Dreams really do come true, as one Jungle Cruise superfan recently found out! We love a good heartwarming story. In a world where bad news is around every corner, and it seems like it’s only getting worse, it’s important to stop every now and then and recharge your batteries with something positive. Nothing fills our hearts with more joy than Cast Members who make magic for guests. Read on to discover how one Cast Member managed to fulfill a guest’s dream– seventeen years later!
In 2006, Ashley, a bright-eyed six-year-old, arrived at Magic Kingdom dressed as Tinkerbell and had one goal in mind! It wasn’t to meet her favorite princess or to see a parade. What Ashley wanted to do more than anything was ride The Jungle Cruise! She and her family went straight for it when they arrived at the park. That’s when something happened that would change her life!
Before their boat left the dock, Ashley was picked by Skipper Heather to be a Jr. Skipper! According to Disney Parks Blog, “Cast members occasionally award young guests with the honorary title of Jr. Skipper and enlist their help steering the boat on the ‘10,000-mile journey down the Mekong River.’” The thrill of steering the boat inspired Ashley.
She decided then and there that this was what she would do someday when she grew up! She said, “The feeling of inclusion and accomplishment as a Jr. Skipper is a core memory forever imprinted in [my] heart.” All thanks to one simple act from a Cast Member.
The story doesn’t end here, however. Ashley’s family kept in touch with Heather and made it a point to visit with her on each visit to Walt Disney World. Over the years, Heather grew from Cast Member to friend.
When Ashley went to university, Heather introduced her to the Disney College Program. The day Ashley was accepted, Heather arranged a magical surprise that neither of them would ever forget. She met Ashley at Magic Kingdom and gave her the news in person, which caused both of them to break into happy tears!
“Looking at that little girl years ago, I would be in awe of myself,” said Ashley. “I would have never known with every Disney trip, it would strengthen the impact that Heather has had on me and inspire me to desire creating that same magic for others.” Where was she assigned? Jungle Cruise, of course! Ashley is now Skipper of her own Jungle Cruise boat!
About her role as a Cast Member and the magic she made for Ashley, Heather said, “I try to be inspirational every day to everyone I meet. You never know how you can affect someone’s day or touch someone’s life.” She certainly inspired Ashley’s life! Moments like this are what makes Disney Parks so magical.