Minnie Mouse Learns Sign Language, and Disney Parks Suddenly Has Another Viral Hit

Magic for Shaylee, and the brand

Three years ago, a young deaf girl named Shaylee Mansfield met her idol, Tinkerbell, and discovered that Tink could sign. The Mansfield family must have shared that magical moment with Disney, because the park flew them back to Disneyland to meet with a Minnie Mouse who had just started learning American Sign Language—and made the family the subject of one of its "Unfortgettable Stories" videos.

Disney Parks has released a number of online videos about family stories in the "Unforgettable Happens Here" campaign, but this one has gone viral. (It has more than 11 million views across Facebook and YouTube—a solid No. 2 among Disney Parks' recent ads, behind its famous mall stunt, which has 27 million view and counting.)

What is it about this family moment, out of a million moments of Disney family magic, that made it more special than the other magic moments? It's the fact that it's the kind of magic we need as a nation right now—inclusive magic.

Disney has persevered with magic that lets generations come together in the same place, for the same—yet somehow singular and special—Disneyland experience, regardless of their differences.

How? The magic of their storytelling. Not just the ones they tell about the brand, but the ones we can tell about our families. The moment when Tinkerbell signs her name for the little girl and she turns to her parents in surprise, that perfect look of joy etched on her face—that is what you shuttle your kids onto the plane for, schlep your way to the enormous parking lot for, bustle into the park that's bursting at the seams for, pay the expensive entry fees for, and walk around all day in the sweltering heat for. That one small moment that makes every other day worth it.

And when we see the Mansfield family's moment, we feel that same joy in ourselves. Hearing is not required. And so we press forward, happy for their moment, remembering our own moments at Disneyland as kids, and wondering when the right time will be to pass that magic on to our own kids. 

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