The Green Ballon D23 Story

I didn’t get to attend D23 unfortunately but and so jealous of those who did and especially those who were able to hear this story at D23 it’s so touching and heartfelt.

If you stayed till the end of Disney Parks and Resorts presentation, you got to hear the most beautiful story read by Bob Chapek, President of Disney Parks and Resorts.  Bob gave a speech. A cast member took the stage and read part of the letter.  The letter was written to Disney Management about two Disney cast members and a little boy, and a green balloon.

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Photo courteous of Disney World

After you read this story and see a green balloon at Disney think of a boy named Trey and how he struggles every day with crowds.Also think about all the other children, or even adults, who may be like him who have a hard time in large crowds. They do their best to make it through the day in places like Disney.

In our family, we are all about paying it forward or just giving someone a smile.  Everyone just gets so caught up in our own lives and rushing around. Take a moment, breathe and notice others. Be kind. Think of others.  Make a difference.

 

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Trey Sharon smiles at Disneyland, December 2016, surrounded by father Keith Sharon, mother Nancy Gill and brother Dylan Sharon wearing an Angels beanie. (Photo by Keith Sharon, Orange County Register/SCNG)

 

Read the story here  I have also posted the letter down below.

 

Thank you Disneyland …

These long days – even at the Happiest Place on Earth – can be tough. My son, Trey, is 6 years old, and he’s autistic. While most parents look forward to a day at Disneyland as a little slice of heaven, it’s not always that way for my wife Nancy and I. Trey sometimes responds negatively to noises, to crowds, to chaos. He often growls and screams, covers his ears and cries if someone bumps his stroller or he is surprised. In the past, we’ve had to leave Disneyland before noon because the stimulation is just too much.

We would do anything to try to keep him focused on having a good time.

This time, we entered the park at 8 a.m. and he told us almost immediately that he wanted a balloon. Not just any balloon. It had to be a clear balloon with a Mickey Mouse inside. And that Mickey Mouse had to be green – his favorite color. We tried to explain that it’s better to get a balloon on the way OUT of the park at the end of the day, so we don’t have to carry it around and risk losing it.

We made a deal with Trey. If he didn’t scream or cry, if he was nice to other people in line, if he didn’t run away from us – then, at the end of the day, we would get him a green Mickey Mouse balloon.

And I am here to say miracles do happen.

It wasn’t long before Nancy and I both commented that this was the best day. It may have been the happiest day of Trey’s young life. We adopted him at birth, and it has been an endless cycle of psychologists and psychiatrists and medications. But on this day, he was happy. The only ride he had ever tried in previous trips to Disneyland was “It’s a Small World.” Last year, he threw a fit outside because he was scared. This year, he not only rode Small World, he rode the submarine, the Mater ride (twice), several rides in Bugs Land and the Jungle Cruise.

Nancy and I kept looking at each other in almost disbelief. “Best day ever” we mouthed to each other many times.

We made it through lunch at Flo’s without incident. We amassed 29,000 steps and 14 miles on Fit Bit. Unbelievable. Then, we ended the day on Main Street where we saw Santa Claus. We went inside Gibson Girl to get ice cream.

It was dark, and Trey said he was tired. He didn’t want any ice cream, he said, because he wanted that green balloon.

YES, we told him. We hugged him and lifted him up and celebrated the best day ever. We walked down Main Street toward the exit. Stopping at each souvenir shop to get that congratulatory balloon.

But they don’t sell balloons in those shops.

They told us we had to find a walking balloon salesman on Main Street. We looked down the street, which was a mass of humanity, and we saw no balloons for sale.

No way. This couldn’t be happening. Children were walking past with balloons, some of them were green. Trey was starting to get a little upset.

So Nancy promised him she would find him a balloon. I kept Trey in the stroller by the flag pole as she went back down Main Street with determination.

I kept Trey busy listening to the Dapper Dans singing Christmas songs. But mommy wasn’t coming back. I tried to change the deal. What about Mickey Mouse ears with his name on them? I would have given him anything.

No, he said. And he started to get upset.

We didn’t know it at the time, but Nancy had found two Disney cast members. She asked about balloons and after some calls on a walkie talkie, she was told that there weren’t any more balloons for sale.

The two employees must have been mothers. They must have seen the horror on Nancy’s face. They told her to wait there and one of them took off trying to find a balloon.

Meanwhile, the Dapper Dans finished their set. It had been a half hour that Nancy was gone. Trey was beyond restless.

I was sweating.

Suddenly, he jumped out of the stroller and ran away.

This was it. I was going to have to chase him down and grab him and apologize for the screaming.

“Trey, stop,” I yelled.

But he kept going. He ran through several people on Main Street.

And into Nancy’s arms.

She was holding a clear balloon with a Mickey Mouse inside. IT WAS GREEN. Trey was jumping for joy. I threw my hands in the air like Nancy had just won us the Super Bowl.

We will never forget that green balloon.

Nancy said she hugged the two cast members, thanked them and told them “Merry Christmas” because she didn’t know what else to say. They didn’t charge her for the balloon.

To us, that balloon, that day, that ending … will always be priceless.

 

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