“A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes” is a song written and composed by Mack David, Al Hoffman and Jerry Livingston for the Walt Disney film Cinderella (1950). In the song, Cinderella (voiced by Ilene Woods) encourages her animal friends to never stop dreaming, and that theme continues throughout the entire story. The theme of the song was taken from Franz Liszt’s Etude No. 9 Ricordanza of the Transcendental Etudes.
Thematically, the lyrics recall the sentiments expressed in “When You Wish upon a Star” from Pinocchio (1940). In equating a dream with a wish, the song establishes that Cinderella is using the word “dream” in the metaphorical sense of desires that can, as the lyric promises, “come true.” “When You Wish Upon A Star” makes this same promise, as does other Disney material, such as the fireworks show Remember… Dreams Come True and related promotions. The literal meaning of the word, as something that happens “when you’re fast asleep”, reappears in another Disney song, “Once Upon a Dream” from Sleeping Beauty (1959).