A letter arrived for Walt in late June 1955 from a woman on the east coast whose seven year old son was dying of leukemia. The boy had been watching about construction of the park on the Disneyland TV show and only wished to ride Walt Disney’s train.
Walt felt tears come to his eyes as he read the letter and immediately told his staff to prepare to have the boy and his family visit.
He took the boy to Disneyland before the park even had its official opening. Walt and the boy, with the the boy’s family watched as the cranes lifted the train cars onto the track. Everything had just arrived from the Burbank studio that morning and nothing had yet been tested. Walt personally led the boy into the railroad car and the train departed on its maiden run. As the train made its way down the tracks, Walt would point out attractions to the boy and even let the boy give a few blasts on the steam whistle.
When the time came for the family to leave, Walt gave them an original piece of artwork from his film Lady and the Tramp, all finished up in a gold frame.
The family left, the boy’s dream having come true, and immediately Walt went to his staff. “Don’t mention this to anyone — and above all, no publicity,” he stated firmly. None of his employees ever said a word about it until after his death.
In the end he just wanted to make dreams come true, and he didn’t feel the need to announce it to the world when he did.
Growing up in Los Angeles in the 70s/80s we visited Disneyland on a regular basis and often after school, before "Annual Passes".