Saturday, September 24, 2016

Florida: July 12, 2003

A continuation of the cross-country adventure I shared with Ben during the summer of 2003....

Day 36--Saturday,  July 12, 2003

Although we were still somewhat wiped out when we woke up in the morning, the prospect of seeing Mickey the next day got us up and moving.  We spent the whole day en route to Orlando.

Our Let's Go book had told us never to pay full price for tickets to Disney because there were so many deals that would get us $15 or so off, but we were upset to realize that we would not reach Orlando in time to get to the Visitors' Center before bed.  However, this turned out to be more of a blessing.  About an hour out of Orlando, we found something calling itself an Orlando Visitors' Center, so we went in to see if we could get tickets.  Normal four-day ParkHopper passes at the gate cost $220 each.  This place was willing to give us two of these tickets for $240 total.  It seemed too good to be true.  Naturally, Ben started looking for the catch.

The catch was that we had to attend a presentation on timeshares.  We thought that just sitting and listening to a presentation sounded like something we could live with, so we put down $25 on the tickets, the rest of it being due after the presentation.  Once we got the voucher, though, Ben started reading the fine print.

The voucher stated that in order to get the deal, if the couple was married, at least one of them needed to be over the age of 23.  This didn't present too much of a problem, since I was 24.  The man who had sold us the voucher had made us list ourselves under just one last name, so we used mine, but that made us feel pretty shady, since we're not even going to have the same last name when we're married.

Furthermore, the voucher stated that married couples must make at least $40,000 a year joint income.  Again, we figured we technically made the cut, figuring on next year's income and Mary Kay for me and Ben's temp agency earnings.  We know that we'll eventually be easily making more than that when Ben gets a regular job, but again, we weren't there yet.  However, we figured that we could make the cut, especially when the people behind the counter told us that we didn't have to prove our income in any way.

The biggest problem, however, was that the voucher specifically stated that the bearer must have spent the night in an Orlando area hotel the night before the presentation, specifying that campgrounds didn't count.  Ben went back in to the desk to ask about it, and the people there stared at him.  "They're not going to ask for proof," they said. "Can't  you just lie?"  We got back on the road with heavy hearts.

We had been diligently reading Living at a Higher Level of Faith, which Cal Rychner wrote and my dad edited, and we had just finished reading the chapter on how God will bless faithful giving.  Back on the road, I took a little nap, and by the time I woke up, we had both reached the same conclusion: even if we could get away with lying, neither of us really wanted to do it.

When we arrived in Orlando, we checked into the Kissimmee KOA, picked out our campsite, and set up our tent.  Then we got back in the car and drove down the strip, looking for hotels advertising cheap prices.  We eventually checked into a Howard Johnson, paying for both that and our campsite for the night.

We then went to Walmart to get food and sunscreen and waited in an impossibly long line, arriving back to the hotel after 10:00.  Ben fell asleep quickly after a speedy SlimFast dinner, but I lay awake.  My bugbites itched, and as the night went on, I was certain that I started itching in places that no bugs had gone before and began to wonder if the excessively cheap bed we had secured contained fleas.  At one point, I got up and called my dad to fill him in on the situation.  He said he was proud of us and sent me back to bed.  I laid awake until a little after 4:00, itching and despairing of ever falling asleep.

18 / 40

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