My family, same as many others, has been to Disney World many, many times. Some trips have been more memorable than others, such as the time we took three exchange students with us. They were all so in awe of the availibility we Americans have to such wonderfully frivilous pleasures any time we want to make the trip. They loved the music, the rides, the restaurants, and most of all the friendly employees who all were there to help us have a wonderful time. And that we did, we all laughed and played and made memories that will last for years to come.
Another time, our son took his girlfriend and let us know in advance he was planning just how was going to propose to her there, so again, we can always remember the look in their eyes and our excitement at looking forward to their wedding and future lives together. We immediately requested special pins to commemorate their special day from Guest Services and from that point forward, everyone park we went to, every restaurant, every ride we went on, Disney Cast Members were congratulating them and wishing them well. Of course, they couldn't go anywhere but Disney World for their honeymoon and once again, they tell us that they got the royal treatment everywhere they went. Disney just really knows how to make special times even more special.
The last time we went though, will forever be the one that stands out in our hearts, minds and memories as the one during which we finally discovered the true "Magic" of Disney. And it's not necessarily due to anything that we were aware was happening at the time, but was in fact going on in the eyes, ears and soul of a very special little boy.
This was the time we took another family with us which consisted of a single mother and her 3 sons. Her youngest son, "J", had been diagnosed as "Developmental Delay-Unspecified". Some of the experts seemed to be leaning towards Autism Spectrum but, in as much as he was only 4 years old at the time, they didn't want to label him with that, so soon. He was not very communicative and just did not interact with others very much. He seemed content to just exist in his own little world by himself.
As we traveled around 'The World' for those five days, we hoped that "J" was having fun but for the most part he seemed to sit back in his stroller and just take things in. He watched the parades and the characters. He seemed to get over his fear of elevators and fell in love with riding busses. He was not interested in riding very many rides to begin with but could be talked in to trying more and more as the days went by. Although we had no idea until we got home just how much he had taken in, it appears that the lights, colors, music, friendly people and happiness of all of us at being able to share a few days there together must have made a tremendous impact on his little world.
After leaving our Disney fun behind, he started reciting, word for word, the travel monologues he had seen on the Disney TV stations in the hotel room, "10 Top Things to Do at Disney World", "Bam, Bam, Bam!" He began talking about wanting to go back to Disney World and all the fun things he wanted to do there again. He began recalling details of the fun things to do at Disney World and sharing his memories and feelings with all others that he encountered. His teachers and other specialists that work with him were totally amazed. He is now doing well in a "delayed kindergarden" setting and making friends, interacting and entertaining everyone he comes in contact with.
Maybe he just didn't have much to talk about before, but I choose to believe that he was touched by Tinkerbell's Pixie Dust. And, we all learned on that trip the true meaning of "The Magical World of Disney".