🎈500K balloons create inflatable wonderland in Orlando, support kids’ charity

Balloon Wonderland fundraiser supports Give Kids the World, nonprofit granting wish vacations for critically-ill kids and their families

Balloon Wonderland fundraiser supports Give Kids the World, non-profit granting wish vacations for critically-ill kids and their families

ORLANDO, Fla. – It is a big undertaking!

A life-size replica of Give Kids The World Village has been built, using only balloons.

“If there’s one balloon out of place, it messes up the entire design,” balloon artist Patricia Mathis said.

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It’s all part of the Balloon Wonderland fundraiser sponsored by Qualatex benefitting Give Kids The World. A nonprofit with a whimsical Orlando resort offering free wish vacations for critically ill children and their families.

Mathis has 14 years of balloon-design experience and is the owner of Balloon, Bouquets & Beyond, LLC in Lake Mary. Before the balloon build began for the event, she met some of the kids who benefit from Give Kids the World services.

“These kids are going through illnesses and sicknesses, some of them won’t make it to Christmas. So for me, this is their Christmas and we get to give that to them through balloons,” Mathis said. “The first day I was here, the kids wrote their wishes on stars. We’ll be posting them inside the balloon castle. When you read some of those, it’s things that you wish kids didn’t have to wish for.”

More than 400 balloon artists from all over the world joined together to bring the inflatable attractions to life.

“We have people from Israel, Guatemala, Venezuela, Colombia and Canada and with so many different languages. It’s just really cool that we still all speak balloon,” Damon Entertainment balloon artist Haley Damon said.

The balloon artists started from scratch - or deflated, given the situation. Blowing up balloons and covering the resort’s convention center wall-to-wall with inflatable backdrops and floor to ceiling displays including trees and clouds floating below the ceiling.

“We blueprints ... a lot of blueprints,” Mathis said.

Resembling the iconic venues at Give Kids the World Village like Toyland, Enchanted Forest and Dinosaur Land.

It will take more than 500,000 balloons to create, what these artists hope will be a lasting experience that will help kids fighting critical illness forget about their sickness just for a moment.

“These children don’t know their future and balloons get to bring joy and we get to bring joy and it’s really exciting,” Damon said.

The Balloon Wonderland sits inside the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Resort in Orlando. The “Party in Wonderland” event takes place Friday, July 15, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Visitors are encouraged to walk through the inflatable venues all day Saturday. Tickets range from $18-$20 benefitting Give Kids the World.

Parking is an additional $12 at the resort.

Click HERE to purchase tickets for the Balloon Wonderland or make a donation to Give Kids the World.

Since 1986, Give Kids The World Village has welcomed more than 177,000 families from all 50 states and 76 countries. The Village is made possible by the support of generous donors and community partners, as well as thousands of passionate volunteers – who donate their time and talent making wishes come true. Learn about volunteer opportunities.

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About the Author:

Crystal Moyer is a morning news anchor who joined the News 6 team in 2020.