Children and adults alike love Disney World. There, they get to go on rides and meet different Disney characters, many of whom have been their favorites since they were tiny. With all the events Disney has to offer like its Food and Wine Festivals, it’s no wonder it’s become a place of magic for adults, too.
But it turns out that Disney World isn’t just a favorite place for humans.
It was also a place of adventure for a service dog named, appropriately, Nala.
It wasn’t Nala’s first time at Disney — not even close. In the two years that she’s been her owner’s service dog, Nala has been in the park countless times.
“Nala and I have been to Disney more days than I can count,” said Nala’s owner Megan Leigh. “She has stepped foot (or paw) into a Disney park at least 50 separate times.”
But their most recent visit drew attention when Nala encountered her very favorite Disney character, Donald Duck.
“The moment Nala walked up to meet Donald, crowds surrounded and watched in awe,” Leigh said.
When she saw her friend, Nala decided she was going to stay right by his side. In fact, she was going to snuggle up to him right there in the middle of the park. He gave her lots of head scratches and at one point even put his hands up to his mouth as though he was about to cry.
“Nala did not want to leave Donald at all,” Leigh said. “She loves him a lot!”
Nala isn’t the only service dog who’s been seen loving on the characters at Disney World.
Another dog named Henry has gone with his owner, Jessica Paulsen, six times. While two of the visits were just for fun, the other four were to test and improve Henry’s training as a service dog.
Paulsen, who has a condition called postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, says he’s become better and better with every visit.
She’s also said that she takes the opportunity to teach curious people, especially children, about the purpose of service dogs.
Henry has been seen posing with Mickey and Minnie Mouse, as well as in front of the famous Disney World castle.
Paulsen also shared a photo of him looking absolutely adorable in a Dumbo costume. But she says the visits make her a bit emotional, too.
“The show at the Magic Kingdom is probably what I look forward to the most because I get to sit there with my best friend laying on my lap and really appreciate what he has given me,” Paulsen said. “It probably sounds silly but that show is all about following your dreams and having Henry gave me back the dreams I thought were lost forever. I always cry!”
Disney World allows trained and leashed service dogs in the park and even on some of the rides.
The park also provides relief areas throughout the grounds for service dogs and temporary kennels for those waiting while their owners enjoy rides.
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