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Em's 21

Trader Sam's
Disney's Polynesian Resort
Orlando, Florida
August 9, 2016

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We almost didn't make it in time -- no, in fact we didn't make it in time! Aiming to reach Trader Sam's, the classic tiki bar tucked in a far corner of the Polynesian Resort, sometime before midnight, we found ourselves lost in the wide sprially roads of Walt Disney World. We were going against the flow: at 11:45pm, those roads are geared to move people out of the park, not carry the three of us -- exhausted, desperate and alone after a week on the road to reach Orlando.

We finally arrived about 12:10, just in time for the last call. On the waiter's recommendation, Em ordered a suitably fruity concoction, complete with souvenir glass and a little plastic ice cube that lights up the whole drink red. The lights dim, the animatronic volcano erupts in the window, and the diehards and waiters sing, "This is your birthday song! It isn't very long!"

And just like that, Em is 21, working in the Disney College Program, and living 3,000 miles away, on the other side of the country.