One small act can make a difference in the life of another. Sometimes, even with the best of intentions, we get caught up in our own busy lives and schedules and can’t find the time to help someone else. But, what if you could create special life changing memories for another family and yourself all at the same time? It’s possible with a unique volunteering opportunity at Universal Orlando.
Universal Orlando is a Corporate Hero sponsor (yes, Disney is too!) for a wonderful organization in central Florida called Give Kids The World. Since 1989, Give Kids The World (GKTW) has provided memorable, magical, cost-free experiences to children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. They have welcomed more than 134,000 families from all 50 states and over 75 countries to their unique complex. The GKTW village is a 70-acre resort complete with over 144 Villa accommodations, entertainment attractions, whimsical venues, and fun specifically designed for children with special needs. A complex this large requires a lot of volunteers to make it all run smooth. And that’s where your Universal theme park vacation could come in. Universal Orlando offers the Volunteer Vacation package to its guests. Not only do you get all of the fun and thrills of the Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure parks, you get to give someone else the opportunity to experience the same thing. The package includes:
- 3 nights at a Universal partner hotel (Portofino Bay, Hard Rock, Royal Pacific, or Cabana Bay)
- 2 day park to park tickets w/ 3rd day FREE
- Early park admission to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, 1 hour before other guests
- 4 hour volunteer opportunity at GKTW Village
- Complimentary roundtrip transportation between your hotel and GKTW
All Volunteer Vacation packages booked by calling 1-855-275-4955 will also spark a $100 donation by Universal to Give Kids The World. The current package must be booked by June 1st and travel must be completed by June 7th. However, it appears as if Universal always offers some sort of Volunteer Vacation package. The perks and pricing are subject to change, of course. It is best to check the website for current promotions before booking, or ask your travel agent to hook you up. An interesting note: the current price for the Volunteer Vacation package is the same as the non-volunteer 2 Park Getaway Package. You get your vacation and the satisfaction of helping others have a great vacation too, all for the same price! Well, what does this “volunteering” entail? Don’t worry. No matter what you like to do, there is a spot for you at Give Kids The World.
Gingerbread House – Volunteers help serve breakfast, run food, refill drinks, bus tables, and clean. This is a true team effort by all involved and offers high interaction with the village’s special guests.
Express Breakfast – Located in the Ice Cream Palace, volunteers serve breakfast food to-go at the Express Start Breakfast station. They’re responsible for greeting guests, taking orders and packaging food. Duties also include restocking food items and cleaning up.
Character Photos – Help families capture a special moment when their children come face to face with their favorite characters. Assist with photo sessions by greeting families, helping to position them just perfectly for their photos, and assisting with line control as others wait to take photos.
La-Ti-Da Spa – Volunteers, 16 years of age and older, assist with makeovers, which include face-painting, nails, makeup, hand massage, and airbrush tattoos. Volunteers are responsible for greeting Wish families, signing guests in, cleaning the spa, and reporting maintenance issues and shortage of products to entertainment staff. If you think that the Volunteer Vacation may be right for you and your family, there are some things to consider. Volunteers must be at least 8 years old and anyone under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Clothing worn to Give Kids The World must be family friendly and shoes must be closed toe. Each volunteer must fill out a simple application (yes, even the kids), and the group name Universal Orlando Volunteer Vacation must be entered. A background check will be completed and then you must visit the Give Kids The World and log in. Once that is done, you will be on your way to taking the vacation of your, and someone else’s, lifetime!