By Sloane Baker, Communications Manager, Walt Disney World Resort via the Disney Parks Blog
It’s almost coronation day! Disney cast members across Disney Parks, Experiences and Products are putting the final touches on a very special wish-granting event taking place at Walt Disney World tomorrow in honor of World Princess Week — Once Upon A Wish Party. This fully immersive day of magical moments was dreamed up by hundreds of cast members specially for wish kids and their families and is part of Disney’s 40+ year relationship with Make-A-Wish to deliver joy when it is needed most.
If you’ve been following along, you know this is one of our largest wish-granting events ever and will be filled with all the adventures you may expect of Disney royalty – and then some. More than 50 children with critical illnesses and their families from across the country will soon be joining us for this very important day … the best day ever. I hear there will be royal encounters with Disney characters near and far, tea and treats for everyone, and wish kids will even be proclaimed royalty for the evening at a royal ball!
Disney Cast Members
Cast members are an integral part in making these Disney wishes come true. And you can imagine a wish event of this size takes quite the team, but just how many cast members does it take to bring something this grand to life?
As I’m currently writing this, more than 500 cast members from across the company are working together on this first-of-its-kind wish event. 500 cast members dedicated to every detail – from building stages and immersive sets, to cooking up delicious dishes, assembling royal packages with special surprises, and more. All while keeping safety and accessibility top of mind so each wish kid and their families have a marvelous time.
“Only at Disney can you make an impact like this,” said Stefanie Steele, Senior Manager of Corporate Social Responsibility at Walt Disney World. “Our cast members take great pride in Disney being the number one wish in the world, and it has been so inspiring to see the passion everyone is bringing to make sure dreams come true for these families….in a distinctly Disney way, of course.”
A Disney Princess Party Like No Other
We’ve also enlisted the help of Disney royalty as we prepare. Fairy Godmother sent out the official invitations and some very talented mice are putting the finishing touches on décor all around Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Queens Elsa and Anna let us borrow their 8,000 salad plates (give or take a few) and Ariel is pitching in enough thingamabobs for nearly 300 royal guests.
“We’ve been planning this event for more than a year and have worked together to make sure every detail is practically perfect,” said Angeline Aguayo, Disney Parks Events Manager. “The care of our wish families remained at the heart of this event and our cast have risen to the occasion to create the most magical celebration for these families so they can make new happy memories together.”
It’s an extra special event for one cast member, Abron Kelly, who is helping to capture the memories as a Disney PhotoPass photographer and was once a wish kid themselves.
“Disney is the perfect place for wish families to get to be in the moment and not think about illness for a little while,” Abron said. “Growing up in similar circumstances — illness, hospital beds, etc. — Disney was the place I could go and feel like a regular kid. I knew someday I wanted to create that magic for other kids. That’s why I became a cast member.”
Gray is a lifelong Disney fan! From Disney+ to the parks, he loves it all. His favorite Disney movie is Beauty and the Beast, and his favorite attraction is The Haunted Mansion.