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A Magical Proposal at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Credit: Disney

We love a good love story!

The Caring for Giants tour1 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom (Animal Kingdom) was the perfect setting for a marriage proposal involving an adventure-loving Walt Disney World annual passholder couple.

Surrounded by African elephants and a small number of helpful cast members, Erick Gomez asked his girlfriend, Kayla Fernandes to marry him. With utter joy, Fernandes said yes!

This proposal was more than a decade in the making, the couple first met each other in an 8th grade English class and quickly became friends.

Friendship in the end turned into love and the couple started dating and bought annual passes to explore together. Erick and Kayla are now ready to take their relationship to the next level.  

“Kayla loves [the] Animal Kingdom, especially the elephants and I wanted to do something unique. So, I found the Caring for Giants [behind-the-scenes ] tour and I knew that would be the perfect spot.”

Erick Gomez

It comes as no surprise that Gomez was a little nervous about pulling off the proposal, but when he mentioned his plans to Animal Kingdom Cast Members Patrick and Maddie at the tour check-in desk, they were happy to help!

Credit: Disney

Maddie, who normally captures photos on the Wild Africa Trek was more than happy to tag along with the group and help capture photos of the proposal.

On the other hand, Patrick leapt into action to work with nearby Merchandise and Dining Animal Kingdom Cast Members to pick out a few elephant-themed surprises, celebration buttons and a congratulations card from the team and elephants.

“I was so honoured to be the one to capture such a special moment for Gomez and Fernandes. Seeing Fernandes’ reaction as he asked and her excitement to tell her family was so sweet.”

Maddie, Animal Kingdom Cast Member

For Patrick, the proposal was a great reminder of what he loves most about being a Cast Member.

“I’ll never forget the joy on their faces when they walked back onstage after the tour. Knowing that our team helped create a memory they’ll have forever is easily one of my favourite parts of this job. Adventure is out there, and I hope they never stop looking for it together!”

Patrick, Animal Kingdom Cast Member

1: Caring for Giants offers guests an up close, more intimate look at the African elephants at Animal Kingdom. This tour offers an opportunity to learn what it takes to look after them.


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