This past weekend I had the pleasure of visiting one of my favorite places in Orlando, Give Kids the World Village, to celebrate their 35th anniversary and the opening of Henri’s Starlite Scoops. With everything that has been going on over the last year, I was SO excited when GKTW was able to reopen its doors to families again at the beginning of the year. Being able to attend this celebration was just the lift that my heart needed.
Designed by Walt Disney Imagineering in collaboration with Universal Creative, with support from community partners and individual donors, every aspect of Henri’s Starlite Scoops has been built with accessibility in
mind. Custom-built 28-inch tall ice cream chests in lieu of the traditional 34-inch cases make it possible for all children, including those in wheelchairs, to pick out their favorite flavors. Similarly, lower countertops, an accessible
ice cream toppings bar and an open floorplan enable those in wheelchairs to easily navigate the venue and enjoy its immersive theming.
Ice cream flavors include Choco-Rocket (chocolate); Moon Cream (vanilla); Shooting Starberry (strawberry); Moon Rock Crunch (cookies & cream); and Meteor Mint Chip. Sweet treats come in a dish, cone, Popsicle, Fudgesicle or ice cream bar. Also featured are Milky Way Shakes, Galactic Splits and Celestial Sundaes. Gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free options are also available. Scooping ice cream is one of the most popular volunteer shifts at Give Kids The World. During a typical week, volunteers fill more than 70
shifts to ensure guests can enjoy ice cream all day long.
Walls inside the rotunda feature false windows that offer a glimpse into space, as if guests are dining inside a 30-foot flying saucer, which sits atop the building. Historic photos and NASA memorabilia – including a space suit, moon rover, and a Give Kids The World flag which John Glenn took with him on a Space Shuttle Mission – complete the out-of-this-world venue, which pays tribute to the life and legacy of Give Kids The World founder Henri Landwirth.
Born in Antwerp, Belgium, Landwirth survived five years in Nazi death and labor camps during World War II, including Auschwitz. After immigrating to the U.S. and serving in the Army during the Korean War, he began a 50-
year career in the hotel industry, rising from bellman to owner. Most notably, he managed the Starlite Motel in Cocoa Beach, FL, which served as the temporary home to the original Mercury 7 astronauts – who became
Landwirth’s lifelong friends. With their support, and through contributions from founding partners, Landwirth created Give Kids The World in 1986 to fulfill his long-ago pledge to one day prevent other children from missing out on childhood as he had. Since then, more than 176,000 critically ill children and their families from all 50 states and 76 countries have been welcomed to Give Kids The World Village to laugh together, play together, and create unforgettable memories away from hospital stays and medical treatments.
Every child whose wish is fulfilled by Give Kids The World and his or her family receives an all-inclusive stay including transportation; accommodations; donated theme park tickets; all meals and snacks; nightly entertainment; daily gifts; unique interactive experiences at the Village, a magical accessible destination all its own; and of course, unlimited ice cream… including the Village’s favorite tradition of Ice Cream For Breakfast!
Rated Four Stars by Charity Navigator, with 90 cents of every dollar going to its mission, Give Kids The World Village is located at 210 S. Bass Road in Kissimmee, FL. For more information, please visit www.gktw.org.