Kentucky mom Jessie Barber filmed the spontaneous moment in Orlando during a character breakfast at the Crystal Palace in Disney World‘s Magic Kingdom Monday. She and wife Allison had planned the one-week trip for their three adopted children and their 18-month-old son, who has cerebral palsy that stems from a brain injury at birth.
Barber uploaded the video to Facebook on Monday, writing, “For those of you who have disabled children know the feeling when people look but aren’t sure how to interact with your kiddo. This Winnie the Pooh melted my heart and knew exactly what to do! He spent 10+ minutes with our little guy and he loved every second of it. Thank you, Pooh!”
The boy, who Barber declined to name, loves Disney, and while he usually doesn’t do well in stimulating and crowded environments such as theme parks, he was delighted to meet the Disney characters. “We weren’t sure how he would handle the day, but he did amazing — he didn’t pitch a fit at all,” Barber tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
During a meal, Winnie the Pooh walked over to the boy, who was sitting in an adaptive stroller, and started snuggling him, rubbing his nose, stroking his hair and “kissing” his arm and cheek. Barber tells Yahoo Lifestyle that her son functions as a 4- to 6-month-old, and aside from mimicking a few sounds, he communicates through smiles and facial expressions. And, as the video makes evident, he clearly loved the attention.
“Winnie the Pooh hung out for 10 minutes — he wouldn’t let go of our son’s hands,” says Barber. “He really calmed him.”
The next day, the family saw Pooh again, this time at a different park restaurant. “Our son recognized Pooh and started smiling,” says Barber. Later, the mom bought her son a Winnie the Pooh pin to stick to his stroller.
Barber told guests services that the mystery person wearing the Pooh suit made a difference to her family. “We wanted to make sure he or she was recognized.”
RELATED: Disneyland facts you didn't know
Disneyland facts you didn't know
Disneyland facts you didn't know
Disneyland was almost built in Burbank, California
Before Disney chose Anaheim, he almost built his park on a seven-acre studio lot in Burbank. The meager playground would be called “Walt Disney’s America.” Fortunately for us all, his dreams grew quickly. You’ll definitely want to see Walt Disney’s first map of Disneyland.
The amusement park was built on a 160-acre orange grove
Disneyland displaced more than 12,000 orange trees. Park landscapers Jack and Bill Evans tried to make up for it though: More than 40 species of flowers and 700 exotic trees grow along the Jungle Cruise alone, and the iconic Mickey-head topiary out front contains 10,000 flowers—replanted six times a year.
Disney nicknamed the park’s opening day “Black Sunday”
The very first opening day at Disneyland was a complete madhouse! As more and more people crowded into the amusement park, masses of food, drink, and bathroom shortages abounded. But wait, it gets worse. The summer heat even melted the freshly poured pavement, which trapped some women who wore high heels. Plus, the large crowds nearly tilted the Mark Twain Riverboat over into the lake because the ride had exceeded its passenger capacity. Don’t get any Disneyland facts confused with Disney World’s, though. Check out the real difference between Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
Many initial press reviews were scathing, but inconsequential
Despite the bad reviews, approximately 50,000 people attended the public opening the very next day. Some even arrived in line as early as 2 a.m.
Walt’s brother purchased the first Disneyland admission ticket
On July 18, 1955, Roy O. Disney, Walt’s brother, purchased the park’s very first ticket for only one dollar, a mere bargain compared to today’s prices charging more than $100 for a one-day park pass. The park sold its one-millionth ticket less than two months later on September 8.
The annual attendance in Disneyland’s first year reached the millions mark
For years, staffers have fed these so-called Disneyland Cats as a free pest-control solution. Today, you might spot some at the feeding station near the Hungry Bear Restaurant, but they weren’t always welcome. When Walt Disney stumbled upon the first flea-infested batch of cats inside Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in 1955, he adopted them out to staff members as quickly as possible.
Guests spend 83 times more on average today than they did 63 years ago
Disneyland’s shortest-lived attraction lasted just two months
Unlike the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, the Mickey Mouse Club Circus opened in November 1955 and closed by January due to low attendance. The resulting “Keller’s Jungle Killers” exhibit—a trained animal act featuring the same sedated jungle cats from Mickey’s circus—lasted another seven months.
Many other attractions were abandoned before they even opened
Some ideas that Walt talked up but never got around to building include the Peter Pan Crocodile Aquarium (a live fish exhibit to be entered through a massive crocodile’s jaw) and Paul Bunyan’s Boot (a 25-foot-tall interactive shoe.) These are the 9 Disney characters you can’t meet in the park anymore.
The fastest ride in the park is no roller coaster—it’s Splash Mountain
Passengers reach about 40 mph while plummeting down the ride’s climactic 47-degree plunge into the briar patch.
The Haunted Mansion is the saddest place in the Happiest Place on Earth
Disney cast members are required to smile everywhere in the park, except here. The emerald-cloaked mansion staffers are actually encouraged to put on a dour demeanor to further spook their guests.
Meanwhile, there were once real human bones on display in Pirates of the Caribbean
According to Imagineer Jason Surrell, when the ride first opened in 1967, bones from the UCLA Medical Center were scattered among one of the scenes.
Tomorrowland’s “House of the Future” (1957-67) was the most resilient attraction in Disneyland
The Monsanto-sponsored walk-through exhibit was designed to show off advanced plastics manufacturing of the time—and it succeeded. The house’s plastic shell was so strong it repelled wrecking balls during demolition. It eventually took a crew with crowbars and chains two weeks to break apart, piece by piece. These are the discontinued Disney rides we wish would make a comeback.
Club 33 is the most exclusive attraction
This secret speakeasy in New Orleans Square has a 10-year waiting list and $25,000 initiation fee. It seems steep until you consider that it’s the only place in Disneyland that serves a full bar of alcohol. Parents, you can sign up here.
Space Mountain was the first Disneyland attraction with a higher price tag than Disneyland itself
The epic indoor roller coaster cost $20,000,000 to build in 1977; the entire park only cost $17,000,000 in 1955.
Indiana Jones Adventure was the most expensive ride to build
The 57,000-square-foot attraction that Jungle Cruise skippers lovingly call “Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Three-Hour Line” took two years and $125 million for 400 Imagineers to build.
A miniature worth $37,500 is the most expensive souvenir
It’s a solid crystal replica of Cinderella’s Castle, set with more than 28,000 Swarovski crystals, patiently waiting to drain your pension at the Crystal Arts store on Main Street.
Comedian Steve Martin may be Disneyland’s most famous alum
His first job was selling guidebooks and magic tricks at several shops around the park. Other celebrities include John Lasseter, the director of Toy Story, who started as a street sweeper in Tomorrowland; Michelle Pfeiffer, who masqueraded as Alice in the ‘70s; and President Nixon’s press secretary Ron Ziegler, who was a Jungle Cruise skipper. Check out these etiquette rules all Disney employees have to follow.