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I Saw a Different Kind of Disney

Written by Debbie Eldridge, Operations Analyst and Trainer

If you’ve never been to Walt Disney World, I highly recommend it no matter how old you are. I’ve been fortunate enough to go several times and it’s always a memorable vacation.Debbie Eldridge

I recently had the opportunity to go back for a family reunion. We’d worked for months to coordinate work and school schedules between 12 of us. We chose Disney as the best place to celebrate several momentous birthdays, a graduation, and anniversaries. We planned all the details for the week-long adventure and then waited in anticipation for the day to come.

When we arrived, we weren’t disappointed. The moment we stepped foot on the resort property, the adventures began. We had birthday celebrations complete with chef’s hats, cake, and, of course, lively singing at several restaurants.

We met characters and collected signatures for all the kiddos. We were even escorted to the food cart for Mickey pretzels and cheese and then given front row seats for the Electric Parade by one of the many Disney workers spreading their pixie dust!

But unfortunately that’s when our long-awaited family reunion at Disney took an unexpected turn for the worse.  

My mother had to be rushed to the ER for a complication of a serious medical condition. The resort manager and security team arrived with the ambulance to make sure that we were taken care of quickly. We had no transportation and no clue where the hospital was, so the ambulance drivers were kind enough to allow us to go with them.

The resort manager took down my phone number and said to take a taxi from the hospital and he would reimburse all of our transportation costs for as long as my mom was in the hospital. Needless to say, I didn’t expect this but I was so thankful for the offer.

It didn’t stop there. The manager called to check on my mother the next day. When I shared that she would be in the hospital for a few days, he told me that he would work with me on the resort room costs for any days we didn’t use and to call him when we were able to return to the resort. He then said that he knew how stressful this situation was….and that he didn’t expect me to remember the conversation…so he would email me with all of the details of our conversation.

Three days later, my mom was stabilized enough to be released for our flight home. We returned to the resort to find a gift bag from the resort manager. He also left a voicemail saying that he hoped my mom was feeling better and to call if we needed anything.

I called him to express my gratitude and let him know how much I appreciated all that he’d done for us. He shared that he would give me the option to use those 3 days at a later date or be reimbursed for the cost. Once again, he said he would email the conversation so that I didn’t have to worry about anything outside of taking care of my mother.

A few weeks after returning home, I finally read the email and responded with my decision and gratitude for all of the help they provided during our family crisis. Instead of responding only by email, the manager also called again to check on my mom. He then told me that if I call in for any future vacation with Walt Disney World, he’d made notes in their system that we are to get an upgraded room at any resort we choose!

I went to Disney expecting a magical experience and, although it didn’t turn out exactly the way I envisioned, I most definitely had a magical experience.

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