I’ve been so good – I haven’t spent all of my money on Disney tsum tsums, I didn’t go out and get a Mickey tattoo on my forearm, and I didn’t post any Snaps with the caption, ‘MISSING DISNEY SO MUCH’.
But then, a few weeks ago, I realized that my Universal Studios season pass was expiring at the end of February. And that’s when the Fire Nation attacked.
There were several reasons why I decided to take a weekend trip down to Florida: free housing (courtesy of a friend), cheap flights (praise JetBlue!), and the promise of better weather down south.
That last point would prove to be f*cking prophetic.
Enter winter storm Jonas (Nick or Joe?), one of the strongest blizzards to hit the Eastern seaboard in recent memory. As fate would have it, the brunt of the storm would hit my city at almost exactly the time I was scheduled to fly out of Newark. I spent the day prior to my flight anxiously checking and re-checking flight data, praying that the storm wouldn’t hit until my flight was well out of the danger zone.
The fates of weather smiled upon me that day; the entire cabin let out a cheer when the pilot announced that they would be departing Newark as scheduled, with only a couple minutes’ delay.
As it turns out, Florida didn’t completely escape the storm unscathed, either; the temperatures for the entire weekend hovered at or just slightly over freezing, and I found myself wishing I had packed a scarf or some gloves. But it was positively picnic weather compared to what New York was going through at the time, so I wasn’t going to be complaining too much.
And it was a fun weekend. Universal Studios was, well, Universal Studios; just as fun and awe-inspiring as I had remembered it to be. And dinner at the newly-opened Morimoto branch at Walt Disney World was mind-blowing (TRY THE SAKE SANGRIA). And I got to see some old friends that I sorely missed.
The journey home was… interesting, to say the least. If I had lucked out on the way down, it came back to bite me on the ass on my way home. Newark was closed, which meant we had to re-route to Newburgh in upstate New York – which meant delays. Lots and lots of delays. Hours of delays.
Once we arrived at Newburgh? The voyage wasn’t over yet; although JetBlue had requisitioned buses to ferry us back to Newark, they remained idle for over an hour, waiting and waiting for God knows what. Finally, the road trip to Newark airport took a little over two hours, and once I was there, I still had to find my way back to New York City!
The NJ Transit train board was a long string of “cancelled”, but I did eventually manage to find a train I could squeeze into – an hour after I arrived at Newark. The trip into Penn Station was uneventful, and from there, it was only a matter of navigating the chaos of the New York City subway system. Oh, did I mention that many of the services were either suspended or running on significant delays?
I was supposed to be back home by 5:00 PM. It took me until six hours later, 11:00 PM, until I finally opened my front door.
Was all of that worth it? 36 hours in comparatively balmy Florida, with good friends, good food, and good vibes?