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!
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 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!
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!
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!