Lake Buena Vista, FL – July 7, 2015 – Cast Members at Walt Disney World Resort make magical memories for our guests each and every day, especially around the holiday season. When Jungle Cruise Skipper Brian Gens was connected with a guest through his sister and the strong ties of social media, he had no idea how his actions would come full circle several months later.
Ryan Megginson and his family are frequent Walt Disney World visitors, and their tradition is to choose a new Christmas ornament on each trip. Ryan, 10 years old, considers this his “happy place” because he and his family venture here to escape the reality of the rare disease he was diagnosed with five years ago.
While the Megginsons were putting up their Christmas tree last year, an ornament from their 2011 vacation was shattered, and Ryan was devastated. In an effort to mend her son’s equally broken heart, Janet Megginson put out a call for help on Facebook hoping someone traveling to Orlando would help replace the broken ornament. Janet soon connected with Skipper Brian’s sister, who put a plan in place.
After hearing Ryan’s story, Brian sprung into action and sent a replacement 2011 ornament, identical to the broken one, along with a special ornament from the skippers’ holiday collection at the Jingle Cruise. “If we are going to do this, let’s make it extra special,” Brian said. This package welcomed Ryan home in early January after an unexpected round of chemotherapy, and he was in awe of the “Disney magic” in that box.
The Megginson family recently made their annual Walt Disney World trip – one to remember for years to come. While visiting the Magic Kingdom, Ryan had no idea his FastPass+ selection to the Jungle Cruise would introduce him to Skipper Brian, who offered a private boat tour and a special glimpse into the life of a skipper.