Walt Disney World Resort and Make-A-Wish America granted the 150,000th Disney-inspired wish to 16-year-old Mikayla from Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. on World Wish Day; Family surprised with parade, Cinderella Castle Suite stay and more.
Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (May 1, 2023) – This World Wish Day®, Walt Disney World Resort and Make-A-Wish America granted the 150,000th Disney-inspired wish to 16-year-old Mikayla from Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. who began her battle fighting cancer three years ago. Photos, b-roll and interviews can be downloaded for use in your reporting here.
“This is an incredible milestone moment in our more than 40-year relationship with Disney,” said Leslie Motter, Make-A-Wish America President and CEO. “We know that wishes have the transformative power to renew hope, uplift spirits and unite families. When you pair that with Disney stories, characters and experiences, lives are forever changed thanks to the unmatched joy that’s delivered when it’s needed most.”
Mikayla and her family were surprised with being Grand Marshals during the Festival of Fantasy Parade at Magic Kingdom Park, where they helped reveal Disney’s newly redesigned specialty Florida license plate benefitting Make-A-Wish children and families throughout the state.
As “the most magical license plate on earth,” more than $1.5 million has been raised so far for Make-A-Wish Central and Northern Florida through sales of the Disney plate. This new design is the second edition of the plate, coming soon for Florida drivers.
Disney also shared an extra surprise with Mikayla – something unique to her only offered on a very special occasion like this. To mark the historic milestone, Mikayla and her family were given the exclusive opportunity to enjoy an overnight stay in the Cinderella Castle Suite, and as many Disney fans know, a stay in the suite is not typical, even for Make-A-Wish families.
“We are so thrilled that Mikayla is able to have this opportunity to celebrate the journey that she’s been on,” said Mikayla’s mom. “You never anticipate they [your children] are going to experience a life-threatening situation, but it’s been amazing to see how much good can come from something bad. We get to create these wonderful new memories together and not focus on the ones that maybe weren’t so pretty.”
Mikayla is also an aspiring singer with dreams of one day performing at Disney, so Disney is planning a royal performance for her later this summer that will top off this 150,000th wish in an unforgettable way.
Walt Disney World Resort: Walt Disney World Resort is a world-class entertainment and recreation destination featuring four of the most popular theme parks from around the globe, two thrilling water parks, nearly 29,000 hotel rooms, a sports complex, several golf courses and Disney Springs — a metropolis of shopping, dining and entertainment. Since 1971, Walt Disney World has focused on delivering legendary guest service and one-of-a-kind experiences that make it the number one vacation destination in the world where families create magical memories.
Make-A-Wish America: Make-A-Wish creates life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. Founded in Phoenix, Arizona, Make-A-Wish is the #1 most trusted nonprofit operating locally in all 50 states throughout the U.S. Together with generous donors, supporters, staff and more than 24,000 volunteers across the country, Make-A-Wish delivers hope and joy to children and their families when they need it most. Make-A-Wish aims to bring the power of wishing to every child with a critical illness because wish experiences can help improve emotional and physical health. Since 1980, Make-A-Wish has granted more than 550,000 wishes in 50 countries worldwide; more than 360,000 wishes in the U.S. and its territories alone. For more information about Make-A-Wish America, visit wish.org.