A couple of Ohio friends, David and Jeff, got married yesterday at Walt Disney World. It was the single most epic wedding I've ever been to, and the bar has been raised impossibly high going forward.
Yes, they're both dudes. I'm not exactly sure when I met Jeff, but I'll go with 2005. As is the case with probably most of the people I know that aren't related or coworkers, we met in roller coaster enthusiast circles, and a number of common friends led to our frequent intersection. At this point, I've known him almost as long with David as without, and I was very excited in 2013 when they announced that they were getting married.
Marriage equality is a hot issue that is finally going the right way, but it's certainly been a struggle, and there is a ways to go. The wedding and the reception involved a strange paradox where, for once, the love of this couple wasn't about the politics and the law, and yet, by it taking place, it was. Obviously, everyone there was on the same page, so to me it felt like any other wedding you've ever been to in terms of the idea that two people who love each other were committing.
The day started at the faux beach at the Typhoon Lagoon water park. Mercifully, it ended up not being early in the morning because weather both closed the park, and pushed out the start time to noon. It was cool, but the sun felt wonderful, and they were good enough to fire up the wave pool for a fantastic background. The ceremony involved mimosas and an excellent narrative. It was really lovely.
Some hours later, a bus picked folks up from the various hotels (in one of the cruise ship buses, no less), and it took us backstage around Epcot to the Seas pavilion, where we were escorted to a private room above the Coral Reef restaurant. That's when it became very apparent that this was going to be insanely awesome.
When you get up to the room, via a generic door and up some generic stairs, you reach this remarkable room that has windows into the main tank of the attraction once known as The Living Seas. In fact, they still have a sign up there identifying it as such. You can watch the sea turtles, sharks and fish endlessly swim by. In fact, at one point, Mickey Mouse showed up at one of the windows in scuba gear, holding a "congratulations Jeff & David" sign, for a photo op.
The bar featured something called an "Under The Sea Martini," which had the blue stuff and a whole lot of alcohol. It was delicious, but that was a sipping drink for sure. The bigger hit seemed to be a delicious rum punch. I don't think I saw anyone drinking beer, just the fruity drinks. Insert joke here. The appetizers included all kinds of smoked cheese, crackers, and oddly enough, what appeared to be naan.
The main course included the best macaroni cheese ever conceived, some very juicy baked chicken (which never happens in buffets!), salmon and some carved beef something or other. It was all mind-blowingly delicious. The cake was this beautiful custom thing with the shipwreck from Typhoon Lagoon on top, and it didn't disappoint either. Maybe it was the alcohol talking, but the waffle fries and tots that came out later, complete with an array of things to dip them in, brought the whole thing to another level (presumably because of the alcohol).
The DJ was solid and didn't get in the way, as many do. Apparently he also does the Incredibles dance party at Magic Kingdom! There were some party crasher characters there as well, which means that WDW is not only the place for character breakfasts, but character drinking. Oh, and the table decor was lovely and matched the green and blue color theme of the ceremony, clothes, and even the wedding rings.
For me personally, the thing I most enjoyed was getting to spend a little time with people that I've known for years, ranging from great friends to long-term acquaintances. It's a social circle that really took shape ten or more years ago, and this particular event was one of those rare occasions where we all intersect. I think I take that for granted. I also have to credit the Internet, because that has a lot to do with why this social circle exists at all. (That's another post by itself, soon.) In a world where drive-by hate is easy and of little consequence online, I have to remember that it can be used for good as well.
Disney can execute an event like this with extraordinary precision, that much is clear. I feel honored to be a part of it for a hundred different reasons. I look forward to a day when nobody cares that you went to a "gay wedding," and you just went to a "wedding." For now though, Diana and I will continue to enjoy sitting here in amazement, a day later, repeating, "That was an awesome wedding," over and over. Thank you, Jeff and David, for inviting us to be a part of your special day!