Just another example of what makes Disney, "Disney" (rather long)

Discussion in 'DVC-Mousecellaneous' started by WilsonFlyer, Dec 8, 2011.

  1. WilsonFlyer

    WilsonFlyer DIS Veteran

    Apr 24, 2008
    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.
  2. Harlemgirl720

    Harlemgirl720 DIS Veteran

    May 27, 2007
    First off, I want to say so sorry for your loss. :grouphug:

    This is what I love about Disney. They go above and beyond in time of need. I am sure it didn't ease the pain of your loss but it was a relief to get refunds, hassle free.
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  4. bobbiwoz

    bobbiwoz I'm happy to dance with you!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Thank you for telling your story.:grouphug:I'll remember your family in my prayers. Bobbi
  5. vicki_c

    vicki_c DIS Veteran

    Dec 22, 2007
    Nice story, although I'm so sorry for the circumstances that caused it to happen. And I totally agree with your sentiments. Best wishes for healing to your family.
  6. quirty30

    quirty30 DIS Veteran

    Apr 29, 2009
    I couldn't agree with you more. I'm so sorry for your family's loss and I thank you for sharing your story.
  7. supersuperwendy

    supersuperwendy any happy little thought?

    Aug 6, 2006
    I'm so sorry for you the loss of your SIL. So sad and tragic. I'm happy Pat went out of her way to assist you. Disney magic is truly special.
  8. Deesknee

    Deesknee <font color=blue>When we were kids (long time ago)

    May 10, 2004
    Thank you for sharing this story. My heart felt sympathy to your entire family. ( and happier returns on your birthdays in the upcoming years, and many of them)
  9. LSchrow

    LSchrow life without the BWVs is <null>

    May 11, 2000
    my deepest sympathies for the loss of your SIL:grouphug:.

    but what a beautiful, bittersweet story!
    sometimes it just takes one speck of light to make things brighter....so glad that pat gave you the light you needed.

    and i agree - it's the magic of caring cms that makes disney different :)
  10. SmilingGrump

    SmilingGrump Dis Dads Club Member #584

    Aug 10, 2010
    My thoughts and prayers to you and your family.

    Thank you for relating this story. It is during the darkest times that acts of kindness and compassion become beacons to light our path to the future. It will not be an easy path, but it will be made a little easier knowing that there is still humanity in humanity. God bless.
  11. photobob

    photobob DIS Veteran

    Jan 13, 2003
    I had to fight back tears reading this and I don't cry often either. Thanks for sharing the story, I think acts of kindness have a profound effect on our lives, whether it is a Disney castmember or a friend. So sorry for the family loss but happy to hear how Pat helped to renew your spirit.
  12. lugnut33

    lugnut33 DIS Veteran

    Jan 17, 2008
    Thanks for the story, and very sorry for your loss.
  13. donmil723

    donmil723 Stormalong Bay/Castaway Cay Beach Bum

    Jun 19, 2000
    First of all, let me say how sorry I am for your loss.

    Secondly, let me say I was crying so hard by the time I finished your story, I could barely read. This brought back memories of a similar experience that happened to us at Disney in 2003 when we got the call that my dad had congestive heart failure and was only expected to live a few days. The Magic of Disney lived in the hearts of all the cast members then too! We will never forget their kindness and compassion and thankfully, we were able to make it home to say goodbye to my dad.

    Thanks for sharing your story with us!
  14. DeeCee735

    DeeCee735 "How Do You Know of the Key?"

    Mar 1, 2001
    Can't say enough how sorry I am for your loss. Your family will be in my prayers tonight, especially their children. I am a BC survivor, and I can only in my worst fears, begin to imagine this family's pain.

    As members of DVC, we already know how Disney sets itself apart in the day to day, but this really was an amazing story of what makes the magic. Although it is no consolation for your loss, the kindness and support the CM's showed is truly a magical thing.

    Again, sorry for your loss.
  15. dgaston

    dgaston Proudly wears a "Believes in Fairies tshirt"

    May 23, 2001
    Simply this -- :grouphug:

    And thanks for sharing your story.
  16. jakenjess

    jakenjess DIS Veteran

    Oct 21, 2005
    I am so, so sorry for your family's loss. :grouphug: My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

    I'm so glad the Disney magic was there for you in your time of need. You're right, it's those very special CMs that carry that Disney magic to the guests.

    My very deepest sympathies to you. Thank you for sharing your story.
  17. thepops

    thepops DIS Veteran

    Feb 6, 2008
    I'm sorry for your families loss and pray you all get through it. Yes it is great to find CMs that will carry that special magic. But not only that, we should take that magic and spread it as well. I know that there are lots of situations every week where there may be the opportunity to show that Disney caring spirit. It's certainly something I have to work better to take advantage of sharing, but if we all did, who knows how much better things could be.
  18. WilsonFlyer

    WilsonFlyer DIS Veteran

    Apr 24, 2008
    Thank you all for your kind words. They mean so much to my family.

    Thanks also to the mod that moved this. I really wanted to put it in Mousecellaneous to begin with but wasn't sure if Resorts was more appropriate. Thanks, because this is really probably where it should have been to begin with.
  19. LoriKutchey

    LoriKutchey DIS Veteran

    Mar 19, 2001
    :grouphug:My condolescences to you and your family
  20. WilsonFlyer

    WilsonFlyer DIS Veteran

    Apr 24, 2008
    A quick update to the story that didn't seem to matter at all at the time...

    We weren't even sure they were refunding our points but we thought they were. As it turns out, they did. We only "checked in" so they wouldn't think we completely abandoned the reservation. We really went back to pick up the 3 pieces of luggage.

    We never asked for the points back. It just didn't seem to matter at the time.

    Seeing a similar thread this morning, I wanted everyone to know that not only did they refund our points, but they were refunded without being put in "holding." I didn't even learn this until a few weeks later (June UY) and I wanted to make sure we used them during F&G so we wouldn't lose them. When we called MS to book a reservation, it turns out we didn't have to use them at all. We ended up banking them into this year.

    Pat did it all, totally unbeknownst to us. We never called MS during the entire thing at the desk OR after. Pat is a gem. She is, again, a shining example of what Disney is all about and what makes Disney different.

    We were suppose to stay at OKW in 3 weeks but I had my first waitlist come through a couple of months ago and will be staying at AKK instead. I fully plan to go by and have a private word with Pat that week to tell her just how much her kindness and understanding meant to my family and me. At the time, the points didn't matter, but she knew they would a week or two down the road and she had the foresight to take care of it COMPLETELY for us.

    The folks that run the resorts often get fussed at and hear all the bad stuff, I'm sure. They need to know they do good things too and that they are appreciated, especially when they do the little/big things that they didn't have to do.

    Thanks again, Pat. we will never forget you or your kindness.
  21. sleepydog25

    sleepydog25 Been here awhile

    Aug 27, 2004
    Through tough times comes a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing. I'll remember this for some time to come. :thumbsup2

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