Straight from my heart â€“ A glimpse into what makes my fellow Panelists so very precious to me.
I’m sitting here trying to find the words to describe Joel, and everything I come up with seems sorely inadequate. He is truly one-of-a-kind. To begin with Joel is indescribably hysterical with a razor-sharp wit. He has made me laugh so hard that my sides ache more times than I can count. He has a style all his own, with his flat-brimmed hats and vibrant shirts. He wears his “manpri’s” proudly (like capri’s, but for guys). For lack of a better description, he’s “intentionally geeky” and that is what makes him so very awesome. He is always smiling and times with him promise to be memorable.
During our Moms Panel Training Weekend in December of ’09, I first got to know Joel during our breakfast at Kouzzina. I sat across the table from him and within moments I knew he was priceless.
There was one point in the weekend when we were given free time to enjoy the Parks. Joel, Marc, Kathie, Maria and I headed over to Hollywood Studios together. On the ferry ride over, Marc and Joel were sitting in the back of the boat. I jumped up to take their picture and Joel pointed out that Marc was asleep. 😉 Poor Marc, we may never let him live that down.
While in line for Rock ‘n Roller Coaster I told Joel that no matter how many times I’ve ridden it (or how much I love it) I always look terrified in the photo. He suggested that we “plaster grins on our faces and give a thumbs up”. So we did. A tradition was born.
Our time at Hollywood Studios was a highlight of the Training Weekend for me.
When we toured the Innovation Lab at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports, Joel and I chatted briefly about the fact that we are both huge sports fans. I snapped this photo of him walking out of the Lab. Little did I know that just a few months later, we would be sharing an incredible weekend at the Complex.
As I shared last week Joel, Kay and I were invited to attend ESPN – The Weekend February 24-27, 2010 at Walt Disney World. Joel and I arrived in Orlando within minutes of each other and met up at the airport to ride the Magical Express together. I was so psyched to have the chance to get to know him more.
When we did the Richard Petty Driving Experience, Joel’s enthusiasm was contagious.
This is one excited guy!
Joel hadn’t driven a stick shift, but he didn’t let that stop him. He was so pumped and couldn’t wait to get behind the wheel of that race car.
I took this video on my phone of him driving his race car. He is in the black car following his pace car. Awesome, Joel!!
On the red carpet, Joel interviewed Garrett Hartley, who we had enjoyed dinner with the night before.
In addition, he interviewed Chad Ochocincho. Well, actually, they interviewed each other as you can see from this photo…
We had SO much fun on the red carpet!!
After catching some of the Globetrotters game, Joel and I went to Downtown Disney for a little while. There we met up with Suzannah and her mom at the World of Disney Store.
The next morning we went to Hollywood Studios for more events.
Waiting to watch live taping at Hollywood Studios.
We made sure to ride Rock ‘n Roller Coaster together again. This time I did the “thumbs up” while he pointed at Kay. 😉
Joel loves Toy Story Mania, so we headed over there to ride that next.
Fellow Panelist Maria met us for dinner and we had a great time. Afterwards Kay and her husband headed back to the Resort while Joel, Maria and I spent several hours walking around the Crescent Lake area together. We shared such a great heart-to-heart conversation. We sat inside the lobby of Boardwalk Inn and it was then that I got to know another side of Joel. While his sense of humor and outgoing personality are a large part of what makes him so lovable, he also has a deeply caring side. His wife and children are his world and he lights up every time he talks about them.
Joel and I enjoyed breakfast together on our last morning at the Caribbean Beach Resort. We had another great conversation and I was left feeling incredibly blessed to call him my friend. It was really hard to say good-bye. I had such an awesome time with him at ESPN – The Weekend and I made countless memories that I’ll always cherish. Joel and I have been known to share some “jabs” via text and tweet when our teams are playing each other. He’s really a closet Patriots and Celtics fan, he’s just afraid to admit it. 😉
Unfortunately Joel wasn’t able to make it to the Moms Panel Reunion in October, 2010. So I didn’t get to see his smiling face again until December. He arrived in typical Joel fashion, decked out in his flat brimmed hat, awesome shirt, “manpri’s” and signature smile.
We headed out to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party that evening together.
Chris, Diane L and Joel cracked me up on the PeopleMover…
I love this photo of Joel during the parade 🙂
A group of my favorite guys…
The next morning we walked over to Epcot. Joel was SO excited to watch Captain EO, as you can tell…
The we headed to Suzannah’s birthday lunch at the Whispering Canyon CafÃ© where he and Chris shared a skillet together.
That evening we went to Bongo’s to meet up with the newest Members of the family. Here’s Joel and Angelo enjoying a beer together. Joel loves his beer and Wisconsin cheese. This is much to the dismay of fellow Panelist Kathie (they share a friendly rivalry regarding Wisconsin and Vermont cheddar).
Joel had purchased a Zurg Vinlymation that weekend and boy was he excited!!
While in Hollywood Studios, we had to ride Rock ‘n Roller Coaster again to get our customary “thumbs-up photo”. The lighting was bad, but the moment couldn’t have been better… 😉
I was so sad to see that weekend come to an end. Joel and I stopped by to say “good-bye” to Jonas on the day we left 🙁 I love these guys.
I am really looking forward to seeing Joel again. He adds so much to every single Moms Panel get-together and it’s just not the same when he’s not there. I absolutely adore Joel. The times we’ve spent together have been some of favorite moments with my Moms Panel family. He has a big place in my heart and I’m very blessed to have him as my friend.
For a daily dose of comedy, occasionally dusted with Pixie Dust, follow Joel on Twitter: @zipadeedoodad
Want to gain some Disney knowledge and laugh at the same time? Check out some of Joel’s answers on the Panel!
Love ya, Joel!
*Get to know some more Walt Disney World Moms Panel Moms & Dads! I share a different Panelist with you each Monday! Hereâ€™s the link to all of them so far:
Be sure to stop back by next Monday!