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What’s it Like for a Disney Cast Member to Help Grant Wishes for Make-A-Wish Kids?

Thomas Smith

by , Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks

This week, we’re celebrating the relationship between Disney Parks and Make-A-Wish that leads to all of the amazing wishes granted at Disney Parks every day of the year! And that got us thinking about the hard work that goes into making these life-changing wishes happen.

Earlier this week, we spoke with one of our Walt Disney World Resort cast members, Nathaniel, about his experience helping facilitate wish-granting and what it’s been like for him to be a part of this process.

Nathaniel has been lucky enough to have multiple different roles at Walt Disney World that were involved with the gift granting experience for wish kids — as an entertainment captain where he helped arrange for wish kids to meet Disney characters, as a Walt Disney World Ambassador and as a member of the Guest Relations team at Magic Kingdom Park. He’s seen how these magical wishes are made possible first-hand and is incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than himself that impacts so many families each year. 

When asked about what it means to help grant wishes, Nathaniel said, “it’s humbling to think that kids can choose anything in the world for their wish, and they choose to come visit us at Walt Disney World Resort. It’s a tremendous honor that they choose our parks, our characters, our cruises and that the emotional connection that they feel with the Disney brand gives us the ability to make this happen for them.”

His favorite thing is when he’s working in one of the parks and hears the incredible stories of wish kids whose wishes were granted in the past and that the experience meant so much to them that they wanted to come back many years later and re-live the experience with their loved ones.

“One of my favorite stories that comes to mind when we talk about Make-A-Wish is a time when I was working as an entertainment captain at the Magic Kingdom and we had a little girl from Make-A-Wish tell us that it was her wish to have a tea party with Alice and the Mad Hatter, so we arranged for her and her family to join us in the Disney Wish Lounge for the ultimate Mad Tea Party featuring the guests of honor from ‘Alice in Wonderland,’” said Nathaniel. “Over the course of the tea party, this little girl was given the chance to hang out, sing ‘The Unbirthday Song’ and even ask the Mad Hatter all about what kind of trouble he gets himself into. She was able to interact with her favorite Disney characters just like any other kid would be able to do and it was a moment I’ll never forget.”

“I’ve always loved working for Disney so much, being able to provide something like this to these special kids just brings another layer to the job. I find it very humbling to think that these kids choose to come to a Disney Park and we get to be the keepers of the magic for them — we get to give kids and families going through adversity what Walt Disney hoped our Parks would be, a source of joy and inspiration to all the world, including a little bit of pixie dust.”

Comments

  • My daughter was given 3 weeks to live after a 12 month battle with Leukemia. Her original wish was to go on a Disney cruise and experience the land and sea package because let’s just say our family is Disney obsessed. She also wanted to see her little sister have her first trip to Disney. When Make-A-Wish heard that she had taken a turn, they had us on a plane with a nurse within 3 days and off to Disney World we went. Her favorite princess was Belle and she got to have a private session with Belle reading to her. The entire trip was completely magical and we got to experience Disney in a different light. I will forever be grateful for the time spent there because even though she was only given 3 weeks to live, we got 7 more weeks with our girl. She gained her wings but this memory is the last happy place we have with her. I say going to Disney gave her a little more strength to keep fighting just a little bit longer. It truly is the happiest and most magical place on earth. Thank you for making her wish come true.

  • My five year old daughter was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor in December of 2018. Make A Wish expedited her wish as she was given a prognosis of nine months to live past diagnosis. She chose Disney World as her favorite things were the Disney princesses. We even had a Moana party when she celebrated finishing her radiation treatments.

    She was very shy and was not very interested in meeting the characters up close, but thoroughly enjoyed the parades and shows, for which Disney made sure we got great seats.

    The highlight of the entire week though was meeting Anna and Elsa. This sweet girl knew Frozen by heart, and every song as well. I expected her to cling to me and not really interact with them as she had the other characters, but she went right up to them, with her twin sister by her side, and put her arms around Anna’s neck. She did the same with Elsa. The character attendants then emptied the room and let her and her sister and brother have about ten minutes alone with Anna and Elsa, telling stories and giggling. That was one of the few times I saw her really open up and smile that week, as she had been so very sick from the tumor and treatment. I wish I knew who these friends of Anna and Elsa were to tell them thank you for granting those moments of joy to our aching family. I will treasure those memories and pictures forever.

    She passed away on Mother’s day, about two months after our trip, peacefully in my arms. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  • <3 3!!!

  • I can’t even describe the pixie dust my wish child received it was just beyond magical best days of our lives!

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