Stuart S. (NDD#47) (44 Posts)

Stuart is the DDL resident Geek Dad and claims New York as his birthplace. Currently, though, he resides in New Jersey and is a husband and father of two as well as a huge Disney World, Springsteen, Yankee, and NY Ranger fan. He wakes up and goes to sleep thinking about Disney World. He listens to Disney podcasts to and from work and at night before sleep. He drives his family nuts talking about Disney and is always planning their next Disney World trip. In addition, he is known to always volunteer to help extended family and friends plan their next trip. Stuart's personal blog is He can also be found on twitter by following @disneygeekdad.

This time of year has been a particularly difficult one for me ever since September 11, 2001. It is this time of year we remember and mourn all those who were suddenly and cruelly taken away from their family and friends.

In a September 13, 2009 article I posted to my own blog I mentioned how in early 2000 my then employer temporarily relocated our company to the 106th floor of tower two in the World Trade Center as our mid-town headquarters was undergoing a major refurbishment.  The plan called for the construction to be completed and for us to return to the mid-town location in late September 2001. I was never comfortable in the World Trade Center but I was able to block out and put my fears aside. Fortunately for us things didn’t go as planned and after returning from a vacation to Walt Disney World with my family in early July 2001 I was back in my mid-town office.

I’ll never forget the day of the attack I was in my office about to leave for Brooklyn on business when the news broke of a small commuter plane flying into tower one of the World Trade Center. Immediately that uncomfortable feeling I had from the time my company was located in the World Trade Center came rushing back. Though I felt uneasy not knowing what was really taking place at the time I still headed out of the office and into the subway to take the downtown train to Brooklyn.

The train pulled into the Canal Street station and the conductor announced the train was now out of service. At the time none of the people in the subway knew what was happening or why. The train just sat in the station. I didn’t have a cell phone back then so I decided to use a pay phone to call my office. I must have tried calling a dozen times from a few different pay phones. I couldn’t get through. I kept getting a recording to the effect that due to emergency police activity the phone lines were not available. I spotted a train on the other side of the tracks heading back uptown. Sensing something was terribly wrong I raced to get on that train. As the train pulled out the conductor announced it was the last train heading into Queens with stops through midtown Manhattan.

A short time later the train pulled into my stop, 34th Street. I got off the train still not knowing what was actually happening. I exited the subway to find the streets packed with people trying to make their way to the subway. I even heard a few people shouting “They’re going to attack the Empire State Building!”

I entered my building and took the elevator back to my office. It was then I learned the first plane was a passenger plane and there was a second passenger plane that hit tower two as well. Needless to say I was as stunned as everyone else in the office, city, and our nation that horrific day.

None of our phone lines were working so I couldn’t contact my family. Later I learned my mother in law was panicked because she thought my office was still in the World Trade Center and my wife told me of the horror as she sat motionless in front of the television as the second plan slammed into tower two.

In the office we had a radio and internet access to keep us apprised of the events as the day unfolded. We learned of a third plane crashing into the Pentagon and a fourth that went down in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. We discussed what could have been if we were still located on the 106th floor of tower two. Would we have listened to the announcements to remain in our office? Would we have tried to leave and would we have been able to make it out?

It’s the “what ifs” that I will never be able to answer and it’s the “what ifs” that will always haunt me but I’m grateful to be alive to ask the “what ifs.”

A little after 4:00 that afternoon the Port Authority began running New Jersey Transit trains from New York City’s Penn Station to Newark, New Jersey where bus service was being provided for travel throughout the state. I left the office and made my way home. I arrived at my house at approximately 6:30. I was lucky I made it home that evening.

So you might be asking yourself if this is a Disney blog site why am I writing about 9/11?  I am writing about 9/11 because it’s a reminder of how the cowardly act of some despicable souls changed the world and the way we travel forever. With so many Disney vacationers flying to and from the Orlando airports we now must get to the airport well in advance of our flight to go through multiple security check points. All our baggage must now go through an x-ray machine and what doesn’t fit in the x-ray machine is thoroughly checked by security. We can no longer carry more than 3 ounces of liquids on board a plane. Anyone carrying a bag must have it checked by security before entering one of Disney World’s parks.

Traveling by plane to and from Disney is no longer as easy as showing up at the airport, checking your bags, breezing through security, and taking your seat before flying. Now we must all endure longer lines and wait times. This is a small price to pay to ensure our safety and those of our loved ones.

To make your air travel as convenient as possible arrive at the airport well before your flight’s departure time. Having a lot of patience and above all remaining calm will help you deal with the process. Make sure you have required identification, i.e. valid driver’s license, passport, etc. Keep handy tickets, boarding passes and other necessary documents for flying. Always keep your bags in your possession. Be vigilant of your surroundings and everyone around you. Also, talk to your children beforehand prepare them for the security check points and what they need to do with their favorite toy or stuffed animal. If you’re flying home from Walt Disney World it’s important to remember not to put items in your carry-on bag like snow globes which typically contain more than 3 ounces of liquid because they will be confiscated by security.

Remembering why we have to go through all this and following these basic rules will help get you on your flight and on your way to or from Walt Disney World.

Contributed by: Stuart S. (NDD #47).  Stuart is our resident Disney geek and creator of Disney Geek Dad.

9 thoughts on “REMEMBERING WHY

  1. Stuart, this post gives me such chills as my dad works in Manhattan as well. He watched this tragedy happen right from the chair in his office. So horrible. For some odd reason, my hubby & I were awake watching the news at that time (we were in Seattle so it was not even 6am). I was actually able to reach my dad immediately & was on the phone with him in between the 1st & 2nd towers being hit. It makes me so very sad to think about it. I didn’t know you back then but I’m sure glad I know you now! 🙂 I cannot wait to meet you in person one of these days!

  2. A thought-provoking post.. thank you for sharing 🙂

    This evening, we are watching programmes on History Channel about tomorrow’s anniversary.. it is so hard to watch and brings me to tears, but it reminds me of the incredibly brave & strong people of NYC who had to experience that awful day – it was a day that changed history and all our lives.

  3. Just the other day I was thinking about how I would tell my two young children about the events of September 11th one day. At 7 and 3, neither knows the world to be any different. They do not recall being able to climb on an airplane without taking their shoes off at security. They only know Disney World with the security bag check points and other items in place.

    Of course, I remember my last pre-911 trip to Disney. That was my honeymoon just a few months before the tragic events. Then as newlyweds the event rocked our world. My FIL and husband’s best friend worked in NYC. As I was in a classroom teaching, the principal came to tell us about the events. We were able to go and make calls. Undfortunately it took us hours to get in touch with our loved ones as we watched more news unfold.

    We will never forget this day and those that lost their lives, but will not let the events change our love of travel and all things (especially Disney). Today and every day we must live life to the fullest and show our children how people came together to support one another.

  4. Thank you for sharing your story. It is important to remind ourselves why things are the way they are now and how fortunate we are to be able to continue enjoying life when so many are not here to enjoy it.

  5. Your post is great. I had to come back today to read it. When I started to read it last night, I just put my head in my hands and cried. It brought me right back to that day. I will never forget that Tuesday and how beautiful it was in the morning. I was teaching 6th grade then. I’ll never forget looking out the classroom window and seeing Tower 1 fall…collapse…I’ll never forget all the students…crying and worrying about their families that worked there. We lost some close friends that day. Today I pray for all the families that never found their loved ones and for strength. It’s funny how you brought up the bag check at Disney World. This summer my son wanted to know why we have to go through the bag check…..and I had to explain it…one more time…
    Thank you for sharing and I hope that your heart is a little better every day… Hugs…El

  6. Thank you Stuart for sharing your thoughts and memories. This was a powerful story….

    It is important that we do remember, and honor those who lost so much. The sacrifices we make now are small and insignificant and ones that I make gladly in order to hopefully insure that something like this never happens again.

    I think we all remember where we were and what we were doing. I do not live in NYC but have a very close friend who worked in the WTC. She did, miraculously get out, before the first tower fell: fortunately she did not listen to those announcements to stay in their office…..I remember the panic my family felt until we heard from her, and the thankfulness we felt and utter disbelief that she made it out…..

    Thoughts and prayers to all of those personally affected….which in one way or another, is probably most of us.

  7. Great post, Stuart. Sometimes, I think I’m the only one that remembers 9/11. I’m glad that I’m not.

  8. You certainly are not. I know that I will be of a very old age and ill with Alzheimers before I forget the day our country came to a standstill.

  9. Stuart, I’m so glad to see this article get the response it deserves. I relived this day by reading your words. And while it makes my heart briefly stop to mentally visit that place, I think it is so important to never forget (especially when we are tempted to get cranky by the inconveniences of safety procedures we now endure). Thank you for the reminder.

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