The following is an excerpt from Storming the Kingdom, the third novel in our series of mystery thrillers set inside Walt Disney World and the Central Florida area. This portion of the story comes from chapters 21 and 22 of the novel. The reason for the post is because it is Christmas and it is our hope that you are busy celebrating this very special time of year. As most of you are aware, the trademarks of the stories we tell are how we weave faction and fiction together into a seamless adventure. In this portion of the story, Grayson Hawkes takes times out of a very intense struggle to address a group of leaders representing an organization called Christmas Dreams. People ask, “is Christmas Dreams real?” The answer is “yes.” It is a charity that continues to develop and work in Central Florida. The following is from Storming the Kingdom… I will rejoin you after the quotes from the book for a few more comments.
“Christmas Dreams was an organization that provided Christmas experiences for children battling life threatening illnesses and their families. Whether it was providing gift boxes in local hospitals, creating Santa Claus encounters for sick children, or even moving into a neighborhood in the middle of the summer and organizing a Christmas in July, the organization’s focus was on caring for and ministering to families in crisis who were dealing with illness. The reason they did it: some children just can’t wait for Christmas. Ultimately they were going construct an indoor theme park, a North Pole where children could come and create one more Christmas memory with their family. Hawk had personally gotten involved with the charity organization and had promised to support them with the force of Disney behind him. Today, some of their advance planning team, some of the staff, and some of their designers were at the resort. The brief meeting with Hawk was created to encourage them, and he was supposed to give them a quick, inspiring chat. He had been the one that had chosen this very unlikely spot for the event because he wanted to show them something that most people missed.
The door in front of him creaked open, and security guard waved him toward him. He moved quickly across the short pathway between Gaston’s Tavern and the cottage right out of Belle’s hometown from Beauty and the Beast, known as Bonjour! Village Gifts, where guests could grab a unique set of themed gifts available exclusively in this Fantasyland shop. Hawk stepped around the outside of the shop to the back door, then he again waited as security spread out in front of him. Inside he was in a cast-member-only area; and the next door would carry him into the shop itself. It would be filled with the group from Christmas Dreams, not shopping but waiting for what had been promised as a bonus presentation for them. He heard Juliette’s voice on the other side of the door, inside the shop, introducing him.
“We have a very special surprise for you today. You might have been hearing the news over the past few days that our Chief Creative Officer has had a bit of trouble and there have been attempts made on his life. He knew you were coming today and he really wanted to be here. As you can imagine, this was impossible considering the circumstances.” Juliette gave her words a moment for the crowd to process them. “But as he has always done, he makes the impossible possible, I am excited to introduce to you… Grayson Hawkes.”
Hawk entered the room to applause, a few gasps, and number of pleasantly surprised smiles. Scanning the room, he recognized some of the people he had met over the time he had been involved with Christmas Dreams, and he was truly humbled by their excitement and their reaction to his arrival. He took his spot near the back of the shop in front of a large painting of a Renaissance man, which dominated the room. Mindful of the security risk of being in public too long, Hawk immediately launched into some words of greeting and began to thank them for the work they were doing with sick children and their families and offered them an encouraging word as they continued to press forward and develop their themed attraction for these very special kids.
“All of our lives are a story. The pages are packed with the memories we collect over a lifetime.” He paused, remembering the families they worked with. “No matter how long or short that lifetime might be. And the memories we create, they are gifts that we leave behind when we are gone. They become part of our legacy, and our stories continue in the lives of those we love, those who travel our journey with us, and those who will hear our stories in the days ahead. The challenge for all of us is to make sure that each day the story of our lives is one worth telling, one worth living, and one worth sharing.” Again he paused, smiled at his audience, and added, “You are helping to create brand-new chapters of joy—memories that will last forever.”
The crowd of people watched as Hawk paced a bit in front of them and continued his informal chat. “If we think about the stories that represent our lives, we begin to understand that to really make sense of the story, details are essential. Here at Disney, we pay great attention to the details. If you have been a fan of Disney for very long, you realize that the hidden details, the things that others don’t always take the time to notice, are loaded with meaning and can tell a story within a story. I want to encourage you to pay attention to the details. In those details, you might just discover the hidden meaning you need to make your own story come alive and be more meaningful.”
Our novels will continue to blend fact and fiction – but during this Christmas season, I am honored to be a part of the ongoing dream of Christmas Dreams. There is a hope that is discovered – that only Christmas gives… and as you celebrate this Christmas season, I hope it is filled with blessings and memories that will last a lifetime. I am thrilled to be able to be part of a team that is committed to helping to create these memories for families who are battling some tough times with their children.
This picture was taken during this Christmas season as Santa Claus was sent by Christmas Dreams to the Florida Hospital NICU – or Saint Nick U on this particular day. Santa spent time with each child (nearly 90 of them) and their families as these little kids are facing their very first Christmas battling life threatening situations.
Each of us are called to help create brand new chapters of joy and memories that will last forever… that is something that we can all share this Christmas season.
Merry Christmas to each and every one of you.
Thanks for reading the stories – it is my honor to take the journey with each and every one of you.
– Jeff Dixon
This article is by author Jeff Dixon. Jeff has written a series of novels set in and around Walt Disney World entitled, The Key to the Kingdom, Unlocking the Kingdom, Storming the Kingdom, and as mentioned and linked above Terror in the Kingdom. He is also the author of The Disney Driven Life. The book that draws life lessons and leadership principles from the history and life of Walt Disney. Some know Jeff as Dixon On Disney – and he resources and comments on Disney history, attractions, and news. He is a researcher that draws heavily on the incredible works of Disney historians and biographers with an attempt to understand and apply the life lessons that are uncovered. He is also a storyteller that transports readers into a world beyond their imagination.