Welcome to the first stop aboard Magical Blogorail Orange. Enjoy the ride as we share with you our most magical experiences in a Disney park
There is no greater magic than feeling special. Whether we are aware of it or not, the desire to be someone special shapes our dreams, motivates our actions, inspires our hopes. We long for that moment when we will be the fairest of them all, the bravest hero, the brightest star.
The fulfillment of that dream is one of the great promises of the Disney parks. When we drive under the purple gates or walk through the turnstiles, we find ourselves in a place where we dare to dream of being something beyond the ordinary, of getting to be a hero or heroine. That magic is part of the park mystique – from four to eighty four, we love being treated like we are somehow special, wonderful, worthy of attention.
That magic takes place a thousand times every day on Disney property. Memories are made from those moments that make us feel special. Every time I’m at a Disney park, I feel honored to witness those moments, to see cast members engaged in the wonder of making people feel special, and I find myself smiling, knowing that dreams can come true, even the dream of daring to believe that we are truly wonderful in the eyes of another person.
But sometimes that sense of being special goes beyond that momentary magic and becomes something…more. Sometimes it spills over into the realm of wonder and touches the lives of everyone it encounters.
It was a typical visit to Downtown Disney. Although I have an annual pass, I still love the environment and the shopping options at Downtown Disney. I can happily spend a morning wandering through shops, finding new Disney treasures for my décor and absconding with them before the post-park crowds wash into the Walt Disney World shopping district.
When I’m visiting, I make a habit of cutting through the World of Disney store to peek in at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. The Boutique, in case you aren’t aware, is a special salon reserved for aspiring princesses. It offers a variety of “makeovers,” focused on allowing little girls to look like the princess of their choice at varying levels of intensity. Depending on the parents’ pocketbook, makeovers can range from makeup and hairstyle to an elaborate costume, shoes, wand, crown, and makeover. The boutique is staffed by “fairy godmothers in training” – a bevy of purple-clad ladies with infinite patience whose job is to make every little girl feel every inch the princess of her dreams.
I love stopping in at the boutique. As a child, I would have done several unspeakable things to get that kind of a makeover (and my mother would never have paid for it), and I find joy and magic in seeing the unlimited delight on the faces of those little girls getting to live out a dream.
But this day was different.
I went into the doors of the “princess room” of the World of Disney – the area crowded with princess merchandise from dolls to dresses to nightgowns. It was busy, but not overwhelming, and I began weaving my way through pink, sparkly merchandise toward the boutique entrance at the rear of the store.
But as I neared the cash registers, I saw a huge mass of purple gathered at the back of the store. It seemed that every fairy godmother in training had left the boutique to gather in the main shop. They were fluttering and fussing over…something…
I moved closer, peering around a shelf just behind the circle of cast members, and then I glimpsed what had drawn so many employees away from their posts.
It was a princess.
In the middle of the space, just beyond the boutique podium was an electric wheelchair. It had the well worn look of a chair that served its owner every day, with small touches, like ribbons and princess bracelets woven into the cold metal of its frame. Those touches, however, could not hide the overwhelming contrast between the sleek, cold shapes and colors of the machine and the tiny, twisted frame nestled on its seat.
The little girl overwhelmed by the wheelchair looked about 8 or 9, but her little body was so shrunken and twisted that it was hard to tell. Her face was pulled askew with muscle contortions, and her muscles were too bent to even allow her to sit up straight. Cradled in the wheelchair seat, she looked at the world with her head twisted to the side, one little bent had extended to the chair’s control…
…and she was every inch, from head to toe a princess.
From her sparkling hair to her lovely makeup to her billowing pink Aurora dress, she was a princess, and around her, an entire bevy of fairy godmothers fussed over straightening her skirt and admired what a beautiful bit of royalty she was.
And in that little wheelchair, a pair of beautiful brown eyes glowed with happiness and pride because in that moment, that little girl was Special. She was, in the eyes of everyone gathered around her, a princess. The wheelchair, the debilitating disease, they melted away under the love and admiration of her subjects, and all that mattered was that she was beautiful and beloved.
I have never seen a more lovely princess, and I doubt I ever will.
Whenever someone asks me about Disney magic or scoffs about Disney being a heartless corporation, I see the happiness in those eyes, I remember that beautiful, crooked smile full of joy and pride, and I get a lump in my throat. For me, that moment, peering around a shelf in the World of Disney, shines with pure magic – the magic of being special and of creating a world in which dreams – the greatest, unspoken True dreams – can come true.
Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is Focused on the Magic
Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:
1st Stop ~ Your Highway in the Sky
Final Stop ~ A Glass Slipper Vacation