Thousands of children fighting critical illnesses have wished to visit the happiest places on earth – our Disney parks. But occasionally, a child’s one true wish is to dig a little deeper and learn how the magic is made by the brilliant minds at Walt Disney Imagineering. Just last month, Make-A-Wish kid Bella’s one true wish came true – to meet a Disney Imagineer.
“I’ve always been very interested and passionate about Disney’s creative process,” Bella shared. “They’re at the forefront of a lot of technology that’s being created right now, but a lot of people don’t realize that.”
Over the pandemic, Bella, who was born in Walt’s home state of Missouri and has a heart condition, watched “The Imagineering Story” on Disney+. She was inspired by the eclectic group of creative people whose imagination and technical know-how are combined to make dreams come true. And in classic Imagineering style – her wish trip was so much more than she could have imagined.
Tours of Walt Disney Imagineering are rare. A creative force, a historical treasure, a dream factory, and a hub of science and technology, Walt Disney Imagineering is a place of legend. It’s the only think tank created by Walt Disney himself. Bella was invited to step in and meet the people who make the magic and take a peek at how they make dreams come true.
“My favorite part of the experience has been watching Bella smile. All the wonderful Imagineers have been so generous and kind with their information and stories,” shared wish mom Shelley.
Bella’s wish journey may be complete… but her Disney dream continues on. The week after her wish was granted, she received her first nametag and is now “earning her ears” here as a Disney intern. Imagineers represent more than 140 disciplines, from artists to architects, engineers, show producers, planners, and project managers – so Bella will have a chance to see many of these roles in action!
Disney and Make-A-Wish have worked together to make more than 145,000 wishes come true, including the very first official wish, which took place at Disneyland Resort. And while these past few years have been challenging for everyone – wish granters included – we are so excited that wish-granting at Walt Disney Imagineering has returned.
This creative wish continues the recent, powerful momentum of returning offerings across Disney parks and resorts. During the past two years, we’ve taken a very gradual, intentional approach to health and safety protocols. Recent trends and guidance have provided opportunities for us to bring back some of our most beloved magic, such as wish-granting. While not all wishes can be granted immediately, we are continuing to gradually ramp up our wish-granting efforts over the course of the coming months.
Congratulations to Bella and to all the Imagineers for building the perfect wish for Bella! And stay tuned for even more magical Make-A-Wish stories on the Disney Parks Blog.
by Shelby Grasser, Manager – Corporate Citizenship, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products