While there is plenty to say about the Disney for Kids program, which has sent over 2,000 at-risk kids on the all-expenses paid trip of a lifetime to Walt Disney World, nobody can tell the Disney for Kids story better than a child who has been on the trip. Tina, age 12, was one of those children in 2015…
Dear Disney Donors,
I remember the day I got that letter in the mail! I was so excited, I ran to my room to pack! Then I thought, ”wait!”, it’s too early to pack! All summer long us kids at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Dorchester (BGCD) talked about the big Disney for Kids trip- we had to wait all summer for the best week of our lives. We asked kids who had already gone what it was like, but they said, “Just you wait. There are no words to describe how awesome it is.”
The night before we left my stomach was filled with butterflies. I was excited but still so nervous to leave my mom. I have a hard time being separated from her and I also have a hard time trying new things sometimes. I was bullied a lot before I went to the BGCD. It made me feel insecure sometimes and hurt a lot, but now I am much happier and have lots of great friends.
When my mom brought me to meet the bus to go to the airport, I thought I would cry, until I saw one of my friends and we ran to the bus together. I waved good bye to my mom out the window and I think she cried, but I knew it was because she was happy for me. She never got to go to Disney and she had told me she thought it was the best thing in the whole world that I was invited.
Right away we began to have fun! The staff was happy and funny on the bus and at the airport too. We played games at the airport because our flight was delayed, and when we finally began to board the plane those butterflies came back and I really wanted my mom! My friends and the staff helped me feel better. On the plane they gave us blue tortilla chips! I never seen those before and they were delicious!
By the time we got on the bus and checked in to the hotel, it was late and we all settled in to go to sleep. The butterflies came back, but only for a short time. The next morning we went to breakfast and they had so much food! We made Mickey Mouse waffles and then went to Animal Kingdom. That was just the beginning of a truly magical week. Every day we ate breakfast , lunch and dinner together, played together, had funny bus competitions (my bus was the best!) and laughed a lot! Disney really is the happiest place on earth. I rode all the rides, even the ones I was afraid of! I got to see Cinderella’s Castle at Magic Kingdom, rode Soaring in Epcot, got soaked at Splash Mountain and faced a lot of my fears.
The best part was learning that I can do anything I want to and I don’t have to be scared. I learned to follow the rules of Disney for Kids, meet at certain times, made decisions about what to wear, what to eat and who to walk around the parks with, and I made tons of new friends. The trip gave me memories that will last all my life. I really have never had so much fun – ever! But the trip was extra special because I learned a little something more about myself and became braver and smarter. I missed my mom but I was proud that I did this trip and I am so happy that so many kids get to go every year.
People think the trip is just about having fun, but it’s really about making new friends, learning new things and being a little different when you come back. It’s as though all the kids who have gone on the Disney for Kids trip wear these invisible Mickey ears.
I understand now that when new kids get picked I won’t be able to explain the trip to them. We all know that it was fun, but we all know we are different and somehow better for it when we come back. Thank you for supporting this magical experience- as far as I am concerned you have earned your Mickey Ears for helping send kids who never get to go anywhere to the Happiest Place on Earth!