A 12-year-old Moscow girl was welcomed back to Disneyland by Mickey and Minnie Mouse on Friday and headed for the amusement park’s Star Tours ride after a little Main Street shopping, park officials said.
Katya Lycheva first visited Disneyland last year as the guest of Children as the Peacemakers, a San Francisco-based group that arranged the trip in reciprocity for the late Samantha Smith’s 1985 visit to the Soviet Union.
Katya was accompanied by her mother, Marina Ignatieve, and Star Rowe, a 12-year-old San Francisco girl who her hostess last year.
“She was very happy to be back at Disneyland, and she said she likes America very much, and she’s happy to be here again,” said Disneyland spokesman Joe Aguirre.
Katya speaks “terrific” English, he said.
Star and Katya are on a national tour to promote a book they wrote together about Katya’s first visit to America.
“Making Friends” is believed to be the first book published simultaneously in the Soviet Union and the United States, Aguirre said.
The girls also planned to visit Washington and New York City.