LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. Feb. 22, 2018—The Disney nametag is an iconic symbol of what it means to be a Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Cast Member, and four little letters on one made all the difference for 14-year-old Make-A-Wish child Winter of Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania.
Winter recently wished to return to Walt Disney World Resort to prepare a meal with Chef Jeff, a sous chef at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort that she and her family came across during a 2012 family vacation. Chef Jeff came by the family’s table to assist Winter with her dietary restrictions, talking her through alternative meal options that fit her needs. To Chef Jeff, he was just doing his job. But to Winter, it was a life-changing experience.
“Chef Jeff’s conversation with Winter sparked a fire in her and has encouraged her to eat more and have a more positive outlook towards food and life,” said Winter’s mother. “During this special visit, she thanked him and encouraged him to continue inspiring others.” Winter shared with Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Pennsylvania & West Virginia that while Chef Jeff may not be a celebrity to others, he certainly is to her and her family.
Winter was recently reunited with Chef Jeff at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, where they prepared a special meal together at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto and Tiki Bar. But that’s not all—another surprise visitor wanted to stop by to cheer on the pair as they cooked away… the one and only Mickey Mouse.
“I make meals and magic all day long for our Guests. It’s what I love most about my job. To know I also made an impact of this magnitude on Winter is by and far my most treasured memory as a Cast Member. To know you’ve made that much of a difference, even in the life of just one individual, is the definition of magic in my eyes,” said Chef Jeff.
Winter’s wish is one of more than 8,000 wishes the Walt Disney World Resort grants for children with life-threatening medical conditions each year. Disney’s legacy of supporting children in need dates back to opening of Disneyland Park in 1955, and in 2015, a milestone of 100,000 Disney-inspired wishes coming true through Make-A-Wish was celebrated. The nearby 79-acre Give Kids the World Village has been supported by Walt Disney World since its inception in 1989, and Disney VoluntEARs and favorite Disney characters have an ongoing presence at the resort.
Four little letters on a name tag made all the difference for 14-year-old Make-A-Wish child, Winter. With a little luck, magic, and pixie dust, Chef Jeff helped make her wish come true.
Posted by Walt Disney World in the Community on Thursday, February 22, 2018