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Wish Blog

What are the 9 most popular wish destinations?

9 most popular destinations
Each year, hundreds of Arizona children with critical illnesses travel around the world to their wish destinations, but have you ever guessed what places are the most popular? Find out for yourself and see how you can help us reach our goal of granting 405 wishes this year!

#9 – Japan
120,000 airline miles for one roundtrip ticket

Wish kids choose Japan for many reasons, including anime, video games, cuisine and world-famous cherry blossoms. Emma, who is a Japanese Manga artist and a daring foodie, enjoyed eating ramen, sushi and trying sea urchins for the first time on her wish.


Read Emma’s story:

"Emma’s wish was something our entire family could look forward to, particularly Emma when she was dealing with her leukemia. We talked about her wish all the time, as often as we could, and Emma’s wish made her push harder during her physical therapy. Just the idea of seeing the beautiful cherry blossoms in bloom gave Emma something positive to work toward and helped her fight. Throughout these incredibly difficult obstacles with her health, Emma would smile and check off another day on her calendar, bringing her closer to her wish.” -Ildi, Emma’s mom

#8 – Alaska
40,000 airline miles for one roundtrip ticket

Alaska is a “cool” wish destination for many kids because of its beautiful glaciers, wildlife and adventurous excursions. Fun Fact: Alaska is the only state name that you can type on one row of a keyboard!


Read Louie’s story:


Louie’s wish to see snow for the first time and walk across the terrain in Alaska holds so much meaning because it is something he may never physically have the chance to do again.   

“Louie has a rare form of peripheral hereditary neuropathy, a degenerative disease that affects the mobility in his feet and legs. He gets tired very easily and he needs braces to walk more than 100 yards, but to see him mobile and excited on his wish was amazing. We went in a big snow truck to the top of this mountain and we were able to ride dog sleds and pet the puppies. The blue ice and clear water was so beautiful and his wish is a gift we still talk about to this day.” -Jenni, Louie’s mom

#7 – France
120,000 airline miles for one roundtrip ticket

Known for its art, museums, architecture and fashion, France (especially Paris) tends to be a wish kid favorite. Eric, who loves to cook and learn about history in his classes, enjoyed seeing famous landmarks, preparing a three-course meal with a Parisian chef and, most importantly, regaining his confidence on his trip.


Read Eric’s story:

"When we left the hospital after Eric’s open-heart surgery, he showed no interest in cooking or coming out of his room anymore. You could tell he was very down and he became depressed, but the day we set foot on the Eiffel Tower, Eric was speechless for quite some time. I used to hear him say, ‘I hope I get well so I can go on my wish trip.’ And now that he did and his health is doing so well, I am just at a loss for words. His cooking class gave him a new spark of motivation and now he is excited about cooking again! He came back a new person and his wish gave him his life back.” -Rocio, Eric’s mom

#6 – Italy
120,000 airline miles for one roundtrip ticket

Pizza, pasta, gelato… who doesn’t love Italian food? For wish kid David, finding foods he is able to eat has been a challenge his entire life because of his genetic disorder, but pizza is one food that has always brought him happiness.


Read David’s story:


"I’m allergic to a lot of foods like chicken, peanuts and more, so when I had pizza for the first time it became my favorite food. I wished to travel to the pizza capital of the world, so I could learn to make pizza according to the traditional Neapolitan recipe! Just the cheese pizza was amazing, like nothing and I mean nothing, you can have anywhere else. It tasted glorious! I loved it. I was jealous of myself because I thought I would never be able to have pizza like that again, but my brother, Mikey, wished to go on a Mediterranean cruise the following year and we were able to go back to the same pizzeria one more time!” -David

Fun Fact: The average American eats 23 pounds of pizza each year!

#5 – New York City
40,000 airline miles for one roundtrip ticket

Many wish kids choose to travel to The Big Apple because it has it all! The shopping, activities, landmarks, Broadway shows, even riding the subway are rites of passage every tourist must do when exploring what this city has to offer for the first time.

Penelope  Read Penelope’s story:
Penelope wished to visit New York City during winter because it was the most magical place in every book, television show or movie she had ever seen. “When Penelope’s cancer came back a second time, that was the hardest thing we’ve ever had to go through. Her wish was like a light in the dark. She was completely packed more than two weeks before our trip was scheduled, and she wouldn’t stop talking about her wish, before and after. She loved going to the Statue of Liberty, Times Square and the Bronx Zoo. I had not seen my daughter that happy in a long time and her wish is something that she will remember for the rest of her life." -Perla, Penelope’s mom

#4 – The Bahamas
80,000 airline miles for one roundtrip ticket

The Bahamas is home to Atlantis Resort and Castaway Cay, a popular stop for Disney Cruise Line vacations. But there was no place wish kid Sydney wanted to visit during her stay more than an uninhabited island with more than 20 pigs and piglets.

Sydney  Read Sydney’s story:

"I love the beach and I saw there was a place where you could swim with the pigs in the water and it looked like so much fun. Having a wish really lifted my spirits, it helped me to get excited about something and feel like myself again. The pigs came right up to the boat and we could feed them and jump in the water with them. I know what a wish can do when you need it most and I will be forever thankful. Now I want to give another kid like me that same feeling.”

Fun Fact: What makes the sand pink in the Bahamas? It comes from a microscopic marine animal with a bright pink or red shell.

#3 – Hawaii
80,000 airline miles for one roundtrip ticket

The stretches of beautiful beaches and tropical scenery makes Hawaii the number three destination for wish trips. Marquel wished to go to Hawaii to learn about nature photography, but he never expected to learn a lot about himself in the process and return from his trip with a new, positive outlook on life.

Marquel  Read Marquel’s story:

"I see images of all the incredible places in the world, and I'm inspired to get out there and take my own pictures. I’m going to study art in college and I wanted to build my portfolio and get more experience. We went to a beach and I learned from professional photographers how to pose people, capture the best angles and use different camera techniques, then, they surprised me with my own art show! It was so cool and inspiring to see my photos, I felt like I was a real professional photographer. My wish helped me see that my disease isn’t hindering, but a way to let others know that nothing should stop you from achieving your dreams.” -Marquel, Wish Kid

Fun Fact: The Hawaiian word “Aloha” means both hello and goodbye.

#2 – California
15,000 airline miles for one roundtrip ticket

California is widely known for its kid-friendly theme parks, beaches, and nice weather all year round. Siblings Alexander and Angelique, who have sickle cell disease, both wished to travel to California for their wishes, but their individual trips couldn’t be more different.

Angelique and Alexander 

Read Angelique's story:

Read Alexander's story:

"Alexander loves to swim and watch shows about marine animals, so he wished to see different animals at SeaWorld and San Diego Zoo. We were able to go behind-the-scenes for special animal encounters and he got to feed the dolphins and penguins. A few months after his wish, my daughter Angelique wished to visit princess Elsa at Disneyland and we also got to go to Knotts Berry Farm and Universal Studios. They gave Angelique a princess makeover and she was able to meet so many characters and skip all of the lines for the rides. This was the first time in my kids’ lives that something positive has come from their condition. Each wish was so personalized to them and even if I won the lottery I wouldn’t be able to do this for my kids.” -Cecil, Wish Dad

#1 – Florida
40,000 airline miles for one roundtrip ticket

Florida takes the top spot as the most popular wish destination and, with nearly half of our wish kids and their families who choose to travel to Walt Disney World and Give Kids The World, it outnumbers any other destination by far!


Read William’s story:

William was treated to an unforgettable week with his family for his wish and, after a difficult diagnosis, his mom says the experience brought her son back again. “William went through chemotherapy treatments and after he had his liver transplant, and he just wasn’t himself. He couldn’t do the things he loved anymore, and his medication made him depressed. Going on vacations was something we used to do that made William so happy and seeing him exciting and acting like himself again on his wish was amazing. His wish helped him heal and recover more than I could have imagined.” -Christine, William’s mom

This summer is our busiest time for wishes and we need your help to send children with critical illnesses to their wish destinations. Did you know you can donate your airline miles to Make-A-Wish, and once donated they will never expire?

Don’t have airline miles to donate? A monthly pledge of $5 can help Arizona wish kids and their families fly to their wish destinations all year long.

Send a message of hope

With many of our wishes postponed, we want you to help keep our wish kids’ spirits high! Write, video or photograph yourself sharing a message of hope and post to any of our Make-A-Wish Arizona social media channels at @makeawishaz (tag @makeawisharizona on Instagram) and use the hashtag #WishesAreWaiting.

You can help bring hope to a child who needs it!

Send a Message of Hope

About this Blog

Make-A-Wish Arizona is the founding chapter of Make-A-Wish, the international wish granting organization. Our chapter grants incredible wishes every day for Arizona children with critical illnesses. We want to share the stories of our wishes -- and the inspiration, creativity, imagination and life-affirming enthusiasm that they bring -- with you.

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Make-A-Wish® Arizona
2901 North 78th Street
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
(602) 395-9474
Toll Free (800) 324-9474