At Disney, we love making magic for the thousands of Make-A-Wish kids that visit our destinations around the world each year. But it’s even more special when a wish kid makes magic for all of us. During her royal performance at “Once Upon a Wish Party,” the largest wish-granting event ever held at Walt Disney World, 17-year-old Mikayla from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, did exactly that, made magic for us.
From her very first onstage experience singing “Do You Want To Build a Snowman” in elementary school, it was clear Mikayla could light up a room with her gift of song and love of all things Disney. As her talent grew, she continued to thrill audiences at school performances playing characters such as Belle in “Beauty in the Beast,” and Ursula in “The Little Mermaid.”
Three years ago, Mikayla was diagnosed and began her battle with cancer. Throughout this difficult time, her dream of one day performing at Disney fueled her fight. Now a happy and healthy senior, it was time to make Mikayla’s wish come true.
From being surprised with the news on World Wish Day that her wish would be granted, to rehearsals with the Disney Entertainment team, her performance in front of hundreds of guests at a Royal Ball and everything in between, check out this behind-the-scenes look at how her wish came to life:
What makes Mikayla’s wish extra special? It was the 150,000th Disney wish granted through Make-A-Wish. Her wish and more than 50 others came true during the extra special World Princess Week Party.
Before the ball began, Mikayla prepared with a day full of enchanting surprises, inspiration and adventure dreamed up by dozens of Disney cast members. It started bright and early with a visit to one of our recording studios in Florida so Mikayla could record a solo song in-studio, with mentorship provided by a Disney Senior Music Producer.
Then, it was time to say “yes” to the dress as Mikayla chose her ballgown, courtesy of the Disney Costuming Team.
Next, Mikayla met with a Disney Live Entertainment Casting Director before heading to dress rehearsal. And it wouldn’t be a trip to Walt Disney World without fireworks to cap the evening.
Finally, the big day arrived, and it was time for the Royal Ball! After being introduced in style by Josh D’Amaro, Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, she took to the stage in her golden gown to perform “Almost There” from Princess and the Frog and “Beauty and the Beast” accompanied by Belle and Beast. Her fellow wish kids gathered on the dance floor in what was an incredibly special moment.
The crowd exploded in applause as Mikayla belted out her big finish. Mikayla walked off the stage into her family’s arms, with tears of happiness in their eyes. “As a performer, having the opportunity to sing at the ball is more than I could have ever imagined,” shared Mikayla.
We can’t wait to hear what’s next for young Mikayla. “After high school, I plan to go to college and hopefully see what doors in music open,” she said. “I am so thankful to be healthy and look forward to whatever the future holds!”
We are so grateful that so many wish kids, just like Mikayla, choose us as their wish, and Once Upon A Wish Party is one of the many innovative ways we’re making wishes come true for kids and families around the world. Experiences like this are incredibly important for kids facing critical illnesses and their families, as they often provide the hope and strength needed to fight against and even overcome a critical illness.
To learn more about our longstanding relationship with Make-A-Wish and the more than 150,000 wishes we’ve granted together since 1980, visit Wish.org/Disney.