This holiday season, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of its partnership with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Disney has released this heart-tugging tale of a “lola” (the Filipino term for grandmother), who looks back longingly on her memories as a child in the Philippines.
The story opens in 1940, when the lola was a young girl reuniting with her father in the street at Christmas time. She rushes to see him as he comes home from a trip, pulling his hand to her forehead in a “mano,” a gesture of honor young ones give to their elders. He then stoops down to give her a present—a stuffed Mickey Mouse, and her face lights up like the “parols” that decorate the town, paper lanterns symbolizing the Star of Bethlehem that led the Three Kings to baby Jesus’ manger when he was born.
Now much older, the grandmother is living in another country with her daughter and grandchild, to whom she’s passed down her precious stuffed toy, along with other family traditions. But after a small accident with Mickey, she grows teary-eyed, remembering the holidays in her native country. Her daughter, however, notices her sadness and in the end, finds a way to light up her mother’s face once again.
The film was created for the EMEA region. Disney is the largest wish granter with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and has fulfilled more than 140,000 wishes around the world since the very first one it granted at the Disneyland Resort in 1940. As part of the campaign, Disney has released a limited-edition plush Mickey Mouse with features just like the one in the film. It will be available at Disney Stores and online across EMEA.
Angela Affinita, Walt Disney Company EMEA director of brand and creative marketing—consumer products, games and publishing, says that "the story was inspired by my own Lola who would look after me and my sister while my parents worked, and also memories of Christmas traditions amongst the Filipino community growing up in the U.K. My intention was always for it to be a universal story that everyone can relate to—stories are so much better when you bring a level of authenticity to it, and this was an opportunity to make it unique by drawing on my own experience."