Even at the young age of 2, Sofia
knew what she wanted when Make-A-Wish®
volunteers asked her about her most heartfelt wish. Although leukemia treatment would delay her wish for two years, Sofia’s wish did not change: she wanted to go to Walt Disney World®
Resort to see the Disney Royal Princesses. She especially wanted to meet Princess Ariel, who holds a special place in her heart. As soon as she learned that her wish would be granted, she started counting down the days to her departure. To prepare for her trip, Make-A-Wish volunteers had brought her a princess dress which Sofia wore all the time during her wait.
While at Walt Disney World®
Resort, with her parents, Jennifer and Chris, and brother Christopher, Sofia could not contain her excitement. “Even though my daughter cannot walk or run as fast as some other children, she never stopped running,
” remembers Jennifer. “She was so excited that she would trip over her own feet running to places,” she adds. On the big day of her breakfast with the princesses, the little girl started running as fast as she could as the family arrived at Epcot Center, even though she was not sure in which direction to go.
Sofia was delighted to meet all of Disney’s royal characters, but the most enchanting moment of all was when Princess Ariel approached the table. Sofia was mesmerized. Princess Ariel kneeled down to get closer, gave Sofia a kiss on the cheek and took her little hand in hers. The two “princesses” then had a quiet heart-to-heart conversation while the family looked on. When Jennifer asked Sofia what they had talked about, Sofia shyly whispered that Princess Ariel had asked her who her favorite princess was. Sofia responded without hesitation, “You were always my favorite princess.”
“Sofia was a normal kid at Walt Disney World®
…just enjoying herself, wanting to dress up and get her hair done,” Jennifer describes her daughter. “In the gift shop, she was like a kid in a candy store,” she adds. Sofia selected mainly princess dresses, of course, and reveled in her purchases. Soon she realized how much more fun she could have after being persuaded by her mother to go on a ride at Magic Kingdom®.
The family was overwhelmed by the kindness of everyone, from the Make-A-Wish volunteers to the Disney staff. At Give Kids the World, where the family stayed, Sofia was showered with attention and received gifts from the staff each day. Everyone called Sofia “princess,” and she felt like one too!
Sofia’s wish trip was a time of unity and excitement shared by the whole family. Jennifer explains that Sofia’s grandmother and other family caregivers joined them at Walt Disney World® Resort to celebrate Sofia and her braveness. The time spent together and the memories created were so special that the family wants to hold on to them forever.
Sofia still talks about her wish trip and has an album of pictures that is very precious to her. She even wrote a letter and sent a picture of herself in her princess dress to her Make-A-Wish volunteers. She wanted them to know how much she loved having breakfast with the princesses, meeting Princess Ariel and wearing her beautiful dresses.
Wish-granting volunteers: Gary H. Epstein & Elizabeth S. Heller
Wish story writer: Kamlita Reddy