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Staff Access

A Tale of Realized Dreams by Shirlane Colban

By Shirlane Colban and Dena Hughes

T’was one month ago, even greater now than it seems. Set in a magical place that perhaps you have seen in your dreams. For the story about to be told, is of a girl more young than old. It may feel like déjà vu, but I promise the tale is true. So take heed my friends for this journey is full of twists and bends.

Once upon a time there was a beautiful young girl named Shirlane. She often dreamed of visiting the Wonderful World of Disneyland. What she wanted most of all was to meet Mickey Mouse. She told everyone about him, “Mickey is a great good guy!” She would exclaim with a big smile and laugh. She even named her pet cat Mickey Mouse in honor of the famous celebrity. However, no matter how much she wished upon star, she never was able to go.

One day, Shirlane was sitting at home playing a Disney game on her iPad and as she moved her fingers over the keys she thought again of the deep longing she had to go to the magical place of her dreams. When Shirlane gazed upon her iPad which showed a picture of Mickey and Goofy she decided that she was going to make it happen somehow. So, Shirlane called upon her friends and asked for a PATH to be drawn up, to outline her goals and what she needed to do to achieve her goals.

Some might be alarmed at the challenges that stood in Shirlane’s way, but not Shirlane. She knew with faith and trust and a little bit of pixie dust she would be able to make her dreams come true. So she called upon her favorite Fairy Godmother Lanni. She told Lanni about how much she hoped and prayed that she would be able to go to this magical world of enchantment. As Lanni listened she understood that this was a pure wish from the heart and vowed to see it happen. Lanni told Shirlane that she could help and called upon one of her friends. With a poof of smoke, Fairy godmother Cheryl popped into view. “Now Cheryl, Shirlane has a pure wish to travel to Disneyland and to meet Mickey. To do this our magic must work together.”

“Okay, let’s do it!” Fairy Godmother Cheryl said.

Lanni and Shirlaine living the dream!
Lanni and Shirlaine living the dream!

With that, Lanni raised her glasses and Cheryl raised her trusty knitting needle. Each one uttered their magic phrase “ABRACADABRA!” “ALAKAZAM!” In front of them appeared a Magic Carpet.

“Thank-you, Fairy Godmothers! Oh, thank-you!” She cried with happy tears falling down her cheeks as she rolled up onto the Magic Carpet.

“You’re welcome, miss Shirlane. Just remember, you must be back at your Magic Carpet to get home.”

“How will I know when?”  Shirlane asked. “Don’t worry, you’ll know.”


When Shirlane’s carpet landed, she looked around wondering which royal car would be driving her to Disneyland. Then she saw it. “It’s huge!” She exclaimed in awe. ‘It must be as big as a house!’ She thought with shock. The bus that pulled up was quite big; the words “DISNEYLAND EXPRESS” were shining in the bright Californian sun. Shirlane laughed with joy, it was at that moment she realized just how fantastic her dream trip was going to be. She waited for the driver to open the doors but he seemed to be having some trouble. When the doors finally swung open Shirlane smiled at him. “Are you okay?” She asked.

“Yes, it’s weird though. They have never broken down so often. Must need repairs.  Ah well, all aboard!”

When Shirlane arrived at her hotel, just in front of the entrance to the happiest place on Earth she realized how tired she was. She decided that the real fun would begin the next day.


The first morning Shirlane awoke with a smile upon her face. As she walked towards the happiest place on earth, she couldn’t help but feel a bit nervous. Something big was going to happen today, but what? She didn’t know.

As Shirlane passed the gates that welcomed her to Disneyland she felt as if she walked into a whole new world. There were bright colors everywhere. Shirlane felt as if she were finally coming home. Everyone wore bright smiles and was talking excitedly among each other. It truly was a peaceful place. She smiled with contentment as she moved further down the cobblestone street.

When she turned the corner Shirlane couldn’t believe her eyes. Right in front of her was a cat, who was about to fall out of a TREE! “Ahhh!” Shirlane yelled as the cat dropped. Luckily the little black and white kitten landed right in her arms. “Meow,” The dazed kitten let out.

“OH Figaro!” A woman’s voice said as they plucked the kitten out of Shirlane’s grasp. “My poor kitty! What were you doing all the way up there?”

Shirlane looked at the person in front of her. “Wow.” Shirlane said causing the polka dotted woman to look at her. “Oh my, I never said thank-you or introduced myself. My name is Minnie Mouse, thank-you so much for saving my little trouble maker Figaro!”

“Hi Minnie! I am Shirlane; I have a kitten at home too!”

“Oh my, I bet he is sweet. Would you like to come over for tea? I am supposed to be meeting Mickey, but I am sure he will not mind you coming along. After all you did save my sweet little Figaro.”

“Mickey? Mickey Mouse?” Shirlane asked with wide excited eyes. “Why yes.” Minnie replied. “OH he is my favorite!”  As she said this, the clouds started to turn darken.

“Well, this is your lucky day my dear. We must go. Quickly now.”


When they arrived at Minnie’s house they saw Mickey and Pluto playing ball on the lawn. “Well, hi there.” Mickey chuckled. “Mickey dear, this is Shirlane. She is a big fan of yours.” Minnie informed him while gesturing to Shirlane. “Haha, well that’s great! I’m just one Mouse though,” Mickey said then moved forward and gave Shirlane a big hug. “Are you staying for tea?”

“Yeah, I like coffee though.” Shirlane said with the biggest smile on her face.

“I will get it, you three head to the patio.” Minnie said gesturing towards the back. Minnie then headed inside.

Shirlane and Mickey sat at the table as Pluto ran back and forth across the yard. “So, what have you been up to here in Disneyland then?” Mickey asked.

“Not very much yet. I just got here when I met Minnie.” Shirlane told Mickey. Minnie settled the tray of drinks on the table and passed them around. “Thank-you.” Mickey and Shirlane said as they took their cups.

“Ah yes, well, as Mayor of this fine land, I can tell you that one of the best places to visit is the ride “It’s A Small World”. Everyone enjoys that ride.”

“I don’t know if I would like it.” Shirlane said with a small frown. “Why not?” Minnie questioned. “I haven’t really been on a ride before…”

“Hot dog! That will be a treat then!” Mickey spouted with glee. Minnie smiled, “You will love it Shirlane.”

They finished their drinks while having polite conversation revolving around Disneyland when Max, Goofy’s son ran up in a panic. “Mickey, you have to come quick. There is trouble down at the fire house. Dad said he doesn’t think it is an accident.”

Minnie gasped. Mickey sighed as he turned to Shirlane. “I’m sorry Shirlane, we will have to cut tea short. It was lovely to meet you.” Mickey said as he placed a kiss on Shirlanes cheek. Then he placed a kiss on Minnies cheek. Max, Pluto and Mickey then rushed off.

“Well thank-you for the coffee Minnie. It was delicious. I should go now.” Minnie smiled. “Hope to see you again soon my dear. Lovely to meet you.”

Hanging out with Mickey
Hanging out with Mickey


Shirlane decided that perhaps she would go on the ride Mickey recommended. It sure sounded fun. When she saw the big castle with boats cruising through the moat she watched on in awe, as people were loaded into each boat and sailed through into the castle. Shirlane moved into the line and waited her turn.

When the next boat pulled up she was told to sit in the center of the boat. A very special seat because she knew she could see the most. “Have fun!” The lady who had helped her on called before hitting the button that propelled the boat into the water. Shirlane let out a yelp. It was fast at first.

As she floated on the boat in the water, she flowed through each different country. It was amazing. There were little dolls that were dancing and singing. The colors lit up the ride, setting the stage for a really peaceful world. Mickey was right. It was incredible.

When the lights flickered for a moment dousing the place into darkness, Shirlane frowned. “Hmm, I wonder what is happening.” The boat pulled out and Shirlane smiled and thanked the woman who helped her out.

After she got off the ride she decided taking a break would be a good idea. Around the side of the castle Shirlane spotted a small waterfall with beautiful flowers and a nice sitting area. “Perfect.” She said as she headed that direction.

Shirlane proceeded to the rail in front of the waterfall and watched as the water fell into the pond below. “Oh, hello.” Someone said from behind her. Shirlane turned to look. The woman behind her had dark hair and pale skin and lips as red as rubies. “Hi. My name is Shirlane and you are Snow White, aren’t you?”

“Well, yes, yes I am.” The sweet princess said startled. Just then they heard a shout of alarm and turned quickly. It appeared as if a wagon had broken throwing many large Red Delicious apples towards them. “Oh my!” Snow White shouted with fear. Shirlane grabbed Snow Whites arm and pulled her out of the way. Knowing how much apples scare the fair princess, Shirlane moved so that Snow White was safely hidden behind her body. When the apples stopped rolling Shirlane and Snow White looked at the man who was driving the cart. He was almost in tears. “I’m so sorry! I don’t know what happened! Are you okay?” The man cried. “Yes we’re okay, thanks to Miss Shirlane.”

Snow White looped her arm through Shirlane’s arm and pulled her towards Sleeping Beauty’s castle. “Come along Shirlane, I have some friends I think would really like you!” Snow White giggled. As they made their way into the castle Shirlane could hear the laughing voices of the princesses within. “Come on, this way.” Snow White said as she directed Shirlane into the kitchen.

Inside the kitchen there were three princesses. Cinderella was by the stove cooking and Ariel was sitting at the table with Aurora. “Hello, my lovely ladies.” Snow White said grabbing their attention. “This is Shirlane. She is a very nice woman. First time here in Disneyland too.” She announced. “Hello!”  They all exclaimed at once. “Hi.” Shirlane said

“Come join us.” Ariel said. “Yeah, Cindy is making us quesadillas.”

“Yum, that sounds….” Shirlane’s reply was cut off by the power going out and shouts and crackles of water and fire. “We better go find out what is wrong.” Shirlane said as she rushed off in the direction of the shouting with all four princesses following closely behind.

As they rounded the corner by the River of America they saw Mickey in the dark with water and fire shooting up into the air around him forcing him back with every blast. As this happened they could see a figure appear in the flame.

“YOU!” Mickey shouted in shock.

“Yes, of course it’s me!” She snarled, “And now I will be taking over. Not even your imagination can defeat me! Ha Hah!” Mickey squared his shoulders, “Well, we will just see about that!” Another figure appeared from the water, and yet another from between the water and flames. “Yes we will.”

“Oh no! It’s Maleficent! And she brought Ursula and the Evil Queen with her!” Cinderella cried. “He will never be able to defeat them on his own!” Princess Aurora worried. Shirlane looked around at the faces of the four princesses, and then narrowed her eyes with determination. “No, he might not. But Mickey is in trouble. We need to gather our friends. They will help!” Shirlane said with a fierce determination. “You’re right Shirlane. If we can get everyone to believe in the same dreams we should be able to defeat them. Nothing is stronger than our imagination.” Ariel said. “Okay, you all go and call upon all our friends. Anyone who will help. I will stay here and help Mickey keep them at bay.” Shirlane responded. The princesses exchanged worried looks. “Be careful Shirlane, they can be very tricky.”

The four princesses each ran off in different directions determined to find help… and fast. Shirlane watched them go, and then turned towards the battle that was unfolding. As she approached Mickey she grasped onto Mickey’s hand.  Mickey squeezed her hand but kept his eyes on the villains.

“Oh how sweet. You have one little fan. Not really impressive for the once great mouse.” The Evil Queen chuckled. Shirlane puffed up her chest and looked at the three mistresses of darkness. “You’re mean! Mean people don’t win because they aren’t fair!” She shouted in with anger.  Mickey pulled Shirlane back a bit and closed his eyes, water gently lifted and fanned out creating a sort of screen portraying Mickey’s thoughts. He thought of Jiminy Cricket. Who then appeared in a bubble, trying to pop it with his umbrella to get to his hat which was in a separate bubble. Next a beautiful white flower appeared with shooting stars falling all around. Mickey gasped as his eyes shot open when the shooting stars turned dark and Ursula broke through. Charming her eels to destroy his dream. Shirlane stepped forward and closed her eyes. She thought of Aladdin, and the Lions from Lion King. She pictured all her new princess friends smiling and happy as they made quesadilla’s. She remembered the joy she felt as she rode through the ride “It’s a Small World.”

Shirlane vaguely heard the Evil Queen say “Enough” before she felt evil trying to invade her imagination. Shirlane squeezed her eyes tighter thinking of her favorite time thus far; the time she met Mickey and Minnie. She opened her eyes and viewed the scene as it played out over the water. Maleficent stepped forward. She was practically snarling with rage, “Now you will deal with me, and all the powers of my imagination!” Shirlane stepped back in shock as Maleficent turned into a dragon. Mickey squeezed her hand, directing her attention towards all of the people her friends had gathered.

The 40-foot-tall fire-breathing dragon sets the waters ablaze with ease. Everyone could feel the heat of the fire that was spreading across the waters.  Mickey faces the dragon, claiming, “You may think you’re so powerful… well, uh…This is our dream!” Everyone cheered sending positive thoughts and feelings towards him. He smiled in triumph. He could already feel they would win. He shoots sparks at the dragon with a sword defeating the dragon. As the dragon screams, each of the villains Maleficent summoned to help her screamed and perished. Maleficent also disappeared as the water splashes with a large firework bang.

Everyone cheered in the aftermath of the battle “Well,” Mickey said with a chuckle, “That certainly made for an eventful evening. However, I believe we still have fireworks to come. Let’s head to the castle and end the night with a bang!” Everyone walked towards the castle with light hearts, knowing that everything is going to be better.

The crowd around the castle cheered. “I suppose it is just about time for the fireworks. Before we do that I wanted to thank a very special someone. Shirlane, could you come up here please?”  Mickey asked gesturing her forward. Shirlane moved to stand with Mickey, looking confused. “I know many of you haven’t met Shirlane, but she is a wonderful, kind person. Although she hasn’t been here very long, she helped bring everyone together to defeat the evil trying to take over our home.” Mickey said proudly. Shirlane looked out at the gathered crowd and witnessed many nods of agreement and murmurs of thanks. “Therefore, I think it would be very fitting to name Shirlane an Honorary Disneyland Princess. She has shown some truly admirable traits. Who here agrees with me?” The crowd went wild with yells, clapping and whistles.

When she heard the lovely things Mickey had to say and as everyone hollered their approval, Shirlane felt tears come to her eyes. Mickey motioned towards the group of princesses, who brought a beautiful, colorful tiara on stage. Shirlane looked at Mickey as he placed it on her head. As soon as the tiara touched her head, music sprang from the speakers and fireworks lit up the sky. The crowd cheered.

Everyone turned their eyes to the sky watching the fireworks show, seeing Tinkerbell and Dumbo flow through the sky with ease. Shirlane frowned watching everyone enjoying the beautiful lights. It would be nice to get home, to tell everyone how the trip was. I’m going to miss it here though.

Mickey walked over with a slight frown tugging on his lips. “What is wrong princess?” He questioned. Shirlane sighed then looked up at Princess Aurora’s Castle. “I am sad. My heart hurts because my time here is almost done. I will go back and be normal and forget. No magic. No Princess Shirlane.”

“Well that’s just not true now is it Princess? You have always been special. You’re kind and caring, as a princess should be. All our dreams can come true. We just need to wish, believe and have the courage to make it happen. You did this Shirlane, you and your wonderful imagination made this happen. Keep the dream alive Shirlane. Do that and we will always be here.”Shirlaine

Shirlane gave Mickey a big hug. Shedding a few tears she waved at all the new friends she met. “Thank-you all.” She said before turning and getting onto the Magic Carpet.

“Bye Princess!” “Good Bye Shirlane!” “We will miss you!” Shirlane heard the shouts and hollers from behind her as she took to the skies. ‘Mickey was right about something.’ She thought to herself, ‘All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.’