From the Disney Parks Blog and written by: Thomas Smith
On behalf of all of us at Disney, we would like to give a warm “Bienvenida” to Princesa María!
Just last week, six-year-old María, who is being treated for leukemia, had her wish to be a princess come true. As a native Spanish speaker from Phoenix, Maria received a virtual royal visit – all in Spanish – from Princess Belle. Check out a heartwarming video of this first of its kind Disney wish in the United States to see how we were able to make María an honorary princess – creating a day of laughter and hope.
“María was fascinated and asked me, “mom did you see that Belle is like me? That we are the same, that she speaks Spanish like me?” said wish mom Brenda. “She loved the video and we thought it was truly beautiful. Their words, everything they said, it was exactly how María is.”
Like many children around the world, María grew up watching Disney movies in her native language. So when it came time for her wish, we wanted to create a magical meeting with Belle, who read a personalized story to María and taught her how to become a Disney Princess entirely in Spanish.
“Just as Disney stories are shared in dozens of languages around the world, Make-A-Wish grants wishes for children of all backgrounds,” said Richard K. Davis, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish America. “This wish is the perfect example of how we strive to creatively grant wishes that also resonate culturally and authentically with wish kids and their families.”
Since 1980, Disney and Make-A-Wish have been making wishes come true for children with critical illnesses around the world. We are so proud to celebrate this 40-year milestone with them, just as we were proud to help grant the very first official wish at Disneyland Resort back in 1980. And while 2020 has been a challenging year for everyone - wish granters included – it has also created opportunities to grant wishes in a whole new way. Disney and Make-A-Wish have had to think outside the box to continue to make life-changing wishes come true and provide hope and inspiration to children around the world.
Pre-pandemic, one out of every two wishes granted in the U.S. was a Disney wish, and together, Disney has worked with Make-A-Wish to make more than 140,000 wishes come true, including their recently granted 500,000th wish. Granting these inspiring Disney wishes creates magical memories for children and their families, and we will continue to do our part to make children’s wishes come true in a meaningful way. A global pandemic may be enough to put some aspects of life on hold, but monumental moments and wishes like these are far too important to be missed! Felicidades a la Princesa María y a todos los niños y niñas con enfermedades graves que quieren cumplir sus deseos.