After I moved to Orlando, I worked at Give Kids The World for four years. It was some of the most fulfilling work I’ve done in my life. The look on the faces of children and their families as they were able to forget everything that had to do with the life-threatening illness they were battling with and just have fun together as a family was an instant battery recharge for me.
That must be the same experience cast members at Disney get when interacting with ‘Wish’ families. At Walt Disney World, wishes are granted every day through the Disney Wish Program – a collaboration between Disney and nonprofit wish-granting organizations, like Give Kids The World and Make-A-Wish, that makes wishes come true for children with life-threatening medical conditions and their families. There is even a special lounge at the Magic Kingdom for wish kids and their families.
GKTW is 100% focused on fulfilling Disney wishes having delivered over 138,000 (a number growing at over 7,400 a year). At Make-A-Wish, a Disney wish accounts for nearly one out of every two wishes granted, and this year the nonprofit is celebrating a milestone of 100,000 Disney-inspired wishes.
Here’s a perfect example of one such encounter from inside the wish lounge:
On one sunny Wednesday morning earlier this year, a little girl’s wish came true when she met Princess Jasmine in the Disney Wish Lounge at Magic Kingdom Park.
Visiting Central Florida’s theme parks with the Make-A-Wish foundation, wish child Roshany, along with her family from New Bedford, MA., were surprised to meet the Arabian princess on their first trip to the Walt Disney World Resort. Thanks to the Disney Wish Program, families visiting Magic Kingdom Park with wish-granting organizations can come to the Disney Wish Lounge for character greetings and other amenities. Here, wish children and their families can relax on throw pillows and furniture suited to their height, and play games or watch movies.
Jasmine was right at home in the “Aladdin”-inspired room talking to the 11-year-old Roshany, her brother and sister about life with “her true love” Aladdin, the palace in Agrabah, and their pets Raja and Abu.
The shy girl, who likes to study Earth Science, wanted to meet the princess “because she flies [on] carpets, she has a tiger and lots and lots of pets.” Jasmine shared that Aladdin’s monkey pal Abu took a little time to warm up to her.
“He didn’t like me at first,” she said. “He won’t let me cut his hair. It’s long and shaggy. He’s very particular.”
Jasmine told the family the lounge, with the picture of the Genie, reminded her of the palace.
“What would you do if you had one day in the palace and you could come and visit us?” Jasmine asked.
Without hesitation, Roshany answered: “I would ride on a magic carpet.”