It was another hot summer’s day, 96 degrees with a “feels like” temperature of 112.
I was working the register at strollers in the late morning. I was already feeling overheated and sweaty, although I had only been working for two hours, when a Character Attendant cast member came up to me.
She says, “I want to buy a stroller.”
I’m very confused and I ask her if she is buying it for her family. Because she is in her costume and on the clock, I’m technically not allowed to sell one to her.
She tells me that she saw a little boy sitting all alone near where the restrooms are in Dinoland. She started talking to him and found out that he has horrible blisters on the bottom of his feet and it hurts too much to walk.
He was wearing a pair of kids Crocs sandals and the sidewalk temperature in the sun was easily over 120 degrees.
His mother got tired of carrying him all around the park, so they had been just sitting for an hour in the shade near the restrooms, resting.
The cast member felt so bad for the little boy that she came over to me and was willing to pay $42.50 to buy this family a stroller so that they could walk around and enjoy the park for the rest of the day.
I told her to wait by the register and I’d see what I could do. I went and told my manager an abbreviated version of this story and he said, “This is your magical moment. Go bring that family a stroller, no strings”. [‘No strings’ is a gift from Disney. The guest doesn’t have to pay for the merchandise.]
So, I grabbed a new stroller, cut off all the tags, and off I went with the cast member. I was leaving my position unmanned for a few minutes and I was a little nervous about that.
At first, I didn’t realize where the family was in Dinoland. I hoped that they were near the front. But, we walked all the way through it until I finally saw them.
The cast member helped translate into Spanish that we at Animal Kingdom felt so bad for them and we wanted their day at the park to be fun and magical, so here is a new stroller, free of charge to help save the little boy from walking any further on his painful feet.
I explained that they could also go over to First Aid and the nurse there would give them some over-the-counter burn cream for his blisters, at no charge.
The mother was so grateful! She hugged me and thanked me and the other cast member so many times. As I walked back to my position at strollers, the cast member thanked me again and again for helping them out and for providing the no strings stroller to them.
I continued working that day and I actually put this event out of my mind. Making magic – it’s what we do for our guests every day.
At the very end of the day when the park was closing a man comes in – literally with tears in his eyes.
He looks at me and says, “You were the one who gave my son a stroller? I cannot thank you enough for what you have done and how much you have helped us!! From the bottom of my heart, I thank you!”
By the end of his thanking me, I had tears in my eyes too! He gave me a big hug. What a crazy day!
You wouldn’t think that strollers would be a very emotional place, but sometimes it is. For example, any family coming in wearing a ‘Make A Wish’ button doesn’t have to pay for a stroller rental. Disney provides them with a single or double stroller rental for the length of their stay, free of charge. Those kids really tug at your heartstrings.
Two Girls and a Mouse Tale
by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins
Ever wonder what it’s like to work for Disney???
We worked at WDW for a year in the Disney College Program (Fall 2013/Spring 2014) and have written a book about what it’s like to be a cast member working for Disney.
We’ve included advice on how to successfully get into the DCP program, including some of the actual phone interview questions, how to have a successful internship, and how not self-term before your program ends. Our book is filled with lots of behind-the-scene stories of the magic of Disney.
Available now at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats. Published by Theme Park Press.