And I hope you never have to go there.
Before you start thinking about what a wack-job I am, the place I am referring to is a wish granting resort. It caters to families who have children with terminal illness or life-threatening ailments. So, I do hope you never have to go. We are grateful that Jack's leukemia is in remission and we waited until he felt healthy enough for such a trip.
But if you have a child who unfortunately has to deal with what no child should have to, and they are granted a wish from the many wish-granting organizations, like Make-A-Wish, and they dream of going to Disney World, I hope you get a chance to stay at Give Kids The World.
You see, one person can make a difference. Henri Landwirth, an amazing man and Holocaust survivor, is the founder of Give Kids The World, a resort where these children and their families are treated like royalty. Please take a minute to research this incredible man.
We arrived at our "home" for the week and every amenity was taken care of. Gifts were left in our villa every day for the kids, pizza and sandwiches were delivered to your door, and the ice cream shoppe was open for breakfast. ;)
The resort provided tickets to all the major parks, like Disney World, SeaWorld and Universal Studios.
Characters from Disney, Nickelodeon, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld came to the resort for picture taking, for a much more personal and exciting experience for the kids.
They have horseback riding, a beautiful lagoon pool with an amazing splash pad, and one of the best miniature golf game I have ever played, that included interactive dinosaurs! Yes, dinosaurs.
And the parties! Every night there was a different party. Pirate and Princess party. Mayor Clayton's Birthday (mascot for GKTW). Winter Wonderland night, including Santa's visit (with presents, of course). And the list goes on.
There is the Castle of Miracles where each wish child has a star with their name on it, placed on the ceiling forever by the Star Fairy. La Ti Da Salon where you can have a makeover. A beautiful carousel where you can take a ride at your whim. A ginormous, interactive train room. Train rides around the resort. A cookie and lemonade cart roaming the streets, looking for their next customer. It's just unbelievable.
But this place couldn't exist without the volunteers, and that is what touched me the most. In Florida during the winter, you will find a lot of "snowbirds". Not a mammal that can fly, but retired persons who spend 6 months out of the year in this warm state and then travel back home for the summer. Many of these are missing their children and grandchildren back home and Give Kids The World is the perfect place for them. They take all that love they have for their families and shower it on the wish families for their week's stay. A stay where these families can find respite from their challenging lives.
Thank you Give Kids The World. Thank you Make-A-Wish. Thank you volunteers. You have left my family with a lifetime of memories.
If you would like to make a contribution to either of these charities, please click their links above. It truly is the most wonderful and magical place on earth. They changed our lives, even for that short week.
Thanks for reading,