Help GKTW Ice Cream Palace Become Henri’s Starlite Scoops

Each spring I bring a group of college students to Florida to volunteer with children with life-threatening illnesses at Give Kids The World Village (GKTW). One of our favorite Village venues (as well as the children’s) is the GKTW Ice Cream Palace where kids can get ice cream whenever they want, even breakfast. Now the GKTW Ice Cream Palace is scheduled to get a makeover, and the Village needs our help.  Continue reading to learn how you can help the GKTW Ice Cream Palace become Henri’s Starlite Scoops and the special connection this remodel has to GKTW’s and Florida’s history.

Give Kids The World Ice Cream Palace

Original GKTW Ice Cream Palace, photo by Dave Parfitt

From Give Kids The World’s Press Release

The GKTW Ice Cream Palace is getting a new look and new name to honor the 90th birthday of Village Founder Henri Landwirth.

The Ice Cream Palace will become “Henri’s Starlite Scoops,” the nonprofit resort for children with life-threatening illnesses announced. The name is a nod to The Starlite Motel, the Cocoa Beach property Landwirth managed during his early years in the hospitality industry. During the Mercury era, the Starlite was popular with astronauts and journalists, several of whom, including John Glenn and Walter Cronkite, became supporters of Give Kids the World and lifelong friends with Landwirth.

GKTW Ice Cream Palace

GKTW Ice Cream Palace to become Henri’s Starlite Scoops, image courtesy Give Kids The World Village

Landwirth, a Holocaust survivor and philanthropist, founded Give Kids The World in 1986, creating an organization that makes dreams come true for children with life-threatening illnesses who wish to visit Central Florida’s theme parks and attractions.

To pay for the renovation – which will feature a retro space theme – the Village also announced a fundraiser aimed at collecting the funds necessary for the capital and operating costs of the venue. The “$90 for 90” campaign invites friends, supporters, volunteers and companies to donate to a project that is sure to bring smiles to the more than 8,000 children who visit the Village each year. To donate, visit

Village President and CEO Pamela Landwirth said the redesign of the Ice Cream Palace was a great way to honor Henri’s legacy. Pamela, Henri’s former wife, has been leading the Village since the mid-1990s.

“Just like the men and women who worked in the early stages of the space industry, Henri was a pioneer and a visionary,” she said. “His dream to give back a bit of a childhood lost, to give families hope again, has not only become a reality but has grown and flourished. It seems fitting, then, that Henri’s name will always be related to one of the most memorable and beloved parts of the Village.”

GKTW Ice Cream Palace

GKTW Ice Cream Palace to become Henri’s Starlite Scoops, image courtesy Give Kids The World Village

The project will have interactive elements to entertain the children, and will hold mementos from the early days of the space era. Its colorful interior will include furniture and design elements inspired by both a 1950s diner and a sci-fi lounge, serving up such out-of-this-world treats as “The Starlite Scoop” and “The Solar System Sundae.” Henri’s Starlite Scoops will feature lower counters so that all children, even those in wheelchairs, can comfortably see into the ice cream bins to choose their favorites.

Designed by a team at Walt Disney Imagineering, the venue was envisioned as an intergalactic diner where astronauts “gather to relax and recharge after an adventurous day at space.”

GKTW Ice Cream Palace

(L-R) Joe Parinella, Walt Disney Imagineering; Gary Landwirth, president Giving Ideas and Henri’s son; Pamela Landwirth, president & CEO, Give Kids The World Village; and Jeff Vahle, GKTW board chairman and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, image courtesy Give Kids The World Village

Give Kids The World Village has hosted more than 151,000 children whose wish is to enjoy central Florida’s theme parks and attractions. The Village community will welcome more than 8,000 families in 2017. For more than a decade, the Village has been Four-Star rated by Charity Navigator, earning top marks for fiscal responsibility. Last year, it received a perfect score from Charity Navigator. GKTW is funded by generous donations from businesses, individuals, and other groups.

To learn more about the Village and its mission, visit To donate to Henri’s Starlite Scoops, visit

Give Kids The World Alt Break

Students volunteering at the GKTW Ice Cream Palace, photo by Dave Parfitt

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About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.