What are the odds?

This past Tuesday night my daughter Langley was filling me in on her upcoming road trip to Florida with her twins. They were bound for their kindergarten teacher’s wedding in Tampa to participate as ring bearer and flower girl. Dad would be staying home with the youngest.

It wasn’t long before the subject of Disney came up. Langley said, Dad, you know I can’t pass Disney and not take the kids in. How right she was. How in the world could she not stop and take those cute five year olds, the perfect age, to Disney for their first time? Then in a flash it occurred to me – how in the world could their granddad not be there with those cute five-year-olds and their first time at Disney?

But, it was Tuesday night, 36 hours from when they would be entering the gates to the Magic Kingdom. To complicate matters, I needed to be back in the office on Friday. Without a private plane and pilot at my disposal, how would it be possible to do such a thing without breaking the bank? For that matter, how many things would have to go right for this spontaneous adventure to work? What was the probability of it working coming together? But I didn’t care about the probability. I would be there for my grandkids’ first visit to the Magic Kingdom!


Just for fun though, let’s take a quick look at just a few of the probabilities?

Fundamental of course to the equation, is the fact that we are blessed to live in a country that offers so much to make things like this event possible. Our information technology, travel services, and transportation networks are unrivaled anywhere in the world. Having the means to consider such a lark is also a blessing.

The Probabilities (completely unscientific mind you):

  • 15% – Finding a flight 36 hours from booking that would arrive in Orlando before 8:30 am with a return late enough to return to the airport from Disney under $1,000, much less $500 and less than 8 hours of travel time proved quite the challenge and test of patience on the usual sites (Travelocity, Orbitz, Expedia, and Priceline). Then tried Southwest’s site
  • 85% – Immediately found flights both ways at precisely the times I needed, but just a bit over my $500 goal. But it was an adventure. Can’t scrimp on adventure, right?
  • 70% – Langley making it to her friends’ house in Jacksonville Florida in reasonable time to get some rest before rousting the twins at 5:30 am for departure to Orlando. Closure of I95 would require a 200 mile detour, setting her back 4 hours and arrival at 8:00 pm.
  • 97% – My alarm would sound and that I would rise. Woke naturally at 4:30 am and got started early.
  • 97% – Langley’s alarm would sound and that she would rise.
  • 95% – The kids would be healthy and ready for travel
  • 93% – My aging car (2002) would start. Back-up – Über
  • 95% – No mechanical issues with Langley’s car
  • 80% – Orlando traffic and GPS would allow Langley to make the airport on time to meet me
  • 99% – No mechanical issues with my plane
  • 95% – We would land on time
  • 60% – An “A” boarding position which allowed up-front seating and quick exit. Got A-1!
  • 80% – My navigating quickly to Langley’s position. Orlando is a three layer airport with baggage claim in the middle – not the bottom. Langley was where she was supposed to be. After touring the other two options, I made it.
  • 40% The kids would not ask about or find out about going to Disney until we were all there. Great job Langley!
  • 90% Choosing the right roads to get to Disney quickly. Google’s traffic functions are getting scary good.
  • 100% – That we would have an exciting and life memorable time at the Magic Kingdom

We did have a wonderful, exciting, memorable, and exhausting time at Disney. The kids were absolute delights and soaked up every moment. In fact they were sufficiently worn out by mid-afternoon, when Langley needed to leave to make the rehearsal in Tampa and I to make my flight, that they didn’t mind at all heading back to the car. After hugs all around, they were off to Tampa and I was off with Serge of Über to the airport, then Raleigh.

By 7:30pm last night we were all comfortably where we needed to be having filled an otherwise ordinary day with a dear lifetime memory. During a character show at the castle, Mickey reminded the audience, young and old, that great things start with dreams. In fact, everything around us, all the way back to the beautiful airport we had just left, would not be there had Walt Disney not acted on his dream and persevered through the setbacks and uncertainty to see it through.

‘See ya real soon.’