Andrea Mara

Official website

A Disney Tale

An invitation to a charity event in the Disney Store popped into my inbox – their “Share in the Magic” campaign. Children welcome. But on a Wednesday evening. A work-day, a school-night. This would be tricky. But where there’s a will there’s a way, and where there’s Mickey Mouse and a Christmas postbox and three small Disney-loving children, there’s always a way.

I hatched a plan. If I left work in the city-centre at 4 o’clock, I would be home just before 5, to drive straight back into the city-centre for 6pm. A great plan, with one flaw – how to get three children ready and into the car in five minutes.

I would need help from my childminder. So far I’ve been reluctant to refer to her, other than a small mention here, in case I tempt fate and fate whisks her away. So I’m not going to write how amazing she is here – no way. Lessons have been learned. I will just describe our evening.

I asked our childminder, lets call her Jane, if she could organise an early dinner for the kids, and have them ready in their carefully (self) chosen outfits for when I would arrive home from work. I put my key in the door at four minutes before five, to hear squeals of delight from the three children, two of whom seemed to think they were going to actual Disneyland and one of whom had no idea what was going on but was enjoying the excitement.

Jane had dressed them in their Disney-esque finery and had cleaned food remnants from all three smiling faces. She had given them dinner and cleaned up afterwards. She had prepared three snack-boxes of chopped fruit, one for each child, and packed them in the changing bag, along with a drink for Sam and all the usual necessities that we’re supposed to bring with us but rarely do (anyone else regularly find empty packs of wipes or no nappies at all in changing bags?)

There were some unfamiliar items on the draining board. “Oh, I cleaned your dishwasher components” Jane said “I meant to say it to you when I cleaned the oven yesterday – I hope you don’t mind me doing bits and bobs around the house?” I had no coherent words, I just laughed and thanked her. She had a cup of tea waiting for me. A cup of tea. seriously, that was a lovely moment. I need to savour it.

So thanks to Jane, we made it on time into the Disney Store; two hours and three delighted kids later, we were on our way home with some seasonal goodies and a memory of meeting “the real Mickey Mouse”

It's real Mickey Mouse you know
It’s real Mickey Mouse you know

The event was to mark Disney’s ‘Share in the Magic’ charity campaign; this is the fifth year that Disney Stores have done this. The idea is that children can post their Santa letters in a Disney Store or online via this link . For every letter posted, the Disney Store will donate a soft toy to children through Children in Hospital Ireland !

Running through to Christmas, here are some more details – there are a number of ways in which you can get involved in the campaign:

The Grafton Street store in Dublin will be running a series of letter writing workshops with staff members on hand to help children write letters which can then be posted in a special Christmas postbox located in the store.

Children can also bring a letter that they have written at home and post it in the in-store postbox.

For families who would like to take part but may not be able to visit the store, they can send a letter online. Here, a letter can be created and posted virtually, with each participant receiving a special video message from Mickey Mouse and friends.

It’s a lovely idea – the in-store postbox was very exciting for my kids during our visit, but if you can’t make it to the shop, an online letter could be something that your children really enjoy, especially knowing that it will result in a toy being donated to a children’s hospital.

Mirror Mirror on the wall
Mirror Mirror on the wall

As for me, I have my own Disney tale now – I’ve possibly found my very own Mary Poppins. (Fate: don’t even think about it)

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The kids and I were guests of Disney at the event but I wasn’t paid for this post – all opinions are my own!





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