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Via Winner: Dream Vacation 2009

A story about a kid's special day in Disneyland won the 2009 VIA essay contest.

Barbara Meckfessel
Photo caption
Barbara Meckfessel poses with her Disneyland memorabilia.

This particular day has a special place in my heart. My son and I were spending a week at the Disneyland Resort. He was carrying quite a bit of extra weight at the time and had some self-esteem issues. One lovely day, the Parade of Dreams cast members chose him, as well as other park attendees, to participate in the parade. I waited, video camera in hand, near Sleeping Beauty Castle so I could capture his triumph on film. When I saw him come around the corner, I got tears in my eyes. Here was my overweight, self-conscious, introverted son dressed in a tutu skirt with a hippo hat on his head, a huge smile on his face, dancing in gleeful abandon like no one was watching! He was whirling and twirling, oblivious to everything except the absolute joy he was feeling. I will never forget that moment.

Photography by Christina McNeill

This article was first published in September 2009. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.