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Magic Kingdom Cast Members’ Heroic Actions Save the Life of Endangered Guest

A majestic castle with tall spires and blue rooftops stands illuminated against a backdrop of dark, stormy clouds. The golden and pink accents of the castle contrast sharply with the ominous sky.
Credit: Disney Dining

Millions of guests visit the Walt Disney World Resort every year. Among the four theme parks at the Central Florida resort, Magic Kingdom is the most popular, welcoming between 17 and 21 million guests through its gates annually. In 2022, more than 47 million guests visited the Most Magical Place on Earth, making it no small wonder that The Walt Disney Company employs more than 77,000 individuals in the state of Florida alone.

traffic at disney world entrance

Credit: Becky Burkett/Canva

That’s a Lot of People at One Location

In short, it can get really crowded at Disney World.

With so many guests–and so many cast members–it can be easy to get separated from your traveling party. And at first glance, it seems nearly inconceivable that guests could receive personalized attention or any semblance of hospitality during their visit. There are just so many people in the parks at any given time.

But one guest had an experience during her visit to Magic Kingdom that she could only describe as Disney magic–one that made her realize just how invaluable Disney Parks cast members are–and how far those cast members will go to ensure the enjoyment, safety, and well-being of guests in the parks. After all, they saved her life.

A crowded street at a theme park with a grand, fairy-tale castle at the end. The street is lined with elaborately decorated buildings and adorned with festive pumpkins and autumnal decorations. The sky is overcast. People of all ages are walking and taking photos.

Credit: Unsplash/Nicholas Fuentes

A Magical Trip Marred By a Life-Long Disorder

E. Elear was visiting Disney World for the first time on her own dime. Yes, she was old enough to plan a trip to the Central Florida Disney Parks and pay her own way. Her now-fiance accompanied her on the trip so they could experience the magic together. But almost as soon as they arrived, Elear realized she was in trouble.

Elear has Type 1 Diabetes, which means she has to monitor her blood glucose levels regularly.

Also known as juvenile diabetes, Type 1 Diabetes is described by the Mayo Clinic as a chronic condition in which the pancreas makes little or no insulin—a hormone used by the human body to allow glucose (sugar) to enter cells and produce energy. The first symptoms of the disease often first appear in childhood and can vary from one person to another.

A person checks their blood sugar level with a glucose meter reading 96 mg/dL. In the background, a crowd of people stroll through a colorful, fairy-tale-themed amusement park at sunset.

Credit: Disney Dining

While it’s normal for a person’s blood glucose levels to vary throughout the day, people with diabetes can experience dangerous highs and lows in their blood sugar levels–highs and lows that can quickly become dangerous. That’s exactly what happened to Elear.

A Dangerous Low

“When I arrived at Disney, I had a low,” she explains. “I needed food right then, as I had already exhausted my share of emergency snacks for the day.”

She says she went into a quick-service restaurant inside the park, hoping to order something quickly to bring her blood sugar up to normal levels again. But the restaurant, Columbia Harbor House, which is located across from the entrance to the Haunted Mansion attraction in Liberty Square at Magic Kingdom, was very crowded that day.

A picturesque view of Columbia Harbour House, a building with yellow and blue accents and flower boxes under the windows. The building has a sign hanging outside with the establishment's name. The sky is bright blue with a few white clouds.

Columbia Harbor House at Magic Kingdom/Credit: Becky Burkett

But Elear says she didn’t complain.

“I was determined not to push anybody away from their lunch,” she says, “but the cast members working there recognized what was going on and helped me.”

What followed was nothing short of a series of heroic actions by the cast members working at Columbia Harbor House that day. Elear says that the crowds inside the restaurant were so heavy that there was barely elbow room between guests who were eating. But despite the crowds of people, who Elear says were “hee-hawing and snapping selfies,” three Disney World cast members immediately noticed that Elear was in trouble–without her ever saying a word.

Related: Disney World Cast Member Fired Over Controversial Bus Photo

Selflessness and a Miracle That Saved a Life

“They went out of their way to help us,” Elear recalls.

magic kingdom cinderella castle on the way to adventureland

Credit: Becky Burkett

During the ordeal, Elear lost consciousness and says that when she regained consciousness, she started crying.

“It was the first time that I felt like a real human being in many years,” she says. “I realize that sounds stupid, but it’s very dehumanizing, in a way, to have a disease like that and watch other people just forge the tide around you. When I came to, I started to cry because it was just so unbelievable that somebody had enough empathy to help me.”

Low Blood Sugar Levels Can Quickly Become Medical Emergencies

While it’s normal for a person to have variations in their blood sugar levels, sometimes those highs and lows can become medical emergencies, necessitating urgent medical attention—sometimes from paramedics.

diabetes definition and cinderella castle

Credit: Disney Dining

According to the American Diabetes Association, low blood glucose is also known as insulin reaction or insulin shock. The condition can lead to the following symptoms:

  • Feeling shaky/dizziness
  • Nervousness or anxiety
  • Sweating, chills, and clamminess
  • Irritability, impatience, or confusion
  • Fast heartbeat (also called tachycardia)
  • Hunger
  • Nausea and headaches
  • Feeling weak/having no energy
  • Blurred/impaired vision
  • Tingling or numbness in the lips, tongue, or cheeks
  • Difficulty with coordination

Low blood sugar levels, also referred to as hypoglycemia, cause the body to release epinephrine, the hormone that causes the “fight-or-flight” response. Epinephrine, in turn, can cause a person with low blood sugar to experience the accompanying symptoms of hypoglycemia, including sweating, a thumping heart, a tingling sensation, and anxiety, among others.

Hypoglycemia can quickly become a medical emergency for people with Type 1 Diabetes. When blood sugar levels get too low, the brain doesn’t get enough glucose, which leads to a loss of functioning. The condition can result in blurred vision, difficulty concentrating, confusion, slurred speech, numbness, and drowsiness.

A close-up of a blue glucose meter showing a reading of 6.4 mmol/L, along with a black lancet device for blood sampling. The background features a brightly colored, blurred castle, suggesting a theme park setting.

Credit: Disney Dining

If blood sugar levels remain low for an extended period of time, the person may begin to have seizures and can even slip into a coma. Though it’s rare, hypoglycemia can become so serious that it leads to death. If you or someone in your traveling party begins to exhibit any of these symptoms during your visit to the parks, its vitally important that you pause to address the situation so that the hypoglycemia can be reversed before it becomes potentially life-threatening.

Disney World also has first aid stations at each of its four theme parks with registered nurses on duty who can help in these situations.

disney world first aid station

Credit: Facebook/AmnetUSA

Cast Members Credited With Saving Guest’s Life

Elear credits the three cast members at Columbia Harbor House with saving her life that day at Magic Kingdom when her blood sugar fell dangerously low–so low that she passed out. And she has a message for others about cast members who work in the parks.

“Those people very possibly saved my life on the first day of a glorious vacation, and what a vacation it was!” Elear says. “Disney employees are unfailingly kind, helpful, and courteous. Their jobs are essential to holding up that park, and they’re hard, demanding jobs, but these people never subjugate a visitor to their venting. Never.”

About Becky Burkett

Becky's from the Lone Star State and has been writing since she was 10 and encountered her first Disney Park when she was 11. It was love at first Main Street Electrical Parade. Joy is blank lined journals, 0.7 mm pens, and all things Walt, Woody and Buzz, PIXAR, Imagineering, Sleeping Beauty (make it blue!), Disney Parks history and EPCOT. At Disney World, you'll find her croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. If you can dream, you really can do it!

2 comments

  1. And this right here is why Disney should be ashamed of themselves for denying Type 1 Diabetics the DAS pass. This happens to Type 1 Diabetics all the time and being told they have to leave their party and go off on their own as one of their joke “accommodations” is not acceptable.

  2. You may want to update the part about T1 being “juvenile” diabetes. That’s very old thinking and adults can be diagnosed with T1 as well. I was diagnosed at 40.

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