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Credit: Disney

Galaxy of Wishes: A Benefit for Make-A-Wish at Disneyland

Did you know that approximately half of the wishes that are requested through Make-A-Wish have to do with a Disney vacation? On December 7, Disneyland Cast Members teamed up with Make-A-Wish for a fundraiser called Galaxy of Wishes. Kyleigh Johnson shared the details with Disney Parks Blog:

What if you had the ability to make any wish come true? For a child, a wish has the power to touch their heart and change their life. Make-A-Wish, combined with some Disney magic, turns these dreams into reality for many children who are in need of some pixie dust along their journey.

Last night, the Disneyland Resort and Make-A-Wish Orange County & the Inland Empire and Make-A-Wish Greater Los Angeles joined forces to host a Galaxy of Wishes fundraising event in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge to give even more opportunities for children to have their wishes come true. The first of its kind event on the planet of Batuu provided the perfect backdrop to demonstrate the wonder of imagination as guests were able to have their own wish fulfilled of being immersed in the Star Wars universe.

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2022-2023 Disney Ambassadors Mark and Nataly were on hand with Disneyland Resort President Ken Potrock to celebrate the longstanding relationship with partners and friends from Make-A-Wish.

“Tonight is very special. It is all about helping kids and giving hope to children and their families when they need it most. A wish brings joy and happiness to children with critical illness, helping them forget about hospitals, doctors and treatments so they can just be a kid…bringing magic to children and families is part of our Disney DNA,” Ken Potrock shared.

For more than 40 years, Disney has celebrated a wonderful global partnership with Make-A-Wish, granting more than 145,000 wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions. In fact, Disneyland was part of the first wish granted by Make-A-Wish in 1980, when 7- year-old Leukemia patient Frank “Bopsy” Salazar visited the park. Since then, the company has continued the tradition of making dreams come true for these deserving families, whether it is a visit to our theme parks, a hotel stay or a special meet and greet with a beloved character or role model. 

Let’s take a look back at some of the magic that we have been able to create together in recent years:

In 2013, three-year-old Violet received her wish to meet Mickey Mouse at Disneyland park after undergoing treatments for a rare eye cancer. Now 10 years old, Violet continues to be active within the Make-A-Wish organization and still loves coming to the Disneyland Resort with her family.

In 2019, six-year-old Linden Bradley’s wish was granted to open the gates of Disneyland park after receiving his cancer-free diagnosis. He and his family traveled all the way from Canada to watch Linden as he was given a special key to the kingdom!

These wishes have also come full circle for cast member Lexi, who was a former Make-A-Wish recipient herself when she was a young girl, and now works at the resort as an entertainment host. She gets to orchestrate meaningful interactions with characters for wish families. Lexi shared, “Depending on the situation, I will tell the families I was a wish child. Working here and still being able to be involved with wishes is the best of both worlds. It means so much to me to give these families the hope and strength they need to get through whatever hardship they’re going through.”

Lexi is not the only cast member who has been touched by the magic of granting wishes. Danny Salas, gatherer at Savi’s Workshop in Disneyland park, loves giving back to the community and used his artistic abilities to create his own fundraiser for Make-A-Wish! When asked how he felt about Disney’s partnership with Make-A-Wish, Danny said, “It’s a win-win. Not only is Make-A-Wish one of my favorite organizations, but knowing that the company I work for also supports them, it’s a huge win! So, I take way more pride in being a cast member…”

Looking ahead, we hope this magical partnership will continue to expand even more, so that children like Linden, Spencer, Lexi and many others would have the chance to feel their wishes come to life.

Credit: Disney

Funds raised from this event will help make even more life-changing wishes come true. To learn more about how Disney and Make-A-Wish together grant magical wishes, visit wish.org/Disney.

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About Paula K

I grew up in Western Massachusetts. When I was nine my family went to Disneyland and I was hooked. I grew up, attended New England College in Henniker, NH and eventually moved to Virginia. I worked as a disc jockey, married and became a full time mom when our daughter was born. Fast forward several years. In 2010 we moved to Central Florida and my Disney obsession grew. I now work as a freelance writer and spend my spare time in the parks. Under the name Paula Brown I penned the novels Dream Wanderers and The Coffee Cruiser. I also am a co-author of Dining at Walt Disney World: The Definitive Guide. I'm obsessed with Star Wars, so this is a good time to live in Central Florida. I've been a vegetarian for well over a decade, a choice that my daughter eventually made as well. While my husband still hasn't joined us fully he has given up most meats except for seafood. I was relieved to find that vegetarian dining is not difficult at Walt Disney World.