Magic Kingdom

You may have seen posts on Facebook or Twitter with the exciting announcement that my husband is going to be the voice of the Disneyland parade and fireworks this summer. Super cool, right? Oh, you have no idea!!!

Once upon a time . . .

When Patrick was a little boy growing up in Oregon, one of his deepest desires was to go to Disneyland. He begged his mom and dad rather incessantly to go there for a family vacation. Each year they would placate him by saying, “If we have the money, we’ll go.” But each year they would inevitably tell him they didn’t have the resources.

One year, with utter determination, Patrick asked his parents if he raised the money could they go. At nine years old his parents imagined it would be unlikely that he’d raise enough money to bring the whole family from Oregon to Disneyland, but they said, “Sure.” They did not know what they had bargained for.

Patrick decided to hold a garage sale. No, Patrick did not raise enough money from the garage sale to fund a trip to Disney. (Now, that would be quite a story.) But he did collect quite a lot, and apparently enough that his mom and dad felt shamed into coming up with the rest.

Next thing he knew they were packing up in the family van and heading down to sunny California. When their journey finally brought them face to face with the entrance gate he kept exclaiming, “I can’t believe we’re here! I can’t believe we’re here!” He said it so much, that his younger brother, who by all right should have been equally excited by the magic of Disney, finally shouted back at Patrick, “Shuuut up!” LOL.

Patrick’s dad was the historian of the family, always with a camera and video camera, recording every moment for posterity, and he did not slack in Disneyland. Not only did he have his cameras with him, he had a reel to reel tape recorder strapped across his body the entire visit to the park. This was 1970. No easy feat. I mean, look at this monstrosity.


He recorded all the sounds of the park wherever they went. A soundtrack, if you will, of the entire experience.

Dad’s slightly excessive need to record every detail of their lives – a blessing and a curse when your father spends his entire life behind a lens — ended up being a treasured blessing for Patrick when they came back to Oregon. Disneyland was everything Patrick had hoped it would be and more. And now he got to relive it over and over.

I’ve known the part of the story of the garage sale and his brother having the funny “shut up” outburst for a long time, but the part about his dad carrying the reel to reel tape, I just heard this week. When Patrick booked the job to be the voice of the parade he told me about how he used to listen to that reel to reel tape recording every night when he was falling asleep. He has a visceral memory of hearing the sounds of his Uncle Cecil and his parents and his brother and even the booming voice of the man who was the voice of the parade and fireworks. I got chills when Patrick told me that. I get chills just telling it to you now.

What a thrilling full-circle moment for him. There’s an incredible power that comes from envisioning something so specifically that it manifests itself so fully. Don’t think it’s gone unnoticed by either of us that we met doing Broadway’s Beauty and the Beast. And Patrick has had a long, growing career working on many of Disney Theatricals productions. Disney has been life changing for Patrick on many levels.

But this one job holds a very special place in his heart. And I guess when you wish upon a star . . . dreams really do come true.

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