This scene begins little Karen’s adventure at Disneyland. Note how she speaks up for herself, when the parking lot attendant (a very kind young lady) assumes that because she is disabled and a child, she cannot. Note also how Mama and Rocky, in spite of their best intentions, play into this false assumption.
At the same time, recognize the innate kindness of all the adults involved, and the pleasure that the Disney employee takes in helping make this special day one of enchantment for a little girl and her magical horse.
Above all, note how this twelve-year-old girl with CP manages the situation, so that she uses it to achieve her goals of making decisions and creating a special day for her spiritual mentor, without hurting anyone’s feelings. I wish real life were so easy… Thank you for reading. Please share your reflections, your reactions, your feelings, your thoughts with me in the comments.
Here is a photo of the parking lot, as it might have appeared to them. Thanks and credits to the folks at yesterland.com.
An hour-and-a-half later, Rocky swung the pickup and horse trailer into the parking lot.
Mama laughed and said, “Whew! That’s a relief! I never imagined how hard it would be to get a truck and trailer through the freeway traffic. Thank you, Rocky. You were right. I never would’ve been able to do it, not on my first time driving this rig.”
Rocky started to answer, but a pretty young woman with red hair and freckles hurried up to the truck. She wore a parking lot attendant uniform. Rocky rolled down his window.
“Is that a horse trailer?” she asked. “We don’t allow people to bring horses into Disneyland.”
Rocky smiled and replied, “Yes, ma’am, that surely is a horse trailer. We’ve got a disabled child, here, and that there horse is her service animal. She’ll need ‘im to get ‘erself ‘round inside’a Disneyland.”
The young woman immediately smiled back and said, “Oh, that’s different, then. I think that’s wonderful, to have a service horse. I’m sure the girl and her horse will both have an enchanted day in the Enchanted Kingdom. Could you please pull forward? You can unload next to the tram stop.”
Rocky inched the truck forward with the attendant walking beside it. When they reached the boarding area for the tram, she guided him as he parked. Rocky, Mama, and Karen got out of the car and walked around it, so they could let Pegasus out.
The parking attendant stayed with them, and when she saw Pegasus, she said, “Oh my goodness! That’s the most beautiful horse I’ve ever seen. He looks magical. With that lavender tint, he’ll fit right in at Disneyland.”
No one said anything, but Karen thought, Is she ever right about that. This really is going to be great.
The attendant reached into a pocket in her jacket and pulled out an apple.
“Does he like apples?” she asked.
Everyone laughed, as Pegasus nodded his head up and down and opened his mouth. The attendant fed him the apple.
She asked Rocky, “Will you be staying? We have handicapped parking, and trailer parking, too.”
He shook his head, sadly, before replying, “I’m afraid not, ma’am. The boss needs me back at work.”
“Me, too,” said Mama. “My boss is a lawyer, and he’s trying to finish preparing for a big case, so he can take tomorrow off to be with his family. He needs me to help him.”
The attendant smiled at Karen and asked, “Will the little, disabled girl be okay on her own?”
Mama and Tex started to answer, but Karen decided. She made the decision that she needed to speak for herself.
She stepped out in front of them and said, “I’ll be just fine. This whole adventure is about me learning to make my own decisions, and about my horse getting a day of fun. I don’t need any help. Besides, Pegasus will be with me all the way.”
Mama said, “Oh, my Krana Layala, I’m so proud of you. Rocky and I’ll be back right after the four o’clock parade ends. See you then!”
She and Karen hugged, then Rocky and Mama climbed back into the truck and waved good-bye as they drove off.
“Thank you, kind lady,” Karen said to the attendant. “I’m sure I can take it from here.”
©2021, Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.