A thunderstorm raging over head, rain pounding on the roof above me. A thunder clap rises me from my already rocky sleep so I give up on sleep and patrol the house. With my blonde hair curtaining one side of my face and the other uncovered peeking around corners. I heard what I thought to be the music and sounds from Steamboat Willie. I found myself following the sound right into my six year old’s room. She giggled and bobbed up and down with the music.
I stifled a laugh and sat down with her and watched the short clip. My daughter looked over at me and whispered, “Mommy what made Disney want to continue to be an ar… art… artist?”
I sighed and picked her up so that she sat in my lap and whispered in her ear, “Well Pandora…maybe I should just show you, close your eyes.”
I raised my hands slightly and muttered the year 1927 over and over. I closed my eyes and felt a strong gust of wind. Once the wind died down I lowered my hands and reopened my eyes. I whispered, “You can open them now.”
I saw her open her icy blue eyes and heard her gasp. Just down the hall was the Great Walt Disney himself pouring over what I knew was to be the cartoon short Steamboat Willie. “See Pandora there he is…making the little cartoon you were just watching.” I explained.
Pandora giggled and Mr. Disney jerks out of his deep concentration, “Who’s there? I heard a giggle.” Disney crumpled up his paper and came right up to Pandora and I.
“Hi Mr. Disney. My name is Pandora and I was the one who giggled.” She stuck out her hand and they shook hands.
“A pleasure to meet you Pandora and you are?” He asked casually.
“Her mother Athena.” I replied. As they exchanged their version of small talk I picked up the crumpled piece of paper that he threw to the ground. I unwrinkled it and gasped. I held in my hands the first drawings of what was to be Mickey Mouse. I looked over at Disney and my daughter and walked over to them and sat down.
“I don’t know if I should continue with these drawings. Maybe my dad was right and it was pointless and a waste of time.” Disney held his knees close to his chest and sighed. I gave Pandora the piece of paper, she grabbed it and walked over to look at it better.
“No….no no they’re not a waste of time Mr. Disney.” I started.
I grabbed his chin and made him look me in the eyes, “You see that little girl over there. She is growing up with your masterpieces. She loves Mickey Mouse and Steamboat Willie and she just goes crazy over Minnie Mouse. I grew up with Mickey Mouse and I grew up going to the theme park you’re going to build.” His eyes got wide and a smile crept onto his face.
“Now look at Pandora and tell me that what you’re working on is a pointless project.”
I let go of his chin and he sighed, “I can’t.” Then he got up walked over to Pandora picked her up, hugged her, and spun her around, “Thank you.” He put her down and sat back at his drawing table and started scribbling down what was going to be the first Minnie Mouse.
Pandora ran over to me and giggled again, “Time to go home?”
“Yes baby its way past your bedtime.” I laughed as I sat down and placed her into my lap. I had just started muttering 2014 when I heard Walt Disney yell, “Wait…here take this Pandora it’s one of a kind.” He handed her a picture of Minnie and Mickey on Steamboat Willie making music, signed ‘Your friend from the past Walt Disney’.
Pandora jumped up, wrapped her little arms around his neck, and hugged him tight, “Thank you Mr. Disney I’ll never lose it.” Then she sat back down hugging her picture and I started muttering again.
The gust of wind came and went and we found ourselves back in Pandora’s room. She was asleep in my lap so I carried her to bed and tucked her in. I slinked out of her room and snuck back into bed.
“Have an interesting trip?” My husband Troy asked.
“We saw Walt Disney tonight.” I replied. He laughed and we both fell back to sleep without the sound of the thunderstorm that raged earlier.
The next morning we packed a small backpack and started the drive towards Disney World. Pandora held onto her picture as she bounced in the back seat. I looked back at her and laughed. We got into the park and I glanced around just like I always do. I knew this place like the back of my hand but this time there was something different. There was a little park bench with a placard on it and it read, “Thanks to Pandora and Athena who made my life’s dream all that more real.”
Over the speakers around this bench played the little tune that is featured in Steamboat Willie. I smile and whisper, “You’re welcome, Walt you’re most certainly welcome.”