It was Thanksgiving, 2013. My wife and I had traveled to Walt Disney World for a whirlwind weekend with my parents and my brother. We'd decided to skip the traditional Thanksgiving; my parents and brothers flew on a plane down to Orlando, while my wife and I hopped in the car after school on Tuesday night and made the ten-hour trek in the dark to Walt Disney World, arriving at the off-property timeshare resort around 2:00 in the morning.
My mom met us in the downstairs lobby of the condo building to let us in and we rolled our suitcases into the elevator and rode up to the eleventh floor. We followed her, squinty and in her pajamas, to the front door of the condo, where my dad met us, his curly hair a hot mess. My brother was passed out on the couch of the condo, his mouth wide open and drool hanging down his check.
We spent the next three days in three of the four parks, visiting the Magic Kingdom on Wednesday, Epcot on Thanksgiving, and Hollywood Studios on Friday, before leaving Orlando on Saturday to stop-and-go traffic along I-4 and I-95, making our ten hour drive back to Greensboro closer to fourteen hours.
On Thanksgiving, we had made dinner reservations for Tutto Italia, enjoying a meal of Fettuccini Alfredo for our meal rather than the traditional turkey-and-potatoes fare. While a fairly untraditional holiday, it was quite enjoyable wandering through the park, as it was not overly busy. We were able to ride and experience everything we'd wanted, including Soarin', the new Test Track, and Maelstrom (which I was later to learn would be my last experience on the attraction, later closing to make way for Frozen).
Midway through the day, we had made our way up to the Imagination pavilion, riding on Journey into Imagination with Figment and donning our 3D glasses for a musical trip with Captain EO. Upon exiting the show, we made our way to the jumping fountains, watching in wonder as the jets and bubbles of water jumped from pod to pod. I'd always been fascinated with these during every trip to Epcot (and EPCOT Center), ever since I'd first experienced the wonders of the Imagination pavilion back in its heyday with Figment, the Dreamfinder, and ImageWorks.
While generally pretty introverted, as a teacher, I'm often on display and performing. There were a few other families around marveling at the jumping fountains as well, leapfrogging from pool to pool. I came up with a brilliant idea.
I watched the water as it leapt from pond to pond, and walked forward, away from my family.
"Where are you going?" my wife asked me. I didn't answer. I stopped in front of one of the ponds, situating myself about three feet away from it. "Andrew!" my wife said, trying to get my attention again, thinking I hadn't heard her. I continued to ignore her. I watched the water leapfrog around the courtyard and towards me. My moment had arrived.
The water spilled from a nearby pool and leapt toward the spongy pool in front of me. As it finished dropping into the pool, the stream shot out towards me. I quickly adjusted my position...
and got drilled in the face by the entire stream of water.
Watching the leapfrogging water from a safe distance, you don't realize how much water is used for each jumping stream. It's more than you think.
My wife and mother gasped behind me. The other families around starting laughing hysterically. I turned around, water dripping off my bangs and down my cheeks. My tee-shirt was soaked. I slowly turned around to look at my family. My wife had a horrified look on her face, while my dad and brother had cracked a grin. I flickered my eyes around the small group congregated around me and smiled widely. I threw my fists in the air and yelled "woohoo!!!" This made everyone laugh...except my wife. She jumped towards me and smacked my arm. "I can't believe you!" she said, only sort of frustrated, a small smile twinkling in her eyes.
I giggled and started walking toward the restrooms on the back side of Innoventions. The weather was cool that day and I needed to dry myself off. I went in and used paper towel to soak up the moisture from my shirt. I used some to mop the water out of my hair and off my face and arms, and exited the restroom, pleased with myself. I gave everyone a good chuckle that would last the rest of the day.