Yesterday, I forgot to write a post from my Basic Training Journal excerpt series. On Saturday, May 11, 1991, my company left the base for the first time since we had arrived on April 20, 1991 to go on our "Controlled Liberty." We were near the end of our training, and one of the advantages of going to basic training in Orlando, Florida was that we had plenty of options for our company's day of fun in the outside world: Disneyworld, Epcot Center, Universal Studios, Wet and Wild, and Seaworld.
Excerpts from my journal in the days leading up to May 11th show that the company vote was contentious. Vote and revote. Lobbying guys to change their votes by appealing to our most base instinct. In the end, justice prevailed! Thank God for "majority rule"! The following excerpts on the days indicated are only in regards to our Controlled Liberty, as I am not including the other things I wrote for the entry on those days.
May 1, 1991 5-2 Day Wednesday
...In the evening we voted on where we wanted to go for controlled liberty. It boiled down between Wet and Wild versus Universal Studios. SR Williams was lobbying guys hard for Wet and Wild, telling us that there will be women in bikinis and we have a better chance of getting laid than we will at Universal Studios. Universal won and I was glad.
May 2, 1991 5-3 Day Thursday
...Williams wasn't pleased with the company vote for Universal Studios over Wet and Wild and continued to lobby guys in hopes of doing a revote. He did change some opinions and it looked like we were going to Wet and Wild, which I didn't want to do. I don't know why he is so insistent about going to Wet and Wild. Just because there might be women in bikinis there doesn't guarantee that anyone in our company will be able to hook up with any of them. The CCs saw that it was divided, so we got to vote again and it looked like Wet and Wild won. But guys changed their minds again and Universal is it.
May 11, 1991 Controlled Liberty Saturday
Finally, we leave our prison grounds for the first time since arriving here almost two months ago! We dressed in our summer white uniforms, which makes us look like milkmen or something because we don't have rank insignias or ribbons. We boarded the bus and morale is pretty high, even though SR Williams is still complaining about Wet and Wild. I'm glad that Universal Studios won, though, because it offers more things to do.
One of the first things we did was hit up the souvenir store to buy sunglasses, disposable cameras, and candy. I bought cheap plastic sunglasses ($2.95) and a disposable camera ($9.95). Some guys bought sunglasses with white plastic frames to match our white uniforms, but CC Keenan said that was unauthorized. We were only supposed to buy black framed sunglasses. Come on, now! We all look alike, why not allow diversity among sunglasses? Its hard to argue against the color coordination.
Next, a group of us headed to the nearest food establishment, a burger place called Mel's Drive-In. I had a hamburger, onion rings, and a chocolate milkshake ($7.11). It was good. Food seems to be the biggest attraction for the guys, after eating nothing but galley food for nearly two months.
We broke into smaller groups and I decided to hang out with SR Nelson, SR Nevil and other guys I felt a closer bond to. We walked the studio lots and I took photos of the New York / Ghostbusters street scene. The Ghostbusters show was a disappointment, though. The ride that got all of us most excited is Back to the Future: The Ride. What a wild ride, too! We had a debate afterwards on whether our DeLorean actually moved, or was it purely visual effects that made us feel like we were in motion? Whatever tricks were used, it made for an exciting ride.
Walking around, we kind of felt like celebrities. Ladies were checking us out and quite a few actually approached to buy ice cream from us! That's the trouble wearing white uniforms without rank insignias or military award ribbons, though rumour has it that upon completion of basic training, we will be authorized to wear the National Defense Service ribbon, even though the Gulf War ended before we arrived here.
Morale was pretty high when we arrived back to our barracks. We are feeling good about our last couple weeks. The light is definitely brighter at the end of the tunnel.
I found on YouTube a video of the actual Back to the Future: The Ride. I can't believe that it was only four minutes long. Watching it on YouTube doesn't compare to the actual experience. I swear that our DeLorean seats were moving, because it felt like we were falling at a few points. From my understanding, this ride no longer exists. It was replaced by a simulated The Simpsons Ride. That's a shame, because I had hopes of going to Universal Studios again someday and experience this ride once again.