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Author Topic: Disney's attitudes towards terminally ill children
winegums
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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Disclaimer: I searched, but to no avail. However if a chowin' is due, then I await it with bated breath.

Read this earlier:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/ouch/columnists/adam/290704_index.shtml

can anyone validate it? Granted it uses fake names etc to protect the innocent, but have the general concepts of the tales appeared before? Are any past disney employees/visitors able to shed any light on it? Google didn't go to well (turns out searching for "disney" and "disabled" just gets you a pile of "disney cater for the disabled !" pages, typical ¬.¬

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snopes
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Since Disney regularly allows children (terminally ill or with serious but not necessarily terminal medical conditions) from the Make-a-Wish Foundation to be photographed both in their parks and with Disney characters, the article in the OP couldn't be (accurately) referring to Disney.

See, for example, http://laughingplace.com/Latest.asp?I1=ID&I2=656

Sounds like more of the typical scuttlebut that people like to spread about Disney.

- snopes

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winegums
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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purley playing devils advocate here, but neitherof those kids looked ill (infact if i hadn't been told they were ill i wouldn't know). not saying they weren't of course, but they weren't pale faced, wheelchair bound, and vividly on the verge of death. i know having your dreams realised may bring back a spark of life, but those kids looked fine.
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snopes
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Right, because you can always tell by glancing at small, indistinct photos whether children pictured therein have life-threatening medical conditions, since everyone with such a condition is manifestly pale, scrawny, and wheelchair-bound.

Did you bother reading the caption?

"In attendance with Christian, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, was his brother Anthony, his sister Jennifer and his parents Lisette and Alex."

- snopes

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ojrocks
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Personal experience, my neighbor was a young girl with leukemia, and she looked terminally ill. When she went to Disnyeyland, they catered to her, allowing them to take pictures and video.

And even if not shown in the still picture, it's fairly easy to spot a child with MD when they move, so even if that picture doesn't show it, almost everyone who saw him was able to notice.

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blucanary
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My neice has Cerebral Palsey. She was wearing a brace on her left leg and walks kinda funny. When she went to Disney World they let her stand in a seperate line where she didn't have to walk so much to see all the characters and she got her picture taken just fine, boot and all. *shrugs*

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winegums
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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quote:
Originally posted by snopes:
Right, because you can always tell by glancing at small, indistinct photos whether children pictured therein have life-threatening medical conditions, since everyone with such a condition is manifestly pale, scrawny, and wheelchair-bound.

i think you've missunderstood me. my point wasn't that i was questioning the illness of the children featured, but rather that neither of them looked ill. that is, it wasn't contradicting the idea of

"[...]If Andy is seen with terminally ill children, it will prove that he can't actually make this [dreams come true] happen."

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snoozn
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I have seen photos of quite a few disabled kids with the Disney characters. And quite a few of them very obviously disabled. I used to peruse the DISabilities forum of the DisBoards pretty frequently when my daughter's autism was more severe and we were planning our first few Disney trips. A number of stories mentioned that when severely disabled kids (including terminally ill kids) visited the parks, not only did they get photos taken, but the CM's would bring out larger number of characters than is usual for photos (i.e. kids getting their pics taken with about 15 characters at a time). I don't read those forums quite as often now, but I generally saw only very positive comments about how Disney treats disabled and terminally ill children. If you look through that forum, you will probably find some photos of the type I'm talking about along with all the positive comments of parents. I am not always a big fan of Disney, but I really admire their special treatment of disabled children. I suspect these rumors are being spread by disgruntled clients or ex-CM's or possibly some idiot manager came up with this on their own and if so has probably been disciplined or fired.

snoozn

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NocturnalGoddess- naughty or nice?
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Where's Robyn when you need her?, she could tell you far more about this, BUT....

The charity "Give Kids the World", a sub div of the Make A Wish foundation, provides terminally ill children with trips to the amusement parks in Orlando, including Disney. (http://www.gktw.org/) I'm not certain if Disney gives additional accomodations, but I'm pretty sure they do.

Besides, if you want to look at it from a purely public image perspective, they have much, much more to lose than to gain by having such attitudes.

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"I saw weird stuff in that place last night. Weird, strange, sick, twisted, eerie, godless, EVIL stuff... and I want in."- Homer Simpson

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Electric Shadow
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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I'm sorry if I'm missing something obvious, but Hillsy doesn't actually use the D word in the article, or indicate the location of the park. Is it possible he's not talking about the Disney company?

I can think of three parks in Australia that use or used costumed characters. One, Warner Bros Movie World, also has an animal with an alliterative name as its main character, so the Andy thing would fit just as well. I'm sure Britain and the US have their fair share as well?

It could also be possible that he's referring to incidents at one of the non US-based Disney Parks, like Hong Kong.

The article seemed awkward to me, like he was skirting around more than just the company's name.

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winegums
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i admit i've asumed its disneyland, but its based on
  • andy the aardvark as a play on mickey the mouse
  • The Hillsy Corporation = disney corporation (most theme parks aren't named after an existing company or trademark?)
  • "Because we like to present the image that Andy can make children's dreams come true."

admittedly not definatley disneyland, but quite probibally.

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Ganzfeld
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The article is crap. Unsubstantiated rumors about an unnamed theme park. What information does this provide? So, thank you for five minutes of zero-content, Mr. Hills.
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Electric Shadow
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Yeah, the 'dreams come true' line does scream Disney.
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ange84
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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And seriously why would the article of Adam Hills, although one of my favourite comedians along with Wil Anderson, be taken as truth. I think he's just playing around with a topic it all seems a bit toungue in cheek to me and considering he states

quote:
Please email any responses you may have direct to the Ouch team, and I will endeavour to keep you updated. Alternatively, visit my one-man show during the Edinburgh Fringe, cos it may just make its way into the act.


it seems even more so. He recently took the Australia national anthem and played around with that so this might be in the same vein.

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winegums
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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well it seems, pending further information/proof, that this is just UL. i would like to point out, however, that just because he's a comedian that he shouldn't be immediatley discarded as 'having a laugh'. sometimes comedians will make serious points, and i think the rest of this guys articles echo this.
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Mickey is a Hanukkah Bush
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I'm right here, NG! I've been busy this past weekend.

Cast member POV:

Whoever said that they're not allowed to take pictures with terminally ill children is full of crap. The characters are told to create "magical moments" for these children.

Correction, though. Give Kids the World is not associated with Make A Wish. They will coordinate together a lot, but they are not part of the same organization.

I have many stories of seeing children with Make A Wish Foundation or Give Kids the World buttons seeing characters (it's adorable when it's their favorite character that they're meeting!) Disney has been known of going out of their way to make a child's wish come true. WARNING: TEAR-JERKER EXAMPLE TO FOLLOW

This one family was going to Walt Disney World on Make a Wish because their daughter, whom has a "life-threatening illness" (Disney doesn't say "terminally ill"), wanted to meet Cinderella. On the plane, the girl became very ill, and instead of going to Give Kids the World Village after they landed, they met with Orange County EMS, and were transported to the nearest children's hospital. It was late in the evening, and Give Kids the World called Disney, asking if it was still possible for the girl to meet Cinderella, because she likely wouldn't be leaving the hospital bed for a while. A manager spoke to Cinderella, and she said she'd be happy to meet the girl at the hospital. The manager had her shift extended, and she was brought to the hospital. She and the girl (who was on IV morphine) sat and talked, and read a Cinderella story book together, and Cinderella gave her a Cinderella doll. The girl was smiling the entire time, and they had a ton of pictures taken.
Then next day, the manager asked Cinderella if he could speak to her privately. When they went into the manager's office, there was another person standing there. The hospital had called the manager (on his personal phone, because he gave it to them) to inform him that the girl's ultimate wish had been granted, and that she passed away a half hour after Cinderella left. ETA: The person that was standing there was a grief counselor

I've also spoken to Snow White a few times, and she once related a couple of stories to me where she visited Give Kids the World Village, sat down to hug someone, and the child, their wish of meeting Snow White having been granted, passed away in her arms. Likewise, Mickey has told me of a time when he met with a room full of Make a Wish children and their families (in Toon Town). He was sitting on the floor, for a very small child to hug him, and the child hugged him, and said "My wish was to meet you." The child then sat down next to Mickey, leaned on him, and passed away- next to his favorite character.

*I'm now teary from relating these stories to you guys*

So no, Disney makes NO effort to have children with life-threatening illnesses have their picture taken with characters. They ABSOLUTELY discourage the concept. *rolls her eyes*

Oh, and to add to what Snoozn said- yes, Disney will make every effort possible to group characters in the same theme together to have a picture taken with a child or family with a child with a life-threatening illness. I've seen a picture with Minnie, Donald and Goofy with a family (and I heard that that picture, with the three characters, was the picture at the girl's wake)

ETA: See the Cinderella story for clarification about the other person.

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Blog Just call me Mickey 2

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winegums
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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well i got served... [Wink]

thanks for the replies guys [Smile]

ETA: sorry my manners are evidentally terrible. especially thanks to Mickey is a waffle queen for clearing everything up beyond doubt.

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HelloLlama
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I guess what with Mickey here to answer the question and all you don't need me to add "That's utter crap!"

But my Llamaboy, Neill, had a Disney trip granted a few years back and I have pictures to prove it's utter crap!

Here

Here's More

And another one

And just so you don't think they're referring to Universal or Sea World:

Here's Barney

And Shamu

This topic was discussed at snopes a few years back here

In fact, I think this was the subject of my very first post.

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YeeMum
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Note to self:
Don't read "WARNING: TEAR-JERKER EXAMPLE TO FOLLOW" bits.(without tissues)

--------------------
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PallasAthena
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Oh, no kidding YeeMum! I have been volunteering lately for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, so I have heard (and seen) quite a few sad, sad stories. Also lots of joyful and inspiring ones. I do pretty well with trying not to cry, but Mickey's stories just killed me.

And just to beat a dead horse for a little while, winegums you said:
quote:
they weren't pale faced, wheelchair bound, and vividly on the verge of death
Sick children go to Disney all the time, but for ill children and adults, they often reach a point where travel is impossible. So I would be suprised if it would be common to see someone, adult or child, walking around the park, vividly on the verge of death as you put it.

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"How do you make chocolate? You take dark chocolate, you mix it with white milk, and it becomes a delicious drink. That is the chocolate I am talking about." --Ray Nagin

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WizyWyg
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I dont see anything in that linked article to suggest Disney, as it really goes against everything that Ive witnessed personaly

Actually, my gripe story was with a mother of a Make-A-Wish Foundation recepient (her daughter). You knew they were hard press to even afford a trip to Disney World (where I worked), so of course, the child was so happy to be there (SHE gave us treats instead of us giving treats to her! how wonderful). BUT her mother. MY lord. She had some brass balls. seriously

As customary, the M-A-W F child gets a free photograph of themselves with Mickey Mouse, and if they are lucky, they could get an entire ensemble of Characters to pose with them.

Was this mother excited for her daughter about being photographed with these characters? No. She had the audacity to deman to get a photograph with the characters BY HERSELF. No daughter in the picutre with her and the characters. JUST her and hte characters.

and when they came to our section to claim the pictures, guess what she did? She skipped entirely over all the pics with her daughter and characters, and got pissed when the phots of her and characters, the flash did not go off (...I had the feeling that the photographyer at the time purposely took the pic without the flash) leaving her with a dark photo. Remember, she and her daughter would get the pics for free. So what does she do? She doesn't even take the pics of her daughter and the characters and leaves our section angry abut WHY her photos were messed up!

I dont know. Isn't the trip to DW supposed to be because this may be the only time your child will ever have the chance to visit? Or is it for the parents?

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Mickey is a Hanukkah Bush
O Come Let Us Adore Sales


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For the record...

I met with eight Give Kids families today. One of them actually wasn't in line, but was along my path to where I had to stand, so I chose to stop and meet with the family for a minute (just like we're trained that we can do if we want).

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My mom, about my nervousness with Jeopardy!: "Don't worry about it. Just get drunk and you'll do fine."
Blog Just call me Mickey 2

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strange_little_girl
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quote:
I've also spoken to Snow White a few times, and she once related a couple of stories to me where she visited Give Kids the World Village, sat down to hug someone, and the child, their wish of meeting Snow White having been granted, passed away in her arms. Likewise, Mickey has told me of a time when he met with a room full of Make a Wish children and their families (in Toon Town). He was sitting on the floor, for a very small child to hug him, and the child hugged him, and said "My wish was to meet you." The child then sat down next to Mickey, leaned on him, and passed away- next to his favorite character.
These stories sound a little far fetched to me. Would it be common for a child to go from fully concious and being happy to be meeting Mickey and co to dying instantly like that?

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Tootsie Plunkette
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quote:
Originally posted by winegums:
Disclaimer: I searched, but to no avail. However if a chowin' is due, then I await it with bated breath.

Sorta-chow

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--Tootsie

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Mickey is a Hanukkah Bush
O Come Let Us Adore Sales


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quote:
Originally posted by strange_little_girl:
quote:
I've also spoken to Snow White a few times, and she once related a couple of stories to me where she visited Give Kids the World Village, sat down to hug someone, and the child, their wish of meeting Snow White having been granted, passed away in her arms. Likewise, Mickey has told me of a time when he met with a room full of Make a Wish children and their families (in Toon Town). He was sitting on the floor, for a very small child to hug him, and the child hugged him, and said "My wish was to meet you." The child then sat down next to Mickey, leaned on him, and passed away- next to his favorite character.
These stories sound a little far fetched to me. Would it be common for a child to go from fully concious and being happy to be meeting Mickey and co to dying instantly like that?
Yes, if you read Henry Landwirth's book (he's the founder of Give Kids the World), he talks about all different kinds of impact are made when a child meets a character. Children WILL hold out to meet a character. A child meeting a character may also prolong their life, or even be the thing that saves them (children have gone into remission after a trip to Disney World, when the family was told they were terminal).

Believe me- a child will hold out. Their strength and willpower is amazing- especially if they're promised to go somewhere they've always wanted to go, or meet someone they've always wanted to.

--------------------
My mom, about my nervousness with Jeopardy!: "Don't worry about it. Just get drunk and you'll do fine."
Blog Just call me Mickey 2

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Tootsie Plunkette
Buy a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella


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Not a terminally ill child story, but my friend Lokheed's son is autistic. A few years ago they took him to WDW and he responded so well they decided to move from Seattle to Florida so they could take him there frequently.

He especially likes the ride "Snow White's Scary Adventures." Here is the tale of Benjamin's 1000th ride and what the Disney people did to commememorate it. Look at the pictures.

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--Tootsie

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Mickey is a Hanukkah Bush
O Come Let Us Adore Sales


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Oh! I've heard of Ben! He's "famous" in Fantasyland!

--------------------
My mom, about my nervousness with Jeopardy!: "Don't worry about it. Just get drunk and you'll do fine."
Blog Just call me Mickey 2

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Andrew of Ware, England
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The original article was a BBC article and I have seen many items on BBC television of terminally ill/handicapped children being taken to Disneyland Paris, Disneyland, etc. Admittedly these items are usually on one of the BBC's local programmes, but I think they show that Disney is not averse to such children going to and being photographed/filmed at their resorts.

BTW, I was disappointed in the article in the OP. It was very 'un-BBC-like' in the change of names, etc. It turned the tales into little mkore than 'FOAF' stories.

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Andrew, Ware, England

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Tootsie Plunkette
Buy a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella


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quote:
Originally posted by Mickey is a waffle queen:
Oh! I've heard of Ben! He's "famous" in Fantasyland!

I'm not surprised; he's up to 1253 as of 6/4. And I knew him before he was famous...

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--Tootsie

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Tootsie Plunkette
Buy a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella


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Update: Anyone who read Benjamin's story above might be sorry to hear that right now he's a sick little guy, in Florida Children's Hospital, with pancreatitis. Read his dad's Livejournal for details of his progress, and please keep him in your thoughts.

--------------------
--Tootsie

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Tootsie Plunkette
Buy a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella


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Update. Warning: contains charming photos of Disney characters visiting sick (and very cute) boy in hospital.

--------------------
--Tootsie

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Rivkah Chaya
I Saw Three Shipments


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Just FTR: Duchenne MD is a progressive disease that does not always follow a regular course. A healthy looking 5-year-old may be a 10-year-old in a wheelchair, and a bed-bound 15-year-old. The oldest person in the US right now with DMD is someone I've met-- he's 25.
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Rainmom
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quote:
Originally posted by Tootsie Plunkette:
Update: Anyone who read Benjamin's story above might be sorry to hear that right now he's a sick little guy, in Florida Children's Hospital, with pancreatitis. Read his dad's Livejournal for details of his progress, and please keep him in your thoughts.

I also have a child with autism. My thoughts and prayers are with your friends for Benjamin's speedy recovery.

Rainmom

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musicgeek
Deck the Malls


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For what it's worth, the magazine "Southern Living" recently rated DisneyWorld the top vacation destination for travelers with disabilities. Link here - includes pic.

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[God said] "I'll just sit back in the shade while everyone gets laid; that's what I call intelligent design." - Chris Smither, "Origin of the Species"

Posts: 411 | From: Fairfield, CT | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Mickey is a Hanukkah Bush
O Come Let Us Adore Sales


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"disabilities" can mean many different things, musicgeek. In particular, this thread is about terminally ill children whose wish is to come to Disney World.

But if we're going on the tangent of disabilities, I met a girl last week that was autistic and deaf. Her mom was THRILLED when I started signing to the girl.

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Blog Just call me Mickey 2

Posts: 3295 | From: Radford, VA/Herndon, VA/Orlando, FL | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
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