Seriously ill children and their families treated to a VIP Princess tea party fit for royalty thanks to Disney and Rays of Sunshine

Little girl wearing a tiara smiling while eating a sandwich

A group of seriously ill children and their families were given the royal treatment, when they were invited to a Disney Princess tea party at the luxurious Hoar Cross Hall Hotel in Burton-on-Trent.

Wish-granting charity Rays of Sunshine teamed up with Disney to offer an immersive experience exclusive to the charity. Guests enjoyed a Royal Fanfare and performances from Princesses Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Belle and Ariel. Alongside their Disney inspired afternoon tea, the children and their families enjoyed a meet and greet with the Princesses, Moana, The Fairy Godmother and Mickey and Minnie.

Rays of Sunshine grants wishes for seriously ill children across the UK and this event is just one of a whole calendar offered to families – other experiences include Christmas parties, private film screenings and special days out.

The VIPs were treated to a tea party hosted by their favourite Disney Princesses and characters, tucking into some delicious treats including Minnie Mouse macarons, Disney cupcakes and Mickey Mouse-shaped sandwiches.

Little girl in green dress poses with The Fairy Godmother and Cinderella

Each family was introduced to the Princesses, and got the chance to chat, laugh and dance with them. The families were also surprised with a special guest appearance from Mickey and Minnie Mouse who posed for photos with the children.

One of VIPs for the day was ten-year-old Alfie, from Birmingham, who was invited alongside his family to attend the Disney event. Alfie has a serious heart condition, and his original wish with Rays of Sunshine, to have a computer at home, was granted in 2020.

Since then, he has been to several events put on for the Rays of Sunshine wish community, and he has also become a beloved member of the charity’s Sunshine Choir – made up of other children who have had a wish from the charity.

He said his favourite part of the event was meeting Mickey and Minnie and eating all of the delicious sandwiches. Alfie’s mum, Claire, said: “We absolutely love these events with Rays of Sunshine, but this one feels particularly special because we’ve just come out of hospital after a six-week stay.

“We’ve been to a few of these events now, and it’s really lovely to see other parents and chat to people who have similar experiences to you. Alfie has made some really lovely friends because of them.”

Princess Aurora and Rapunzel pose with little girl wearing blue/green dress

Jenny Porter, Events Manager at Rays of Sunshine, said: With Rays of Sunshine, a wish is just the beginning, we invite families to special events like this so they can meet others with similar experiences, create even more memories and most importantly, have fun!

“We cannot thank the Disney team enough for hosting this magical Royal Court Tea Party event, and are so glad to see how happy it has made our families.”

Sara Hanson, Director, Enterprise Social Responsibility at Disney UK said: “We really enjoyed working with Rays of Sunshine on this special event, it is a perfect example of how our characters and stories can create Moments that Matter for children and families when its needed most.”

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