I have been pitiful in telling you about our trip to Orlando with Family Forward and Universal Studios. One measly post telling you about the gorgeous Loews Portofino Bay. But I wanted to make sure too much time didn’t pass before I shared with you one of the most meaninful parts of our family trip.
Before Family Forward, I had never heard of Give Kids The World. But they were hosting a “blogger bash” and pool party and when I read about their purpose I knew we had to go. Give Kids The World is a 70-acre resort complete with over 144 Villa accommodations, entertainment attractions, whimsical venues, and fun specifically designed for children with special needs. They partner with wish-granting organizations to help fulfill the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses who want to see the many theme parks that central Florida has to offer. Their mission is to never turn a child away.
As we toured the resort, I loved how everything was made with kids in mind. There were train rides, princess chairs, a carousel and a huge pool and splash pad. My favorite part? An ice cream parlor where kids are allowed to choose ice cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner. At Give Kids the World, the staff is trained to never say no to a child’s wish. It is created to be a place where families can forget about doctors and diagnosis and focus completely on the fun.
One of the most impactful parts of our tour was going in the Star Tower and seeing the stars on the ceiling that represents every child that stays at Give Kids The World. This is just a sliver of the ceiling because they have served over 130,000 kids. And they said that each kid knows exactly where their personal star is.
My pictures all stunk but this video of their “Extreme Village Makeover” gives you a really good picture of their facilities. It is truly amazing.
How can you help Give Kids The World? Well obviously you can donate money. They are EXTREMELY fiscally responsible with 91.7 cents on every dollar going directly to help children enjoy their vacations. You can also volunteer at their central Florida location. They rely heavily on volunteers. You can even plan your Orlando vacation around volunteering with Universal’s Vacation Like You Mean It package. I always feel like Orlando vacations are so over the top with my kids spoiled to death so I love combining our trip with a way to give back. Mostly I just think it is important to be aware such an amazing place exists.
Our final pool party was a celebration with families that were staying at the resort. As I looked around the pool and splashpad you truly couldn’t tell who was a blogger and who was a mom of a child with a terminal illness. We were all just families who wanted to enjoy our time together. That really stuck with me. I am so thankful a place like Give Kids The World exists and so thankful to Family Forward for putting it on my radar.