Going to Disney and Universal Orlando is every child’s dream and it’s one of the reasons why Central Florida is the number one vacation destination in the United States.
But a very special group of children have just had a magic holiday of a lifetime – with help from Harry Potter star Matthew Lewis, who plays Neville Longbottom in the hit films.
The trip is organised by UK charity Dreamflight, which aims to change young lives by taking children with a serious illness or disability, without their parents, on the holiday of a lifetime to Orlando, Florida.
The youngsters on the latest 10-day trip were all personally chosen by doctors and medical experts due to the struggles with serious illness, disability, and trauma they are going through. They were accompanied by around 100 doctors, nurses, and physiotherapists.
Established in 1987, Dreamflight believes that fun and joy are just as important as medical research and equipment – especially for children who perhaps can’t wait long enough for the breakthrough they need or whose illnesses and treatments have brought pain, distress and disruption to their lives.
The children visited multiple Orlando attractions, including SeaWorld, Disney World, and Universal Studios–which will, of course, include a visit to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
So it was appropriate that they were seen off by the actor, who played Hogwarts regular Neville Longbottom, who was joined by television presenter Konnie Huq as the excited passengers boarded the specially chartered British Airways charity flight to the Sunshine State.
Matthew Lewis says, “I read about what Dreamflight was and how amazing it was going to be for these kids that I jumped at the chance to be here. It’s been the most amazing day, it’s been a pleasure. Some of these kids are so buzzing, and it just warms your heart so much to see their faces.
“All these kids have been looking forward to this for a really long time. It just takes me back to when I was a kid and went over to Orlando and saw some amazing things.”
Garrett Kenny, Chief Executive Officer of leading Florida developer and agent, Feltrim Group, says, “One of the magical things about the Orlando theme parks is the joy they bring to children and adults.
“It’s heartening to see the wonderful work carried out by Dreamflight and similar charities and to see the smiles on the children’s faces when they visit Disney, Universal, SeaWorld, Legoland and other top Orlando attractions.”