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The Sweetest Of Them All

Sunday, June 10, 2012


Want to know why I still believe in Disney magic? 

This is why:

 (photo by Kevin Yee)

The story that goes with this snapshot is an amazing tale of love and loss and celebration, sent in by Epbot reader Ron and starring his son, Ben. Ben is autistic, and one of his favorite things in the world - the ride Snow White's Scary Adventures in the Magic Kingdom - closed for good last month on May 31st. This was a ride Ben had been on literally thousands of times (they counted!), and Ron details the story of Ben's touching final goodbye over on his blog.
 
So many people - Disney cast members, friends, and even perfect strangers - came together on that last day to make it the most magical celebration Ben could ask for, and I'm not gonna lie: I cried my way through most of it. I don't want to spoil all the surprises for you, though, so just grab a box of tissue, clear your schedule for the next fifteen minutes, and go read the story. It will renew your faith in humanity, and give you an extra shot of pixie dust along the way.


Posted by Jen at 3:47 PM Labels:

44 comments:

  1. oh my gosh... This has so many happy thoughts, I think I could fly. What a beautiful, beautiful experience for this young man and his family. So glad you shared this, Jen!

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  2. Thank you so much for sharing that. I've always been somewhat skeptical about the magic of Disney parks, but that made me cry.

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  3. I've encountered that same Snow White at MK and she made my day! I've never really taken the time to do character meet and greets before I went to the parks with a friend who had never been before (we're 25 years old, the day was pretty magical and silly). Anyway, Snow White's always been my favorite, so when I met her I was super excited, and totally blown away by how in character she was. A little wren flew over and she talked to it.
    I have a great picture of her and I doing stereotypical princess poses while gazing longingly into the distance awaiting our Prince Charmings :)

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  4. I read their story yesterday and I cried so much. I choked up while telling my husband about it later, too. It is a wonderful, heartwarming story. I'm so glad you're sharing it, too, so it touches even more people.

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  5. I think your mean, making me cry a lot! A truly touching story!

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  6. Oh NO! That is my son's favorite ride, too!! I had no idea it was closing, or we would have ridden it more when we were there in February. How sad.

    Can't wait to check out the story, though...I love that photo!!

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  7. That was absolutely amazing. Thank you for sharing, Jenn. I have been a long time Disney fan and stock holder, and annual pass holder, this story reaffirmed why I support them. I hope Disney Magic continues on for generations and generations to come. It's stories like this that help restore my faith in humanity.

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  8. You were right! I cried! That is such a sweet story! I'm in school for mental health counseling, and we have a little boy who is autistic. Ben reminded me so much of him. Wow, that truly is going above and beyond and then some. I'm so touched by this.

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  9. There is no Magic like Disney Magic. Thank you for sharing this. Simply wonderful.

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  10. Well now I'm all crying and stuff.

    That was awesome!

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  11. Holy smokes. Is this what faith in humanity feels like? I think this is what faith in humanity feels like. Thank you so much for sharing this story, Jen! What a beautiful life this is!

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  12. This. This is perfect. That is the spirit of Walt, right there. All that work but for no other reason but to make someone happy. Anyone who reads that and doesn't cry has no heart.

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  13. Thank you for sharing this. I've followed you for years and this is the first time I've commented. I have a child on the autism spectrum and this makes my heart glad to see that people can still care about others. We are AP holders in CA and love seeing these type of interactions.

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  14. Oh wow - that is an amazing story! Thank you for letting us know about it.

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  15. WHAT a story. Still sniffling...but in a good way. Had to go and find the story about his 1K ride too... that was a great story too. :)

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  16. Thank you so much for linking this! This is one of those great stories that restores your faith in humanity.

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  17. I've been following them for years, on the WDWMAGIC forums. First thing I thought of when the ride closed was them. Yet another shining example of why Disney is so magical.

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  18. Jeanne - I actually have a video of SW1K, although it's in .wmv format. It's amazing how much Ben has grown since then. Anyway, you can see it at www.jamesaxler.com/snow.wmv if you are interested.

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  19. that is why I love Disney World so much, I know a lot of people who think my husband and I are silly to love the place so much, but this is why, to see the look of pure joy and happiness on the face of a child, whether it is your own child or a complete strangers', there are no words to sum up that feeling. That was just so beautifully writen, and made me feel as though I was right there with them...I am so happy for this young man and his family for the chance of a lifetime they experienced.

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  20. Now I am all weepy, darn it. Thank you for sharing such a heartwarming story. I can't wait until we take our girls (4 and 10mo) to Disney for the first time. I hope it's just as magical for them.

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  21. Thank you so much for sharing this story, Jen! I read the entire thing and just bawled (in a good way!). We have 2 children with ASD...our 11 year old daughter and 5 year old son. Our daughter's favorite place on earth is WDW, so I can relate to Ben's story in so many ways. I am just so touched by it all. :0)

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  22. What a wonderful, wonderful story. Thank you so much for sharing the link.

    Much awesomeness on the part of the Disney cast members, but, also, much awesomeness on the part of Ben's parents, as well.

    Glenda

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  23. Wow! A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I was a cast member. (Crossing the streams, I know. Although Disney is getting much more Star Warsey, so maybe I'm off the hook.) It's because of people like this that I say without reservation that it was the best job ever. Thanks so much for sharing their story.

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  24. So many tears, Disney did such a wonderful thing that night, so much respect.

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  25. Thank you so much for sharing the link to this amazing story. It was gorgeous, even if it did make me sob and sob. There is no magic like Disney magic!

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  26. oh my goodness, I can't stop crying

    thank you so much for sharing

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  27. AMAZING! I probably shouldn't have read this at work but WOW! This is why Disney is the best at what it does. To allow the ride to stay open is, as the dad mentions, beyond any of the wildest expectations. I <3 Disney ºoº

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  28. I really did tear up - so adorable! And really nice of the staff, truly. Nice find!

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  29. Read it, cried and beamed :) Thanks for pointing out this really great experience :)

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  30. That story is perfect in so many ways. THANK YOU for sharing it!

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  31. Oh goodness! Amazing! I had to text my bff who is a HUGE Disney fan! I knew she'd read your blog, but it might not be until this evening & I wanted her to see this link!!! Thanks for sharing! :)

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  32. It wasn't weepy until the end. As the mom of a kid with Asperger's, I totally get both the fear and pride of allowing them to try things on their own that could bring about meltdowns, or trying to handle the disappointments that people without autism seem to cope with without issue. I am so happy that they were able to have such a tremendous experience. Thank you for sharing with us.

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  33. I cried. And then I tried to tell my husband about the story, and I cried again.

    So touching! What an amazing experience. I love Disney.

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  34. Wow - what a story! Thank you! *wiping away tears*

    I have a special-needs 7-year-old boy (who is amazing and sweet and the light of my life)... In January, while at Disneyland, Ariel came over to talk to his little sister at first. My son started chattering away, and as she caught on, she took his hand and walked over to a quiet spot near the castle (off to the side). She sat and talked with him for 10-15 minutes, totally focused on him.

    A couple of times, as people started gathering to wait for pictures, we tried to move him along, but Ariel (still absolutely in character) said, "No, I'm enjoying our conversation! He's fine!" I've never seen anything like it.

    Stunned as we were, about 10 minutes later, we found ourselves behind Belle, who was walking to the backstage area from the castle. My son walked up to her, took her hand, and started talking... She played along, and asked him to walk with her, blowing off people left and right who asked for pictures! After their walk, Belle stood and talked with him for about 5 minutes before heading backstage.

    We figured out two things that day... First, the exact shade of lipstick worn by mermaids (lip-prints on a sweet little cheek), and second, that our little boy will someday face disappointment when his pickup line, "Did you know I love to build with Legos?" doesn't work on real-life princesses.

    But we've got some time to work on that.

    Happiest place on earth - yes, indeed.

    Hugs,
    michelej

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  35. Thank you so much for sharing this! How sweet and magical!

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  36. Sniff. That was beautiful. Sniff. What? It's allergies, I swear. (Bawling . . .)

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  37. half a purse pack of tissues later...you're right...faith in humanity restored, shot of pixie dust accepted...and smile on my face...cos magic does still exist! Thank you so much for the link!!

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  38. Thanks Jen, that was incredible. (I just wish someone would stop cutting onions and get me my allergy medicine...)

    This is why I love Disney. It truly is a magical place. And not just for Ben but for everyone.

    We had a magical moment during my daughter's first trip to Disney World when she was four. She and I were posing in front of the Walt and Mickey statue on our way out of the park. Then out of nowhere, here comes Goofy. He plopped himself down right beside my daughter, just as my husband snapped a photo. She then let out a shriek of delight upon seeing one of her favorite Disney characters magically appear right beside her.

    Cast members added bits of magic all the time too. They would often exclaim, "Welcome Princess Mandy!" or "Hello, Princess Mandy!" She was absolutely convinced that she was a real princess and everyone magically knew her name!

    Parent Tip: Get your kids' Mickey ears customized with their names' on the back. Trust me, it will be magical! ;)

    Thanks again, Jen!

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  39. There is nothing like Disney World. Absolutely nothing.

    We were there during the same time that Benjamin was, only in a different section of the Magic Kingdom.. how I hate that we didn't get to be a part of his good-bye.

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  40. I am with nagzilla Nagzilla. I started tearing up at Snow White meeting him and was gone by the time ride 3500 was done.

    I too have an eight year old (going on eighty, I swear!) son with ASD and there is nothing more tugs at your heart then to not only watch them do something they absolutely love for the first (and, in this case, last) time but for it to be their first time solo.

    I can only imagine how his dad felt. And lament at the fact that waterproof mascara is a myth!

    Wherever Walt is now, I am sure he will have a huge smile on his face knowing that Dreams are still coming true all these years later!

    Thanks for restoring my faith in humanity.

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  41. I bawled yesterday reading the blog. I'm bawling again just reading the comments here. My sinuses can't take any more!

    Beautiful story. Just beautiful.

    Thank you for sharing with us!

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  42. I am working my way through your archives (almost done!), and have managed to refrain from commenting until now (not that I haven't wanted to MANY MANY times, but I felt silly about commenting in August of 2012 on a two-year-old post). But I have to thank you from the bottom of my heart for posting the link to that blog. I have tears streaming down my face. That was a truly magnificent story, the kind that makes you realize there are still lots of good people in this world. I learned Disney magic was real earlier this year on our first visit when the manager of the marina at Port Orleans Riverside gave my 6-year-old son a pirate sword, a bandana and an eyepatch while I filled out the paperwork for our boat rental, and told him there were pirates on these waters and he needed to be ready. Such a little thing, really, but you would have thought the guy had given my kid a pony, he was so thrilled. So in reading about what Disney did for Ben, part of me was saying "WOW!!!", and the other part was saying, "Well of COURSE they would! They're DISNEY!!!" Thanks again, Jen. :-)

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