've strongly hated those few days in September.  So why would I choose that day of all days to ask my steady girlfriend to marry me?

September 14th also happens to be my mother's birthday.  We've been through a long grieving process since the loss of my brother, and I really wanted to give her a very positive thing to celebrate on her birthday.  My gift to her was carrying out the proposal to my girlfriend.  My parents love her, and they're thrilled to have her as part of our family.  We also picked up some Disney and Universal souvenirs for my mom, so she still had some other gifts to enjoy when we returned home.

That ends one chapter of my life.  The next phase, marriage, will begin some time in the near future.  We will have a Justice of the Peace ceremony and not an actual wedding.  That was already decided some time ago.  As far as when that event occurs, we really haven't started talking about it.  Yet.  :-)