We just visited GKTW for My son's wish trip. We stayed October 18-24 2015 and it was amazing. Even though we didn't utilize everything GKTW had to offer I can tell you this.... THEY OFFER SOOOOOOOOOO MUCH TO OFFER!! My son recently went into remission from Rhabomyosarcoma (cancer) but he also has Autism. He was so excited that he could have pizza delivered EVERY NIGHT if he wanted! The villas are spacious and gorgeous. The people who work/volunteer there are so nice and helpful... Did I mention they also have a Cookie Cart that comes to your villa with awesome cookies??? I could spend hours telling you about this wonderful, magical world. Thank you GKTW and everyone who has a part in making these kids smile!
I'm a proud volunteer and I look forward to the time I get to spend at GKTW. The Village is run like a well oiled machine with lots of happy, smiling faces and friendly people. An amazing blessing in the heart of Central Florida!
In 2009 my child had his wish and we stayed here. The kids loved it so much that they skipped several days at the Disney Parks to stay at Give Kids The World Village! We went back to FL in 2013 & are returning again this month. We stay close to GKTW and go back to visit. This place is almost 100% volunteer! I have never seen such a wonderful group of people, companies, corporations and employees band together for a single purpose and make it beyond great! When my Special Needs children are old enough we will be taking family volunteer vacations to go back and pay it forward! No words can accurately describe what an amazing place this is!
My family and I volunteer by our adoption of 2 villas (we clean & landscape multiple times a year plus put up/take down holiday decorations) and I additionally volunteer my social media expertise promoting GKTW Village. We see firsthand how much joy the place brings to families. They share their heartfelt joy every time we meet them and are so impressed with the entire operation. I've not yet met a single soul who has been there who isn't blown away by the generosity of spirit reflected by the volunteers and staff. Every family I've met, likewise, is overwhelmed with acceptance and love.
There's another place in the Orlando area that's considered the "Most Magical Place on Earth." With all due respect to the mouse, I'd have to disagree and proclaim that it's REALLY Give Kids The World Village. While families do enjoy tickets to WDW, SeaWorld, Universal and more, the magic is in the day-to-day stay at The Village where every child is special, and for one week mom and dad can relax for just a bit. They'll deal with their child's life-threatening illness all-too-soon when they're home again. But for just one week they have Give Kids The World Village.
My daughter had a make a wish trip from August 4-10. Her wish was to go to disney, and we were fortunate enough to stay at give kids the world village. When I first heard other families talking about the village, I was skeptical. How could a place you sleep at be better than a theme park? Well let me tell you. Of all the things we did, the activities at gktw are the ones the kids talk about. Not sea world, or seeing the mouse. Rather, swimming like mermaids and a shark. Being able to swim early in the morning, or late at night. Eating ice cream from 7:30 am to 9:30 pm. Riding on jj's express and seeing the original dinosaur from Jurassic park. Then playing mini golf right with the dinosaurs. Having something going on every single evening, Halloween, Christmas, mayor claytons birthday, tea party, and so much more!! The gifts they received every day was something they talk about. Where else does all of your kids get included in stuff like that? The horses they did both days. That was a first for my kids riding horse back. Being able to eat 3 great meals a day for free was unbelievable. For a family of 6, that was extremely helpful. From Italian night to Christmas dinner, each meal was delicious. The volunteers were amazing. We had one guy take time out of his day just to talk to my kids and involve them in his "job". But the great thing about gktw is that this isn't a job. These volunteers want to be there. They all smile and wave at everybody like the families are royalty. The castle, with all the stars in. So very emotional. It makes you stop and thank god for a place like this, somewhere that a sick child can come and live for one week like they are a normal child. The carousel and loris flight , being able to accommodate wheelchairs is amazing. It leaves no child out. Having not one, but two swimming pools. Matthews playground. Who doesn't like to just go at your own place. Fishing right there at the village, and maybe snagging yourself a turtle (everything catch and release of course). A personal tuck in from either the mayor or his wife, pillow fight included. These...these are the memories that my kids talk about.
Our family was fortunate enough to move to kissimmee at the end of July. As it was, they did not want to leave the village. They want to live there forever. As a result of our move, my husband and I have been able to become volunteers at the village. This is something we do not take lightly. We cherish the times that we are able to come and spend time with the other families. We are able to share our experience with them, and answer any questions because after all, we have been in their shoes.
We cannot wait until the day our kids can volunteer right there beside us. Until then, we go once a week as a welcome back family, and trust me, they treat you just like you were there for the first time
Although we had heard of GKTHW we didn't know much about it. Then, our very dear friends were guests and invited us to visit. We were overwhelmed. Such a wonderful, special place for children and their families. Everything there is geared towards helping these special families have fun. To help them forget, even for a few minutes, the illness and/or disease that affects their child. This is truly a worthwhile charity/nonprofit.
As part of my sons make a wish trip with First Things First and Kurt and Brenda Warner, the next best thing to our trip was GKTW. The service was beyond anything we ever could have imagined, this place is a Wonderland of fun for our kiddos who just want to forget about meds, doctors and hospitals and just be for awhile. The people who work and volunteer are the most wonderful people I could ever meet. My son enjoyed every moment he was there and they had a color fan in his room which sent him over the moon and to this day he still talks about his trip. We are truly blessed to have stayed here and we thank everyone for all they do for all the families. I cannot say enough about GKTW. It really is a magical place.
My son and his family stayed there last April. They loved that more than Disney World. My grandson, Blake, has leukemia and he was treated like a king. They opportunities were wonderful. Just staying there would have been enough of a treat. Blake was so happy and temporary forgot about all the chemotherapy and the pain. I can't thank you enough.
My grandson wanted to go on a vacation like other children. His doctor said vacations were a privilege not a right. He can only go to certain countries due to emergency medical attention he may need. Like many other children with life threatening illnesses, travel is not an option. The insurance alone is more than any trip would cost. Give Kids the World allowed my grandson the opportunity to be privileged, and forget about monthly transfusions, week long hospital and missed holidays with family. The attention that they give each and every. Child and family member that walks through the door is truly amazing. Without this facility, none of these families would experience the privilege of leaving their home and experiencing the excitement of travel, and the fulfilling of a dream. Yes, these children are sick, some won't live long,, but Give Kids the world gives these children and their families an opportunity to forget for a week, and meet other children that are also sick. We met so may other families from different countries that we still keep in contact with. GKTW looks after most needs of the sick child and their famies and gives them a truly amazing experience, one that they will never forget. Without GKTW, my grandson would never have experienced all he did, he still talks about that trip and what a life altering experience it was for him. That trip was three years ago and unfortunately one of his friends he met there has since passed away, but each time he talks about him, he says "remember when we were at Give kids the world and...."THANK YOU Give Kids The World for allowing my grandson to be a child.
This is a picture of my kids hanging out by the theater at give kids the world in Florida. We took this trip for my son Justin (wearing the cars shirt) He has had a hard life, lived in and out of hospitals. At the time of this picture he had four open heart surgeries and a pacemaker. Two days before the trip we were in a hospital room wondering if he would make the trip and another very invasive heart surgery looming. We didn't know what our outcome would be or what the future would hold, so we packed up and went to Florida. Although GKTW was not out original destination (he wanted to go to Disney) it became a destination in itself. We ate at a cafeteria shaped like a gingerbread house, ate at a table covered in star mints, looked at hundreds of dolls donated to them. Surrounded by the nicest people who seemed to want nothing more than making them happy. After we went to the castle, to see thousands of stars from other wish kids. Really an overwhelming thought when you look at it. A fairy room, a tree that makes you your own pillow and a merry go round that he rode dozens of times. Ice cream was eaten at a shoppe with giant bananas, and ice cream scoops. They got to eat as much as they wanted and one day they did the famous "ice cream for breakfast" and ate it outside in a giant bowl. Putt putt golf course with cool dinosaurs was a big hit, and it connected to the train station where you guessed it they had train rides...but not only that they had a huge train set. The kids loved it. And they also had boats they got to race around. Each night was different..mayor clatons birthday.. Christmas, complete with santa and gifts. And in the evening before bed they had a wonderful pool and splash zone. One day there was horses to ride...and we will never forget ole Elmer the sleeping tree...so many memories were made there. It was an awesome week where for just a little while the world revolved around our family being together and not around a hospital room