Dwayne Johnson, star of Disney's in-the-works Jungle Cruise, welcomed Make-A-Wish kids and their families to its set for a special fun-filled day of surprises as part of Johnson's annual get-together aimed at children whose wish is to meet the star.
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*scroll left Even though I was obviously there with the kids and parents, it’s hard for me to watch these without shedding a happy tear or two. As a man, father and luckiest SOB on this planet, I can honestly say without no uncertain terms — to me, this will always be the best part of my job. The best part of fame. Stay strong families and thank you for choosing me as your “wish” and thank you for the trust to deliver a little bit of joy to your lives. Stay strong ~ DJ ❤️ And a huge mahalo to my Emily Blunt & @jackwhitehall as well as my entire team, Jungle Cruise production crew and our amazing partners @microsoft, @atomtickets, @disney & @underarmour. #MakeAWishDay #TheKindaStuffThatReallyMatters
"We have the Make-A-Wish kids here, it's very, very exciting," Johnson says in the first of a series of videos shared to his Instagram account Sunday.
"I am honored that this is gonna happen. We are giving them the run of the set. I feel like Willy Wonka and this is literally like our chocolate factory, and it's anything and everything they want."
Playing 'Dwanta Claus,' Johnson is seen distributing gifts, including Project Rock duffle bags packed with Under Armour gear, a year's worth of Atom Tickets for any movie anywhere, specially-curated Disney care packages, and free Microsoft games for a year to be played on their exclusive Jungle Cruise-branded Xbox One.
"I'm so happy you guys are here, that's so awesome," says Johnson's Jungle Cruise co-star Emily Blunt when dropping in for a surprise visit with co-star Jack Whitehall.
"Just happy for him. It's been a rough year," one teary-eyed mom says in the video as Johnson poses for photos with her son.
"The glitz and the glamour is always fun, and delivering a movie to the world is always fun, but this kind of stuff — we're delivering some happiness to kids who need it and parents who need it. Very special," Johnson says.
"The kids say that I inspire them, which is awesome, but the irony about it is they have no idea, no clue, how much they inspire me."
Johnson added such interactions are "truly the best part" of fame.
A longtime supporter and wish-granter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Johnson said earlier this year "Make-A-Wish means something," calling the foundation — aimed at fulfilling the larger-than-life wishes of children battling life-threatening medical conditions — "something very meaningful to me and I hold very, very close to my heart."
The star said he was inspired by his father, former WWE tag-team champion Rocky Johnson, whose 1983 meeting with a 10-year-old boy afflicted with Lou Gehrig's disease made for an unforgettable moment in his life.
"I remember my Dad telling me and Mom, 'There's a little boy, and he wants to meet me, and he's really challenged right now, and he's fighting hard, and his one wish is to meet me,' and I was blown away," Johnson said, calling the subsequent meeting "a very special moment and time in our lives."
Johnson founded his own charity aimed at bettering the lives of children around the world, the Dwayne Johnson ROCK Foundation, in 2006.
Jungle Cruise sails into theaters October 11, 2019.