I think the only way I can tell this is to tell it as a story, for that was the way it unfolded quite naturally. I fully intend to submit this to member services, and hopefully directly to Claire, if I can figure out how, in the next few days. We did an add-on for BLT and AK a year or so ago that included a 4 night cruise on the new Disney Dream. We finally decided to book it in August, as it had to be used by year's end or it was lost. As it turns out, we ended up getting a push-off on my birthday, November 27, the big "50" so that was nice. We decided to go against conventional wisdom and book 3 nights at OKW in a 1BR after returning to Port Canaveral on the 1st in order to see the Christmas decorations (my favorite time of year at Disney). We would return home on Sunday. So far, so good. This really is going somewhere... Please read on. About a week out, we decided it was ridiculous for us to try to leave at 3:00am like we usually do in order to "get on down there" and catch an extra afternoon/night in the parks (or in this case, to board the ship). It was just too risky with all that could happen on a trip down I-95 from eastern NC to Port Canaveral with a scheduled 1:30 boarding time. No room for error. We found a great last-minute deal at Mousesavers for a night at the DoubleTree at DTD for Saturday night. Off we go on Saturday morning, leaving about 5:00am. We arrive safely on the 26th around mid-afternoon, check in, and head off to Epcot, my DD's favorite park (only because of TT, LOL). I really love Christmas at Disney, especially at Epcot and MK. It's just truly magical. We missed the CP and the fireworks. We figured, "So what? We'll be back on Thursday, right? We'll catch them then and the beautiful decorations at MK too." We planned to take our DD to her first Christmas Parade taping at MK on Saturday anyway, so we'd see those decorations then. We headed back to the DT fairly early in order to get a good night's sleep, and get up fairly early, and set off to Port Canaveral. Here's where the story takes a turn for the worse... Off we go on Sunday morning about 9:00am. We decided to drop 3 pieces of luggage off at OKW that we knew we wouldn't need/use on the cruise. Warmer clothes in case it was cold in Orlando (Been there. Done that at MVMCP. We know how the weather can be in Orlando in early December from experience.), router, Keurig, stuff like that. The folks at OKW were very accomodating and gave me a receipt for our stuff an off we headed to Port Canaveral for our first Disney Cruise (Oh, BTW, Happy birthday to me!). Check-in went as well as it ever can go for any cruise line. It's always a PITA, and anybody that's ever done it with any line understands what I mean. On the boat we go. Party time... well, not quite. Lifeboat drills first. 3 feet pushed off the dock with the lifeboat drill horn sounding, my wife's cell phone rings. It's my brother-in-law. In tears. (54 YO chemical engineer. He doesn't cry.) We find out that my darling SIL, who's been fighting breast cancer for 9 years, has gone into liver failure. He says weeks, but my wife's a nurse, she knows better. There we all stand, out on our veranda; my DW, DD6 and I, all in tears, 15 minutes pushed off with Port Canaveral slowly disappearing and nothing we can do. Yes, we missed the lifeboat drill. It's OK. We've done it 10 times on other lines. Mike assures us that there's nothing we can do, and to go on and enjoy our cruise (Like we had any choice but to go at this point.). Enjoy? That ended up being rather impossible given the circumstances, but we made the best of it. We got to go to Castaway Cay twice, thanks to bad (not really but the Captain thought it was) weather so that was unique and nice. I can't say enough good things about the Dream and her crew but I'll save that for another time, for that is not what this story is really about. Fast forward to Thursday morning as we dock back at Port Canaveral. We call my BIL and he's about near a breakdown (They have two WONDERFUL children adopted as infants from Russia now ages 11.). He can hardly even talk. It's hours now. Not days or weeks. We had already decided our "vacation" was over before we got back anyway. Donna and her brother's dad is in the hospital in Maine suffering from a major infection from a knee replacement so he and their mom can't go to NJ. That makes us the only family he has and no one's there. Thank GOD Leslie has a large family who loves Mike and consoled and comforted him until we could get there. We head to OKW to pick up our other three pieces of luggage left behind on Sunday. I go to the front desk to "check-in" and explain our situation. The gentleman that helped us was more than understanding and called this wonderful supervisor over named Pat. Pat was wonderful. We were all three in tears by the time we explained everything, especially my DD6 and Donna (my dear wife). Understandable, of course, given the circumstances. As they were refunding my points (I'm sure they went into holding but who cares at this point?), I saw Pat ask the CM assisting us whisper something into the ear of the CM helping us. I couldn't hear her but I did notice he casually opened the cash drawer and handed her 5 $20 bills. I didn't think much of it at the time. We finished and were about to walk away as Pat returned through the front door making her way to us. The CM had already told us to wait until she returned because she had to "finalize" everything. Pat approached us with three Disney Bears in-tow (Duffy). One had a beautiful little Christmas outfit on and the other two had the 2011-2012 costume. Pat handed them to out DD6 (Ashley) and explained the first one was for her and to make sure Les's two children were given the others. She offered her best wishes and we all lost it, probably as much as I ever have in public. "This is what I bought into.", I thought to myself. I'll grant you that I had long-since drunk the Kool-Aid but this was truly another pitcher. Another level, if you will. This was what makes Disney, well, Disney. We went to the truck (Pathfinder, but I call it my truck. LOL) to head to NC and spend the night and then off to NJ early on Friday morning. Ashley had left her blanket (comfort) somewhere inside so Donna ran back to find it. While Ashley and I waited in the parking lot, Donna's cell phone rang. It was Leslie's sister. Leslie had just passed away, surrendering her 9 year battle with breast cancer. Mike couldn't talk. I thanked her for the call and assured her that we would be there as soon as we could. Donna returned and I broke the news to her. At least it wasn't a complete surprise at this point. We all had a moment in the parking lot at OKW and off we headed to DTD. We went to the ticket counter at DTD and they refunded our MVMCP tickets for Friday night. Only $195, but $195 is $195. No questions. Only sympathy and understanding. Again, this folks, is what makes Disney, Disney. I won't belabor the story any more because that's the part that's important here. We returned to NC about 9:30pm. Got a few hours sleep. Packed another couple of bags and headed to NJ about 5:00am on Friday morning. We arrived about mid-afternoon. Not pretty, but you can understand that. We returned home on Tuesday afternoon. It's day by day but everybody is trying to move on. Prayers to Mike and his two kids. For those of us that sometimes see the failure in the Disney magic that we use to see, I offer you one word. Pat. Pat is the magic, folks. Not Disney. It's Disney people like Pat, who live in the spirit of Walt Disney himself that make Disney what we all know and love, and it still lives on today. It is a spirit instilled in virtually every castmember at WDW, and it comes out sometimes when we least expect it. Maybe it was a small gesture in some people's eyes, but we will never forget it. Neither will Drew and Julie and Ashley. Of note is that Mike (and Les) are DVC members too, and they are much of the reason we finally "bought in." For people that think Disney has sometimes lost its magic, you need look no further that its castmembers. Castmembers like Pat at OKW, for they, my friends, are the magic of Disney. Thank you Pat. I never forget you, nor your kindness during one our lowest moments at WDW.