Disney and Make-A-Wish® Create a Magical Disney Experience for UK Wish Children

Disney and Make-A-Wish® have once again come together to create the magical “A Disney Wish” experience in the UK for children fighting critical illnesses. 

192 wish children and their families were invited to embark on a special three-day immersive Disney experience at Hoar Cross Hall, a Staffordshire hotel, which was transformed into an enchanted manor over 11 days (5th – 15th June). 

The “A Disney Wish” experience enables families who may be unable to travel to Disney destinations abroad due to their medical circumstances to take part in unforgettable events with their favorite Disney stories and characters closer to home. 

Now in its fourth year, “A Disney Wish” is an example of the experiences created during Disney’s more than 40-year relationship with Make-A-Wish, together having granted over 155,000 wishes globally. 

Throughout their stay, the families enjoyed five Disney shows specifically written for the event, 11 different Disney-themed family activities, including Storytime with Disney Princesses, explored Winnie the Pooh’s Treasure Trail and joined a special celebration to mark Donald Duck’s 90th Anniversary. With over 35 beloved Disney characters waiting to greet the families, there were lots of fun surprises throughout the guests’ stay. To add to the excitement, a week before the families arrived, they received a special letter from Mickey Mouse himself. 

One of the children attending A Disney Wish is Barney Gardner, 14, from Ashton under Hill. Barney had a life expectancy of two years and continues to defy the odds. 

Barney’s mum, Beverley, said, “These children are so resilient and deal with so much on a day-to-day basis. They often can’t do things that others take for granted. A Disney Wish is such a unique and special opportunity that he wouldn’t be able to experience if it weren’t for Make-A-Wish.  The wish has been so tailored to Barney, giving him the right environment to maximize his enjoyment. These children are special gifts – they’re precious and deserve such a special wish. 

“For many of us…there will be extremely difficult times ahead. But because of Make-A-Wish and Disney we can create lasting memories, immerse ourselves in this experience, and forget about everything else as we live in the present moment.” 

Deborah Armstrong, Senior Vice President and Country Manager, Disney UK & Ireland, said, “Creating moments that matter for children and their families is at the very core of our social purpose. We know the happiness, joy and magic our much-loved characters, stories, films and experiences bring to children and families, so it’s our privilege to once again work with Make-A-Wish and see the joy and positive impact these very special Disney wish experiences have on children and their families when they need it the most.” 

Make-A-Wish UK® Chief Executive, Jason Suckley, said, “Disney continues to be one of the most popular wish requests, but often families are not able to travel due to their medical condition or treatment plan. Every child deserves to wish for more than a life defined by illness, and we’re absolutely delighted that critically ill children and their families can experience the magic of Disney right here in the UK and create lasting memories they will treasure forever, no matter what the future holds. We are extremely grateful to Disney for making this event possible – their support really does mean everything to the children and families who turn to us.” 

“A Disney Wish” is part of Disney’s global efforts with Make-A-Wish to grant life-changing wishes for children facing critical illnesses. The entire Disney family works with Make-A-Wish to grant wishes, including theme park and resort vacations, cruises, shopping sprees, studio visits, talent meet-and-greets, sports-themed experiences and more. To learn more about this work internationally, visit Worldwish.org/Disney.