Things That Matter

Here’s How Disney Rewarded A Boy Who Gave Up His Disney Trip To Help Hurricane Evacuees

Jermaine Bell might be the best human to ever reside in Jacksonville, Florida. After 6-year-old Bell had spent the last year saving money for a birthday trip to Disney, he decided to give it all away. As the catastrophic Hurricane Dorian approached the east coast of Florida, millions of Floridians were evacuated. Some went south to Miami while many others drove north. While visiting his grandmother in South Carolina, and having felt the threat of Dorian on his own Florida home, he decided he wanted to do something for evacuees fleeing the South Carolina coast.

You know that saying, “No good deed goes unpunished”? Well, that doesn’t apply to Jermaine Bell.

Jermaine Bell emptied his savings to buy hundreds of hot dogs, chips, and water, so evacuees “can enjoy the ride to the place they’re going to stay at.”

Credit: Disney Parks / YouTube

Bell quickly made a couple of signs and posted them at either end of his street, to let passerby know that they likely had a very cute rest stop in sight. “The people that are traveling to go to other places, I wanted them to have some food to eat, so they can enjoy the ride to the place they’re going to stay at,” Bell told his local news station. “I wanted to be generous and live to give.” 

Bell served nearly 100 evacuees whose days were certainly brightened by his selfless, generous act.

Credit: Disney Parks / YouTube

When families would tell him that they were worried for their homes, Jermaine would begin praying that their homes would be protected. There’s no question that Bell touched those hundred evacuees lives, but he went on to touch many millions more. Once his good deed went viral, Good Morning America conducted an interview inside his own home on his birthday. He told them that he still wanted to go to Animal Kingdom some day and “see lots of lions and have a Lion King party.”

It was his birthday, and Bell forfeited his party for a good cause, with no clue that an entire Disney crew was waiting outside to make all his birthday wishes come true.

Credit: Disney Parks / YouTube

When Disney Parks heard the news, they must have coordinated with Good Morning America to make sure America could experience the satisfaction of seeing Bell’s good deed be rewarded. A representative from Disney knocked on Bell’s door once the interview was “over,” and told him they had a surprise for him in the driveway.

Bell was definitely surprised to see Mickey Mouse in his driveway.

Credit: Disney Parks / YouTube

His jaw remained dropped for at least twenty seconds. The whole time he was interviewing with Good Morning America, Disney staff were setting up a “magical moment” in his very own driveway. A dozen staff stood outside holding Lion King plushies and balloons to yell “Surprise!” In an adorable Disney Parks video, Bell tells us, “When the lady came out and she said come around the corner, when I saw everything, I was just super happy.”

“When Mickey came out, I was just really happy,” Bell gushed.

Credit: Disney Parks / YouTube

Then, the big announcement: Disney Parks was giving Bell an all-expense paid trip to Disney Resort later this month as a dual birthday and thank you gift for his generosity to Hurricane Dorian evacuees. “I’m really excited, because I wanted to go to Disney for a long time,” Bell said. “Never in a million years would we have imagined anything like this from him,” his mom, Lauren Creech told Disney Parks. “Coming up with an idea to help someone else. So this really does instill in him that when you do good, good comes back to you.” 

Now, Bell wants us all to remember to “be strong and if you do good things, you will be rewarded.”

Credit: Disney Parks / YouTube

To top off an exciting magical moment, the whole Disney crew, including Mickey Mouse, sang him a very special “Happy Birthday” song. Of course, the rest of America is still happy-weeping to know that there are still good people coming up in this world. Hope tweeted “While a grown a** man, “leader of the free world” was playing golf. Jermaine bell. SAY HIS NAME.” Twitter is emphatically naming Bell a hero. @_SJPeace_ tweeted, “HE IS A HERO. HIS NAME IS JERMAINE BELL. KNOW HIS NAME.”

There you have it. Having compassion for victims of natural disaster is well received by Americans and American corporations.

Watch the full surprise video below!

READ: The US Promised Entry To Bahamians Without Visas Following Hurricane Dorian Then Changed Their Mind

Disney Is Debuting Their First Jewish Princess And Surprise! She’s Also Latina

Entertainment

Disney Is Debuting Their First Jewish Princess And Surprise! She’s Also Latina

We all know by now that is no “one way” to be Latinx. Latinos come in a variety of forms, from Black to white, tall to short, descended from Indigenous, African, and European populations. And while Roman Catholicism may be the dominant religion in most of Latinidad, it goes without saying that Latino culture is not a monolith. Latinos practice a variety of religions, from Islam to Buddhism to, yes, Judaism. 

And while most people don’t necessarily think of Judaism when they think of Latin America, there is, in fact, a small but proud population of Jewish Latinos who keep their culture alive through tradition and a strong sense of community. But being a part of such a small community within an already-marginalized community can feel isolating at times. Especially when there are no public role models to see yourself reflected in.

That’s why Tuesday’s news that Disney is debuting a Jewish-Latinx princess sent shock-waves through the internet. 

Walt Disney Television Animation News announced via Twitter that an upcoming Elena of Avalon episode in December would be featuring a “visiting princess” from a “Latino Jewish kingdom”.The as-yet-unnamed princess will be voiced by Jamie-Lynn Sigler, the actress famous for her portrayal of Meadow Soprano on HBO’s seminal masterpiece, “The Sopranos”. 

The Tweet also revealed that the princess would also make an appearance in Elana’s “royal coronation special” next year. Although we do not know any further details of Sigler’s character or her storyline, “Elena of Avalor” writer Rachel Ruderman gave a small preview of what’s to come. “A little over a year ago, I had the honor of writing an Elena of Avalor episode featuring Disney’s first Jewish princess,” Ruderman said via Twitter. She continued: “Jamie Lynn Sigler knocks the role out of the park (wait ’till you hear her song!) Can’t wait to share this one”.

In a move of conscious-casting on Disney’s part, Jamie Lynn Sigler herself happens to be both Latina and Jewish–a giant step for a media giant that can sometimes miss the mark with casting.

Raised by a Jewish father and a Cuban mother, Sigler grew up in New York City as part of a multicultural family.In the past, Sigler has talked about being raised Jewish–attending Hebrew school, having a Bat Mitzvah, and even going on a Birth Right trip to Israel in 2008. 

This episode can serve as an educational experience for many people (including those of Latinx descent) who are unaware that Jewish Latinos even exist. In fact, what some people might not even know, is that the term “Sephardic” (a term used to describe Jewish people of European descent) literally means “of Spain or Portuguese descent” in old Hebrew. In other words, it’s not a stretch to imagine a character of both Latin and Jewish roots on our TV screens. In fact, it’s completely historically plausible!

Naturally, both the Latinx and Jewish Twitter population is super excited at this groundbreaking news.

As we mentioned before, the acknowledgment of Jewish Latinos in popular culture is such a rarity. When the media shines a spotlight on such a marginalized group of people, the advent is worth celebrating. And even though changes are slow in the making, any progress on the representation front is a step in the right direction.

Jamie Lynn Sigler herself expressed her excitement at the news, calling to attention the novelty of her position:

Yes, it’s exciting that the Jewish Latinx population has finally gotten some princess representation, but it’s still a little bit frustrating that we had to wait until 2019 for a Jewish princess. We have a long way to go.

This Latina Jew was incredibly excited at the prospect of having the chance to see her own unique lifestyle reflected onscreen:

The self-styled “Jewyorican” is one of many New York-based Puerto-Rican Jews who identify fully with both cultures. It’s not as rare as people think.

Some Latinx Jews took to Twitter to give some suggestions on how Disney could go about bringing the new character to life:

This Hispanic Linguistics Professor suggested incorporating the ancient Judeo-Spanish language of Ladino into the show. 

This multi-cultural woman celebrated the inclusion of multiple cultures in one character:

Families like hers are the way of the future–at least according to statistics. Although many media outlets still see American families in black and white, the rest of us living our lives know that our identities are increasingly a hodgepodge of cultures. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Add This Día De Los Muertos Ice Cream Sandwich To Our Favorite Latino-Inspired Fall Foods At Disney

Culture

Add This Día De Los Muertos Ice Cream Sandwich To Our Favorite Latino-Inspired Fall Foods At Disney

Disneyland_Allfun / Instagram

Disney and Pixar gave the world Coco in 2017. The wonderful tribute to Mexican culture (seemingly crafted to make people of all ages cry), has ushered in a new era of Latinx and Mexican culture into Disney. Since the movie’s success, you can now cop tons of Latinx-inspired foods with a Disney twist at Disneyland. Just this month, the amusement park announced a concha ice cream sandwich — an invention so deadly delicious it’s only available in the afterlife (and at Disneyland too, lol). 

The film that brought Día de Los Muertos to life through beautiful, vibrant storytelling and animation featured a Mexican cast and composer. Coco was the first film with a nine-figure budget to feature an all Latinx principal cast and won two Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song, “Remember Me.” 

Check out our favorite Latinx treats at Disneyland, but this is just a taste of the menu there’s a wide selection of options at the land where dreams come true. 

Pan Dulce Concha Ice Cream Sandwich

She’s gorgeous, she’s stunning, she’s Selena Quintanilla! OK, maybe not. But this Mexican ice cream sandwich is a sight for sore eyes. Made with a pink and blue concha, aka Mexican sweet bread, and stuffed with dulce de leche ice cream — you might die of a sugar coma. The sandwich is also filled with cajeta, a goat milk-based caramel sauce, and churro streusel. Then to commemorate Día de los Muertos, a white chocolate sugar skull is nestled in a dollop of whipped cream. 

“Following the Mexican tradition of using bright colors as a celebration of life, the shell-like concha breads are also covered in a crunchy rainbow sugar crust, which makes them look both delicious and totally Insta-worthy,” according to Pop Sugar’s Chanel Vargas

The Conchas are available starting this month and cost $8 at Disneys’s flagship Mexican restaurant, Frontierland’s Rancho del Zocalo. 

Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Elotes

New elotes at the Cozy Cone Motel are another tribute to Mexican culture. The elotes comes in three different flavor queso cojito, Cheetos, and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. These Elotes are limited edition and seasonal (this summer) so get them while you still can.

Orange Sugar Skull Pot de Creme

This “Orange Sugar Skull Pot de Creme” is made with thick layers of chocolate pudding, crumbled chocolate cake, and topped with a white chocolate orange sugar skull and colorful candies. 

The Maleficent Churro

According to Disneyland stans, the Maleficient Churro is a hot commodity because it is only available during Halloween. This month it has made its delicious return. Let’s be honest, the weird-looking churro is made with chocolate cookie crumbles, green sugar, and has a marshmallow dipping sauce. I don’t know what Maleficent has to do with Churros but I don’t care.

Frozen Abuelita Horchata

 Look, I am not saying I love capitalism, and certainly hope there are Latinx people profiting from these treats as well — but ¡diablo! — I want this right now. The Frozen Abuelita is layered with frozen hot chocolate and frozen horchata, then topped with spiced whipped cream.  

Coco Cake

Disney Food Blog referred to the Coco Cake as the “best cake ever.” With layers of vanilla-flavored pink and orange cake, what sets the Coco Cake apart from others is its cream cheese frosting on the outside, and two layers of cinnamon churro mouse on the inside. Disney took the glycemic index and blasted it off space mountain. The base of the cake is also decorated with gold-dusted chocolate curls. This is what Coco deserves. Remember me, indeed.

Chile Mango Whip

The chile mango whip is made with chamoy, mango, pineapple, cucumber, jicama, and chile-lime salt. 

The Sandianada and Mangonada

“The Sandianada is a watermelon smoothie with chamoy, watermelon chunks, topped with a chili candy. Mangonada is a mango smoothie with chamoy, mango pieces, topped with a chili candy,” wrote one Instagram user.

Secret Menu: Zocalo Burrito

Like every restaurant (apparently) Disneyland has a few secret menu items too. At Rancho del Zocalo you can request the Zocalo Burrito which is filled with every ingredient in the prep line for $12.99. 

Cinnamon-sugar Buñuelos Chips  

This seasonal holiday treat or as Disney calls it “dessert nachos” is something to look forward to this winter season. There is nothing more comforting (I’m guessing, I haven’t tried this yet) than cinnamon-sugar buñuelos chips with chocolate and caramel sauces, sprinkles, and a whipped cream topping.