From the Disney Parks Blog and written by: Thomas Smith
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.”