By Beth Skarp
my recent trip to the World, I had a day where I didn't venture into
the Parks. Sometimes it is nice to just sit and take in your
surroundings, to visit or see things you might otherwise walk right past
was the case on my most recent trip. I was in the Grand Floridian. I
met up with a wonderful family I met online through a Disney site,
spending many minutes laughing, chatting and just catching up. I had a
wonderful breakfast of lobster eggs benedict at the Grand Floridian
Cafe, with this same family seated right behind me –unbeknownst to both
of us. I watched photographers taking pictures of a bride and her
entourage as they prepared for a wedding. I observed small princesses
getting ready for their Disney Girls Perfectly Princess Tea Party. I
heard small pirates squeal with glee as they anticipated their Disney
Pirate Adventure. I watched as the various janitors or maids worked
diligently to keep the lobby area looking well, grand as ever.
people who were working at Grand Floridian would stop every now and
again and speak with someone seated near the elevators, often times
leaning over the partition as they walked the lobby or performed their
various tasks. This person was not seated near the glass elevators that
lead to the majestic grand staircase, but the elevators that are
located near the Cafe and 1900 Park Fare.
remained standing by the piano in the main lobby area, taking in how
various guests would respond to this person. Guests would quickly skirt
by this person, almost always turning away to have a whispered
conversation amongst themselves. Children were quickly pushed past this
individual and told not to stare or ask questions. Yet, the janitors
and maids along with a few of the other Cast members would take the time
to spend a few moments with this individual, addressing her by name and
asking how she was doing. Hmmm, this bears further investigation on my
special needs girls, I am always mindful of how I approach someone who
may be “different” than others. I like to discreetly observe and
determine not only if I should approach them, but how. No one likes
I came around the corner and stayed in the shadows some, again observing
this woman and how others responded to her. She didn't seem to be a
threat at all, just an older looking woman who was seated in a chair.
She had an older style suitcase near her, and perched atop the suitcase
were some nice teddy bears of various sizes that were artfully
my curiosity got the better of me. Since the Cast Members seemed to
think she was harmless and spent a few moments talking to her, why
couldn't I. So, I ventured forth.
am truly glad that I did. The woman was named Lynn, and is
affectionately known in some circles as “The Bear Lady of the Grand
I spent a good hour or more chatting with Lynn. She is very articulate
and has a broad knowledge of not only the Grand Floridian, but of Disney
World as well.
As Lynn explained to me, she and her husband Bruce loved Grand Floridian
and came often to visit and stay. While Lynn loved listening to the
piano players or other musicians that played in the lobby, her husband
Bruce loved to people watch and explore the surrounding areas. Lynn was
a wealth of information regarding the various musicians—their
techniques and styles of music, who was worth listening to and who
could be left to act as mere background noise. It was as if various
musicians could transport Lynn back to bygone eras, to simpler times or
times that held special meaning for Lynn. It was evident as Lynn spoke
about the musicians and the music she loved to hear them play.
asked about the various teddy bears displayed on her suitcase. The
teddy bears were her “babies”, gifts from her late husband, Bruce.
Bruce found it challenging to find just the right bear to make Lynn
smile. The bears needed a special face or expression, not something you
could pick up just anywhere.
are not just any bears mind you, but high end bears from such companies
as Gund, Herrington, Steiff, Kosen and Bornich. Many of the bears are
older, but still of excellent quality.
along with Bruce loved to sit and observe the children as they passed
through the lobby. Occasionally, Bruce would find a child that would
catch his fancy and ask Lynn to “choose a bear to give away”. Lynn
would look at the child, look at her babies, and choose one to give to
the child. Bruce was so good about replacing the bears that were given
Lynn, I learned that her beloved Bruce passed away “a few years back”.
Doing a Google search, I found a wonderful article from her sister
Tracy Joan that told me not only when Bruce passed, but a little bit
more information about Lynn. You can find out more information here :http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2040919. Please note that I am not a huge fan of this particular site, but found the information to be knowledgeable.
Lynn is a wonderful person to speak with. She is intelligent,
insightful, humorous, and has a bit of spunk one doesn't see often these
days. It truly was an honor to speak with her. Yes, Lynn is dressed
differently than most of us and her lemon verbena perfume takes me back
to days of sitting with my Grandmother in her parlor many years ago.
wig was fashioned into a hair style that Bruce loved to see on her, and
is much easier to manage than tending to her own locks, or so she says.
You know, I think I tend to agree with Lynn. I hide my own hair under a
hat or allow it to “go wild” due to the Florida humidity. Lynn just
uses a wig that accomplishes the same results and allows her to hold on
to her memories of Bruce.
I left, Lynn told me that Bruce would have wanted me to have one of her
bears. I was touched and started to tear up. As Lynn looked at her
babies and attempted to make a decision, I knew I couldn't take her baby
away from her. Giving Lynn a heartfelt hug, I gently explained that I
was honored that she wanted to give me a baby, but that I wanted her to
keep them. They were gifts from Bruce and meant so much to her. You
could see the relief on her face.
before I took my leave, I did take a picture of Lynn with her
treasured babies perched atop her suitcase. I was going to include it
with this article. Instead, I will keep the picture. Too much
negativity surrounds this poor lady, and I don't feel the need to feed
into that negativity. This is a picture I will treasure in my heart.
am so glad that I took the time to stop and speak with this unknown
gem. Lynn is a wonderful lady, not some oddity that needs to be removed
from the Grand Floridian. The next time you find yourself at the Grand
Floridian, see if you can find The Bear Lady. Spend a few moments
talking with her or just say “Hello”. You will be amazed at what you