Remembering Marty Sklar

Today the world has learned of the passing of the one and only Marty Sklar, a Disney legend and a man just full of plain goodness. Candidly, I’m having a hard time processing the news. I didn’t even know who he was until 2014, but he touched me deeply in both my head and my heart. He had an impact from the first time I heard him speak until the brief conversation I had with him and Bob Gurr just a few weeks ago.

I’ve been fortunate since 2014 to have had several up close and personal conversations with him. I was even blessed to sit next to him on a safari ride at the Amazing Adventures event in the Animal Kingdom in 2016. While he was celebrity, he was also a man of great heart. During our ride through the Animal Kingdom I found him to be very personable and genuinely interested in having a conversation with me. And bless his heart – I was not just interested in having a conversation with him but also very excited!

We talked about Disney and the parks, but he also asked about me what I was doing. Since I had read his autobiography twice at that point, I had lots that I wanted to talk about and ask him, as you can imagine. Here are a few pictures of our chat that Mike caught on our safari. While the picture might seem a little dark and out of focus, I can assure that nothing about that night is dark or out of focus for me. I still remember and am moved by how kind he was to me. One of my favorite quotes from Marty is: ‘Give people plenty of opportunity to enjoy themselves by emphasizing ways that let people participate in the experience.’ And that evening, he most definitely went out of his way to engage with me, making that an experience I’ll never forget.

Speaking of his kindness, I had the blessing just a few weeks ago at the D23 Expo to insert myself into a conversation with him and Bob Gurr. While I wanted to talk about them and Marty’s new book, both of them asked about me. Our conversation was brief but it is still one I treasure.

Today it’s not just a loss for Disney and the folks who knew him, but the world has lost a great man. A man who has given himself and his heart to the world, he was more than a Disney legend. Marty touched my head and heart, and was able to engage with me as if I was the only one in the room, and that our conversation was the most important. I will always treasure our few moments and all of the goodness he shared with me. Thank you, kind sir, for being so willing to engage with me regardless of the crowds, the excitement, and all that was going on around us. You never hesitated to share your goodness, and I will do my best to keep that goodness flowing.

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