Christopher’s “Disney Moment”
By Christopher Brown
The words “magic” and “Disney” have always seemed to be synonymous with one another. At least it felt that way in my humble home. One VHS tape (Yikes!! He’s old!!) insertion and button press away from magic, music, and more. As a youth I gobbled up all that was Disney. From visits to the store to frequent vacation trips to Orlando, I was, and still am, a Disney-a-holic. It just seemed natural that when I saw the sign to do a paid college internship in Disney World, I would sign up for that chance to be selected. And I did. And I was!!!
My Disney “moment” occurred a month or so into the program. I was working in the ESPN on Boardwalk and I had clocked out for lunch. I was about to dine in the cafeteria located in the hallways of the park. There was this person I sat with for lunch. We worked the same schedule and we had a lot in common. His name was Kelly and he had just celebrated his 6th year of employment there. Kelly had noticed that I was silent for most of the lunch and he asked me why. I told him that between the classes for college credit and working 40 plus hours a week I didn’t feel like I was experiencing the “joys of the park”. Kelly had these really blue eyes that looked like Caribbean water and they lit up when I said that.
“Instead of coming here tomorrow, pack a lunch and meet me at the main gate.”
He told me. I reluctantly agreed, even though I knew that traveling there and back would consume most of my 45 minutes. What would tomorrow hold?
I arrived at the gate to find Kelly sitting in the shade off to the side. Real close to the employee hall entrance door. It was really humid, and it was really loud. He motioned me over and I started walking anxiously to see why I was there. I had barely sat down when he said:
“One month into my first year here I got the meh blues and a long time employee showed me this. This is the reminder to us that what we’re about are dreams.What we show is love.”
He directed my attention to the gate, specifically the handicapped entrance. I watched a young girl, maybe 7, being rolled into the park by her father.
“Look at her face when she sees Cinderella’s castle.” He told me.
And I did. And that image has stayed with me ever since. Her entire body smiled. Literally smiled with joy. This young girl, paralyzed from the neck down, began to shake and utter the most beautiful grunts these ears have ever heard. In that moment there was no park. No humidity. No noise. There was just her and the chance that Cinderella, somewhere, was in that castle.
I might have cried harder on my wedding day, but I’m not sure. I went back often to that spot to watch faces. It’s crazy how much of an impact a silly little cartoon can have when powered with the imagination and love of a child. In any event, it’s been 15 years since that happened and I’ll NEVER forget that. It was and is my Disney “moment.”
About the Author
Chris Brown shares no relation to the R&B singer. He is a lover of “so bad it’s good cinema,” music,sci-fi, and all things Disney. One of his goals in life,even at a young age, was to be a singing voice on a cartoon. A Louisiana native for most of his life, he fell in love with a West Coast girl and currently resides with her (she is now his wife) and their three kids in Southern Oregon. He loves to podcast and sing in his spare time.