The Magic of Disney: Why I Believe in Magic

by PJ Pettigrew, PassPorter Guest Contributor
Last modified 05-26-2011

Photo illustrating Walt Disney World - Making Magic

We are a Disney family who are continually asked, why we are going to Disney again?

The Walt Disney Company offers us not just a vacation destination but a sanctuary from the stresses of the real world. I truly believe in Disney Magic and that is not something that can be quantified, it is something that must be experienced!

Crowing with Friends photo
Crowing with Friends

We have never gone to any Disney destination expecting something magical – maybe that’s what makes it more special when Pixie Dust is sprinkled. We have experienced some truly special magic as a result of the genuine caring of Cast Members, who exemplify the Disney spirit and go above and beyond for their guests. Walt Disney would be proud to see that his visions of quality family time are being kept alive by a new generation.

Our most recent magical experience occurred just last week. We had no plans to visit Walt Disney World, but we were taking refuge due to the loss of power and tornado damage at home in Alabama. As Disney Vacation Club members, we were able to make reservations on short notice. At check-in at the Animal Kingdom Villas, we chatted with the Cast Member behind the desk. Little did we know, she would become our Fairy Godmother. We were thrilled when she found us a Savannah view room, since we had only planned to enjoy the resort for a few days and did not have park passes or plans to get any, not knowing what expenses awaited us when we returned home.

After we were settled in our room, we received a visit from a manager. Our Fairy Godmother had shared our story. He brought our daughter a lollipop and a stuffed baby giraffe as well as park passes for us all to enjoy some Disney magic during our stay. We were in awe! That evening, we ordered room service for dinner since there was a long wait at Sanaa. When our meal was delivered, we were surprised that it included an additional appetizer,  compliments of the front desk. We felt overwhelmed by the kindness and care we were given during our time of uncertainty. These Cast Members went WAY above and beyond to take care of us when we felt blessed just to be safe and together!

On our last Disney Cruise, we found that Pixie Dust could also be sprinkled in the middle of the ocean. Our daughter has a beautiful, homemade Snow White dress that she had been saving to wear on this cruise to show Snow White. On a previous cruise, Snow White spent the most time of any of the Princesses visiting with our daughter and teaching her the proper Princess wave and curtsey. We saw Snow White the first night during The Golden Mickeys show and anxiously awaited the Princess Gathering the next morning. We were waiting in line down the hall next to Triton’s so we could not see the Princesses when they arrived. We heard the announcement welcoming Cinderella, Tiana, and Belle and thought maybe we just missed Snow White’s name, so hubby took a peek. He came back and whispered, “There’s no Snow White.” How can there be no Snow White? While we waited in line, hubby asked the crew member who was directing the line about Snow White’s whereabouts and the response was that Ms. White had to tend to a strike at the mine but would be back next cruise. Next cruise? That did us absolutely no good! Hubby explained how our daughter had been waiting a long time to see Snow White in her special dress. The crew member asked for our daughter’s name and our cabin number and said he’d see what he could so.

When we returned to our cabin that afternoon, there was an envelope waiting addressed to our daughter. She was invited to a special gathering that evening at 9:30. There were no details other than it was a special gathering. Since we had late dining, we skipped dessert so we could get our lil’ Princess dressed and primped one last time. We arrived a bit early and were the only ones there. Soon, two more families arrived. Unfortunately, Snow White was still unavailable, but when Cinderella and Tiana came out followed by Mickey and Minnie, Peter Pan, and every character on board, we were all in shock! Our daughter was surrounded by nearly all of her favorite friends, and she was so at ease and comfortable. Belle said they should take our daughter with them, since she was the most beautiful Snow White on board. When it was time for everyone to leave and descend the lobby staircase for the ‘Til We Meet Again celebration, we asked our daughter if she’d like to go down and see any of them one more time. Her response, “No, I’m good! I just had them all to myself but now they need to see the other kids.”

During a trip last year to celebrate our daughter’s 4th birthday, she was excited that she was finally tall enough to ride Soarin’. We road Soarin’ several times during the day but when it was almost 9 PM and we only had time for one more ride, she chose Soarin’ again. We did not have fast passes and it had a 50 minute wait, but she said she was willing to wait (a first for her!). Finally, the line split and we were told to go to the left, where there was still a long line of guests waiting for their turn to board. When the line moved, we ended up being asked to wait for the next flight and the Cast Members started chatting with our daughter. Of course, she was wearing her birthday buttons (she had 3 in the shape of a Mickey). One of the Cast members called her over to take a special call from Goofy wishing her a happy birthday. Then the Cast Member got on the speaker phone and asked everyone in line to help her sing Happy Birthday to her new friend. After all this, it was time for the next flight to begin loading, but the Cast Members hadn’t been lining the other guests up in the rows as usual. They announced that they hoped everyone wouldn’t mind allowing the birthday girl a special ride. They proceeded to load just our family and a few of themselves in row B1 for a private birthday flight. After our flight, they put a Mickey glove hand on our daughter and asked her to help direct the next guests onto the ride. She was then presented with a Soarin’ Pilot’s certificate signed by all of them. It was AMAZING! Our daughter doesn’t realize how special this experience was, but her parents sure do!

So, as you can tell, Disney has created some very magical memories for our family over the years. None of these were planned or expected, but that’s what makes them more special. Are we going back to Disney again? You bet we are! Why? If you have to ask, you just wouldn’t understand!

Soarin' Birthday Flight photo
Soarin' Birthday Flight

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About the Author:
PJ Pettigrew is a rocket scientist, life-long Disney fan, and now Disney mom who is enjoying experiencing Disney through the eyes of her daughter as if it were all new again.

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Reader Comments:

That was truly an amazing article! I was so touched by all the wonderful things that happened to you and your family, it brought tears to my eyes! It was a 4 tissue read!Hope that all is well with you and your family and that you are safe at home -

     MamaJules on May 27, 2011 @ 10:30 am
Thank-you for sharing all those magical memories with us PJ! And you're right I don't have to ask why we all return to Disney for more fun family moments, I know smiley for :)

     Pooh#1 on May 28, 2011 @ 9:43 pm
Your article spoke to me and I'm still thinking about it days after reading it. You captured the essence of why families, like ours, return regularly to Disney.

And, just when your family hits the vacation groove and is making magic of your own, Disney appears to make moments even more magical!

Thanks for putting such an elusive feeling into words!smiley for :)

     toddjodybrent on May 29, 2011 @ 8:02 am
Thanks so much for the sweet comments! This was my first attempt at writing a non-technical article and it was fun reliving the memories! We now have some new memories to share having just gotten off the Disney Dream, but our next adventure is to Alaska! smiley for :D

     Poohj80 on May 30, 2011 @ 3:55 pm
That was a very touching storysmiley for :) I have another one to share too.
A girl was having a birthday at WDW, it was their first trip and they didn't expect anything from it thinking the resort didn't care. They did ask a cast member what would happen but were not expecting it
But as soonas they entered their room, there was free balloons, autographed photo of Cinderella, and other goodies, huge cupcake, etc. She got a free birthday pin to wear in the parks and everyone-all the people at the resort, bus, cast members at the park-wished her happy birthday. She kept on saying that Mickie was magic!

     PiratesofCaribbean on June 28, 2011 @ 6:29 pm
We love the little extras that Disney always seems to find a way to do, it's why we are always drawn back. One year while we were there my daughter got to spend 10 minutes alone, in EPCOT's china pavilion, with Mulan!
During that moving time Mulan started a three day adventure for us.
MUlan started Princess Tag for us! Through 3 parks we went through Akerhus and to Pocahontas in AK and finally to Jedi Mickey in MGM-HS. Was a great memory that we still talk about

     DisneyDaddy on June 6, 2012 @ 3:05 pm
Great article. Thanks for posting

     jimmymac on June 6, 2012 @ 3:14 pm
We were in DL for my youngests 5th b-day and they pulled us all out of line for the Star Wars ride (sorry do not remember the name) and let us ride it alone -with a Autistic DD and my one who had the b-day having all sorts of other things going on it was bliss (they did not know this of course, just giving a treat) we had 10 min of alone time, to re-group, came out of it ready to go again. THAT is why we are going to WDW for their birthdays in a year and a half - can't wait!
Great article - loved all the little stories.....

     mom2girls1974 on June 6, 2012 @ 3:16 pm
Hey! My name is Jessica, and I'm in the picture to the left of the little girl!

I'll be the first to tell you, this is the most outstanding memory I have of my programs. I think about the trip with her and Ashlie to the golden state on Soarin' almost every day. I use our stories in interviews, talking to people....

The best part about this, is I got a card with a picture of her and Cinderella on her birthday thanking me for making things memorable. It also had a rose sucker attached to it, and making conversation I asked, "Why a rose?"

The best thing I've ever heard back to me...

"Because every princess deserves a rose".

I think about it every single day. It changed my life, and made me realize I had the best job in the world.

Miss you guys so much!!!

     disfitt on May 20, 2015 @ 6:41 pm
No need to be so modest. That was a terrific human interest article that couldn't possibly fail to touch the Disney magic lover in any of us PassPorters.

I was especially moved by your account of the extra magic lavished upon your family when you left tornado damage behind you for some Disney cheer. I grew up in Kansas and know the heartbreak tornadoes can cause. A bit of Disney would be such a lovely salve when you know you've repairs or rebuilding confronting you upon returning home. To have so much generosity and kindness shown you by AKV staff must have been a marvel.

     Her Dotness on May 20, 2015 @ 9:24 pm
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Updated 05-26-2011 - Article #643 

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