For the first time ever, Give Kids The World Village opened its gates to the public – offering a glimpse into the magical, whimsical non-profit resort that fulfills the wishes of critically ill children from around the world.
More than three million lights adorn the 84-acre resort, including a 150-foot lighted tunnel along the Avenue of Angels leading to elaborately decorated wish family residential villas; more than 50 larger-than-life holiday-themed wireframes, some spanning more than 40 feet; an enormous dancing gingerbread arch; and out-of-this-world space-themed decorations showcasing the Village’s newest centerpiece, Henri’s Starlite Scoops.
Last week I went with my family and it was amazing! Definitely a once in a lifetime event that everyone should add to their holiday bucket list. Why exactly should you go? Let me explain…
1. It is for a great cause!
Give Kids The World Village closed to wish families in mid-March due to the global pandemic, delaying more than 4,000 wishes. Night of a Million Lights is designed to raise funds to ensure that the wishes of critically ill children can return bigger and better than ever before once the Village reopens.
2. Socially distant fun!
This event takes place entirely outside. There are a few buildings open that you can explore, but it is not required. Tickets to Night of a Million Lights are issued with an assigned arrival time to mitigate crowding. Temperatures are taken when you arrive, masks are required (they even had volunteers around gently reminding people), hand sanitizer stations have been installed throughout the Village, and staff were continuously sanitizing surfaces. We definitely felt safe.
3. It is a feast for the eyes!
There was just SO much to look at! Three million lights covered practically every surface and was just an amazing sight to see. They ask that you limit your time there to 2 hours and we used every minute of those 2 hours. And don’t worry, there are plenty of places to sit down for a rest if your feet need a break.
4. It is a festive way to get in the holiday spirit!
My family all wore holiday attire and we weren’t the only ones. We came across loads of other people in holiday shirts, and even one family that were all wearing matching Christmas PJS. It was so cute! It is hard not to get in the holiday spirit with all the lights and so many other families there enjoying them as well. It was a nice way to help things feel a little bit more “normal.”
5. It is a once in a lifetime event!
GKTW Village has never opened up their property to visitors like this before. Normally this time of year the village would be packed with wish families enjoying the village and the area’s theme parks. But the fact that they have been closed since March gave them the opportunity to open the village up like never before. It is great for all of us, but hopefully they will never have the opportunity to do this again. So get out there and see it!
Ticket prices start at $15 for children ages 3-17 and $25 for adults, and include on-site parking, complimentary ice cream and hot cocoa, and unlimited access to the Village’s wheelchair-accessible attractions – including The Enchanted Carousel; Marc’s Dino Putt; Kelly’s Sunny Swing; Lori’s Magical Flight; an interactive model railroad; and the Village’s iconic Castle of Miracles, where thousands of stars fill the ceiling in honor of wish children who have visited the Village.
The event runs from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily, with staggered entry times at 5:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m., and 8:00 p.m. (confirmed at the time of purchase) to ensure social distancing.
If you are looking for a way to help but don’t quite feel comfortable going out to the village, please consider donating tomorrow on Giving Tuesday. GKTW Village has been closed since mid-March and needs our help to make sure that they can reopen when it is safe to do so. Do it for the kids!