There is a story I was told when I was younger. I always passed if off as a myth. This evening I was reading through Steve DeGaetano's book Welcome Aboard the Disneyland Railroad, and there it was. To his credit, Steve credited another author with the story. This story can also be found in Walt Disney: An American Original by Bob Thomas. I have never seen it on here, but I thought since everyone has a habit of quoting Uncle Walt, then they should be able to read this.
I generally do not quote books. I highly recommend both books mentioned. Even now this story is making me tear up. So if you feel compelled to quote Walt, or theorize as to what he may or may not have done... please think of this story and remember what he did for one little boy!"During the final days of construction, the Disney Studios received a letter from a mother in an Eastern state. Her seven-year-old son had been stricken with leukemia, and he has expressed a desire to do two things: meet the comedian Pinky Lee; and to ride on Walt Disney's train. The family had already left for California, hoping to fulfill the boy's wishes. When the family called the studio they were told to report to Disneyland on Saturday morning. They arrived in their road-weary automobile, and Walt drove up shortly afterwards.
"I understand you want to see my train.-well let's go" Walt said lifting the boy into his arms and striding off to where cranes were transferring the railroad cars from flatbed trucks to rails. When the train was assembled and fired up, Walt took the boy in the cab.It was [one of] the first trip[s] around the park for the Santa Fe and Disneyland railway and Walt pointed out the attractions that were still-a-building.
When he returned to the administration building, he went to his car for a package. It was one of two gold framed pictures that had been made from artwork of Lady and the Tramp; the other had been sent to Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier of Monaco as a wedding gift. He gave the package to the boy. "Well, we really saw the place; he liked my train" Walt said to the parents. To a Disneyland employee, Bob Jani, who had witnessed the visit, he gave the order "No publicity."
As a minor plug, both of Steve's books can be found here http://www.steampassages.com/ I highly recommend them for anyone who is a fan of Railroads, Walt Disney, or Disneyland.