Make-A-Wish Family’s “Terrible” Treatment at Disney

Mickey, Fail, and Make a wish
Credit: Disney / Canva Editing

The Walt Disney Company has a long-standing relationship with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Make-A-Wish Disneyland

Credit: Disney

The Make-A-Wish Foundation sponsors life-changing wishes for children of all ages with critical illnesses. Over the past 40 years, the Walt Disney Company has helped grant more than 145,000 wishes in coordination with the foundation.

Scarlett make-a-wish

Credit: Disney

This is because not only is Disney a family-friendly and child-centric brand, but a trip to the theme parks is one of the most frequent wishes.

Related: ‘Make-A-Wish’ Teenager Stuns Audience with Disney World Performance

Therefore, the following story has sent shock waves through social media as one family shares their less-than-magical experience at Disney.

TikToker @mothermayyyi recently went on a Make-A-Wish trip to the Disneyland Resort in California. Her nephew has chronic kidney disease and is awaiting a transplant. Although the family has cited their experience with Make-A-Wish as excellent, they felt the service they received at the West Coast Disney resort and theme parks didn’t fulfill the organization’s promises.

Disney Resort Hotel

The “devastated” aunt took to TikTok last week to share her nephew’s “terrible” Make-A-Wish experience at Disneyland Park, Disney California Adventure Park, and their stay at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel (soon-to-be Pixar Pier).

Disney's Paradise Pier hotel

Credit: Disney

“We get into the hotel room; there’s a puddle of something wet on the ground,” the guest recalled their stay at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel. “No idea what it is. My niece goes to lay on the bed. The light bulb falls and hits her on the head. Okay, fine, cool, whatever. It’s fine with us.”

Related: Disney World Hosts Royal Ball for Make-A-Wish

However, their problems at Disneyland Resort seemed only to get worse.

Related: Make-A-Wish Helps Second-Grader Fulfil Dream of Going to Disney World

Make-A-Wish told the TikToker’s nephew that Disneyland Resort cast members would make a “big hurrah” about him. He would receive special treatment, such as priority access to characters and other extraordinary experiences. But according to his aunt, that didn’t happen at the parks.

“Zero people made a big deal about him,” she explained. “Zero people had acknowledged him. It was terrible.”

First Disneyland Park Visit

“We go down to get my nephew’s wheelchair that he needs for Disneyland Park,” she said. “It’s for a toddler. He’s 12 years old… Then they say, ‘We’re sorry. We’re all booked up on reservations for wheelchairs. They’re all reserved right now.’ So he has to go through the park with no wheelchair.”

Make a wish family

Credit: @mothermayyyi on TikTok / Make-A-Wish

One of the offerings the Make-A-Wish family received was something called a “Genie” pass that allowed for priority access across most park attractions. However, the TikToker explained that even with these passes, the lines sometimes took as much as 45 minutes, which was a problem for her nephew with kidney disease.

“He can’t wait in lines,” she explained. “He has to use the restroom…he has to cath. We’re waiting for 45 minutes for rides.”

“No characters come up to him,” she continued. “We go up to a character, they tell us to go to the back of the line. We tried to see the Mandalorian yesterday, and the person with the character told him, ‘Oh, he doesn’t stop for anybody. I don’t know where he’s going to go. He can’t say hi.’”

First Disney California Adventure Park Visit

The Make-A-Wish family spoke with a Disney Park manager, who offered to set them up with unique experiences when they visited Disney California Adventure Park later that day. But unfortunately, there was an issue with their Disney Park tickets…

“We get in there; we get to spend an hour in there, and they kick us out because of Oogie Boogie [Bash],” she said. “‘Oh, you don’t have a ticket for Oogie Boogie Fest? We’re closing down the whole park.’ And they kick us out. We had to leave Disney around 6:30 and come back to the hotel, which was super sad for him, and it was just super disappointing.”

Disney California Adventure

Credit: Disney

“He has received none of the treatment that he was promised, none of the treatment that he was told,” she explained. “And we get it, not everybody can be treated specially. But when you’re a Make-A-Wish kid, and you’re told these things are going to happen for you, and they don’t happen, it’s extremely disappointing.”

Second Disney Park Day

The next day, the family attempted to get into Goofy’s Kitchen, a unique character dining experience.

Related: A New Chapter for Disney and Make-a-Wish Might Be On the Horizon

“We go in there. We say, ‘We’re with Make-A-Wish,’” the TikToker explained. “‘Oh, sorry. We’ve decided we’re not taking… walk-ins for the rest of October. That’s something that Disney should’ve worked out for you before you came as a Make-A-Wish person.’”

Disneyland Park

Credit: Disney

The family was also unable to get a wheelchair for the sick child on the second park day as well.

“So he has to walk today in Disneyland again with no wheelchair,” the TikToker explained.

“It is just absolutely insane. I’m just extremely disappointed with the whole way Disneyland treats Make-A-Wish. Make-A-Wish is doing amazing things in the background…But there’s only so much they can do because Disney is Disney and obviously doesn’t care about Make-A-Wish.”

Related: ‘Atrocious’ Guest Behavior at Disney World—Guest Mocks Make-A-Wish Visitors

Final Comments

“It’s just extremely disappointing how Disney has handled all of this,” the TikToker continued. “It seems like they’re extremely desensitized to Make-A-Wish kids. Every ride, nobody has acknowledged him. Nobody has made him feel special. It’s just like another Make-A-Wish kid. Because they say, one in every two wishes is Disneyland.”

She ended by thanking a pair of Disneyland Resort cast members who made her nephew feel special.

“There was two people in Disneyland yesterday, a photographer named Bruce, and he was absolutely amazing,” she recalled. “He was wonderful. We wish we could’ve took him everywhere with us. He was so kind and such an awesome spirit. We loved him. There was also a girl who recognized him and got him a funnel cake… The two people in the park that were amazing, I wanted to thank them.”

Although this story is not the normal one that a person hears when it comes to Disney and Make-A-Wish, it’s still unfortunate. Hopefully, Disney can do something to make it right for this family…and be better regarding future Make-A-Wish children.

Disclaimer: Please note the story outlined in this article is based on a personal Disney guest experience. No two experiences are alike, and this article does not necessarily align with Disney Fanatic’s personal views on Disney Park operations.

About Steven

Steven has a complicated relationship with Disney. As a child, he visited Walt Disney World every few years with his family. But he never understood why kids his age (and older) were so scared of Snow White or Alien Encounter. He is a former participant of the Disney College Program (left early…long story), and he also previously worked in Children’s publishing, where he adapted multiple Disney movies and TV shows. He has many controversial opinions about Disney…like having a positive view of Michael Eisner, believing Return of the Jedi is superior to The Empire Strikes Back, and that Toy Story Land and Galaxy’s Edge should have never been built (at least not at Hollywood Studios). Every year for the past two decades, Steven has visited either Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Aulani or went on a Disney Cruise. He’s happy to share any and all knowledge of the Disney destinations (and he likes using parenthesis a lot…as well as ellipses…)

One comment

  1. So this aunt goes with the family on a FREE multi-day trip to Disneyland, including accommodations at a hotel most of us can’t afford to stay at, and she’s complaining it wasn’t perfect – here’s a thought, interview the actual child whose wish it was because he’s the one it was for and ask him if he’s happy

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