When I think about a visit to Disneyland, I think about the fun, the enjoyment, the pleasure, and yes, the magic of it all. It's a special place. But do you know what gives my sometimes cynical old heart its greatest warmth while walking around the park? It's seeing young children (and really people of all ages) confined to wheel chairs with life crippling disabilities like Muscular Dystrophy, ALS, Down's Syndrome and othe genetic conditions also taking in the magic of Disneyland Park. I'm not talking about the people in wheel chairs with sprained ankles, twisted knees, or broken limbs. They will all recover. I'm talking about the people for whom life has dealt a very cruel blow and will never recover. To them, the wheel chair or having to constantly and forever hold the hand of another is their world and their life. To see them in Walt's park just being able take in a part of what you and I can enjoy, well, I just want to break down and cry - tears of joy, tears of sadness, tears of compassion.
And then their are the people who must take care of them, parents, brothers, sisters, other family members and caregivers, how much respect I have for them and what they do is immeasurable. What they have to give and sacrifice of themselves to help another - well there is always the "out of love" part of it, but its a love that seems so much greater than the word "love" the rest of toss around. When I see a caregiver attending to a disabled person, my thoughts always turn to "God bless this person and those who care for them",
Seeing a child who will never be able to walk, or run, or swim, or dance, sitting in a wheel chair waiting to see a parade with Mickey and friends on Main St. may be one of the most magical sites in all of Disneyland. Sometimes the magic comes from seeing others enjoy the magic as well.