This 5-year-old girl's parents found a way to make her daddy-daughter dance magical even while her military dad was stationed overseas.

Beast at daddy-daughter dance
Credit: Courtesy Lanya Nelson

With a dad stationed overseas, 5-year-old Gracee Nelson from El Paso, Texas was "devastated" to learn she wouldn't have a date for her upcoming daddy-daughter dance. That is until her parents Christopher and Lanya came up with a brilliant, magical idea.

"My husband is overseas in Afghanistan as a contractor for the Army for a year," Nelson explained to, adding, "We found out my 5-year-old daughter would be having a daddy-daughter dance at the beginning of April. When I told her that her dad still wouldn't be home to go with her, she was devastated. This is her first time being away from him for so long and she was so excited about taking him."


She continued, "Once I realized how much the dance meant to her, I told my husband and he wanted to make sure she'd still be able to go. After asking her grandfathers and uncle if they could come and realizing it wouldn't be possible because we live so far away from them, we came up with the idea to take 'the Beast' as her date because the dance theme was Beauty and the Beast."

Photos of a clearly thrilled Gracee with her date, the Beast, have gone viral on Facebook.

Nelson says they got approval from the school first, and found an event company that could accommodate their request before telling her daughter about the plan. "She was so excited after we told her. She thought the real Beast from Disney World came all the way down just for her because 'daddy asked.'"

As you can see in the videos Nelson also posted online, the Beast was a big hit at the dance, not just with Gracee, but with her peers.

"The Beast made her night such a memorable experience. She was filled with so much joy. We also were able to FaceTime her dad during her dance so that he'd still be a part of [it]. She had the time of her life and our hearts were happy knowing we didn't let her down," Nelson shared.

Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and soon-to-be mom of 4. Find her on Facebook where she chronicles her life momming under the influence. Of yoga.