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The Castle of Miracles: Celebrating 25 Years of Stars, Magic, and Dreams

Today we’re celebrating the anniversary of one of the most iconic and beloved venues at Give Kids The World Village: The Castle of Miracles!

For 25 years, the Castle has been a place filled with enchantment and memories. It’s the place where wish kids’ stars shine bright, dream pillows come from a squirrel in a tree, and a magic mirror turns children into royalty.

Now, learn a bit more about this whimsical Castle and what you can find there:

We called the Castle our “45-minute miracle.” One night, Give Kids The World Founder Henri Landwirth gathered contractors and Village supporters for a dinner and joked that “no one is leaving until we have everything we need to build the Castle.” Within 45 minutes, everyone in the room had contributed a different piece of the project.

Original concept art for the Castle of Miracles

In May of 1994, renowned news anchor Walter Cronkite cut the ribbon to open the Castle of Miracles. Architects from Walt Disney World designed the Castle and ITEC Productions managed the interior.

Under a red and white mushroom, you’ll find the Enchanted Carousel. The Carousel has 22 hand-carved animals, two of which are wheelchair-accessible characters – a snail and a turtle. When our accessible carousel opened, the president of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions said it was “the only one of its kind in the world.”

Founder Henri Landwirth on the Enchanted Carousel

When you walk inside you’ll see the Grand Hall. You’ll find friendly characters like Tom Foolery, our court jester, and Father Time, our grandfather clock, who wakes the Castle up every morning and puts it to sleep each evening.

The Castle of Miracles has gone through many changes and updates since its opening. There was once a wall covered in magical cabinets and drawers that opened to reveal different surprises. And, what is now the Star Observatory was once the La Ti Da Royal Spa. Before that, it was a playroom with costumes and toys of all kinds.

The Castle houses one of the most awe-inspiring sights you’ll see in the Village: nearly than 135,000 shining gold stars, all representing a wish child who has visited.

The stars in the Castle are taken care of by Stellar the Star Fairy, who children meet when they design their star and leave it in a magical treasure trunk. She takes the star and places it in the Castle – where it will shine brightly forever.

Throughout the years, countless memories have been made in the Castle of Miracles. There have been tears from speechless parents as they find their wish kid’s shining star.

There have been many smiles as kids grab their pillows from a tree trunk, wonder and delight as kids transform into kings and queens in a magic mirror, and giggles as they slide and play among honeycombs in the Jolly Hollow.

We’re forever grateful for the donors and volunteers who have made this imaginative venue come to life. We look forward to many more years of magic in the Castle of Miracles.


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