Saturday, January 2, 2021

Night Of A Million Lights At Give Kids The World

As part of our extended Christmas celebrating, last week John and I and our friend Karen went to "Night of a Million Lights" at Give Kids the World here in Orlando. (Imagine the old Osborne Lights from Disney, except spread out over a much larger area.)

Naturally, we did our best to dress for the occasion.


The GKTW village includes an entire residential neighborhood, usually filled with the families of the kids visiting. With Covid it's all been shut down, of course, so they decided to deck out the empty houses for this fundraising event. I can't imagine they'll ever be able to do this again, so I'm so glad John insisted we buy tickets.

Because this was much, MUCH more than just a decorated neighborhood:

In addition to the residential houses, there are big theaters, restaurants, accessible rides, a carousel, and even a castle on property. Everything is donated and built by volunteers, but you can tell most are professional theme park folks. This place seriously rivals Disney!

Total Main Street vibes, right? This is the Wishing Tree; you hit the button and a little magic happens - I'll show you soon.

Each house's lights were sponsored by a local company. Most just put a sign out front, but a few - like this one from Ripley's Believe It Or Not - swam the extra mile:

Sometimes I'll write a pun so groan-worthy that John will get out of his chair, walk across the house, and give me a fist-bump. "Bigger bow" was one of those puns. Ah thank you verramuch.

I couldn't find this .gif on Instagram, so you get it here:

This tree was one of my favorite things there - wait 'til you see it in action, hnnng.

I expected folks to wear lots of over-the-top light-up stuff like they do at Disney, so I was shocked when we were the only ones. C'mon, people. Get it together. On the bright side (literally) we made a lot of people laugh, had a blast, and even had a lady chase us down to compliment our festive headgear.

Inside the GKTW castle:

How perfect would this have been for our Labyrinth party??

It was so dark in there that my photo doesn't do this any justice at all: it was like a sweet sparkly grotto you just wanted to curl up in. Amazing.

Speaking of sparkles:

This is another one you need to see in motion! So here, I've made you wait long enough:

I put all my Story videos together into one, so that's a little of everything.

Some of the houses were princess-themed:

I'm not showing you everything by a long shot, btw; there was just so much! And I know we missed at least one section with a rainbow dinosaur, boo. (Even with a map, this place is huge and easy to get turned around in.)

I maintain that hitting a bird with your plane is a strange thing to celebrate with a Christmas inflatable. Though I could also ask why Santa is flying with a pig. ::head tilt:: ::squints::

Karen had us pose for way more pictures than we usually would... which would be zero, ha. This portrait mode thing is pretty swanky.

The holiday lights equivalent of "Where's Waldo":

Even knowing where it is, it takes me a few seconds every time!

Hmm. Do I dare inflict you with more painful puns?

Oh yeah. Totally worth the whisk.





::throws confetti::

I hope you enjoyed your virtual visit with us!
Night of a Million Lights was just what we needed to close out 2020: a few blissful hours to forget the outside world and its troubles. That's what GKTW is all about, so how amazing that, even with the village shut down, they still found a way to bring magic and smiles to folks who need them.

Thank you so much to the GKTW staff for going above and beyond to make us feel safe. There were temperature checks, enforced distancing, and strict mask requirements across the entire campus, yet everyone there was so happy and kind, they made us feel truly welcome.

If you'd like to help support Give Kids The World - or to volunteer there, which my friends tell me is one of the best experiences ever - please check out the GKTW website. This post isn't sponsored, and we bought our own tickets; John and I just really love this place. :)


Oh, before you go, let's announce some Squeegineer winners! We're choosing 3 again for December, so congrats to Patricia D., Shelley H., & Jessica K.  Please check your inboxes for a message from John, so you can claim your prizes.

Before you choose, though, let me squeeze in a last-minute, extra special prize option:

Palm-sized Squees! Eeeee! Aren't these the cutest?

These double-sided standees feature the art of Bianca Roman-Stumpff on crystal clear acrylic. (We ordered these to give to our FOE and Discord mods for the holidays, but I have some left over.) If you'd like your own, don't forget to enter this month for your chance to win!


  1. Thank you for sharing! This is amazing! I really needed to see this even after Christmas. Please figure out how to do the bottle trees and make a tutorial. I would love to do it this year, but I need help figuring out the mechanics. Thank y’all for always making us feel like we can do anything!

    1. Yes please on the bottle trees!

  2. So fun! Thank you for sharing that. I especially like to see a man who is having so much fun being silly.
    Maureen S

  3. I laughed out loud, heartily at "We're going to need a bigger bow", and John's photos are the BEST!

    Thank you for sharing this with us!

  4. So much fun and it sounds like a worthy cause. Thanks for sharing the sparkly!

  5. I heard because the lights are LEDs it used shocking little energy. Like the same power to run 3 refrigerators. I haven't fact-checked that, and I got a D in Physics II when we talked about electricity so I don't know if 3 refrigerators is right, but it feels extraordinary.

    And today's puns were excellent.

  6. Did you see this facemask fundraiser post that went viral? Seems right up your alley:

  7. I actually ended up going to Night of a Million Lights twice. It was just good enough to do twice, and GKTW is an organization I'm more than happy to send a little extra support whenever I can. The worst thing I overheard all night was "I hope they do this every year!" I mean, I understand why she said it, but that would imply that they aren't open for guests again next year, so I hope they never ever do this again! :)

  8. We actually stayed at GKTW back in 2002, when we went to Disney and Universal for my brothers wish trip. Reading this post has brought back many great memories of this awesome place and our stay there.

  9. Oh wow, those lights are amazing! Thanks so much for sharing them. It really brightened my day.


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