Over the last couple of years a manager at the Coronado Springs hotel made friends with a family from Newtown, Connecticut. The Disney Cast Member especially came to know the family’s little girls who would seek out the Cast Member and share their experiences visiting Walt Disney World. They would talk about being princesses and the girls were so excited when the Cast Member asked for their autographs. They emailed the Cast Member when they returned back home to Newtown and sent her pictures they had drawn (which sits proudly on the desk of the Cast Member).
So when the family returned this year, the girls ran up and gave the Cast Member hugs and kisses. The Cast Member inquired about their vacation this year. At one point the grandmother pulled the Cast Member at one point to the side to say that the 7 year old, who attends Sandy Hook Elementary School, was in one of the classrooms on that fateful day. In fact, it was her second-grade class seen in the photo running away from the school. She was okay, but she lost 3 of her best friends and the past few months had been very hard on their family. Afterwards, the family walked away promising to come back the next day to tell the Cast Member about their experiences at Epcot.
The Cast Member immediately called her partners at the Yacht and Beach and asked if they could get them special fireworks viewing for Illuminations. They were able to get the family on a fireworks cruise from the Yacht and beach Club that night! The family could not have been more excited, and the girls loved that they each got 5 balloons along with it.
Still, the Cast Member wanted to do more. Brainstorming with an entertainment manager at the Magic Kingdom, they planned a private meet and greet prior to the next day’s parade.
Normally, for a meet and greet, a few Disney characters volunteer for a photo opportunity. But today would be different. Every single character from that parade was there to greet them. The princesses presented the girls with baskets full of princess paraphernalia and handed them a giant poster with everyone’s autographs. They then walked them to their roped off viewing section and each Disney character who they had just met backstage walked up and hugged them again during the parade. The entertainment manager shared with the Cast Member from Disney’s Coronado Springs how much this family touched the entire Cast of the parade and how they were still taking about how much they loved the girls.
The mother told the Cast Member how grateful they were for the memories they made on this trip. While they could not replace the ones made that fateful day, they were still memories that would last a lifetime. The mother said it was the first time they were able to relax and could give some innocence back to the children.
The Disney Cast Member remarked, “It is amazing to me the power of our brand, the world we can create, and the amazing partnership I received across the property to help make a magical trip for this family was overwhelming.”
A truly inspiring story. This is why I love Disney!