‘Behind the Attraction:’ A Make-A-Wish Kid’s Ride of a Lifetime

5,4,3,2,1… GO! 

Do you remember your first ride on the Incredicoaster at Disneyland Resort? The rush of take-off, that exhilarating drop, and the screams you just can’t hold in as you loop-de-loop your way to catch Jack-Jack! For 11-year-old Make-A-Wish kid Ross, his first ride aboard the Incredicoaster was a wish-come-true, years in the making.  

Ross is an aspiring Disney Imagineer from New York who was diagnosed with leukemia. While undergoing treatment, Ross learned about our world-famous coasters by watching the Disney+ series, “Behind the Attraction.” He wished to meet the Disney Imagineers, learn how they design Disney coasters, and experience them at Disneyland Resort during his very first trip to a Disney park.

Walt Disney Imagineers Making Wishes Come True

Walt Disney Imagineering is the creative engine that imagines, designs and brings to life Disney Experiences. We’re responsible for creating Disney theme parks, resorts, attractions, cruise ships and more. We take awesome characters and stories that our guests love and make them tangible all around the world. 

One of the best parts of working at Imagineering is the people – they represent more than 100 different disciplines with more than 500 U.S. patents from Walt Disney Imagineering and Walt Disney Imagineering Research & Development combined. As a creative director at Walt Disney Imagineering, I love helping inspire the next generation of Imagineers, which is why granting Ross’ wish was so special! 

To grant Ross’ wish, we took him on the journey of how attractions are created: from the blue-sky design phase all the way to testing out the coaster.  

Behind the Scenes at Disney

First, Ross joined us at Imagineering’s Headquarters in Glendale, California for a behind-the-scenes tour. Tours of Walt Disney Imagineering are rare. A creative force, a historical treasure, a dream factory and a hub of science and technology, Walt Disney Imagineering is a place of legend. It’s the only think tank created by Walt Disney himself. Ross was invited to step in and meet the people who make the magic and take a peek at how they make dreams come true, including Ride Engineering Studio Executive Mark Mesko and Principal Production Designer Ric Turner. Mark and Ric showed Ross how our creative, engineering and technical teams work together to create an incredible story through our coasters. 

Imagineer with family pictured -- Behind the Attraction: A Make-A-Wish Kid’s Ride of a Lifetime

Then, it was time to see it all come to life at Disneyland Resort. Ross joined the Walt Disney Imagineering Anaheim team, including Creative Development Executive Steve Roach, to see how attraction concepts are constructed into the real thing.

Finally – it was the moment Ross was waiting for – his first ride aboard the Incredicoaster. I got to join him on the journey, and as the creative director of that project seeing Ross’ reaction was absolutely INCREDIBLE! 

Guests on Incredicoaster -- Behind the Attraction: A Make-A-Wish Kid’s Ride of a Lifetime

When asked to sum up this wish in one word, Ross said “Surreal.” 

For more than 40 years, Disney and Make-A-Wish have worked together to deliver joy when it is needed most to wish kids and their families around the world. Since the very first official wish was granted at Disneyland Resort, Disney has helped fulfill more than 150,000 wishes globally with Make-A-Wish, and we are thrilled to help make wishes like Ross’ come true for kids passionate about Walt Disney Imagineering.

Guests outside of Incredicoaster -- Behind the Attraction: A Make-A-Wish Kid’s Ride of a Lifetime

Congratulations to Ross and to all the Imagineers for building the perfect wish for Ross! And stay tuned for even more magical Make-A-Wish stories on the Disney Parks Blog.