Image by: Night of a Million Lights
KISSIMMEE, Fla. — One of Central Florida’s largest holiday displays has returned for its second year this holiday season.
Named by USA Today as the “Number One Thing to Do in December in Orlando,” ‘Night of a Million Lights’ is a whimsical wonderland that serves a good cause. The event made its debut last year by ‘Give Kids The World Village,’ a nonprofit resort that provides children with critical illnesses and their families with a week-long vacation full of magic, at zero cost.
After the COVID-19 pandemic left the facility empty for several months in 2020, the group covered its houses with shimmering lights for the holidays. Guests were invited to stroll through and learn about the charity’s mission.
The event is hosted for 52 nights with more than 3 million lights donated by Walt Disney World that shine through the 89-acre resort.
“It really is a friend-raiser and a fundraiser for ‘Give Kids The World,'” president and CEO Pamela Landwirth said. “A lot of people don’t know about us right here in our community, so we’re the destination for kids around the world who have critical illness and share one wish and that’s to experience all the magic that Florida has to offer.”
Last holiday season, more than 90,000 people visited the event. This year’s festivities include tram tours through Storybook Village, dancing lights in a fairytale neighborhood, a sparkling tree trail, marketplace, and a behind-the-scenes look at the event’s installation and creative design.
“All the lights are just breathtaking, so it’s really great to just be back,” family alumni Stephanie Schweigert said, who returned to the resort after her 12-year-old Gabby visited it last February.
“[Gabby] has spina bifida and hydrocephalus, but she’s our true warrior,” Schweigert said. “She went from crawling to wheelchair-bound and then she was able to get on a walker and crutches and today she’s out here with just a cane, so she has been doing super well.”
The family gained inspiration to move from Florida to Minnesota so that they could also give back and take care of those who are going through similar challenges.
“[This place] brings happiness and hope to a lot of these medically fragile kids that had a lot of hospital stages, surgeries, or difficult upbringings,” Schweigert said.
Complimentary parking is provided at the Pioneer Village, located at 2491 Babb Road, Kissimmee 34746. Once parked in the lot, guests will have their tickets scanned and then shuttled to the main entrance of the Give Kids The World Village.
Night of a Million Lights will be shining bright through Jan. 2. To get more info on the event, click here.
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Melissa’s career in writing started more than 20 years ago. Today, she lives in South Florida with her husband and two boys.