Magical moments happen all the time at Walt Disney World. Many times the cast members don’t realize that they are truly actual magical moments for that specific person. Often times, but not always.
One of the many reasons why I love Disney World is because it is a place that treats all people as equals. As a person with a disability in a wheelchair for long distances, I don’t feel invisible there. It is hard being in a wheelchair regardless of the situation, but Disney goes above and beyond to accommodate those with disabilities. I have never seen a more accommodating place than Disney World. They do their best to make magic happen and go out of their way to help those with disabilities. This is a huge reason for me to keep coming back literally month after month.
A few years ago, I had a magical moment happen for me. My parents and I were sitting at the Festival of the Lion King show at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park. There were families of all ages ready and excited to see the singers, dancers, acrobats, stilt walkers, and the person who does tricks with fire. This is one of my favorite shows at Disney. Towards the end of the show, ensemble members come around to each of the four parts of the stage and grab kids in the audience to dance with them around the main stage. The actors take the kids who are in the front rows up with them, which range from those excited to those scared to go up. This time around I noticed something different: There were two cast members who asked the adult sitting next to the kid in the wheelchair if they could push him around the stage. This totally warmed my heart.
I was shocked seeing this happen. There were plenty of kids around that section they could have chosen to dance and walk around the stage with them, yet they chose these kids. These two kids were on opposite sides of the stages and both in wheelchairs. It would have been so easy for other kids to walk around the stage with the performers and for the actors to just pick them. They could have taken the easy way out and not even bothered, not even seeing these kids with disabilities in wheelchairs, and left them alone. However, they went out of their way to pick a child in a wheelchair. As they paraded around the stage, I saw a small glimpse of these kids’ faces light up. When I saw this, a part of me lit up.
As a person in a wheelchair, I was never able to volunteer for things like this, however, seeing that gave me hope. I was elated that these two performers went out of their way to choose a kid in a wheelchair who needed the help. They pushed that kid as if they were a king or queen for the day.
I wish I had this experience. As I sat and witnessed this experience that not many kids in wheelchairs get, my heart melted knowing that this made the kid’s day.
In October, we traveled back to Disney World for the runDisney races — I participated in the 5K in my wheelchair with my parents and friend pushing me all the way. Afterwards, we went to Disney’s Animal Kingdom and saw the Festival of the Lion King. I was excited as always to see this show. As I looked around, I wondered who they would pick, as there weren’t too many kids around me. It slipped my mind and I began to relax into the show. When the time came, one of the actors came up and chose me. He asked me, “Do you want to participate?”
I was shocked. My mouth was to the floor as I said ,”Yes.” Thinking I was too old as an adult (but secretively wanting to do) it he even said, “Here, let me get the brakes for you.” He pushed me in my own wheelchair around the stage. I was elated to participate. While I am much older than the kids, it made my day and reminded me of those kids that I saw before. Someone (a cast member) saw me. I wasn’t invisible to him.
Have you had a magical moment? What was yours?