Monday, October 21, 2013

A Cast Member Magical Moment Remembered

A Cast Member Magical Moment Remembered

I was reading another blog and they were talking about how a Cast Member remembered them from a visit several months earlier. They post was about how magical Cast Members make visits to the parks. That got me thinking about the wonderful Cast Members I’ve had the pleasure of running into. Truly it is the Cast Members that make our visits to Disney special. Let me share one of my top memories.

My father had just realized he loved Disney a couple of years before. He was disabled and very ill. He could no longer travel and being local to Disneyland he had recently found he could go there in his scooter and enjoy a day of escape and relax. He loved how they treated him. Then he had a heart attack and had to have surgery. He told the family that visits to Disneyland were done and he would rather die. I knew his birthday was a few weeks away and started talking up Disney and how we were planning on going to see Fantasmic for his birthday, even if we did it “later” after he got better. He continued to say his days of getting out were done. Depression had set in. I knew I had to get him out of his depression or he would just give up and die.

A few days before his birthday I knew I wanted to encourage my dad to get out of his depression and to focus on life not death. I went to several stores and found Disney birthday and get well cards and grabbed my daughter and headed to Disneyland! At the park I ran around trying to find all the characters on my cards to get them to sign them. We did not do one ride that day! I wanted each card signed by the character(s) on the card along with whoever else I could find.

We would walk up to the characters and tell them the cards were for my dad, it was his birthday and he was very sick. All the characters wrote Happy Birthday and Get Well. Mickey was the BEST!! The card for Mickey had a clock on the front with Mickey pointing at it. The face said, “It’s Time!” Inside it said “To Celebrate, Happy Birthday!” Mickey wrote, “Get well quick so you can come celebrate your birthday with me!”

After several hours and finding most of the characters I was stumped!! I could not find Daisy Duck and I knew I had to head home soon. I walked up to a Character Handler and asked where I could find Daisy. Scott, the Cast Member looked at me and said she could only be found at one of the restaurants at a resort hotel. He looked at his watch and sadly told me she was gone for the day! I showed him the Daisy Duck birthday card and explained once again why it was important to me to get her autograph. I still had a few others to get but I knew they were in the area I was in. Scott took a look at all of my cards and asked if he could have them for a few minutes. He then whispered to Chip and Dale, the Characters he was with and quickly went backstage. Another Cast Member came out to be with Chip and Dale a couple of moments later.

After about 20 minutes Scott came back with the cards and a large manila envelope. He told me he had found Daisy and all the other characters I was looking for backstage and had them sign the cards! He had also asked me who my dad’s favorite character was and in the manila envelope was an 8x10 picture of Goofy signed by Goofy with “Happy Birthday & Get Well Soon”. As you can imagine I could barely hold back the tears of joy and thanks. Scott had made a very magical moment and he never got to see the magic happen!

I took the cards and picture, purchased a Mickey Mouse balloon and headed out of the park. I stopped at City Hall on the way out to tell them what Scott had done to touch our lives. When I told the supervisor at City Hall what had happened she started to tear up. She asked me who was caring for my father. I told her my mother. She asked my mom’s name and then asked me to wait a moment. She stepped backstage and came back with another manila envelope with a picture of Mickey Mouse signed by Mickey to my mom! It said, “Hilda, Thanks for taking care of my pal, Fred!” Mickey.

The next day we went to my folk’s house to celebrate dad’s birthday. I gave him the stack of cards (about 10 of them) and he opened one at a time. At each character autograph and warm wishes he would smile. He opened the picture and declared it one of his most prized gifts! My mother was touched as well by her picture from Mickey. Before we left that night dad changed his attitude. He was no longer defeated. He wanted to fight his way back to health, at least to being healthy enough to go to Disneyland!

Just three months later daddy was back at Disneyland!!!! It was a magical day spent listening to the Billy Hill and the Hillbillies, watching the swing dancing, seeing the parade and finally Fantasmic! Once again a magical Cast Member sprinkled Pixie Dust on our day and made getting a special viewing spot easy for my dad! But, that is another story! 

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