Monday, August 20, 2012

Hakuna Matata Monday-you can Give Kids the World

Amberville - GKTW

When you drive down Bass Road in Kissimmee, you’ll see a welcome sign that reads: Give Kids The World. When you go inside, you can do just that. Like the arches into the Magic Kingdom; when I get there… I am HOME.

 Give Kids The World (GKTW) exists to fulfill the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses. Kids and their families come from around the world to stay at this whimsical 70-acre resort and enjoy a magical, memorable cost-free visit to Walt Disney World and other Orlando area attractions. While at the Village, fun and entertainment are endless. They are able to ride a themed carousel, play at Matthew’s Boundless Playground, eat ice cream for breakfast, and much, much more! When families return from the parks, they find the fun continues even after dark with pool parties and other nightly celebrations. In a nutshell, you could stay there, never leave, and still have the trip of a lifetime.
One of the fun villas families stay in.

 GKTW would not have the ability to fulfill the wishes of these special children without the extraordinary support of Walt Disney World. Not only does each of the Wish kids’ family members receive a three-day park hopper ticket free of charge, Walt Disney World does a fantastic job making sure these special visitors feel more than welcome.

 The Wish Child’s GKTW “Magic” button and a WDW Guest Assistance Card provides “FASTPASS” service to the families, allowing them to fully enjoy the attractions offered at each park at a pace that is safe for them. The Cast Members provide excellent guest service including an invitation to the Wish Lounge, located at the Magic Kingdom.

spending time with Goofy friends at GKTW
When they are back in the Village, Disney characters come and visit them for pictures and autographs – giving them a better chance to interact with characters. They are given pictures to take home to treasure. Guests can check the “Daily Happenings” To know where to go.

 Disney promotes volunteerism with thousands of hours of service. On any given day Disney Cast Members from the VoluntEARS program can be seen doing every job from painting the castle that graces GKTW to cleaning up the Gingerbread House after meals.

 As a matter of fact, GKTW just celebrated 2 million hours of volunteers.

Give Kids the World Angels gather for a group picture
There I am with my sunglasses on, right under the heart next to the orange shirts!

Taking a fantasy vacation to Walt Disney World would be a dream that is far beyond these families reach if GKTW did not exist.  Their days consist of doctor, lab or hospital visits, medical bills and fear. While at WDW they can dream, imagine and - best of all - hope.

Give Kids the World was created by Holocaust survivor, Henri Landwirth, as an opportunity to transform his lost childhood into a legacy of love. For Henri, this is not just another project. GKTW is Henri’s passion. He knew childhood suffering firsthand; and to this day, it is still his mission to help children and their families get through the difficulties that come with a child robbed of their childhood due to illness.

The magical village near Orlando has granted vacations to over 117,000 terminally ill children and their families. Wish Foundations around the globe send children to Give Kids The World. At GKTW, these precious children learn that dreams really do come true.

Each year over 27,000 children in the United States alone are diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses. Half of those children choose as their wish through the Make-A-Wish Foundation to visit Walt Disney World.  Only about 7,000 a year make it, however.  There currently aren’t enough funds donated so that each of these dying children can get their wish. But you can help.

Future Disney Gal just held a lemonade stand and raised $100. Others have become volunteer Angels and help out themselves. And you can send monetary donations right to us. Tune in later this week to learn how GKTW has touched me. If you want to volunteer let me know- I am your Gal.


  1. Thanks for this Lori. I'll have to repost this on Makena's "Rae of Sunshine" facebook page. How cute that you gave her a little shout-out too!! :) This is such an amazing organization and we're so excited to be able to help in any way we can. All of my background checks are done and I'm all set up to be a volunteer! Let's plan a trip next year!

    1. planning a trip together is a good idea. Remember it takes a bit to get on the schedule because spots fill quickly. and way to go Makena! we are all so very proud of you!

  2. Thanks for the information on GKTW, it is so intresting and I wonder how many people did not know it was even there! Cannot wait to volunteer there soon.

  3. thank you for all of this wonderful information!

  4. Touching article! Thanks for showing us that we can all help make dreams come true!

  5. This Article is why I love reading Disney Gals!! I had no idea this was even in Orlando, what a cool thing Disney does to make the kids wishes come true.