From the Disney Parks Blog and written by: Disney Parks Blog

Someday, I’ll be part of your world. During my battle with leukemia, this was the uplifting thought that kept me going. Ariel has always been my favorite character, for a very special reason.


Young Dylan meets Ariel

In August 2017, I was diagnosed with leukemia, separated from the fun my high school peers were experiencing. While everyone around me—including my twin brother—was taking on the world outside the walls of my hospital room, I found solace in the story of “The Little Mermaid.” Ariel gave me a sense of hope. I identified with her determination to break free from her underwater realm, much like my own drive to overcome my illness.

Following a relapse, I received a bone marrow transplant in June 2018 through Be The Match, an organization that unites donors and recipients in critical need of a blood stem cell or marrow transplant.

Once my health improved, my determination paid off and my wish to travel to Walt Disney World for an Imagineering experience was granted. There, I received a behind-the-scenes tour of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge from Imagineer Diego Parras, and of course, met my friend Ariel in person!

However, I didn’t want my wish to end there.

Having witnessed first-hand the transformative power of a wish, I wanted to use my story to make a difference. I re-joined Make-A-Wish’s Greater Bay Area chapter in 2020 as a volunteer to help build the Wish It Forward program and also served as a Marketing intern the following summer. I also became involved with Be The Match at my university, Saint Mary’s College of California, to honor my selfless donor, Ryan, who saved my life and is “Part of My World” today.

My wish made me realize I not only wanted to experience Disney magic… I wanted to be part of it. This June, my dream to work for Disney became a reality as I began a Disney Professional Internship on the Disneyland Resort Executive Communications team.

Dylan and Live Action Ariel

Like me, many wish kids draw strength, hope and inspiration from Disney princesses. As a cast member, I love seeing their wishes come true. And this week, my fellow cast members over at Walt Disney World are gearing up for a pretty special wish-granting event where more than 50 families from across the country will have their princess wishes come true at Once Upon A Wish Party.

This first-of-its-kind event is being held in honor of World Princess Week and was dreamed up just for wish kids and their families. It will be a full-day affair filled with enchanting surprises, inspiration and adventures fit for a hero or heroine, including a royal ball with some favorite Disney characters. Word in the sea is that Ariel is attending!

I’m so grateful to be part of a company that helps make wishes and dreams (like mine) come true. To learn more about how Disney and Make-A-Wish create magical wishes together, visit wish.org/Disney.

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