True magical moments: Disney and Make-A-Wish hold Royal Ball for children and families

Experience part of “Once Upon a Wish Party”

BAY LAKE, Fla. – It was a night to remember for dozens of Make-A-Wish children and their families at Walt Disney World.

As part of World Princess Week, Disney helped throw its biggest wish-granting event ever planned.

On Friday, more than 50 children from across the country, alongside their families, got the chance to attend the “Once Upon a Wish Party,” a full-day event complete with a royal breakfast, tea parties and meet and greets taking place in what Disney called “Dream Parlors.” The day concluded with a Royal Ball – that was of course, fit for a Disney Princess or Prince.

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Disney transformed one of its large ballrooms at Disney’s Contemporary Resort into a glimmering fairytale setting. Before guests even arrived at the ball, they were each gifted special surprises including toys and dresses that they could wear for the evening event.

The royal engagement started with trumpets sounding and a royal town crier announcing that the ball had begun.

As any Prince or Princess would have it – each of the Make-A-Wish children were graciously welcomed into the ball with an announcement and applause.

Walt Disney World and Make-A-Wish host "Once Upon A Wish Party" Royal Ball (WKMG)

The elegant ballroom was filled with several tables for each family to sit and eat at, a dance floor, beautiful chandeliers and a stage where many surprises or “magical moments” took place. With the wave of Fairy Godmother’s magic wand, the Royal Ball officially commenced.

Walt Disney World and Make-A-Wish host "Once Upon A Wish Party" Royal Ball (WKMG)

Music filled the large space and families got the chance to capture picture-perfect moments with Disney princes and princesses.

Walt Disney World and Make-A-Wish host "Once Upon A Wish Party" Royal Ball (WKMG)

One of the Make-A-Wish recipients attending the ball was Scarlett Jaycocks, 7, of Central Florida.

“I’m excited,” Scarlett explained. “We’re going to dance, have snacks and see the princesses!”

Walt Disney World and Make-A-Wish host "Once Upon A Wish Party" Royal Ball, Scarlett and family pose with Ariel and Prince Eric (WKMG)

News 6 covered her story in 2017 when her family fundraised in an effort to get her a heart transplant, which she later received. Her wish was to have a princess experience at Walt Disney World. Back in May, Disney surprised Scarlett at Ventura Elementary School by letting her know that her wish was coming true, and she would be attending the ball.

“This is a truly magical experience for us as a family,” said Dianna Jaycocks, Scarlett’s mom. “As soon as I saw Scarlett on the red carpet and leading our family – it was hard to fight back the tears, because I knew that moment was just the start of the experience and it’s not slowed down since that moment.”

Another wish that came true was for 17-year-old Mikayla from Palm Beach Gardens.

Her wish was to perform on stage in front of an audience at Walt Disney World. She too was surprised back in May when Disney said she would be performing at the Royal Ball.

Walt Disney World and Make-A-Wish host "Once Upon A Wish Party" Royal Ball, 17-year-old Mikayla performing (WKMG)

Mikayla was Disney and Make-A-Wish America’s 150,000th wish recipient. In addition to learning of her wish coming true, she and her family were given the royal treatment, staying exclusively inside the Cinderella Castle suite at Magic Kingdom. During Friday night’s performance, Mikayla performed two songs, “Almost There” from Walt Disney Animation’s film, “The Princess and the Frog,” and the “Beauty and the Beast” favorite, “Tale as Old As Time.”

Walt Disney World and Make-A-Wish host "Once Upon A Wish" Party, 17-year-old Mikayla performing on stage (WKMG)

“When I think of performing, I automatically go to Disney, because it has been an inspiration to me,” Mikayla said. “It’s just beyond everything I could have possibly imagined. It really is like an absolute dream come true.”

The Royal Ball concluded with a farewell from all the Disney characters on stage. The Fairy Godmother encouraged all attendees to go and live their own fairytale and keep wishing. The room burst into excitement as colorful confetti flew in the air.

Walt Disney World and Make-A-Wish host "Once Upon A Wish Party" Royal Ball, Fairy Godmother (WKMG)

As each guest left the ballroom, cast members who helped put the event together gave them beautiful applause and cheer one final time.

Since 1980, the Make-A-Wish organization has helped fulfill life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. Since the founding, Make-A-Wish has become the world’s leading children’s wish-granting organization, serving children in every community in the United States and in nearly 50 countries worldwide. Walt Disney World has a long-standing relationship with Make-a-Wish, partnering with them for more than four decades.

“Granting wishes and making magic is some of the most important work that we do here at Disney – it’s kind of at the core of who we are. Our cast members are so proud to help make all of these wishes come true,” said Josh D’Amaro, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. “We’re so humbled that so many kids choose Disney for their wish. We’re Make-A-Wish’s top granter – a lot of kids just want to come here – and we do not take that responsibilty lightly.”

Click here to learn more about Make-A-Wish or to make a donation.

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About the Author:

Landon joined News 6 in 2017. He grew up in Southern Illinois and graduated from Southern Illinois University with a bachelors degree in TV and digital media. When he is not at work you can catch him at one of Orlando's theme parks or the beach. Before working at News 6 he worked for stations in Miami and Fort Myers.