A Buffet for Chris

An amazing thing happened here at Disney World last week. I have found that small gestures of kindness are the most memorable of all and that is what we experienced.  A small thing with a big impact. Disney is really good at creating little, magic moments for its guests and that is one of the reasons we return over and over. This one, we may never forget 

We had been planning a trip to Disney World for the past year and invited a sweet family we met in Cambridge,Ohio to join us for their first vacation in almost fifteen years. We covered the cost of the room and helped them raise enough money to make the trip affordable.  They had the time of their lives. 

One of their concerns was their son, Chris, who is autistic and requires a special diet.  There was some concern that Disney might not be able to accommodate Chris and his special needs.  Those worries went away on our first night.  

The campground here at DW has one of our favorite restaurants (Trails End) and features a buffet style assortment of foods.  None of them, however, were on Chris’s limited diet.  Upon arriving, I checked us in to be seated and explained Chris’s special diet needs.  One of the staff members from the restaurant took down a list of food items that Chris liked and soon we were seated. With the exception of Chris, our group began filling our plates with mini-mounds of delicious food.  Chris waited as our waiter told us his food was being prepared.  

The list of food Chris eats includes French fries, chicken nuggets, Mac and cheese, and cheeseburgers.  It was our thought that they were cooking up one of those items for Chris, which was all we could expect.

Then one of those pixie-dust moments happened.  Carrying a full tray of various food items, our waiter placed plate after plate of Chris’s favorite foods in front of him.  Every item on his list had been prepared and we could not believe our eyes.

It then dawned on me that they had created for Chris his own buffet. Cheeseburgers, fries, macaroni, nuggets – he had it all and could ask for as much of it as he could eat.  We were without words.

Disney World is an expensive place and certainly a different kind of vacation mentality required.  But, there is not a place this side of heaven that can make magic happen with such kindness and inclusiveness. They had made Chris feel special, but more importantly, made his parents feel included.

That is magic!

Steve Mc

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