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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Walt Wednesdays: DISNEYLAND's First Wish

DISNEYLAND has granted thousands of wishes to children with life threatening illnesses over the years. The first ever wish was granted before the park opened in 1955 by Mr. Disney himself.

While DISNEYLAND was still under construction, Walt Disney received a letter from a young boy who was dying of cancer. Doctors held out little hope for the boy who they estimated would pass away before DISNEYLAND opened. His dying wish was to ride in Walt Disney's train. Despite the cash flow issues involved, Walt rushed the construction of the train tracks in a race against time. He would see to it that this boy's wish would come true.

The Imagineers rushed to finish the track and get one of the trains operational. They succeeded and the day arrived when the train would be hoisted onto the track to take around its first passenger. Walt Disney proudly ran the train himself, taking the young boy around the park several times, sharing his plans for DISNEYLAND. He told the boy what was being built around them, what would be built in the future and how everything would look. 

At the end of this amazing tour of DISNEYLAND with the greatest tour guide imaginable, the boy was presented with special souvenirs and gifts. Walt declined his publicity department's request to invite the press along for the tour. This would be Walt's special gift to the boy and he didn't want to sully it with any publicity. The story remained under wraps until after Walt Disney passed away. It would be the first of millions of dreams come true at the happiest place on earth.