For the first time in forever, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort (HKDL) teamed up with Make-A-Wish® to grant life-changing wishes at the all-new themed land World of Frozen.
Eleven children living with critical illnesses and their families from around the world traveled to Hong Kong to visit the World of Frozen and have their wishes granted. They are among approximately 130 guests traveling from local Make-A-Wish affiliates including the Philippines, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan to join the Summer Snow Day Wishes Celebration.
“Making wishes come true is some of the most important work we do at Disney,” said Jill Estorino, President and Managing Director of Disney Parks International. “In fact, Disney is the largest wish-granter in the world for Make-A-Wish. Hong Kong Disneyland joined that journey when it opened in 2005, and has been bringing Disney magic to the local community and beyond ever since.”
The entire event was inspired by one child’s wish to meet the Imagineers involved with the all-new World of Frozen.
Dominic, a wish child from Singapore, was diagnosed with hemophilia seven days after birth. Despite facing an incurable condition that requires a lifetime of treatment, he remains steadfast in his pursuit of knowledge, fueled by a passion for mathematics, science, engineering, and space.
After watching the documentary “The Imagineering Story” on Disney+ during the pandemic, Dominic was deeply inspired by the Imagineers’ creativity and innovative use of technology to build Disney parks and attractions.
“While many Disneyland guests may only see what is presented, I am drawn to explore the rationale behind the scenes,” he said. “The work of Imagineers combines robotic techniques, architecture, engineering, and other disciplines, turning imagination into reality through numerous trials and experiments. I am thrilled to meet them to learn more about their work.”
Jo Phoa, Director of Creative Development of Walt Disney Imagineering Hong Kong, and Angus Chan, Principal Ride Control System Engineer of Walt Disney Imagineering Hong Kong, were touched by Dominic’s thirst for knowledge and excitement about Imagineering. They designed a special exploratory tour for Dominic, guiding him through the new attraction Frozen Ever After, which utilizes state-of-the-art Audio-Animatronics technology.
Additionally, Dominic learned about the electric motion simulator system of Iron Man Experience – the first at any Disney park and had the unique opportunity to witness the design process.
Dominic, who visited a Disney park for the first time, expressed his thrill at exploring the new World of Frozen and learning about its technology and operations. His conversations with Phoa and Chan reaffirmed his passion for science, inspiring him to become an Imagineer.
Rhianne, a wish child from the Philippines, had her wish captured by the end of 2019. She was ready to travel in early 2020 but then the pandemic hit. During the wait for travel to be safe, Make-A-Wish Philippines continued to engage with her for over three years through Disney-themed care packages, a surprise birthday party, and a special invitation to the first Wish Ball to give a testimonial. Throughout the last three years, Rhianne has been bravely going through her medical treatment while patiently waiting for her wish to come true.
“This is my first visit to Hong Kong Disneyland and also my first trip abroad, which is so exciting. I can’t wait to visit World of Frozen and experience Wandering Oaken’s Sliding Sleighs,” Rhianne said.
“This is a remarkable day for Make-A-Wish. For the first time ever, we are granting wishes from the Southeast Asia region at Hong Kong Disneyland,” said Dr Kevin Lau, Board Director of Make-A-Wish International. “I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to Hong Kong Disneyland for inviting us to this special event celebrating the power of wishes at the kingdom of Arendelle and joining hands with Make-A-Wish in bringing hope to children from all around the world.”
To commemorate the opening of World of Frozen and the 25th anniversary of Make-A-Wish Hong Kong, the resort will donate HK$10 for every transaction made at Tick Tock Toys & Collectibles in the kingdom of Arendelle to Make-A-Wish Hong Kong from today until Jan 10, 2024. Combined with the proceeds from the recent “Wish Upon A Chocolate Cake” charity sales at the resort, HKDL plans to contribute a total of HK$600,000 to support the development of Make-A-Wish Hong Kong.
For over 40 years, Disney and Make-A-Wish have together fulfilled more than 150,000 Disney-inspired wishes around the world. The bravery, tenacity, and optimism displayed by the wish children are an inspiration for all cast members at HKDL, and the resort will continue to work with Make-A-Wish Hong Kong and other Make-A-Wish International affiliates to support the wishes of wish children living with critical illnesses and their families, creating magical memories that last a lifetime.