Sarah and Alex | Scavenger Hunt Proposal at Disney World

engagement at disneyHow We Met: Alex and I met my freshman, his sophomore year of high school. He had a huge, goofy looking afro and he was quite ornery, but for some reason I was drawn to him, despite myself. It helped that his best friend was dating my best friend.

By the time the boys’ junior year came around, and their junior/senior prom approached, my friend and I decided that Alex and I should go to prom together, just so we could attend with our best friends. Alex and I discussed it, about nine months in advance, and decided that if he didn’t have a date by then, he would take me. In the months to follow though, we began to talk more and more. Alex played “hard to get,” toying with my emotions and making me think he was interested, without committing, until about the end of March. We would text on and off, with him only replying some of the time. But I think we both knew that something good was going to come out of our friendship. Despite the lack of commitment, neither of us was actually willing to give up.

By the time prom came around, our best friends had broken up. Ironically enough, Alex and I were officially dating. We don’t really talk to those friends much anymore, but we like to believe that God placed them in our lives so that we would find each other.

Because neither of us could drive, prom ended up being our first date. It was a little scary, thinking that the first time I spent time with Alex outside of the halls of our high school would be for hours upon hours at prom. After our first slow dance, though, when I was nervously shaking and he pulled me in close, I think we both knew that there was something special about us. And from then we were in it for the long hall.

Alex went off to college, a local branch campus, once he graduated, which felt like the end of the world at the time. But the real test came when I moved from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C to attend college at George Washington University. The long distance, seeing each other only about twice a month during the school months, has had its challenges, but we have persevered. It’s hasn’t always been easy, but we have both known all along just how special our relationship is.

How He Asked: Fast-forward almost 5 years. I’m a junior in college, Alex is graduating in May. When we found out that our spring breaks corresponded this year, we started talking about a plan for our trip. I jokingly said that since Alex is a senior that I needed a “ring by spring.” His reaction? “Let’s go to Disney World.”

Alex isn’t good at secrets.

Since I knew what was going on, he took me shopping for rings over Thanksgiving break. I didn’t know which of the top 6 or so he was planning on buying, if any, but I was excited to be able to help him, and ultimately get something that I really liked. From then on, though, I was completely out of the loop about what his plans were. I just knew that come March, over spring break, I would likely be becoming his fiancé.


We arrived in Disney on Monday. I had narrowed down the day he would propose to Tuesday at this point (when discussing clothes he was going to pack, Alex listed the nicest outfit for that day), but didn’t know when or how. I was happy with his choice of Tuesday though, as we were supposed to visit Magic Kingdom that day.

Alex had said that morning that he wanted to visit the Hall of Presidents, so after we watched the new “Festival of Fantasy” parade, which ended at 3:30, I asked him if he wanted to head over there.

His response? “Not yet, let’s wait until 4:00.”

I tried not to say anything, I really did. But it seemed I couldn’t help myself from commenting, “4:00 is a very specific time.”

He gave me a hard time about pointing it out, but he didn’t seem disappointed that I seemed to have figured out his plan. I should have known that he had something more than I expected up his sleeve.

We wandered around a little bit, not wanting to ride any rides or go to far away from the starting point in Liberty Square of Magic Kingdom. Alex was continually checking his watch, and when 4:00 came, we wandered over to a little nook that housed two rocking chairs and flower planters.


It was cute and quaint, but there was a lady sitting in one of the rocking chairs, so I though his moment was ruined. That was until I wandered over one of the planters and found a scroll. On the outside was a slip of paper that read “Important Mail for Sarah Richter and Alex Ermine.”

I unraveled the scroll, and found that it had been wrapped around a rose, and contained a message from Belle and the Beast! They had a message for me that I could only find by collecting all of the roses they left before all the petals fell.


I started to cry as I read the note. I was so excited, not only because going on a scavenger hunt around Magic Kingdom was going to be so much fun, but because Alex had taken the time and effort to set up something so perfect for me. Even though I had known the proposal was coming for quite some time, I had no idea that he was going to make it so special.

I grabbed his hand and ran to the next clue. We were off!

The third clue was located in a cannon by the Pirates of the Caribbean ride (my favorite Disney movies besides Beauty and the Beast). It read, “Get away! It’s a trap! There are no roses in cannons!” and of course, did not have a rose accompanying it. The clue after that took me half an hour to find, because I was looking in the wrong place in Frontierland.



We found a few more, and then the second to last clue instructed us to go ride Haunted Mansion. However, the sign read that there was a half an hour wait! My patience did not do well as I tried to sneak up through the crowds to get on.


I was instructed to stand in the middle of the ‘stretching room’ and that a ‘friendly ghost would give me a rose.’ As the lights went out, creating an entirely black room, I felt something fall over me and found that a rose had been put around my neck, and started freaking out, totally excited.


I begged Alex to let us take the emergency exit out, and not ride the actual ride, but he insisted that after waiting half an hour, we might as well. After we got off, I all but ran to the next clue, which also happened to be the last.

It was located in a tollbooth on the bridge from Main Street to Liberty Square. Sitting on a ledge inside the booth was another scroll, wrapped around another rose. I unrolled it and began to cry once again as I read,

“Let true love unite, undying, until our last rose petal falls…


Will you marry me?”

I looked up to see Alex, on one knee, holding out a ring box with the most beautiful diamond. I had obviously seen it before, but I had forgotten just how gorgeous it was. And then there was him, smiling and asking me to marry him. I nodded and said yes, letting him put the ring on my finger then leaping into his arms. A crowd had gathered and started to cheer and applaud.

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Cinderella Castle was beside us, and my true love beside me. It could not have been any more perfect. It was like living a fairytale.


Engagement Planning: Gifts of a Lifetime