Disney surpasses 150,000 wishes granted for children with critical illnesses in biggest wish-granting event ever held at Walt Disney World, which culminated in a royal ball with Disney princesses.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Aug. 28, 2023) – To celebrate World Princess Week, Walt Disney World Resort in Florida hosted its largest wish-granting event ever with “Once Upon A Wish Party” – a special event dreamed up just for wish kids and their families.
More than 50 wish kids from organizations like Make-A-Wish visited Walt Disney World Resort for this first-of-its-kind event, which was brought to life by hundreds of Disney cast members and featured more than 30 iconic Disney Princesses and characters, a tea party in Wonderland and a royal ball.
“Granting wishes is some of the most important work that we do at Disney,” said Josh D’Amaro, Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. “We’re humbled that so many wish kids choose Disney – it’s an honor, and we don’t take that responsibility lightly. It tells us what our brand and the Disney experience mean to people.”
Wishes often have the power to renew hope and uplift spirits for children facing critical illnesses, and experiences like Once Upon A Wish Party can be transformative for the entire family. Each child attending wished for something related to a Disney Princess and had their wishes come true.
- 8-year-old Lily from Middletown, Delaware, wished to have a princess tea party.
- 7-year-old Scarlett from Orlando, Florida, wished to have a Disney Princess experience at Walt Disney World.
- 4-year-old Andi from Bridgewater, New Jersey, wished to visit Walt Disney World and meet Ariel and Tiana.
Ahead of the royal ball, shopDisney delivered an extra dose of pixie dust and surprised families with Disney Princess dresses, Disney Princess character-themed Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse ear headbands, wands, tiaras and more. Disney Publishing also sprinkled in some magic by providing an array of Disney books.
During the ball, attendees enjoyed a special singing performance by 17-year-old Mikayla from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, who began her battle fighting cancer three years ago. Mikayla wished to perform at Disney and was surprised earlier this year on World Wish Day with the news that her wish would come true and would be recognized as the 150,000th Disney wish.
“As the number-one wish granter for our organization, Disney is helping deliver joy when it’s needed most,” said Leslie Motter, Make-A-Wish America President & CEO. “Through their stories and characters, Disney is creating unforgettable wish-granting experiences like Once Upon A Wish Party that allow families the space to create happy new memories together that I know will last a lifetime.”
To complete their Disney wish trips, families are now enjoying several days in the theme parks and a stay at Give Kids The World Village, an organization that plays an integral role in wish-granting efforts at Walt Disney World Resort.
Disney has worked with Make-A-Wish since 1980 to grant more than 150,000 wishes. Historically, one out of every two wishes granted in the U.S. through Make-A-Wish has been a Disney wish. The entire Disney family works with Make-A-Wish to grant life-changing wishes, including theme park and resort vacations, cruises, shopping sprees, studio visits, talent meet-and-greets, sports-themed experiences and more. Granting wishes in distinctly Disney ways is an integral part of the cast experience, as many Disney employees are wish-granting volunteers, parents of wish kids or wish alumni themselves.
Once Upon A Wish Party is one of the many ways Disney brings wishes to life across Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. Following the enchanting event at Walt Disney World, Disney wish-granting events will also take place at Aulani, A Disney Resort and Spa and Hong Kong Disneyland Resort in celebration of World of Frozen opening in December.
Visit Wish.org/Disney to learn more about other ways Disney is supporting Make-A-Wish.