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LEGOLAND® Florida and Universal Orlando offer support for local charities

Nancy Grace and her family cool off on The World of Chima attraction at LEGOLAND Florida March 12, 2014.
Nancy Grace and her family cool off on The World of Chima attraction at LEGOLAND Florida March 12, 2014.

When we think of the themed attractions in Central Florida, we sometimes take for granted the fact that not everyone is able to fully enjoy everything the parks have to offer. Sometimes, individuals and their families need a little extra help to take advantage of the amazing facilities and opportunities that these destinations provide. Luckily, the management of these companies realize this fact, and try their best to make the experience as great as possible.

On Tuesday, March 25, LEGOLAND Florida hosted children from the Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida (DSACF) and their families for an all-expenses-paid experience, courtesy of Merlin’s Magic Wand, Merlin Entertainment Group’s charity. Merlin’s Magic Wand gives ill, disabled or disadvantaged children the opportunity to visit Merlin Entertainments attractions around the world and works with local organizations to create memorable experiences, such as special play areas, for children who are unable to visit.

The event was part of a special global initiative to celebrate the opening of Merlin’s 100th attraction this year , with DSACF members joined by thousands of others across the 22 countries in which Merlin operates.

“The Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida is honored to partner with LEGOLAND,” said Edward DeAguilera, Director of Development & Community Partnerships at DSACF. “With World Down Syndrome Day being on March 21st it is great way to celebrate our loved ones with Down syndrome, create awareness, and just have a good time! DSACF truly thanks LEGOLAND and Merlin’s Magic Wand, Merlin Entertainment Group’s Charity, for being true partners in our community.”

LEGOLAND Florida shops, restaurants, show venues and the majority of the rides and attractions are ADA accessible to guests who use wheelchairs or are in need of special services. A special guide for guests with disabilities is available by visiting the park's website.

Due to its popularity among visiting families, Universal Orlando Resort has announced that it will continue through 2014 to offer a one-of-a-kind vacation package allowing guests to spend cherished family time in its theme parks and then to create unforgettable memories for children at Give Kids The World Village.

"Give Kids The World Village is truly a special place and is our favorite charity to be a part of," said Dr. Brian Lahmann who recently volunteered at GKTW with his family during their Universal Orlando Resort vacation. "As a previous ‘wish family’…it holds a special place in our hearts, as we visited there just after our Nolan finished chemotherapy for leukemia.”

Give Kids The World Village (GKTW) is a 70-acre, nonprofit “storybook” resort that immerses children with life-threatening illnesses and their families in joy, hope, laughter and non-stop fun at Central Florida’s world-class attractions.

With this vacation offer, guests spend two days enjoying unparalleled thrills at the Universal Orlando theme parks and one day making the dreams of children with life-threatening illnesses come true as they come face-to-face with their favorite storybook characters, get their faces painted, receive makeovers and more. Universal Parks & Resorts Vacations will also continue to donate $100 to Give Kids The World for every package booked.

Families have the opportunity to add a whole new experience to their vacations with numerous volunteer opportunities at Give Kids The World Village, including:

· Character Photos – Volunteers will share the special moment when children come face-to-face with their favorite storybook characters.

· La-Ti-Da-Spa – Volunteers assist with makeovers, including face-painting, nails, makeup, hand massage and airbrush tattoos. Volunteers 16 and older.

· Gingerbread House – Volunteers engage in high interaction with special guests by serving breakfast, running food, refilling drinks, bussing tables and clean-up.

· Express Breakfast – Volunteers serve breakfast food to-go and are responsible for greeting guests, taking orders and packaging food.

Volunteers must be a minimum of 8-years-old to participate and those under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Interested participants must complete an online application and waiver. Volunteers 18 and older are required to complete a background check.

For more information on this Give Kids The World vacation and volunteer package or other Universal Orlando Resort vacation packages, visit the Universal Orlando website.

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