On World Wish Day, The Walt Disney Company announced a $1 million donation to Make-A-Wish as part of a grand unveiling event for the highly anticipated Disney Cruise Line ship, the Disney Wish, scheduled to set sail in summer 2022. The name Disney Wish carries a powerful meaning, evoking all the wonder and optimism of a wish come true, presenting an opportunity to connect this timeless theme to the invaluable work Make-A-Wish does every day to support children with critical illnesses. This donation is earmarked to reach even more Make-A-Wish kids from all backgrounds, supporting Disney’s ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion. Learn more below.
“Making wishes come true is a big part of Disney’s DNA, and on World Wish Day, I want to say how proud we are to partner with organizations like Make-A-Wish,” said Bob Chapek, chief executive officer, The Walt Disney Company. “When we join forces, we’re able to make magic happen and be a source of hope and optimism for others, and we look forward to working together to create even more special moments for deserving wish kids and their families in the years to come.”
These remarks kicked off a first-of-its-kind virtual Disney showcase in which viewers were invited to “step aboard” the Disney Wish for an overview of what they will experience when the fifth Disney Cruise Line ship sets sail next summer. With character appearances, musical performances and state-of-the-art technology, the half-hour production revealed some of the most innovative and iconic spaces of the Disney Wish while also highlighting the 41-year global relationship between Disney and Make-A-Wish.
Since 1980, Disney and Make-A-Wish have helped grant life-changing wishes for more than 145,000 children with critical illnesses around the world. Historically, one out of every two wishes granted in the U.S. is a Disney wish, with many of these wishes involving visits to global Disney destinations and sailings with Disney Cruise Line.
“Knowing that Disney’s next cruise ship will be the Disney Wish, I can’t help but think of the countless children who have experienced the power of a wish come true to help them overcome so many challenges,” said Richard Davis, president and chief executive officer, Make-A-Wish America. “Make-A- Wish gives families hope when it matters most, and that hope is needed now more than ever. I’m grateful for Disney’s ongoing support to help us deliver even more joy and strength to families.”
To celebrate the lasting power of wishes come true, Make-A-Wish alumni, who have had Disney Cruise Line wishes granted throughout the last 20 years, were featured in the virtual production. These children and young adults represent the thousands of wishes that have been granted aboard Disney cruise ships.
The showcase concluded with a stunning rendition of “When You Wish Upon a Star,” performed by Disney on Broadway Star and International Performing Artist Syndee Winters who has a personal connection to Make-A-Wish.
“Make-A-Wish has a really special place in my heart,” said Syndee. “In 2010, my youngest brother Logan was diagnosed with a brain stem glioma, so he became eligible for Make-A-Wish. His wish was to go on a cruise, and Make-A-Wish made that happen … Now Logan is 16, and he’s beaten the glioma – and he is thriving. Any chance I get, I stop what I’m doing to meet a young child who is part of Make-A-Wish because it means a lot to me, and it did great things for my family.”
During her heartfelt performance, Syndee was joined by favorite Disney characters as images of Make-A-Wish alumni appeared on the ship’s large screen.
World Wish Day 2021
Every year, the global Make-A-Wish organization and supporters come together in celebrating World Wish Day on April 29, the anniversary of the wish that inspired the founding of Make-A-Wish.
This year’s campaign, “Don’t Wait for Hope. Create it.,” stems from the fact that wish families have been some of the hardest hit by the pandemic. Feelings of fear and isolation are often felt deepest by the most vulnerable members of the population, including children with critical illnesses. Now more than ever, wishes can bring hope, joy and a sense of normalcy back into the lives of wish kids and their families.
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