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Old 08-17-2007, 01:03 PM   #1
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Thumbs up The Magic of Wish Trips: Revealing the Soul of Disney

As I sit at my computer, contemplating the Wish Trip Threads I have read, I feel some profound revelation stirring within me. I am beginning to see that Wish Trips are the heart and soul of Disney.

Over the past few decades, I developed a jaded and cynical attitude towards Disney. I grew up on the Mickey Mouse Club with Annette, Bobby, Tommy and Cubby and The Wonderful World of Disney. All things Disney were beautiful to me.

A veteran of youth-group trips to Disneyland, I had enjoyed the magic of Disney and helped to spread it to others. I took youth groups to "The Happiest Place on Earth," from the San Francisco Bay Area, the northern Sierra Nevada Mountains, and from Oregon and Washington state. We basked in the fun and beauty of Disney's idyllic kingdom. The world of The Mouse was all fun and beauty to me.

This changed over time with the advent of Michael Eisner and his effort to de-Disneyfy Disney. With a seeming lack of understanding of the innocent spirit of fun and magic that had allowed Disney to rise to the pinnacle of American Entertainment, he tried to dilute the magic and make Disney more like other bland and greedy enterprises. His constant battles with family organizations distracted Disney from its special mission of spreading magic to a world in desperate need of pixie dust.

During Eisner's reign, I increasingly saw Disney as a "souless, rapacious" corporation that had lost its moorings. Fortunately Roy Disney helped to rally the Disney troops to return the Magical World to its mission. I had always admired Walt Disney's creative genius and optimistic, energetic spirit. My sister's association with Roy Disney through his passion for restoring wild populations of birds of prey proved him to be much like Walt in his spirit and beauty of soul. All of this helped to restore my belief in the Magical World.

What really turned the tables for me, and turned me back into a true Disneyphile were my experiences and research leading up to my daughter's Make a Wish Trip. What unfolded before me was an image of the true Disney: A magical, compassion creator of magic and beauty for children of all ages.

Our journey began with an application from my daughter's oncology clinic to Make a Wish for the wish of a lifetime. Her first wish was to spend a night in Cinderella's Castle which she had learned about through a television commercial for the Magic Kingdom (a truly brilliant commercial). She was told that it would not be possible for this wish to be granted because each day one family would be chosen at random to stay in the castle. An alternative wish was proposed: A week at Give Kids the World Village including passes to the Disney Orlando theme parks.

We were amazed to learn about the generosity and vision of Henry Landwirth who created Give Kids the World Village so children with life-threatening illnesses would have a place to stay in central Florida when fulfilling their life dream of visiting the Magic Kingdom (www.gktw.org). Please take the time to visit the Give Kids the World website yourself. What amazed me even more was the partnership that Disney, along with other theme park companies like Sea World and Universal Studios, formed to provide a truly magical experience to these children who have been through so much fear, pain and struggle in their young lives.

Not only does Disney provide free 3-Day Park Hopper passes to Walt Disney World for all visitors to Give Kids the World Village, Disney Cast Members are trained to treat the Wish Trip children like true royalty. Wish kids are assisted in bypassing long lines to access their favorite characters, rides and attractions. A Wish Trip Lounge was built in the Magic Kingdom to give these precious children a chance to rest and recuperate along the way. Access to V.I.P. lounges in Epcot provides the same sort of respite. The Magic Makers on the Disney staff have gone to great lengths to create amazing moments for these kids. Through this magic, children are whisked by Disney from a world of struggle and suffering to a magical kingdom of joy, fun and beauty. If only for one week of their lives, these children are given the precious gift of a beautiful childhood memory.

Isn't this what Disney was created to do; to create a place on earth where beauty, joy and magic reign? Is it not crucial that there be a place in this often hard world where kids can rest and blossom in the glow of childhood's dream, even if it is an illusion? Isn't the make believe of illusion and play the heart and soul of childhood?

That fact that Disney realizes some kids have been robbed by illness from experiencing this beauty and has taken steps to make certain these children do find magic and delight for at least one brief time in their lives, shows that Disney has not lost the spark and light of its soul. No, the spirit of Walt Disney is alive and well. You can see it in the lights on Cinderella's Castle. You can hear it in the drums of the Lion King Celebration. You can taste it in the delights of a thousand sweets. You can smell it in the "Disney Smell" that brings back memories of childhood for us all. You can feel it in the kind and gentle touch of a Disney Cast Member who leads a little child by the hand to a world of life and joy. I am a true believer again. Thank you Disney!

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Old 08-17-2007, 08:14 PM   #2
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Wow, you've said a mouthful. Thanks for putting this feeling into words. Karen
Mom to Gilbete', Jeanette, Andrea, Ben, Alize and Brady (with God), Ciara and Brian. Grandmother to seven.
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Old 08-21-2007, 10:47 PM   #3
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My Make-A-Wish Trip Report...Picture Update Page 30-31
Wish Trippers...Unite!
Wish Trippers Unite Volume Two!

Just believe and if you imagine, Just believe and your dreams will come true
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Old 08-21-2007, 10:53 PM   #4
...and the greatest of these is Love
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That was truly beautiful! I am rejoicing for you and for your family!

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Old 08-21-2007, 11:34 PM   #5
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Oh Bill I'm crying Buckets!!! You put into words what we feel in our hearts!!!
Thank You!!!!


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Old 08-22-2007, 08:46 AM   #6
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I think Walt would have loved Give Kids the World. The whole idea about a magical place where children could escape into an idealic place of make believe. It is very child like. For children who have been put into a reality of poking, prodding, tests, invasive proceedures, yukky tasting medicine, surgery, pain, and sickness, it would be easy to lose that childlike imagination. This kind of puts them back in the childhood mode, at least I hope it will. We just watched lady and the tramp. Then, we watched the making of it and aristacat girl asked if everyone was black and white back then. The movies of Walt Disney were in Black and White.
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Old 08-22-2007, 12:49 PM   #7
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Black and White People

That is hilarious about wondering whether people used to be black and white because of the old film clips.

I wonder, though, if she has not hit on something symbolic. Life can seem pretty dark, like black, white and gray, for kids going through treatment. It is my hope that Disney will help bring back the colors of the rainbow to these kids.

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Old 08-22-2007, 02:06 PM   #8
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very well said!
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Old 08-22-2007, 07:24 PM   #9
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What a beautiful post. It is truly magical at WDW that is why will continue to go back again and again. I hope you have a wonderful time!!
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