Updated: Dec 10, 2020
Famous last words.
As a child, I grew up with a love, some may have called it an obsession, with Mickey Mouse and his fab five. That love grew into a passion to learn EVERYTHING about the creator and his why. The older I got, the more I learned about Walt and his brother, the more I wanted to know the ins and outs of the empire they created and how I could become a part of it. It was MAGICAL. It was a challenge. And I was on a mission.
In the beginning.
People often ask me "WHY Spirit of Discovery Park" and my knee-jerk response is usually and as politely as possible, WHY NOT! I proceed with the actual occurrence. My passion for this project was sparked by a conversation, in March 2011. My friend with 3 children, one with Down syndrome, expressed that she would never take her family to Disney World, "the happiest, most magical place on earth," and I was infuriated and dumbfounded. After all I had read, researched, learned and experienced, it never occurred to me that over the years, under various leadership, Walt Disney's dream became a business, THE conglomerate of conglomerates. It was no longer about making memories, it was about making money, yet this was the first time I accepted this as truth because the 4-year-old truth was sitting on my lap giving me the most-sincere hug ever received!
That day, I realize, looking back, I was blessed Not only to have been made aware of such an injustice in society, but also to have been made aware of Morgan's Wonderland, the ONLY ultra-accessible amusement park. This conversation ignited my core belief; to bring great value and create equality, fairness and inclusion to others.
Fast forward five years, in February 2016, this same friend shared her family's memories created at the amusement park in San Antonio and I told her, we needed to build one in St. Louis. She agreed it would be amazing and certainly utilized but we both just went to carpool the difference is, when I went, I made a phone call to Morgan's Wonderland and asked them who I needed to speak with to have an amusement park, like theirs, built in St. Louis. That girl transferred me twice and the need for families with disabled individuals to have the same experiences of fun, discovery, and community involvement as those which are available to able-bodied individuals began.
I am happy to say that through Spirit of Discovery Park, my passion, calling and core belief are being executed, daily; giving the gift of "ordinary" to the extra-ordinary by providing memories through an experience of joy, laughter and love for people with all abilities.
Never easy. ALWAYS worth it! Signing off, for now. -Until next time, jamie : )