Cast Connections – Thanks to Cast Members who went out of their way to make a child´s day brighter.

My family and I are huge fans of WDW, but are even bigger fans of Cast Members (CM’s) This monthly column will talk about many things in relation to CM’s – from Magical Moments they have helped to create for our family, specific kinds of CM’s and what they do, and even some CM interviews. For us, Disney is more than just a theme park; it is a place that has made a world of difference to my special needs daughter (MJ), it’s the place we have our friends, it’s what I draw from to homeschool MJ, for us, it’s *home* and the people that make it that are the 57,000 CM’s who work so hard to create the magic!

This first column will highlight some of the wonderful, Magical Moments that have happened to my family, all thanks to Cast Members who went out of their way to make a child´s day brighter.

Some Magical Moments for MJ (These took place over several trips )

At Playhouse Disney Live! at Disney-MGM Studios a CM let MJ sit in front so she could interact, even though the wheelchair section is technically in the back. She put us on a corner so we wouldn’t obstruct other people’s view. It was the first time MJ got to be part of the streamers and bubbles and she LOVED it!

To understand the next magical moment, you need to know that MJ was scared to death of the characters when we began going to WDW. This one happened at Tarzan Rocks!, our favorite show. Whenever Terk comes out on stage, MJ claps like crazy (characters on stage or from a distance are ok). This one performance, Terk does her thing and then jumps off of the stage RIGHT in front of MJ’s wheelchair! I just sort of shook my head internally and thought, this is going to be bad, so I turned to MJ to tell her it’s okay only to see that she is reaching her arms out to Terk who promptly envelops her in a hug and kisses her forehead! The waterworks really come in earnest for me now, which does not go unnoticed by the lead singer who then jumps off the stage to give me a hug. Later in that month the stage manager of Tarzan Rocks! heard the story about MJ and Terk and arranged for MJ to get to meet the great performers of that show.

When MJ actually ASKED to see a character for the first time ever it was Peter Pan and Wendy…..but she doesn’t do well under pressure so the greeter let us wait to be the last people to say hi to them so that she could interact without a long line waiting behind her. It was a bit more of a wait for us, but so worth it when she didn’t shy away and even let both of them touch her!

We ran into Gold Dust Gus on the streets of Frontierland, he and MJ interacted for quite a while. His animals fascinated her. Upon finding out that her favorite animals are bunnies he took one out of his pack for her to pet. As we were getting ready to leave he asked if she could “take care” of the bunny for him since he was going west, and he gave her the bunny! “Gus” as the bunny has been dubbed hasn’t been out of her arms (except when he got lost and recovered [Whew!] at PhilharMagic).

We have gone to AK a lot and had somehow never managed to see Pocahontas and Friends. (Truth be told I had never seen the movie Pocahontas either, but I knew the songs) So we finally decided to go see the show. We pulled up to the greeters and explained that our wheelchairs are too wide to go into the entrance (MJ and I used to ride in side by side wheelchairs pushed by my husband before I got my scooter). We asked if they wanted us to use a transfer chair or another method of getting into the theater. They said, just wait here; we’ll take you in the exit. We were early for the show so we started chitchatting with the CM’s as usual! MJ was her little charming self and was pretending to take pics of the CM’s (for which they cheerfully posed over and over again). We did take a couple of real pics with them and MJ too, and they signed her CM autograph book. That was our experience with Jillian, Michelle, Stephanie (who gave me a card and asked me to get a copy of the picture for her), NanaMarie and Claudia.

They were so sweet! Then I heard someone say I’m _______ (nickname from a board, don’t want to give away her identity unless she wants me to) from ____ Internet Disney board. I gave a little shout and told her how nice it was to meet her, we got to talk, and she played with MJ then took us into the theatre, seated us up front and took off to do her thing. She came back a bit later before the show started and told us to wait for her after the show and to stay seated until the theatre cleared out. So we enjoyed the show (although the porcupine and birds didn’t cooperate very well) the show is pretty neat, we especially loved Sprig and Grandmother Willow. So after the show cleared out we were waiting around talking to Marcia and out came Lynzie (a stage manager) with POCAHONTAS!!!! Oh my goodness! Well, for those of you who know me, you know the water works started then! MJ actually let her picture be taken sitting with Pocahontas, she signed her book and played with her for a bit, pure magic!

Now, here’s the thing about Magical Moments like these:

They couldn’t happen without the REAL Disney Magic, Cast Members!!!


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