Former New York Jets center Nick Mangold was having lunch with his family at Epcot Feb. 23 when he received a not-so-magical call from the Jets, who informed him of their decision to release him.
Mangold was surprised the Jets, his team for 11 years, never offered him the chance to renegotiate his contract to a lower cap charge.
"I was definitely shocked," Mangold said Monday on the Michael Kay Show on ESPN New York radio. "I knew something had to be done. You're entering the last year of a contract that was backloaded as much as mine was, I knew something would have to be done.
"The fact that it was an outright release caught me off guard. I wasn't ready for that. I figured there would be some sort of low-ball offer and you might get back to negotiations and figure something out. But to not even get the chance to do that was difficult."
Mangold, 33, was due to make $9.075 million in 2017, the final year of a contract he signed in 2011. The Jets cleared the entire amount from their salary cap by releasing him.
The seven-time Pro Bowl center said he "definitely would've entertained" a pay cut to remain with the Jets.
"The opportunity to play with one team for your whole career is something special," he said, adding that he still wants to play in 2017. "Not too many people get to do it. That would've been a nice mark."
Mangold, a first-round pick in 2006, described this as an emotional time for his family, saying his two young children are big Jets fans.
"It becomes part of the family," he said. "To have that taken away is a little difficult."
Mangold, still in Disney World five days after the phone call from the Jets, posted a sad-face photo of himself while riding Splash Mountain. The meme says, "The moment it sinks in that you were cut while in Disney World."
The meme received 22,000 "likes" on his Twitter account.
"It didn't really sink in until Tuesday [the 28th] that I was no longer a member of the New York Jets," Mangold said on the radio. "That's when I happened to be waiting in line for Splash Mountain."