My Disney Princess ~ By John Leever

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During a trip to Walt Disney World a while back, the girls on the trip started talking about who was their princess. One said Snow White, another said Cinderella, still another Aurora and soon they all had their Disney Princess. Not wanting to be left out, I thought who was my Disney Princess? Ariel was special because when the movie came out, I took my god-daughter who was 8 at the time and one of her brothers to see it. Taking my god-daughter to the movie was a way of connecting with her more than just giving presents at Christmas. It was our first Disney experience together but in no way was it our last because we soon began our annual trips to Disney together. Aurora was special because when Sleeping Beauty came out on VHS, I bought one for my god-daughter and one for me so we had that movie as well to share. Now Cinderella, she blew me a kiss during a parade which put her on the list, and then there was Snow White, the fairest one of all, and the first Disney princess from Disney’s first full length animated feature. How was I to choose?

I couldn’t do it and the list of Princesses grew; Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas, Mulan, the question was not getting easier as the years went by. During another trip to WDW, we invited one of my sister’s best friends and her 2 daughters to join us. This lead to more people choosing their Disney Princess and I still did not have one. It was a new generation coming with me “Uncle John” which is what they called me even though I was only Uncle John to my sister’s son. They became my nieces not by birth or blood but by choice and by heart and we traveled to WDW many times and Disneyland twice one of which was during its 50th year. We would go during the summer when they were off school, sometimes around Christmas, and we even went in October after 9/11, and I still did not have a Disney Princess. I see many people on TMSM and FB have their princess so why couldn’t I choose?

Over the years of traveling we grew closer, my youngest niece would make sure her mom would give me a CD of the pictures she took. She would tease me about not having a cell phone when she already did. I let her use the video camera and she added her commentary. She was too young to drive the water mice by herself so she would be my driver on Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay lake so I could take video. Everywhere we ate, she would order a Coke no ice, and I learned while I don’t drink soda, my drink is Lemonade, I order it with no ice because of her.​

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During our first Disneyland trip, my youngest niece wanted a Minnie Mouse, the big one, and we have a tradition that everyone gets a last night gift which meant she got to pick whatever she wanted. My sister talked her into a smaller one with the excuse that “Uncle John” would have to buy another seat on the plane for the big one. She accepted that answer and settled on the smaller one. She was young, what did she know, we could have shipped it. But it did not sit well with me and when her next birthday came around, I ordered the big Minnie Mouse for her, having it shipped to us.

When my youngest niece was in her teens, she developed a pain in her leg which they thought she had strained during cheerleading. A couple of months later it was diagnosed as Ewinge Sarcoma a bone cancer that occurs most frequently in children, teenagers and young adults. During my niece’s treatments, I visited her in the hospital as often as I could and I saw in my niece a strength and a courage matching any Disney princess. She put on an epic battle; a story that could be a fairy tale and she the princess of the story. When her long blond hair started to fall out, she asked her mom for a comb and proceeded to comb it out instead of letting it fall out slowly. She took control of the situation and faced it. There was pain and sickness from the chemo, there was a leg burned raw from radiation, there were needle pokes, I.V.s, blood draws and she faced it. I saw her face all this and more. After her stem cell treatment, she was declared cancer free. So to celebrate, I told her that I would take her to Walt Disney World and that she could bring a friend. Her sister came, her mom came, her aunt, her cousins, her Uncle John. That was the year I finally choose my Disney Princess, my niece. I got to take my very own Disney Princess to Walt Disney World. I see that many people have a daughter or grand-daughter as their Disney Princess, so I think it is for me to have mine be my niece.

Less than a year later, my niece’s doctors said the cancer was back, it meant more treatments. The next summer she did not go to Disney it was just my sister, my nephew, and me. A few months later the doctors told her the clinical trial was not helping and there was nothing left they could do. My niece was born to her eternal life not long after.

There is a picture of my niece entering Hollywood Studios that keeps coming up on my computer’s slide show, and I still have a moment of sadness every time when entering Hollywood Studios. I am fine when I am inside it is just entering that is a little difficult.

May your Disney princess be as special to you as mine is to me. Who is your Disney Princess?

Michele
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Michele

Michele Atwood is the Owner/Editor of The Main Street Mouse and it’s subsidiaries and author of the books “Moving to Main Street U.S.A.” “How Many Sleeps Till Disney?” and “How Many Sleeps Till Disneyland?” Michele also contributes Disney news to the Joe Kelley Morning Show on 107.3 WDBO in Orlando. She and her family made the move from Michigan to the Orlando area to pursue their Disney dreams. Michele is a life long Disney fan, and has two sons who have followed suit, each going on their first Disney trip before their first birthday’s. Part of the goal Michele has for The Main Street Mouse is not only to keep members informed, but to create somewhat of a Disney Family by relating to others through personal experiences and opinions. Also, Michele is making it a priority to share stories of inspiration and hope to other Disney Fans in an effort to share the Magic and hopefully make a difference in the lives of others. ~ I enjoy writing personal perspective blogs, doing TMSM Meet Ups for our readers, and keeping the constant interaction going with others, sharing the Disney Magic to people when they can’t be at their Happy Place.

Michele has 6223 posts and counting. See all posts by Michele

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8 thoughts on “My Disney Princess ~ By John Leever

  • July 9, 2014 at 10:14 am
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    What a truly inspiring story. You are a wonderful Uncle and I am sure she is smiling down on you every day. Cherish your memories!!

  • July 9, 2014 at 3:04 am
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    You sir,are an inspiration to all men out there. I was in tears halfway through because to me “it clicked” that she is your Disney Princess. She may be gone,but with this story she will never be forgotten. You may not have been a blood relation, but time has taught me ( and I’m sure most of us ) that family is who you hold closest to your heart- it isn’t restricted to your relatives.
    Thank you for taking time to write such a wonderful story.

  • July 8, 2014 at 10:09 pm
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    I’m proud of you, John, for writing this. I went in not knowing the answer to your thoughtful question, but after about a third in I realized who is the only Disney Princess that makes sense for you. This is a substantial piece of emotional writing and Michelle would be proud of you. Your Disney Princess will live on forever.

  • July 8, 2014 at 9:09 pm
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    Uncle John, I understand that bond with your niece. I have no children, but I do have 2 nieces that I love more than life. I have been there for all the Disney happenings with them. Watching them when they ‘get’ the Magic melts my heart every time. But reading your story…that was unlike any I have ever read. You were your niece’s “FAIRY GODMOTHER”, if you don’t mind describing you in those terms. You helped her, for a while, to LIVE the MAGIC…not only at Disney but every day. I cannot begin to understand the pain you must have experienced and continue to experience every day since she went home. You were right in naming her your princess, and you are, most definitely, PRINCE CHARMING. You didn’t rescue her; you gave her happiness. Which IS the Magic of Disney! God Bless you.

  • July 8, 2014 at 9:09 pm
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    Uncle John, I understand that bond with your niece. I have no children, but I do have 2 nieces that I love more than life. I have been there for all the Disney happenings with them. Watching them when they ‘get’ the Magic melts my heart every time. But reading your story…that was unlike any I have ever read. You were your niece’s “FAIRY GODMOTHER”, if you don’t mind describing you in those terms. You helped her, for a while, to LIVE the MAGIC…not only at Disney but every day. I cannot begin to understand the pain you must have experienced and continue to experience every day since she went home. You were right in naming her your princess, and you are, most definitely, PRINCE CHARMING. You didn’t rescue her; you gave her happiness. Which IS the Magic of Disney! God Bless you.

  • July 8, 2014 at 8:57 pm
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    Remember to tell you Disney Princess what she means to you. Ammonite Thank you for kind words. I am happy you have your Disney Princess.

    Beartie Kegley her mother said something similar about the memories. Thank you for echoing her sentiment.

  • July 8, 2014 at 8:09 pm
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    John, your story brought tears to my eyes. How proud you must be of your Princess! She was as lucky to have you as you were to have her. You ask who my Princess is. Well, she is my daughter. She’s 24 years old, and the most amazing person I have ever met. She loves Disney almost more than I do, and even tho she lives far away, she makes a trip here to WDW (I live close by) every summer. Thank you for reminding me that Disney Princesses aren’t just the ones on film. God bless.

  • July 8, 2014 at 7:41 pm
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    Oh, John. You have opened the flood gates of my heart. You are such a wonderful Uncle and your niece was lucky to have you in heR short life. You brought her many precious memories as she did for you.

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