LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - This past weekend (Saturday, November 23), three young brothers from Denver, Colo. got a double surprise at Walt Disney World in Florida. First, their mom announced they were taking a detour from seeing family in Texas and headed to the Magic Kingdom theme park. Then, when the boys went to get Mickey Mouse’s autograph, their dad popped out from around the corner — even though he’s an Army Lieutenant Colonel, currently deployed to Afghanistan.
Lt. Colonel Jason Liddell has been away from his wife and sons for fourteen months, both for training in Texas and deployment to Kabul. Jason knew he was headed back to the U.S. for a couple weeks of mid-tour leave and hatched a plan to surprise his boys — Jacob (12), Joshua (9), and Jackson (5).
When Mickey Mouse heard about Jason’s idea, he offered to help out. Mickey had Jason hide in his Town Square Theater dressing room, where Mickey greets Magic Kingdom guests daily. Jason’s wife, Deborah, was in on the plan too and brought the boys first thing Saturday morning. Mickey pretended to mess up a card trick so that Jason could make his magical appearance with the boys chose card in his hands.
Jason says he remembers coming to Walt Disney World as a boy and he knew it would be the perfect place for this reunion. Jason will be headed back to Afghanistan in December to finish his tour, taking new family memories along with him.