By David Whitley
Anthony Fario heard about Nick Foles' travel plans at 4:30 a.m. Monday. Because Fario can't make it to the Eagles' Super Bowl parade on Thursday, he told his wife where he needed to go.
"I'm going to Disney World!" he said.
Ten hours later, Fario was in his green "Foles" jersey waiting for the Super Bowl MVP. But as any Philadelphia sports fan can tell you, the wait has really been longer than most of them have been alive.
The Eagles hadn't won a championship in 58 long cold-image-making years. Then Foles led them to the most unlikely of titles.
No wonder it seemed as if every Eagles fan within 100 miles of Orlando showed up for Monday's parade. Main Street, U.S.A., turned into Broad Street as the long-suffering masses waited on the man who finally delivered them from history's junk pile.
"This is huge," Grant Jones said. "This is beyond words. We've been waiting for something like this forever."
He lives in Philadelphia and his wife gave him a trip to Disney World as a birthday gift two months ago.
In their wildest Disney fantasies, they never suspected they would arrive on the day the Eagles won the Super Bowl. And just a day later, they would get to see their hero in person.
After a slight delay, Foles arrived to a shower of confetti and cheers.
"It's unbelievable to be here," he told the crowd.
In a lot of ways, Foles is the Philadelphia story.
He was cast aside by three teams, including the Eagles. He wound up there again as a backup this year.
The season seemed lost when starter Carson Wentz tore his ACL. Instead, the Eagles made the playoffs, beat two favored teams and then ultimately dethroned Tom Brady's dynastic Patriots.
It was like Rocky 7, though Sylvester Stallone probably couldn't have concocted such an underdog Philly hero.
That helped explain why it was a lot easier to spot fans wearing Wentz jerseys on Monday, not to mention Ron Jaworski, Donovan McNabb and Randall Cunningham jerseys.
Fario got his Foles jersey from a discount aisle at a Ross store a couple of years ago.
It cost $7.
Now No. 9 is more popular than Mickey Mouse.
"I had dreams, but never this," Foles said. "This surpasses any expectations."
He threw for 373 yards and three touchdowns and even caught a touchdown on a crucial fourth-and-goal play.
All that, and Eagles fans were still panicky until Brandon Graham strip-sacked Brady to short-circuit what many thought would be another last-minute Patriots win.
"When I saw that fumble, I almost cried," Jones said.
Some Philadelphians were driven to more than tears. Videos went viral of a hotel awning collapsing under the weight of raucous fans.
Then there was one of a fan eating a police horse's manure.
For the record, nobody ate horse manure Monday. Disney didn't even have to call in extra security.
Like the guest of honor, Philly fans feel they've gotten a bad rap when it comes to rowdiness.
"It's not unique to Philadelphia," Fario said.
Other than the horse and awning episodes, the celebrants in Philadelphia were relatively well mannered. Next up on the celebration calendar is Thursday's parade.
The Joneses hope to make it back in time. All in all, they'd rather be in Philadelphia. If they can't find an early flight home, they still got their parade.
"This feels like part of home," Jones said.
He may have been wearing a Wentz jersey, but every Eagles fan is feeling like Foles these days.