Week 16 of my Master keys Class was all about noticing kindness from various sources including my own. The point being that if you spend your day making a mental note each time you witness kindness, you will then be pre-programmed to perpetuate kindness in your world. I had a week where my job was less than satisfying and rarely provided me with kindness to notice; but I managed to pick out a couple of instances during my week that were noteworthy. It was nice to be on the hunt for kindness for a change! Something incredible happened toward the end of my week.
I flew to Florida to a conference, and having not flown since 2006 was a bit rusty on flight etiquette. I was greeted with so much kindness by the ticket agents, to the gate agents, from the start of my flight, to the connecting flights. I was pleasantly surprised, since I have spent years listening to complaints from travelers who were treated poorly by flight staff.
After the conference concluded, I decided to visit Disney World to find what some friends have mentioned seeing. Apparently there is a plaque commemorating my husband’s and my nuptials. We were the first Wedding for the Disney Fairytale Wedding Department in October 1992. My parents had such wild ideas for our wedding, that Disney decided to use our wedding as the launch for their entry into the Billion dollar wedding market.
I had been to Disney World 58 times by the time I was married. My family was a group of fanatics to say the least. I was raised on my father’s animated bedtime stories of either Peter Pan or Brer Rabbit. I had the most Magical childhood, and Disney was a huge part of that. My mother came up with some of the ideas they still use today. She requested the Major Domo as my ring bearer, and made the pillow atop which the glass slipper rested with our rings. Disney asked her to make two more custom pillows for their future weddings and she was happy to do it. What a wonderful collaboration and memory it was for our family.
I started my day at 9 am, and what followed was the largest display of kindness I have ever experienced from strangers. I started my quest at the Grand Floridian Hotel where our wedding took place, and asked a bellman named Walter where I might find our plaque.
He kindly drove me by golf cart to the New Wedding Pavilion where I spent 3 hours meticulously searching for our name in the pathway of octagonal bricks only to come up empty. The longer I read names which were not ours, I found myself in tears. My husband Kris and I started out in this Magical place very much in love, and now in our 22nd year, we are still as much in love, but our years together have been fraught with illness and loss, as well as joyous times; the things that most marriages boast after so many years. Finding the plaque became a sort of remembrance of the freshness with which we started. It was a validation that we have made it through many storms, and still managed to find the Magic between us. For these reasons, I found myself unable to hold back tears when I failed to find our plaque. I asked Colleen, a young floral assistants who was prepping for an upcoming wedding, if she may know of such a plaque. I made her acquaintance, and described my Wedding day and the excitement surrounding it. She suggested I visit the Disney Events Building where there may be a florist who would remember my special day. Her directions seemed very long and I reiterated that I was on foot. Disappointment came over her face as she realized I would need a vehicle to get me there. She apologized and wished me luck on my quest as she took my information so she may follow-up with her superiors.
I walked off and decided to look around the grounds once more. I paused at the front of the Grand Floridian where a Valet asked if I needed help. My eyes were a little puffy and obviously looked deep in thought. I told him my story and he left to ask the front desk if anyone worked there in 1992 who would know about a plaque. He returned without an answer but with something so great! He introduced me to Francesca, a driver who would take me to the Events Building and wherever else I needed to go! I was beside myself! Billy the Valet, quickly returned to his duties and smiled and waved as we pulled away. It was a bit of a drive across the Disney Property to our destination. Francesca and I chatted and she was at the ready with tissues. We arrived at a small building where most of the backstage magic happens. Where the employees are trained and casting takes place, as well as where the floral department is housed. Francesca rang the bell and I almost fainted when the door opened with a fairy dust sound effect. A lovely man by the name of Luis greeted us, and upon hearing my story remembered seeing us on what was then the training video for the Wedding Department. He escorted us to the Floral room. It was a large section of the facility buzzing with activity on what was a Sunday. I made the acquaintance of four lovely ladies, two of whom worked there at the time of my wedding and one of whom remembered working on my flowers. She remembered what a huge deal that day was for each facet of the Fairytale team. I cried, they cried, it was so wonderful to be remembered! After-all, it did happen before the internet. 🙂 They posed for pictures and thanked me for coming to visit. I was blown away by their interest in our lives since the wedding. They topped off my visit by presenting me with a little bouquet of flowers in a tea cup, and a special Disney Events Department Employee Pin! My husband and I have a Disney Pin Collection which started with the Wedding pin. This made my day!
I never did find my plaque, nor do I have any idea if there is one. I experienced something more magical than a picture of a memory. I made new memories, with new people who bridged the gap between then and now, with their kindness. This is Richard who is 83, and has carried the dresses of every bride since my wedding in 1992.
We have put our vow renewal (October 24th of 2017) on our vision board, and we look at it every day! We hope to finally return to Disney and introduce our Russian daughters to the Magic and properly kick of our next 25 years! It has truly been “A Small World” for our little family.