We’re Going To Disney World! Fun Tales Abound Of Million-Dollar Dreams Coming True

Eric Raskin

disney world magic kingdom

Since 2020, the entrance gates at Disney World in Orlando have borne the slogan, “The Most Magical Place On Earth.”

One man who may be headed there soon would probably beg to differ. To him, Illinois is the most magical place on Earth.

A grandfather from Illinois, who has chosen to remain anonymous (as he has the right to do in Illinois, though not all states have the same rule), didn’t quite win the $951 million Powerball jackpot on March 30, but he scored the next best thing, a cool million bucks for matching all five white balls (12, 13, 33, 50, and 52).

(The red Powerball that day was 23. What kind of an Illinois resident doesn’t play Michael Jordan’s number as the red Powerball?!)

Anyway, the million-dollar winner has four grandchildren and had one immediate thought about how to spend a small sliver of his newfound cash: “I’m thinking of taking them to Disney World for a magical experience,” he said, according to ABC7 Chicago. “I’ve never been myself, so it’ll be a fun trip for the whole family.”

The app delivers good news

The Illinois man found out he’d won in a roundabout way. The Illinois Lottery app allows him to buy his tickets online, and when he logged on to buy a ticket for the next drawing, he saw a message indicating a previous ticket was a winner.

He couldn’t quite believe his eyes, though, about how big a winner he was, so he turned to a second source for confirmation.

“When my wife got home, I asked her to read my winning prize amount out loud,” he said. “That’s when it finally started to sink in a little bit that this was, in fact, real.”

While the grand prizes — currently over $100 million for Powerball and over $200 million for Mega Millions — get the bulk of the attention, the “Match 5” second prizes are life-changing for many players. So far in April, there have been 27 Powerball Match 5 winners (in 10 draws), while Mega Millions has crowned 16 millionaires so far this month (in seven draws).

Fish your wish

There are, of course, other lottery games besides the major jackpot draws that can award big money, and sometimes they produce stories just as compelling as a grandfather making Disney plans. The Massachusetts Lottery recently provided one of those.

Massachusetts is running a Jaws-themed scratch-off game, and for the second time, one of those tickets has been worth $1 million. The fun twist: The latest winner, Michael Stephens of Dighton, is a former deep-sea fisherman.

Whether he’s going to need a bigger boat or not, he can at least afford a bigger boat now. Stephens has chosen the one-time payment option of $650,000 before taxes, according to the Massachusetts Lottery.