From Cancer Survivor to Cast Member

Make a Wish Kid Hugs Mickey at Disneyland
Credit: Disney

Disneyland Resort celebrated World Wish Day on April 29, 2023. The date marks the anniversary of the first wish that inspired the organization’s founding in 1980.

To honor the Make-A-Wish foundation and the first two wish kids, Disneyland Park dedicated three of its Main Street, U.S.A. windows and decorated them accordingly.

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Colin’s Story

The event was a unique and heart-warming reminder of many children’s daily struggles. But the unveiling of the windows had a personal meaning to one Cast Member, Colin Smith.

Over 30 years ago, Colin was himself, a wish kid fighting for his life. He was diagnosed with stage four cancer as a child. Through the Make-A-Wish foundation, he received his wish–to visit Disneyland with his family and meet his favorite characters (Winnie the Pooh and Eeyore). Now a Cast Member at the Resort decades later, Colin discovered that his leader Lori was one of the Cast Members who helped grant him his wish when he was a child.

Colin Smith Make a Wish Cast Member

Credit: Disney

“I’ve been wanting to get involved with Make-A-Wish here at the resort ever since [my wish] and I think today spearheaded that,” Colin said. He then reflected on his experience and credited his cancer fight and Make-A-Wish memories for making him who he is today. Colin added that his wish at the Resort made it possible to “turn hardship into a positive experience.”

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Colin the Cast Member

At Disneyland Park, Colin is a stage technician for the Resort’s fireworks shows. But on World Wish Day, he dropped the curtain for the big window reveal as the crowd chanted, “Make-A-Wish!”

Windows Revealed for Make a Wish

Credit: Disney

“Disneyland is a place that I continue to come back to,” Colin said. “It’s a safe place that holds a lot of special memories for me.”

Colin shared the window unveiling with Lori, who helped make his wish come true at the Disney Park over 30 years ago.

After the window dedication, Colin said, “I’d like to say to all the Make-A-Wish kids out there to just have the most fun you possibly can every day. Make the most of every memory, the good ones, the hard ones and the ones that can bring you so much joy.”

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About Steven Wilk

Steven has a complicated relationship with Disney. As a child, he visited Walt Disney World every few years with his family. But he never understood why kids his age (and older) were so scared of Snow White or Alien Encounter. He is a former participant of the Disney College Program (left early…long story), and he also previously worked in Children’s publishing, where he adapted multiple Disney movies and TV shows. He has many controversial opinions about Disney…like having a positive view of Michael Eisner, believing Return of the Jedi is superior to The Empire Strikes Back, and that Toy Story Land and Galaxy’s Edge should have never been built (at least not at Hollywood Studios). Every year for the past two decades, Steven has visited either Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Aulani or went on a Disney Cruise. He’s happy to share any and all knowledge of the Disney destinations (and he likes using parenthesis a lot…as well as ellipses…)