A few weeks ago I was flying back to LAX following a short trip to Walt Disney World. It’s a trip I’ve done a lot of especially over the past couple of years but this one was part catching up on new attractions and part saying goodbye to some that were soon closing. If spending several days in the parks weren’t enough, I was staying with my friend Aaron who is also a huge Disney nerd. This means that even when we weren’t in the parks there was Disney music listened to, films screened and plenty of discussions about it had.
Back at MCO, I really have my routine down as I’ve even flown the same airline for my last half a dozen or so visits. Even if I’m nowhere near even hitting any sort elite level of frequent flyer status, I almost feel like George Clooney in Up in the Air given the ease in which I go through security thanks to my knowledge and TSA-friendly skills (in case you were wondering, I’m a 2 bin guy). Because of this I usually get to the gate a good hour or so before my flight boards and I have time to sit and reflect on such things as how I’m still sad that Maelstrom is closing, how much I miss my wife, and, on this particular trip, how I wish I weren’t sick.
Boarding the plane, I know that I am now leaving the Disney bubble that I had been in during my visit and it’s time to head back to the real world for a while. However, this is not what happened this time around.
When I got to my assigned row, I noticed someone sitting in my seat. I assumed a family was hoping to sit together and that they would just as me to sit in whatever seat they were now leaving vacant. With this in mind I sheepishly asked the gentleman on the aisle if I had the right seat number. After consulting their boarding passes they realized that they had gotten the wrong seats and before I could insist that I could relocate they had already set in motion a reshuffling of their family seating chart. I apologized and took my seat next to the window.
A minute or so later I realized that the guy actually looked familiar. Back in May I had interviewed artist Noah for the “Rock Your Disney Side” 24-hour event and it occurred to me that the gentlemen two seats over from me did have the same stature, tattoos and glasses as the man I had spoken to that day. Furthermore his voice and cadence were familiar to as me as well.
Might-Be-Noah was talking to another passenger at the time and so there was not a good time for me to break and ask, “Are you…?” I briefly considered asking his daughter who was sitting next to me if her father’s name was Noah but quickly deemed this to be awkward if not inappropriate.
Finally the other passenger asked what Probably-Was-Noah did for a living to which he responded that he was an artist and that Disney was his biggest client. After their conversation paused momentarily I broke in and said, “I thought that was you; I actually interviewed you for the 24-hour day at Disneyland.” He said he remembered me but really I couldn’t blame him if he didn’t. We continued to chat for a bit and I learned that his family and he were returning from an event on the Disney Fantasy and were now headed back to their home in Orange County. We made some other small talk before he returned to his family and I to my Friends reruns.
Sitting in that seat I realized that I really am surrounded by Disney. What are the odds that someone I met on one coast at a Disney event I would see on the opposite coast where we attended completely separate ones? Well I guess they’re pretty good when you’re a member of this community.
Ever since I’ve returned it seems like I’ve had more Disney in my life than ever. Between covering events for this site, writing this blog and working on The Disneyland Gazette it almost feels like I can’t escape Disney even if I wanted to (and I don’t). Somehow I even managed to convince my day-job boss to let me do some Disney-related work this week that surpasses “playing to my strengths” and borders on “shouldn’t even really be paying me for this.”
In my introductory post I said that Disney is not life but a way of life. I still strongly believe that but lately it seems like it’s been creeping into my life more and more… Not that that’s a bad thing.
Be sure to follow Kyle on Twitter @KyleBurbank
Kyle is a writer living in Springfield, MO. His deep love of Disney and other pop culture finds its way into his stories, scripts, and tweets. His first book “The E-Ticket Life: Stories, Essays, and Lessons Learned from My Decidedly Disney Travels” is available in paperback and for Kindle. http://amzn.to/1CStAhV