The Power of Disney.

Discussion in 'Walt Disney World News & Rumors' started by Beccaberry, Sep 11, 2008.

  1. Beccaberry

    Beccaberry Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I'm inclined to print this story out, and whenever anyone asks me what it is about Disney that continues to draw me back year after year, I won't need to say a word. To infinity...and beyond.


    Walter Marino shouted to his 12-year-old son, Christopher, as he drifted farther away in the Atlantic Ocean.

    To infinity," the father yelled.

    "And beyond," Christopher replied.

    After a rip current swept the boy and his father out to sea Saturday, darkness fell, and the sound of rescue helicopters and boats grew faint until they were nonexistent.

    Despite the danger, Christopher, who has autism, was enjoying himself, his father said. The boy lacks a fear of death because of his autism and finds comfort in the water, Marino told CNN.

    Marino finds comfort in his son. Their unique circumstances helped keep them alive for more than 12 hours in the open ocean, Marino said.

    "With many kids with autism, the thing that is so dangerous is that they have no concept of fear or fear of death," Marino said. "In this case, though, it perhaps saved him -- that and the fact that water is one of his favorite things. Whenever he goes missing or tries to run away, we can always find him near water ... even at the mall if it is just near a fountain.

    Christopher was laughing as the father and son were pulled farther and farther from Ponce Inlet, Florida. As the pair lunged for buoys -- and missed -- Christopher couldn't help but giggle. It was this spirit that helped ground Marino, the father said.

    "It was a big entertainment roller coaster for him, that's what got me through it -- because he wasn't freaking out," said Marino, 46.

    But after four hours at sea without a life vest, and after it became obvious that rescue operations had ceased for the night, jellyfish began to sting the pair. That began to "freak Christopher out," his father said.

    While Christopher is almost nonverbal in his communication, he and his father use catch phases from Disney movies, which the boy loves, to communicate.

    After four hours, the currents picked up, and Christopher began to drift from his father's reach. Because of the darkness, they couldn't see each other. So Marino shouted out part of a phrase to his son.

    "To infinity," Marino shouted, referencing one of Christopher's favorite lines from the movie "Toy Story."

    "And beyond," Christopher shouted back, pumping his fist in the air like movie character Buzz Lightyear.

    The call and response went on for a while, with Marino choosing different phrases and Christopher yelling back. But over the course of an hour, Christopher's voice faded until his father couldn't hear him anymore.

    "That's when I resigned myself to the fact that he was gone," Marino told CNN, saying he believed his son had been pulled under the water. At the time, Marino said, he thought about giving up, until he thought of his daughter Angela. She had just registered for ballroom dance classes, and he told himself over and over he would live to see her dance.

    "I just kept thinking about her and how I was not going to leave her without a brother and her father in the same day -- not on my watch," he told CNN. "It was the visual of her that kept me going."


    You can find the rest of the story here.
     
  2. Tink

    Tink Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Oh my. That is so incredibly moving.
     
  3. Johnie

    Johnie Active Member

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    I saw that earlier....isn't that amazing?
     
  4. disneywishmom

    disneywishmom New Member

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    I can understand the father's connection with Disney and his son. Everytime we were waiting for results of a test for my daughter we ran to WDW. At one point my daughter was so sick with her illness that she asked to go back to the hotel while we were standing in front of Cinderella's castle. Then when my son was diagnosed a year and a half later, we ran to WDW again. Then, as you know, she asked to go for her Make a Wish. It's our "safe" place. Thanks for sharing the story!
     
  5. Beccaberry

    Beccaberry Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Thank *you* DWM, for sharing *your* story with us....and what an amazing and touching one it is. :hug2: :hug2:
     
  6. Johnie

    Johnie Active Member

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    :hug2:

    I can understand the magic. WDW is my happy place.
     
  7. luvthemouse

    luvthemouse New Member

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    I read that same story earlier. What an amazing story!
     
  8. uscwest

    uscwest Well-Known Member

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    I too read the story earlier. It is indeed an incredible story.
     
  9. mumof2

    mumof2 Active Member

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    That is so incredibly moving, a miracle even.





    disneywishmom ~ :hug2:
     
  10. *Bambi-Belle*

    *Bambi-Belle* New Member

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    Awwwww!!!!!that story brought tears to my eyes. incredible!
     
  11. Disneybumble

    Disneybumble New Member

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    That is amazing.
     
  12. Britchick

    Britchick Active Member

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    gosh, i can totally understand the safe place thing. We went a lot when Jon was being deployed all the time, nothing could hurt us there.
     
  13. BevW

    BevW New Member

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    Yup...Disney is a Happy Place.
     
  14. Tinker

    Tinker Active Member

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    Yup... read this on another forum . Truly Amazing !
     

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