Cast Member “Saves” Claustrophobic Mom On Na’vi River Journey
Next to Magic Kingdom’s “It’s a small world…” the Na’vi River Journey at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the most bucolic ride at Walt Disney World.
But don’t tell that to Jessica Thomas; she is claustrophobic and panicked while riding the Avatar-themed attraction while staying on Disney property during Hurricane Dorian.
But then, a hero emerged – Cast Member Samantha Burns.
An Avatar Adventure for Thomas
I am asking all 2,254 of you to share this post. Because I want this young lady at Disney's Animal Kingdom to receive…
Today.com reported that Ms. Thomas got very upset while entering the ride:
“It is a cave!” she said. “It is a scary, tight cave. I was terrified, and, just, I couldn’t. I tried to get off; Julia starts crying. … This is something beyond my control, and it makes me feel horrible that I am not able to do something for my kids.”
While heading toward the exit in tears, she ran into Disney employee Samantha Burns.
Burns immediately picked up on her distress and offered to let Thomas spend time getting comfortable on the ride before it began. While Thomas was initially resistant to getting back on the ride, Burns continued to offer details about the ride and then offered to ride with Thomas and her daughter, an offer that completely took Thomas by surprise.
Na’vi River Rescue
Given my family’s experience with Disney CM’s, none of this is surprising. But it might be to many new Disney Parks fans.
“It did not even occur to me to ask that,” Thomas said. “You wouldn’t think — I’m sure my husband would be like, I could have rode with you, I was with you! But it was different, how she said it. So I’m like, ‘OK,’ and I asked — and I know she was probably like, ‘This weird lady’ — I’m like, ‘Can I hold your hand?’ And she’s like, ‘Yes!’ She did not skip a beat.”
For the duration of the ride, Burns held Thomas’s hand and pointed out relaxing details, like nearby exits, the fact that the water was shallower than it appeared to be, and a turn that meant the ride was nearing its end. Simultaneously, Burns also entertained Julia, pointing out the animals and exciting details on the ride and tickling the toddler.
“She’s like, ‘Look, Julia!’ and then at the same time, ‘Are you OK? Are you OK? How are you doing?'” Thomas explained. “Just amazing, all that support. … I am a family law attorney. I deal with people’s emotions all day. All day, I deal with emotions and calming people down and walking them off the ledge … so to have someone doing that for me was just indescribable.”
Again, I’m not surprised. But it is beautiful to hear just how amazing a dose of kindness can be, and how individuals at the Disney Parks work to make EVERY guest’s experience as comfortable and memorable as possible.
The whole story is fantastic. But sure to check it out. Then, go to the links below and plan a trip to Disney World to experience the magic for yourself.