PORT CANAVERAL — Disney Cruise Line managed to tug on some heartstrings while christening its new ship Disney Wish inviting three children from the Make-a-Wish foundation to perform the traditional role given to the ship’s godmother during a ceremony at Port Canaveral on Wednesday.
Acting as representative godchildren of all past, present and future recipients of the Make-a-Wish charity, 13-year-old Jenna from Sacramento, California, 16-year-old Megan from Brookfield, Wisconsin, and 10-year-old Colby from Lexington, Massachusetts, all survivors of life-threatening illnesses, declared in unison, “I christen thee Disney Wish. May God bless this ship and all who sail on her.”
The ceremony flashed images of the three undergoing treatment in their personal journeys to overcome illness, including one heartwarming sign declaring “Cancer Free” that had some in the audience holding back tears. Make-a-Wish has granted more than 145,000 wishes over the years. Megan, who had a rare form of leukemia that affects only 2 out of a million people, said her wish was the meet a Disney Imagineer, which she was able to do this week.
“You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only option,” she said.
The event which soldiered through the threat of light rain featured a performance by Anika Noni Rose, the voice of Tiana from “The Princess and the Frog,” as well as speeches by Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Chapek and Disney Parks, Experiences and Product Chairman Josh D’Amaro.
“This ship is a celebration of nearly 100 years of Disney storytelling excellence. And it brings fantastic worlds and characters to life like never before. As you walk through the ship, you’ll notice around every corner is another amazing story,” said Chapek. “We’ve combined these amazing characters and stories with incredible technology to create brand-new experiences for our guests that they can’t get anywhere else from bow to stern.”
D’Amaro details some of the numbers behind the ship that’s been in the works for six years.
“It has been a labor of love and our teams worked hard to get her here today,” D’Amaro said. “This incredible ship has 25 entertainment venues. It’s got more than 4,400 pieces of art onboard. It’s got 70,000 garments for cast and crew and Rapunzel’s hair on the ship’s stern is 60 feet long. And in every detail we are connecting people to our stories in fantastic new ways.”
It’s the first time Port Canaveral has hosted a DCL christening since Disney Dream in 2011. In that event, Emmy-Grammy-Tony-Oscar-winning Jennifer Hudson, who cut her chops in the entertainment industry aboard a Disney ship, took on the role of ship’s godmother amid fireworks and fanfare.
After the event, media will be welcomed on board for the…