Appropriately enough, the love story of Gavin Hatch and Patrick Santos -- both Disney employees -- played out like a classic fairytale.
"I proposed to Gavin the evening of March 11, 2015, at Disney's Boardwalk Resort," Patrick shares. "I always knew that I wanted to do something unique, but I didn't quite know how to execute it without help."
"It was exactly one year and one month from the day and at the very spot we first saw each other on our first date that Patrick proposed," Gavin says.
Gavin, 24, is a cruise vacation planner with Disney Cruise Line. He is from Altamonte Springs, Fla. He is the son of Debra Bridges of Orlando, Fla., and Gary Hatch of Altamonte Springs, Fla.
Patrick, 28, is a performer at Walt Disney World. He grew up in Orange County, Calif., before attending American Musical and Dramatic Academy. He is the son of Becky and Patrick Santos Sr. of Murrieta, Calif. Patrick and Gavin currently live together in Celebration, Fla.
The two met three years prior through a mutual friend, who told them they should both send a message to the other on Facebook. They arranged a meetup at Disney's Boardwalk Resort, where they instantly hit it off -- but neither expected it to be a date so they had no idea what was in store. "We just knew that we clicked, but I never imagined that I would date him, let alone even propose to him years later!" Patrick shares. "He seemed so unattainable to me at the time."
"This past December, I went to my friends Vinny Sanrocco and Alex Votta to pitch them this idea I had for the proposal..."
"I was at Disney's Boardwalk Resort that night with one of our good friends, Jessie Smith," Gavin shares. "We went to get drinks, and Patrick was planning on meeting us there later on but sent me a text saying he was running late. It was almost an hour after I got there that Jessie told me Patrick was outside the restaurant. Once outside, Patrick was nowhere in sight when Jessie handed me a card from him. We continued to walk down the boardwalk and were stopped along the way by another friend, who then handed me another beautifully worded card. I ended up receiving five envelopes from our friends.
"Each card made it more and more clear what was waiting for me at the end of this boardwalk," Gavin gushed. "When we got to the gorgeous gazebo at the end of the walk, a group of 14 dancers performed a choreographed number that lead up to Patrick on one knee in the center." See below!
"When he was watching the dancers perform, I had to hide on my knees crouched down behind a trashcan and bush," Patrick says. "I couldn't see him, but I could see the flashes from all of the cameras going off. I kept telling myself 'This is it, don't drop the ring and don't mess up.' During this whole process I was so hard on myself to not mess this up for Gavin. That feeling you get when it's the last few seconds before proposing is so hard to explain unless you've already gone through it. It's a mixture of butterflies in your stomach, goosebumps and sweat--lots of sweat.
"[Vinny and Alex] ended up choreographing a beautiful number with 14 dancers, but by the end of the night I had 30 people total who worked on the proposal, from the choreographers, dancers, hair and makeup, videographers and photographers. The most amazing part was that every single person working on the proposal was a friend who I had met through my work at Disney. I'm so grateful for their love, support and the volunteering of their time. There was so much love and so many tears that night when he said yes!"
"I could tell from the way the proposal was conducted and how many people were involved that it took a lot of time," Gavin says. "I just couldn't get my head around how Patrick found time to put it all together without me finding out. I have always been one that you can't keep a secret or hide anything from, so when it all happened I just couldn't believe how it was truly an amazing surprise."
Patrick and Gavin are planning a Florida wedding for 2016. See more pics of the happy couple on the next page.