Make a Wish (and other organizations) - Wish Trippers UNITE! Volume SIX!

Disneyfin09

Earning My Ears
Joined
Jan 7, 2020
Hello :love: Thank you for getting back to me... The wish ladies suggested the Hotel :) Yes That is what he asked for we didn't expect them to say Florida but that's what was on the email from the wish granter when she confirmed paper work was going to the Dr. He would be so so happy going to Pixar. We have been to Florida a few times to international drive but never Disney even though we have been to a park everytime we visit :)
Thanks again :)
 

Disneyfan754321

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 19, 2019
Kinda sad day for GTKTW
Dear Volunteer Friends,

It is with a sad and heavy heart that I must share some devastating news both for me personally and for our entire Village family.

Unforeseen circumstances directly related to COVID-19 have resulted in Give Kids The World having to remain closed. The Make-A-Wish Foundation, our majority wish-granting partner which accounts for 84% of our wish families, has notified us that due to COVID-19, it will not be scheduling any wishes that involve travel or large groups until a vaccine is in wide use. In addition, although the theme parks are reopening, we are uncertain as to when they will be able to welcome vulnerable guests, including our wish children.

As a result, the Village will remain closed for an undetermined period of time. Unfortunately, this means we must lay off the majority of our staff effective Saturday, June 27, 2020. We will also be pausing all volunteer shifts until further notice.

A small team will remain to ensure the safety and security of the Village and to nurture our relationships with you, our volunteers, wish granting organizations, wish families, donors and other partners – as well as to prepare for our eventual reopening.

We will continue to honor our commitment to never turn a wish child away. If there is a rush wish prior to our reopening, we will work with our wish granting partners to fulfill that wish.

I promise you that I will work tirelessly to find a way to bring back families as soon as possible.

I am truly grateful for your passion and support for the Village and our wish families. Please know that I am holding you close to my heart during this closure. If you have any questions you may contact Volunteer Services at volunteer@gktw.org. As always, I am also available for you at any time.

Take care and stay well.

With all my love and gratitude,

Pamela Landwirth
President & CEO
 

mkb3

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 9, 2017
I continue to pray for any family here still waiting for their Child's one true wish to be fulfilled by going to Disney World/GKTW. My heart hurts knowing what you have been through and the disappointment this whole situation has caused. A WISH trip to Disney is such a magical experience that the whole family will cherish for a lifetime. If you have been to WDW before trust me when I say a WISH Trip blows any other visit out of the water. If you are blessed enough to be able to wait I cannot recommend that option enough.
 

jnrrt

Disney Fan
Joined
Feb 15, 2005
Has anyone heard any news from their Make a Wish chapters? We were told no travel until Sept. 1, but I'm expecting that to be extended.

Our son is stable right now, and we can't go in a pandemic anyway, so we are hoping to be allowed just to wait and do it later, but some other friends waiting for wishes have told me they might have to choose something else.
 

jnrrt

Disney Fan
Joined
Feb 15, 2005
Oh, my. I thought it would be a while, but not another year. That's really sad. Seriously - he has already been approved for a year and a half. Well, here's hoping they will allow us to continue waiting then - he really doesn't want the other options offered. Not the most important thing, for sure, but another sad, disappointing thing in this really crazy, hard time.
 

TheRustyScupper

Everyone Is Responsible For Everyone.
Joined
Aug 8, 2000
GKTW is open again.

News release:


Jan 17th, 2021 [Kissimmee, FL]
Nearly 10 months to the day that it closed temporarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Give Kids The World Village in Kissimmee has reopened its whimsical gates! Wish families began arriving today to the Village, an 89-acre nonprofit resort that provides transformative weeklong wish vacations to critically ill children and their families at no cost. Since 1986, the Village has welcomed more than 176,000 families from all 50 states and 76 countries – with more than 6,000 wishes postponed due to the closure.
“Children with critical illnesses face countless appointments, treatments and hospital stays, and they are often told “no” due to the limitations of their illness. We are thrilled to be able to get back to our mission of providing wish children and their families with a magical week of “yes” where they can forget their worries, experience joy, and spend priceless time together,” said Give Kids The World President and CEO Pamela Landwirth.
With safety as its number one priority, Give Kids The World Village will be taking a thoughtful, phased approach to reopening, beginning with a limited number of families and gradually growing its occupancy over time. Nemours Children’s Hospital experts led by pediatric infectious disease clinician and researcher Kenneth A. Alexander, MD, PhD, worked closely with Give Kids The World to develop the nonprofit’s comprehensive COVID-19 safety plan, which has been in effect at the Village since March.
Rated Four Stars by Charity Navigator – with 90 cents of every dollar donated going directly to program services, Give Kids The World Village was created by Holocaust survivor Henri Landwirth with an objective of never turning a wish child away. When wish-granting organizations receive a request from a critically ill child who wants to visit Central Florida, Give Kids The World fulfills the wish – providing each child and his/her family with a magical weeklong stay at absolutely no cost. Each family receives transportation, accommodations in one of the Village’s 166 storybook residential villas, all meals and snacks, nightly entertainment, donated tickets to Orlando’s world-class theme parks and attractions, and priceless interactive experiences at the Village.
Thanks to the outpouring of support from Village partners, volunteers, Board members, wish granting organizations and staff, the Village will celebrate its 35th anniversary on March 7, 2021. For more information, visit www.gktw.org.
 

butterflygirl3

Mouseketeer
Joined
Apr 9, 2008
I hope this is the right place to ask. My son had been approved for a wish through Dream Factory. We were told that he didn't qualify to stay at GKTW. Does anyone know then where we will stay? Will they allow us to stay on Disney Property? Thanks so much 😃
 

lanejudy

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Oct 27, 2011
Congrats to your son! Not all wish-granting organizations partner with GKTW and/or WDW. You might check with Dream Factory. Their website does show they partner with GKTW so I'm not sure why he wouldn't "qualify" to stay there unless they simply have a backlog of wishes after being closed. When they can, the wish-granters prefer to stay at GKTW for budgetary purposes. If his wish specifically indicates he wants to stay at a WDW resort, I believe they will make that happen.
 

Pridemom

On our way to the Kingdom
Joined
Feb 21, 2016
I hope this is the right place to ask. My son had been approved for a wish through Dream Factory. We were told that he didn't qualify to stay at GKTW. Does anyone know then where we will stay? Will they allow us to stay on Disney Property? Thanks so much 😃
It’s hard to say. That probably depends on your local chapter. Marriott is a Dream Factory partner, so the Swam/Dolphin might be an option. My daughter was approved to stay at GKTW even though her condition is autoimmune. It might depend on various factors. Will you still be eligible to access GKTW facilities? It is amazing to visit.
 

butterflygirl3

Mouseketeer
Joined
Apr 9, 2008
It’s hard to say. That probably depends on your local chapter. Marriott is a Dream Factory partner, so the Swam/Dolphin might be an option. My daughter was approved to stay at GKTW even though her condition is autoimmune. It might depend on various factors. Will you still be eligible to access GKTW facilities? It is amazing to visit.
No, I don't believe so. I'll be honest I am a little bummed because Ive heard its amazing but Im just glad we get to do Disney 😉.
 

butterflygirl3

Mouseketeer
Joined
Apr 9, 2008
His wish coordinator said because his condition is not critical we can't stay at GKTW but we are doing Disney. Im sure she will tell us Im just antsy to know 😉.
 

Pridemom

On our way to the Kingdom
Joined
Feb 21, 2016
His wish coordinator said because his condition is not critical we can't stay at GKTW but we are doing Disney. Im sure she will tell us Im just antsy to know 😉.
I totally understand. I hope your son’s trip is amazing. My kids still talk about the trip we took.
 

zil0902

Earning My Ears
Joined
Jan 28, 2010
I hope this is the right place to ask. My son had been approved for a wish through Dream Factory. We were told that he didn't qualify to stay at GKTW. Does anyone know then where we will stay? Will they allow us to stay on Disney Property? Thanks so much 😃
Hi Butterflygirl3! My two children have Type 1 Diabetes and we are going on a wish trip through Dream Factory at the end of May. Initially we were told that we would be staying at GKTW but then were told we did not qualify. We are staying in a time share that is donated to the organization at the Legacy Resorts - Orland/Kissimmee. We are so excited about our trip, but as a planner I've really been struggling with the lack of information made available to me by the organization. I'm trying to stay calm and let things roll, but it's difficult to not know any flight info, whether we can check bags or have carry-ons, or any info regarding meals/spending money. I feel very rude questioning them, as the whole thing is amazing and I don't want to be perceived as ungrateful. I did talk to another mom from Kansas City (we live in Upstate NY) who had also stayed at the Legacy Resort, so I learned a little about the facility and the amenities of the villa (if it's the same one, I'm not sure of that). Hoping so, because it will have a kitchen and laundry which should help with some of the previous cost related items I listed. When is your trip?
 

butterflygirl3

Mouseketeer
Joined
Apr 9, 2008
Hi Butterflygirl3! My two children have Type 1 Diabetes and we are going on a wish trip through Dream Factory at the end of May. Initially we were told that we would be staying at GKTW but then were told we did not qualify. We are staying in a time share that is donated to the organization at the Legacy Resorts - Orland/Kissimmee. We are so excited about our trip, but as a planner I've really been struggling with the lack of information made available to me by the organization. I'm trying to stay calm and let things roll, but it's difficult to not know any flight info, whether we can check bags or have carry-ons, or any info regarding meals/spending money. I feel very rude questioning them, as the whole thing is amazing and I don't want to be perceived as ungrateful. I did talk to another mom from Kansas City (we live in Upstate NY) who had also stayed at the Legacy Resort, so I learned a little about the facility and the amenities of the villa (if it's the same one, I'm not sure of that). Hoping so, because it will have a kitchen and laundry which should help with some of the previous cost related items I listed. When is your trip?
Thank you for this!!!!! We haven't even picked our dates yet because we were just approved. We are wanting to do this year and the 2 dates tentatively we have are in July and November ( I work in a school). I am just a planner and all the unknowns make me anxious. I feel sooooo rude too asking questions because like you said they are doing this for us. I don't want to be greedy but part of what my son thinks of Disney is the hotel and pools on sight. We live in St. Louis. When is your trip?
 

zil0902

Earning My Ears
Joined
Jan 28, 2010
It is a weird dynamic, at least we are not alone. I think almost everyone that receives a trip like this is in the same boat, torn between a need for information and to plan and extreme gratitude!

Our trip is coming up, we arrive in Orlando 5/30 and stay until 6/5. They gave us a three day pass to Disney, we are doing MK on Monday (only day available, I had to ask them to give me the tickets a few weeks ago so we could reserve parks), AK on Tuesday, Relax at the resort day on Wednesday with a reservation at the Boathouse at Disney Springs for dinner, Epcot on Thursday, and we are driving to Clearwater Beach on Friday for the day. Dream Factory offered us additional passes to Universal, SeaWorld, Kennedy Space Center, but my kids thought a relaxation day to chill and do homework made sense (who are these kids?) and we love the ocean so a beach day was a definite for us (they are renting us a car for the week). I elected for Clearwater, even though it's an hour further than Cocoa Beach, my kids have never seen white sand and blue water like the Gulf of Mexico.

Getting the tickets transferred online so I could make park reservations was not smooth. Unfortunately, Hollywood Studios was already booked up by the time we were able to reserve parks, but we are just as excited about AK. I had to purchase magic bands to put our reservations on as we believed that to be necessary? I'm honestly not sure if I could have just used the My Disney Experience App or not, but $60 seemed fair for 3 days at Disney.

They gave me the flight info on Friday, which put my mind more at ease. I had a lot of questions regarding the flight itself (layovers, times) and if we were able to check bags or if that was extra. In the email my contact told me to ask her anything, we are meeting up in a week or two to do paperwork before the trip, if they don't address expenses, that is my last question. I feel so rude asking them if they are giving us money for meals etc., but I need to budget for it if not.

My advice (as I live through this situation myself and try to take it also) is to be transparent with your son. Tell him you don't have control over every aspect of the vacation, so some things may not be as you expect, but that can also be exciting and cool, as they might be even better! Part of the fun is to let the magic happen and to enjoy time with your family. I'm trying very hard to have this be a stress free trip filled with gratitude.

You could try talking to your contact about staying on site at Disney. My limited experience with Dream Factory leads me to believe that they tend to work with donations as much as possible. It sounds like the timeshare we are staying in gets utilized frequently in Orlando if GKTW is not an option. Even though it's not on site, the resort seems pretty decent, lots of pools and splash pads.
As far as your dates, my understanding is that November is a bit busier at Disney, but many of the new attractions will be open and running then. We will hopefully be that much further away from COVID, with more people vaccinated and less restrictions. July is also incredibly hot. I have done quite a bit of Disney research, and if I were given the option to choose, personally, I'd pick November.

I will come back to this thread and let you know the outcome of our trip. Keep us updated on yours also, I hope your son has an amazing time and gets to feel just like a kid for a little while with some of the stress of chronic illness suspended for a short time.
 

lanejudy

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Oct 27, 2011
I had to purchase magic bands to put our reservations on as we believed that to be necessary? I'm honestly not sure if I could have just used the My Disney Experience App or not, but $60 seemed fair for 3 days at Disney.
I am SOOO sorry you were led to believe MagicBands were necessary. You could use the new app, or simply obtain a hard plastic ticket when you arrive.

But I like your attitude about rolling with the unknown! Disney is such a "planned" vacation destination that it must be very hard to not have that ability for a Wish trip. I'm sure it will be awesome!
 

zil0902

Earning My Ears
Joined
Jan 28, 2010
Thank you for clarifying regarding Magic Bands.

The first time we went to Disney 11 years ago, planning the trip was over half the fun for me. It's very uncomfortable to not know so many things and to not have control, but I'm trying to let go and enjoy it more. You are right, it will be awesome :) It's Disney!
 

butterflygirl3

Mouseketeer
Joined
Apr 9, 2008
It is a weird dynamic, at least we are not alone. I think almost everyone that receives a trip like this is in the same boat, torn between a need for information and to plan and extreme gratitude!

Our trip is coming up, we arrive in Orlando 5/30 and stay until 6/5. They gave us a three day pass to Disney, we are doing MK on Monday (only day available, I had to ask them to give me the tickets a few weeks ago so we could reserve parks), AK on Tuesday, Relax at the resort day on Wednesday with a reservation at the Boathouse at Disney Springs for dinner, Epcot on Thursday, and we are driving to Clearwater Beach on Friday for the day. Dream Factory offered us additional passes to Universal, SeaWorld, Kennedy Space Center, but my kids thought a relaxation day to chill and do homework made sense (who are these kids?) and we love the ocean so a beach day was a definite for us (they are renting us a car for the week). I elected for Clearwater, even though it's an hour further than Cocoa Beach, my kids have never seen white sand and blue water like the Gulf of Mexico.

Getting the tickets transferred online so I could make park reservations was not smooth. Unfortunately, Hollywood Studios was already booked up by the time we were able to reserve parks, but we are just as excited about AK. I had to purchase magic bands to put our reservations on as we believed that to be necessary? I'm honestly not sure if I could have just used the My Disney Experience App or not, but $60 seemed fair for 3 days at Disney.

They gave me the flight info on Friday, which put my mind more at ease. I had a lot of questions regarding the flight itself (layovers, times) and if we were able to check bags or if that was extra. In the email my contact told me to ask her anything, we are meeting up in a week or two to do paperwork before the trip, if they don't address expenses, that is my last question. I feel so rude asking them if they are giving us money for meals etc., but I need to budget for it if not.

My advice (as I live through this situation myself and try to take it also) is to be transparent with your son. Tell him you don't have control over every aspect of the vacation, so some things may not be as you expect, but that can also be exciting and cool, as they might be even better! Part of the fun is to let the magic happen and to enjoy time with your family. I'm trying very hard to have this be a stress free trip filled with gratitude.

You could try talking to your contact about staying on site at Disney. My limited experience with Dream Factory leads me to believe that they tend to work with donations as much as possible. It sounds like the timeshare we are staying in gets utilized frequently in Orlando if GKTW is not an option. Even though it's not on site, the resort seems pretty decent, lots of pools and splash pads.
As far as your dates, my understanding is that November is a bit busier at Disney, but many of the new attractions will be open and running then. We will hopefully be that much further away from COVID, with more people vaccinated and less restrictions. July is also incredibly hot. I have done quite a bit of Disney research, and if I were given the option to choose, personally, I'd pick November.

I will come back to this thread and let you know the outcome of our trip. Keep us updated on yours also, I hope your son has an amazing time and gets to feel just like a kid for a little while with some of the stress of chronic illness suspended for a short time.
Thank you for this!!!!!! You are soooooo right!!!! We are super grateful for this trip. I just want to know what's going on but I don't want to bug anyone. We are going to have an amazing time I know no matter where we stay. I will keep coming back to this board to see how your trip went. Thank you for all your info I greatly appreciate it. The beach sounds amazing!!! Have Sooooo much fun!!!!!
 










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