Personal Journey: Star-gazing and -meeting amid the magic

Atticus Shaffer of ABC's "The Middle" (center) with Dan (left) and Kevin Weick.
Atticus Shaffer of ABC's "The Middle" (center) with Dan (left) and Kevin Weick.
Posted: May 18, 2014

Thanks to our loving and benevolent parents, my brother Dan and I have been to Walt Disney World in Florida numerous times. However, on all those trips, we never met a Hollywood celebrity while there - well, none that made any real impact on me. We did see Cher from a distance while dining at the Rainforest Café in Animal Kingdom in 1999. But I was only 5 at the time and didn't know Cher from Sonny or Chaz Bono, to be honest.

Well, this time, the result was far different. The cast of the ABC hit show The Middle happened to be filming in the Magic Kingdom the March day we visited, so we decided to stay near Space Mountain and watch the filming of the show's season finale.

After an hour or so of hanging out and talking to various production assistants and Disney VIP hosts, the cast and crew decided to take a break. Imagine our initial shock and then pleasant surprise when the youngest brother, Brick, played by Atticus Shaffer, walked over to us and said hello. Well, not only did he offer us a friendly smile and greeting, but he insisted on taking a picture with us as well.

Of course, I have many great memories of being in Disney World over the years with Mom, Dad, and my brothers Dan and Mike, who wasn't able to join us this time, and taking the numerous obligatory photos on Main Street, in front of Cinderella's Castle, and by the statue of Walt Disney (whom my Dad idolizes), but this was clearly different. Since my family are big fans of the show, it was really exciting to actually meet one of its stars.

At first, I thought we might have a chance to greet Charlie McDermott, who hails from West Chester and who plays older brother Axel on the show. If only I had worn my West Chester University shirt that day (I'm a sophomore there), I'm sure he would have noticed me!

Still, it was really neat to share a few moments with Atticus (Brick), who in real life was diagnosed with type IV osteogenesis imperfecta, a genetic condition inherited from his mother, who has Type I. His small stature from this condition helps him portray a character about three years younger than his real-life age of 15. Atticus was very nice to all the kids who stayed to watch the filming, especially to the young and fans in wheelchairs.

They say everyone has at least 15 minutes of fame. Well, I guess for one brief moment (and in keeping with the Disney theme of having a bit of pixie dust thrown in for good measure), Dan and I were swept away by some real-life celebrity-spotting and, yes, gawking. So thanks, Mom and Dad, for taking us back to the Kingdom where, this time, we really felt the magic!


Kevin Weick writes from Ivyland.

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