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
My granddaughter was granted a wish. To Sea World and Disney we went. The whole family stayed at "Give Kids the World", and we visited every day. Not only were the facilities top notch, but the care and services provided were amazing. The volunteers were working hard and glad to be doing it. That was the real story. Everyone working there wanted to be. We are planning a trip to Florida soon,, and plan to spend several days volunteering. They made a wish come true and took care of the whole families needs. Even the two other children and parent. You can see the extra effort put into everything the do.
In 2006 my son was a wish kid and we stayed at GKTW. We went to a different theme park everyday (Disney-Sea World- Animal X Kingdom etc) My second grader couldn't wait to get back to the Village every night - that's how magical it is.
Give Kids The World is an amazing organization and I hope to go back someday to volunteer. They made my daughters Make a Wish trip truly memorable and they certainly deserve all of the recognition they can get!
Our son Christopher has severe autism and epilepsy. Because of it, he is a 20 year old trapped in a 3 or 4 year olds' mind. He loves everything Disney. When he was granted a Dream from our local wish granting organization, there was no question. Disney World is his favorite place. His first unprompted words were spoken there at 13. "Small World". Well, we were excited to visit the parks and had no idea that the best part of our trip would actually be Give Kids The World. Our whole family was treated like royalty. We had no stress about anything. If you have a special needs child, you know that stress is constant. Everything has been taken into consideration to make families have a truly enjoyable week. It has been almost exactly two years since our visit and we talk so often about our trip. Christopher added so much to his speech since our trip. He tries to talk about it to the best of his ability. That is just another gift gained from our amazing trip! I miss the beautiful, peaceful and joyful village every day!
THIS IS THE BEST PLACE IN THE WORLD FOR CHILDERN. THEY SHOW LOVE PEACE CARING FOR ALL YOUR NEEDS. EVEN THE PARENTS CAN FEEL FREE FOR THEY KNOW THE CHILDREN ARE SO CARE FOR NO MATTER WHAT THE NEEDSARE . I TRULY LOVE THIS PLACE THEY MADE MY GRANDSON ,HIS MOTHER ,SISTER AND BROTHER AND MY SELF(GRANDMOTHER) SO ,SO HAPPY HE WANTS TO COME BACK THERE....THEY WANTED TO STAY THER MORE THAN GOING TO THE DIFFERENT PARKS. I THANK YOU FOR SHOWING SO MUCH HAPPYNESS TO ALL CHILDREN THAT COME THERE.. YOU TREAT THEM ALL THE SAME ..NO ONE SO ILLNESS JUST SMILESE
Our family was at GKTW the first week of September for our son's Make-A-Wish trip. We are so thankful for everyone's kindness and generosity!!!The staff and many voulenteers were wonderful and very helpful. My two boys felt like they were in a dream. They loved the Dino Golf, train, Pool, splash park.... They loved everything there! Our experience was re energizing and our strength is renewed! Thank you GKTW!
There is only one word, that said it all for me and that is HUMBLE!! You cannot go or leave The Village without a heart full of love. God Bless Henry.
We were blessed to stay at Give Kids the World in October 2014. It was a truly wonderful experience ! The sheer happiness of the place rivals that of Disney World itself! There is something there for all children, from toddlers to teens, and of course my husband and I loved it, too! So many smiles from children, families, staff, and the awesome volunteers! My son suffers from two chronic illnesses, but for that week, we were happy and stress-free. We plan to go back to visit sometime, and hopefully to volunteer as well!
I could not say enough great things about this place. Every single employee and volunteer were so friendly, kind, and willing to smile. They would ask us about our day and remember the next time we would see them and they'd follow up with us. My children love this place. In fact, they would have rather spent all our time here than at any of the parks. We hope to be back in a few years as volunteers. Give Kids the World, they truly live up to their name!
Wow, GKTW is amazing! What an outstanding place to have stayed! All I can say is thank you! My 5 year old son had a blast! We are very blessed to have stayed there. We were able to take a break from treatment and it made him feel like he was in a fairytale!
My son chose Give Kids the World village for his Make-A-Wish trip in 2008. Every minute of his trip was magical. It was the happiest week of his life, from the ice cream for breakfast to the pool to the little treats in our villa every day. The village is mostly staffed by volunteers, and it is incredibly well run.
I am returning to Florida in a few months for a business trip, and I have planned it so I can volunteer at Give Kids the World while I'm there.
My brother has been gone 10 years now but my entire family still has the memories from his wish trip to WDW. Our stay at GKTW made our trip so much more enjoyable. We really didn't have much to worry about. Handicap accessible, ice cream anytime, great breakfast, even at 15 I looked forward to all the surprises left for us. My personal favorite is still the carousel. Some of my favorite pictures of my brother from that trip are on that carousel. My hope is to one day be able to return to GKTW as a volunteer.
My daughter had make a wish and we were blessed to have stayed here. The staff and volunteers are angles from God! We never wanted or needed for anything! It has changed our family in more ways than we could ever have imagined. Our spirits have been lifted and we got to live a normal life that week, we talk about it all the time and smile and laugh. The kids want to come and volunteer as soon as possible so that they can help other kids have the same blessing they had! God bless everyone at GKTW for your are truly Gods Angels!!! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
My son Joshua Long got his make a wish last year in August 2014. He has kidney disease, needs a new kidney one day. He went to Walt Disney World, universal/Island Adventure, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, had the most amazing time thank you making my child happy, enjoying life without being in the hospital. God bless this wonderful place. Called Give the kids the World.
Give Kids The World made it so easy to have fun as a special needs family. They spoke to our children first and paid them all the attention. Everyone was nice and always had an answer for our crazy questions. The best place ever. Wish I lived close so I could volunteer there, one day I hope to. I'm sad that our sons illness made it possible to stay there but their accommodations were so great it made the trip so memorable. They are tops in my book- everything about Give Kids The World is amazing!
My son was 10 when he got diagnosed with AML. Leukemia We spent 7 month's in hospital and he was rewarded with a trip for the whole family of 6 to spend 7 days at give kids the world..and what I learned that week was the name is exactly what they do! My son is 21 now and STILL talks about his visit..this place makes dreams come true more so then any theme park ever! Thank you for the experience of a lifetime.
The Lovett family
I went to Give Kids the World for my wish trip back in May of 2005. Honestly that was the best home away from home. The food was fantastic, the staff were amazing, and the themed days were awesome. We went to Disney World for my wish trip and every night when we got back there was always a giant basket of goodies waiting for us. Sadly it was my last vacation with my family ever, but the memories from that trip make my heart whole. If I ever go to Florida again I intend visiting Give Kids the World. Its such a magical place and a positive experience with a positive atmosphere where all the volunteers always have smiles on there faces, the village makes you feel more like a kid and less like a kid thats sick.
I have traveled with a small group from Massachusetts to Give Kids the World for three years in a row to volunteer in memory of our friend who was a guest there. There truly is no place in the world like it. I have met the most incredible people with the most inspiring stories, from other fellow volunteers to these amazing families and of course, the children. It is the greatest privilege to donate my time to this organization.
Give Kids the World strives to put a smile on every child's face, to make everyone feel included and relaxed and cared for, and to ensure that they have a magical and memorable trip. As a volunteer, it is so humbling to be able to serve this mission for such deserving children and families. Even for me, I have made some of my closest friends and fondest memories on my volunteer trips there--and the experience isn't even about me. The way Give Kids the World makes families feel welcomed and loved is unlike any other place, it takes away the pain, stress, and worries they typically feel and replaces those feelings with so much joy, many laughs, and lots of smiles. I have had parents tell me how grateful they are to have volunteers like us, and to have a place like Give Kids the World to put a spark back in their child's eye. But in all reality, we are even more grateful for the opportunity to be there and to be a part of their memories.
I cannot wait to return in the summer of 2016 for our fourth volunteer trip. It's so terribly difficult to leave every time because Give Kids the World creates an environment that is a joy and honor to work in and a magical and memorable place to visit. I only wish that I was closer and could volunteer more often and that more people could know all that Give Kids the World has to offer.
Best place on earth for sick children to have fun! We stayed here for our daughter's Make a Wish trip when she was 3-1/2 and undergoing chemotherapy for leukemia. We were amazed by the amenities and the love shown to everyone there by the amazing volunteers. We will be returning as volunteers ourselves once our daughter is old enough to volunteer. We want to pay it forward and hope that we can make someone else's stay there as magical and memorable as our visit. They really do give kids the world while they are there and all for nothing except a smile and maybe a hug in return. Truly magical!
we miss give kids the world we were treated like family and it was an awesome place to visit we went there in dec of 2010 for our daughter's wish trip . and we didn't want to leave . we left with tears in our eyes because it is such a peaceful and awesome place
My family stayed at GKTW back in May and I cannot say enough good things about how truly magical our stay was. My daughter had such an amazing time. She still talks about going back to visit all the time. This charity is such a blessing.
My family and I visited GKTWV December of 2014, for my daughters dream come true trip. GKTWV was so great to us, we loved everything about our stay. The staff made us feel so special we talk about how wonderful everything was quite frequently
It's been 4 years since our visit and not a day goes by that I don't think about GKTW and the utter joy they brought to my daughters face. What an absolutely remarkable place this is! I get emotional every time I think of all the selfless volunteers and their mission to make this world a better place. I'm eternally grateful to GKTW, thank you for letting my family forget about cancer if only for a week it was the best! Emma is now 9 and we can't wait to come down and give back to GKTW!!!!