Being negative only leads to negative results. Focusing on the positive will lead to positive outcomes. – Andrew Petersen
I have been frequenting Disneyland regularly for a very long time. Through the years I have been privileged to experience some incredible experiences. I’ve also had the chance to meet some absolutely amazing people. One of my favorite people I ever met was a guy named Andrew. If my memory serves correctly, I met him shortly after he hired into Disneyland. I was introduced to him through another cast member friend while standing at Christmas Tree Point one day. The first conversation really wasn’t that long. It was an introduction. I really don’t remember much about it beyond that. The one thing I do remember though was that a connection was made.
The connection that was made would continue for years. It started with rides aboard his boat on the Jungle Cruise and walks along the parade route. Those were the preferred way to interact. As we would walk the parade route we would discuss anything and everything. Sometimes it would be about Disney and Disneyland, something we both loved. Other times it would be baseball. He being a Cubs fan and me being a Mariners fan, quite often we were commiserating another season that wasn’t going so well. Disney and baseball were just starting points for conversations though. We could talk about movies, books, blogs, podcasts, or just life. The one thing I will always remember about these conversations though, they were never shallow. Within minutes of a conversation beginning we would be deep into the topic.
Some things changed as the years went by. The first was that Andrew met a girl. This wasn’t just any girl. This was THE girl. Andrew and Lauren are a perfect fit for each other. One day Andrew reached out to me and asked me to be his personal photographer for something special. With a little help of Mr. DAPs and Mickey Mouse, Andrew proposed to Lauren. It was beautiful and one of my favorite Disneyland memories period.
Another thing that changed for Andrew was that he began to spend increasingly more time at Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room. This was another attraction that we both had a mutual love for. Many Sundays would be spent talking about going ons as he charmed guests coming into this Disney classic. We could be deep in conversation and he would still be able to interact with guests and masterfully create magical moments with his unique humor. It was a unique blend of old man humor mixed with Disney and geek references. When I say old man humor, I really mean that he had humor beyond his years. He knew how to draw a chuckle out of people. Watching him utilize his humor was always a treat as he really was the master.
Andrew wasn’t always just funny though. He was also incredibly thoughtful and bright. He had a heart bigger than just about anyone, and a mind to match it. They say that sometimes interactions with some people make other people better. I remember talking to him in the early days of DAPS MAGIC. I was new to this whole world wide web thing but he was always a good sounding board. He would give ideas for what to do with the site or what topics I should write about. Most importantly, through his actions and words he was always encouraging.
As we would dream and brainstorm, I can remember on more than one occasion we came to the conclusion that we should just go into business together and start a PR company. We both had a vision for how we could help people promote themselves. While we never did end up starting our PR company, he did write for DAPS MAGIC on occasion.
Throughout all these dreams, conversations, brainstorming walks, and goofy moments, Andrew had another constant that was going on in his life. His life with Lauren continued to grow and be more vibrant. If there ever was a match made in heaven, it was these two. They perfectly complimented each other. They went on adventures together. They supported each other. They loved each other. They lived for and with each other. There always seemed to be something cool going on with Andrew and Lauren. Whether it was a trip to Walt Disney World or just to San Diego, Andrew would be sharing about the things he was looking forward to on their next adventure. I remember the first time they went to Walt Disney World together Andrew was telling me about all the things he was looking forward to. I had never really cared to go to Walt Disney World before but soon found myself wanting to experience it as quickly as possible. The trips would be followed by photos, stories, and more dreams for what would be next. Together they made an incredible pair as they faced the world together.
Andrew had an approach to life that could be summed up in a quote that was shared at his memorial service. “Being negative only leads to negative results. Focusing on the positive will lead to positive outcomes.” As I heard this thought from Andrew at his memorial service, I realized that really is what Andrew was all about. He might come up with a unique approach to any situation, but you could guarantee that it would be positive. What an inspiring way to approach life.
A couple of years ago, Andrew again reached out to me. He asked if I would be willing to drive up to Yosemite for another fun day. It was one of the great honors of my life to be a part of Andrew and Lauren’s wedding. Next to a lake, Andrew and Lauren were married. It was an absolutely beautiful day. I can’t say that I ever saw Andrew happier than that day.
Through the years a few things stand out about Andrew as I think of him. One, he was always positive. He always had a positive perspective on just about any scenario. I really think it was one of the things that led to his more relaxed demeanor. Two, he was a dreamer that was full of ideas. It seemed that quite often as we would be engrossed in one of our conversations some new grand idea would come up. This could be something as simple as a better way of doing something or as complex as a completely new idea that we were sure would change the world. Three, Andrew was quirky. He was an old man in a young man’s body. This unique blend of old and young was completely entertaining. Some of it may have been an act but really, I just think he was an old soul that adapted to a different environment.
I think one of the reasons Andrew and I always connected so well is we both had a similar pursuit of positivity. He naturally encouraged it in his actions and in the way he treated people. For that, I will always be grateful. His legacy will be one of positive promotion. Andrew may be gone but he won’t be forgotten. his memory will be honored as we continue the pursuit of positivity. Thank you Andrew for always showing us how to really live, and to live positively.