Give Kids The World Village — Night of A Million Lights


Give Kids The World Village is an 89-acre, nonprofit “storybook” resort in Central Florida. Here, children with critical illnesses and their families are treated to weeklong, cost-free vacations.

But what could the Wish Families’ favorite Florida destination do when a global pandemic shut its doors temporarily to a) safely celebrate the holidays despite Covid-19; b) raise awareness of their life-affirming mission to grant wishes to families facing medical uncertainty; and c) raise much-needed funds to ensure the doors re-open once it’s safe to do so?!

They imagined and made possible Night of a Million Lights! Click —>here to see the magical holiday display.

Thousands upon thousands of volunteer hours, over 3 million lights donated by Walt Disney World, and contributions provided by community sponsors made Night of a Million Lights become a reality.

For the first time ever, guests can experience the childlike wonder of a magical, whimsical Village during a walk-through, fully immersive holiday light spectacular. Stroll the Avenue of Angels, aglow with more than three million lights; savor delicious treats; and enjoy the accessible rides and storybook attractions that have brought happiness and hope to critically ill children and their families from around the world for 34 years.

Our family has volunteered at GKTW for a number of years. It’s truly been a joy working alongside some of our family members, blogging buddies and friends. We consider ourselves blessed that we “can” be at Give Kids The World Village with our child, but we don’t “have” to be there. We don’t take for granted the fact that we have a healthy child.

On one of our Night of a Million Lights volunteer days we met Mike Esmonde, Universal Studios AVLP team member, who shared the reasons why he is proud to volunteer (and has been for close to two decades!).

Click —>here to see the Dino Putt Holiday transformation & to hear Mike’s encouraging words.

Give Kids The World Village has created an experience unlike any I’ve seen. It’s a whole lot of holiday happiness that’s an unexpected positive wrap up of 2020.

Tickets are available through this link. Your purchase brings hopes to wishes.

Thank you, Sponsors. Your generosity brought the magic to “light.”

Advent Health 
American Airlines 
Bob’s Space Racers 
Boston Market 
Boston Whaler 
Buca di Beppo
Crayola Experience
Don CeSar 
Dreams Unlimited Travel
Fun Spot 
Holiday Bright Lights 
Holiday Inn Club Vacations 
Kennedy Space Center  
Lost Bros
Mattress Firm 
Mix 105.1 
Orlando City Soccer 
PGA Tour 
Planet Hollywood 
Servalli Foundation 
Sunbelt Rentals 
Synergy Equipment 
Winterland, Inc.
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts

Ride MAKO for Give Kids The World Village

mako for gktwThrill-ride fans itching to board SeaWorld Orlando’s spectacular new Mako roller coaster can skip the lines and be among the first to experience the most anticipated attraction in Central Florida this year, by participating in a special seat auction to benefit Give Kids The World Village.

SeaWorld Orlando and Give Kids The World Village (GKTW) are holding a seat auction that will allow winners to be among the first to ride the Mako coaster on June 8, before the Grand Opening celebration on June 10. It’s a chance to experience the “tallest, fastest and longest coaster in Orlando” and to be part of “hypercoaster” history!

Auction proceeds will help GKTW fulfill the dreams of children with life-threatening illnesses whose wish is to visit Orlando’s world-famous theme parks and other attractions.

The seat auction will be available on this link from now until June 3. Riders may pick their preferred seat during the bidding process depending on their desired thrill level: a middle seat in the middle car, or a side-seat in the back.

w Brian Morrow

Brian and I did not take a test ride, but he will take YOU! Please give generously to Give Kids The World Village.

There’s even an exclusive, one-of- a-kind experience – offered at a minimum bid of $2,000 – that will award the winner two seats in the front row, riding with Brian Morrow, Vice President of Theme Park Experience for SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment and Give Kids The World Village President and CEO Pamela Landwirth. In addition, the premium package winner will be awarded a two-night’s stay at a hotel near the theme park and lunch with Morrow, among other perks.

Mako you could be hereThere are 80 additional seats available for auction, offered at a minimum bid of $250 or $500 depending on the train and seat(s) chosen. Winners will receive their selected seat(s), a Mako T-shirt, free parking and admission to SeaWorld Orlando for the remainder of the day.

About Give Kids The World Village
Give Kids The World Village is a 79-acre, nonprofit “storybook” resort, located near Central Florida’s most beloved attractions, where children with life-threatening illnesses and their families are treated to weeklong, cost-free vacations.

Celebrating its 30 th anniversary in 2016, GKTW has welcomed more than 144,000 families from all 50 states and 70 countries. Working with more than 240 wish granting organizations, this one-of- a-kind resort is the destination for a child’s wish to visit Florida’s world famous theme parks.

The “storybook” Village has 144 whimsical accommodations and is made for children, featuring a castle, accessible playgrounds, pools and rides, as well as all theme park tickets, meals and entertainment free to all members of the family.

About SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc.
SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: SEAS) is a leading theme park and entertainment company providing experiences that matter and inspiring guests to protect animals and the wild wonders of our world.

SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. is one of the world’s foremost zoological organizations and a global leader in animal welfare, training, husbandry and veterinary care. The company collectively cares for what it believes is one of the largest zoological collections in the world and has helped lead advances in the care of animals. The company also rescues and rehabilitates marine and terrestrial animals that are ill, injured, orphaned or abandoned, with the goal of returning them to the wild. The SeaWorld rescue team
has helped more than 27,000 animals in need over the last 50 years.

The company owns or licenses a portfolio of globally recognized brands including SeaWorld® , Shamu® and Busch Gardens®. Over its more than 50-year history, the company has built a diversified portfolio of 11 destination and regional theme parks that are grouped in key markets across the United States, many of which showcase its one-of- a-kind zoological collection of over 800 species of animals. The company’s theme parks feature a diverse array of rides, shows and other attractions with broad demographic appeal which deliver memorable experiences and a strong value proposition for its guests.

Get Down To MacDown!

Give Kids The World Village is hosting O-Town MacDown, Saturday September 12 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Osceola Heritage Park. At this fun family event you’ll find 1) Unlimited Mac-n-Cheese and 2) Loads of vendors, kids activities, character meet and greets, cooking demos an MORE. (That could have been 2 thru…)!

izon macdown-1

Click on this link to see an awesome video produced by iZon Orlando about the GKTW Blogger Bash and O-Town MacDown!

baloon dragon medieval timesThis delicious “food fight” cooking competition featuring professional chefs and restaurants! It’s a great event for the whole family.

One of the great vendors again this year is Medieval Times. Will we have a fire (smoke!)-breathing dragon? I can’t wait to find out!

I’m looking forward to a special food demo this year by Chef Manny Washington, one of the latest winners on Cutthroat Kitchen!

RR at MacDown

Mayor Clayton and Miss Merry, and Rugby and Reme with a great little volunteer, Daniel.

There is a limited amount of tickets for this event, so make sure you purchase your tickets early before this delicious event sells out!

$10 for Adults (or $15 at the door)
$5 for Kids (or $10 at the door)
Get Your Advanced Tickets Now at

Attendance and participation benefit Give Kids The World Village.

Thanks to the amazing sponsors including some of my favorites:
Boston Market
Cabot Creamery / Florida Dairy Farmers
Catering For Good
Chef Lauren Cooke
Chef Emmanuel Estrella and Chef Juan Navarro
Chef Jennifer Delinger
Walt Disney World Port Orleans
Four Seasons Resort Orlando
Fox and Hounds
Graffiti Junktion
Hard Rock Café Orlando
Hurricane Bar & Grill
Le Cordon Bleu
Maggiano’s Little Italy
Chef Joel Padilla
Pammie’s Sammies
Paramount Fine Foods
Rainforest Café
Red Lobster
Chef Andrew Roch
Shubee’s Coastal Bar & Grille
Smokey Bones
The Outpost
Tin Roof
Tom and Chee
Chef Richard West
World Food Championships

Give Kids The World Village is a 74-acre, nonprofit “storybook” resort, located near Central Florida’s most beloved attractions, where childrHard Rock characters smen with life-threatening illnesses and their families are treated to weeklong, cost-free fantasy vacations. For more information, please visit

Gingerbread Run This Saturday

Hear ye, hear ye! The Sixth Annual Gingerbread Run 5K Presented by Aaron’s at Give Kids The World Village is this Saturday, November 8! Assisted by the King, Queen and Knights of the Roundtable, the 5K race will start and finish at the castle at Medieval Times.

gingerbread runThe race invites the public inside the whimsical 70-acre “storybook” resort to meet the families they help support. The professionally timed race will lead participants on a 3.1 mile path through the Village, past the Castle of Miracles and Ol’ Elmer the snoring tree, through magical bubbles and past the CANDY LAND game where sweet treats will be doled out by Queen Frostine and Princess Lolly.

If you can’t make it to the Gingerbread Run in person, you can still run “virtually” from anywhere in the world.

Murphy and Reme kissing with Rugby

Rugby and Reme give Murphy send hugs and good wishes to everyone who will be at the Gingerbread Run!

Participation cost is:

Adults: $30 (All participants will receive an event T-shirt, a 2014 Collectible Gingerbread Run medal, goody bag and refreshments)
Juniors 3-12: $15 with paid adult
Virtual Runners: $45 (All virtual runners will receive an event T-shirt and a 2014 Collectible Gingerbread Run medal)
As a special bonus, participants have the option of buying a $10 subscription through the Orlando Sentinel newspaper. For running and also giving through this link, participants get 52 weeks of Thursday through Sunday papers home delivery, and 100% of the proceeds go directly to Give Kids the World Village!
Thanks to all the sponsors, especially travel and tourism friends at Medieval Times, Nickelodeon Suites and Resorts, Last Minute Travel Club, and Holiday Inn Club Vacations.

SeaWorld Mommy v Central Florida Top 5 to Benefit GKTW

It’s on!

GKTW Village charity Orlando

Cleaning is hungry work. I had to stop for a snack. Yes, delicious. The round shape of the cookies reminds me of pancakes!

I first started working with Give Kids the World Village as part of a volunteer day to honor the life and legacy of Dawn Brancheau. Many runners and walkers (and volunteers like me) went to SeaWorld to participate in the Dream Big 5K, then afterward drove to Give Kids the World to clean the villas. It was a great experience and I enjoyed working side-by-side with people who enjoy making a difference!

That was a couple of years ago, and I continue to do my small part to help Give Kids the World by cleaning and eating ice cream (yes, some of the work is soooo hard!), and now eating pancakes, too!

Saturday, September 15 over 400 Perkins Restaurant and Bakery locations nationwide are giving out a free short stack of their yummy buttermilk pancakes to visitors for Give Kids The World Pancake Day. In return, Perkins will ask their guests to consider making a donation to GKTW, although there is no obligation.

Donations from the event will help provide meals served at Gingerbread House Restaurant inside the Village, where Perkins has provided more than 4 million meals for wish families.

GKTW Perkins Gingerbread

Details of gingerbread men and women inside Gingerbread House at Give Kids the World Village.

I’ll be at the Perkins on located at 6813 Sand Lake Road, Orlando, FL 32819 at 8 a.m. for my stack! Guess who will be there with me? Brian from Central Florida Top 5! We’re going head to head, er, pancake to pancake, in a contest to see which one of us can get the most people participating in this worthwhile event.

Why should you join us? Well for starters, free delicious fluffy mouth-watering pancakes (OK, I’m hungry now!). In addition, the first 25 followers at the location to post on Twitter or friends who post on FaceBook will also receive a complimentary gift card*. It’ll be a pancake party! With all that love flowing, not to mention pancake syrup, it’s my hope that happy bellies will translate into generous support of GKTW.

Last year, Perkins was able to raise almost $150,000 at Give Kids the World Pancake Day.  I say we can top that record. And I can top my pancakes with more butter and syrup AND I can get more supporters there than Central Florida Top 5.

C’mon Friends. Help me bring it! And bring your appetite while you’re at it!

*Rules for one of the 25 Gift cards (must be present at location to be eligible):
FaceBook: Tag the pages of GKTW, Perkins, and SeaWorld Mommy in your status update
Twitter: Mention @GKTWVillage and @EatAtPerkins and @SeaWorldMommy in a Tweet

Ice Cream For Breakfast to Benefit Give Kids the World Village

I was first introduced to Give Kids the World Village firsthand at the Dawn Brancheau Foundation Dream Big 5K at SeaWorld, Orlando, in April 2011. After volunteering at the run, some of the attendees went to do additional community service to continue Dawn’s dream “to find a way to make a difference.” I signed on to help clean villas.

One of the “Storybook” buildings at GKTW Village. Can you guess what’s served here?!

Give Kids the World Village, located in Kissimmee, FL, is a 70-acre “storybook” resort. The non-profit organization provides free vacation experiences for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. From the moment you enter the gates, you can tell the place is designed with kids in mind! There’s no doubt it will be a trip they will never forget.

As we cleaned the villas, we discussed GKTW . One of Dawn’s sisters shared that a child she sponsored talked non-stop of the amazing time he and his family had there. “What was your favorite thing?” she queried. “Ice cram for breakfast every day!,” he said with a huge grin on his face! It seems a lot of these kids remember this special treat most of all!

In the spirit of that joy, an ice cream social is held every year as a fundraiser. Our family had no problem getting on board with that kind of fun (and for that great an organization!).

The weekend of July 13th-15th, people gathered to celebrate Global Ice Cream For Breakfast Weekend. We did our small part by hosting a “social” to raise funds and to increase awareness for Give Kids The World Village.

Our happy little group included 5 parents and about a dozen children. Thanks to an incredible donation by the Jamestown Publix Supermarket, the sundaes were piled HIGH with syrups and sprinkles, cherries and chocolate. They even pitched in with some festive balloons. The kids loved having ice cream for breakfast and learned about the work done for families all over the world through the village.

It’s not too late to donate. Click here to visit my First Giving page for GKTW village.