A Touching Story Which Shows the Magic of Disney
Disney is magic, plain and simple. From the tales it tells on the big screen to its charitable work and the dreams it makes come true for children around the world, it truly is sprinkled with pixie dust.
That pixie dust was sprinkled over me and my children in May, 2001. However, my story starts several years before then.
A Big Disney Fan
I’ve been a fan of Disney movies and television for years. After my husband Jeff and I married in 1989, we took our before-we-have-children trip to Disney World in Orlando and had the time of our lives. We did all the adult things we could — you know, enjoying the It’s a Small World Ride, taking pictures with Mickey and Minnie, and putting on silly hats and taking funny photos. That’s what adults do there, right? Just kidding — we also enjoyed the beers at Epcot and the nightlife at Pleasure Island (the clubs closed about 10 years ago).
We always wanted children and knew once we had them we would take them to Disney World, and definitely more than once. Even though our trip was adults only and we didn’t have kids yet, we would say things to each other like, “That’s so cute! I can’t wait till we bring our future kids to see this!”
We had three children — Nicole, Travis and Samantha — but life changed. About a year after Samantha was born, Jeff was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease. A short six months later, we lost him.
We grieved and we hurt, but I wanted to keep the promise to take the children to Disney World. Two years later when they were 9, 6 and 4, we finally made the trip. My mother joined us to help me and I remember telling her on the plane, “I wish he was here to see this.” Her response, “He is.”
Of course, that’s what many people say when you lose a loved one and I held on to it, but it wasn’t until we checked in that I realized he was there in spirit. We checked into our hotel and was given our ‘area’ where our room was — we were booked in the Pennsylvania area. Jeff was born and raised in Kane, Pennsylvania. I smiled and thought, ‘that’s a fun coincidence.’ We brought all of our stuff into the room and started to get comfortable when the phone rang.
We were given the wrong room and management apologized. They asked if we could just gather our belongings and move to a new room number. It was still in the Pennsylvania block of rooms. Of course we said okay and headed out to our new room. The concierge stopped us in front of the door to our new room and I took one look at the number on the door.
My eyes welled up and I knew in that given moment, this was a sign that Jeff really was here. The number: 623 — Jeff’s birthday was June 23, or 623. Our room assignment was Pennsylvania 623. That had Jeff written all over it and it was sprinkled with pixie dust.
Our trip was amazing and even though I shed some tears here and there, I knew he was watching and it was okay to have the time of our lives now.