Late last week, nearly 100 local supporters, celebrities, nonprofit executives, former Wish Kids, and more voluntarily rappelled 428 feet down the side of International Drive’s Hyatt Regency Orlando. This event, known as Over The Edge, is an annual fundraiser supporting Give Kids The World – a local nonprofit providing weeklong magical vacations for children with critical illnesses and their families! In 2022, Over The Edge raised over $130,000 for these precious individuals.
We were thrilled to be invited to Over The Edge Media Day, a separate opportunity for invitees to gather their courage in honor of these amazing and brave children. Descending the 32-story hotel was a truly memorable experience, and I am so excited to share it with you. Thank you, Give Kids The World, for inviting Orlando Decoded to this event!
About Over The Edge
For five consecutive years, Give Kids The World and Over The Edge (an urban rappelling company) have worked together to produce this unique Central Florida fundraising event. To participate, registered supporters must pledge to donate or raise a minimum of $1,000. Successful individuals and teams will, of course, have their opportunity to rappel as well as win additional prizes like Give Kids The World apparel, car magnets, Go Pros, or even a one night stay at the Hyatt Regency.
Over The Edge produces urban rappelling fundraisers for a variety of nonprofit organizations throughout the country. For more information about this company and their awesome events, visit the Over The Edge website!
My Journey Over The Edge
Of course, no one goes “Over The Edge” without a bit of practice and preparation. When my predetermined time slot arrived, I parked in the Hyatt garage and headed up to the 27th floor to sign any applicable waivers and suit up in the necessary rappelling gear.
Once in the event Staging Area, a staff member helped me don the appropriate harness, helmet, and other equipment. Everything was fairly comfortable to wear and use. Before heading to the roof, a staff member took me through a short safety checklist to make sure I had all the necessary tools for a successful descent!
On the roof, the event team had set up a small training area on a low wall. I was super thankful for the opportunity to practice using the rappelling equipment – getting used to the feel and temperament of the controls. On the training wall, the Over The Edge team also explained the backup rope and systems, their functions, and what I should do if the backups engage.
After a sufficient amount of practice, I was ready to go! I climbed a tall ladder to the top of the rappelling platform and waited my turn to face the building’s edge.
Going Over The Edge for Give Kids The World
When it was my turn, Over The Edge employees clipped me into a safety rope before asking me to head to the end of the building. Holding onto the scaffolding, they finished buckling me into the safety harnesses and instructed me how to lower myself into the rappelling position. Those initial movements were probably the most intimidating for me as I found my rhythm and learned to trust the ropes. Once I got used to the process, I wasn’t nervous at all – just enjoying the sights and experience.
By following the team’s instructions, I was able to make it all the way to the bottom without engaging the backup system. Like any new experience, however, there were a few surprises! Here are some things I wish I knew before rappelling down the Hyatt Regency:
- Maintaining a steady pace is much harder than it looks. The rope mechanism was very sensitive, so I often found myself either completely stopped or moving far too quickly.
- I wish I had asked more questions about the correct posture to maintain during your rappel. I think I may have been leaning too far back during my descent, and it made my ride more uncomfortable than necessary.
- I’m very glad that I took the time to enjoy the view. I loved seeing the sights of International Drive below and around me. If you register for next year’s Over The Edge event, definitely take a few moments to drink in those unforgettable scenes.
In case you’re curious, it took me about seven minutes to rappel all the way down to the ground, navigating windows, ledges, and blocks of concrete. I loved every second, and I would totally do this again – either back at the Hyatt Regency or another location!
After The Rappel
After reaching the ground, I took a quick picture with the Give Kids The World backdrop and headed back up to the Staging Area to return my gear!
Freaky Thoughts: Over The Edge for Give Kids The World
Give Kids The World’s Over The Edge fundraiser combines heart-pounding adventure with the heart-warming opportunity to support an important organization. With a totally achievable fundraising goal of $1,000; I would definitely recommend those interested to register for next year’s event!