And so it came to pass, on September 24, 2008, that Michael Lee Ruffin entered into his 50th year of existence.
In the months leading up to the big event, my good wife asked me where I would like to go to celebrate. When Debra turned 50 last year (that’s right, I married an older woman who is now the cutest 51-year-old I know) I took her on a Caribbean cruise, so I knew that I was allowed to ask big. So what did I ask for? I asked for a trip to Disney World—and that’s what I got! Just the two of us spent four days at the Happiest Place on Earth. We had a blast.
We stayed at the Port Orleans French Quarter resort, which was very nice. Our room, which overlooked a small river, was very quiet and comfortable.
We visited all of the parks. We spent Thursday morning at the Animal Kingdom. We enjoyed Expedition Everest; it’s not one of the best roller coasters I’ve ever ridden but it was fun. The remainder of Thursday was dedicated to Epcot. The much-hyped Soarin’ ride was to me a disappointment. Still, we had a good time at Epcot. The World Showcase is always interesting.
On Friday we spent the entire day at my favorite park, Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We had never ridden the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster which had been added since our last visit ten years ago. It’s a great ride; we rode it three times. We also visited our old favorite The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror three times; that thing freaks me out every time.
Saturday was dedicated to the Magic Kingdom. That was the only day that the crowd size became a problem. Our favorite attractions at the Magic Kingdom were the old reliables Space Mountain and the Haunted Mansion.
We took advantage of the Disney Dining Plan feature which we thought was a pretty good deal. I have no idea if it is cost effective but it sure does simplify the dining process. We ate dinner at Boatwright’s Dining Hall at Port Orleans Riverside, at Tokyo Dining at Epcot (I had sushi!), at Hollywood & Vine at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (a true pig-out experience), and at the Big River Grill at Disney’s Boardwalk. We also spent a little money at Downtown Disney—that Virgin Records Superstore is something else.
The bad news is that on the way home I had a conference—Mercer University’s annual Preaching Consultation—to attend; the good news is that it was at the King & Prince Resort on St. Simon’s Island. We enjoyed our brief stay at that wonderful place.
I have thanked Debra many times over for giving me the happiest birthday on earth. She made my turning fifty a memorable event and I am grateful.