Push Away the Screen: Staycation at the Gaylord Palms Resort

Recently my family had the opportunity to Push Away the Screen and spend 2 nights and 2 full days at the beautiful Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee, Florida. We had been once before, back in 2009 for their winter ICE Festival, but we had no idea what other amenities the resort offered.

Upon check-in we were told that we would be staying in a Ground Level King Suite with an adjoining Queen Suite. Say what?? Traveling with a family of 5 usually means that we are crammed for space and overwhelmed with "kid clutter" every where, but not on this trip!

There was no way I could even get one room in the camera shot, so I didn't even bother! And besides, we weren't there to spend time in our room, we were there to relax and unwind with our family while being active and pushing away the screen.

We arrived at the resort around 7:30pm and we were hungry and the kids wanted to swim. We all quickly changed in to our bathing suits and with a map in hand, Ronin led us to the Cypress Springs Family Fun Water Park! On our way to the pool we passed through all sorts of beautiful gardens that had us excited to explore when the sun came up!

Once at the pool the kids were disappointed to see that the water slides were closed, but I had warned them in advance that they wouldn't be open on the evening when we arrived. I think they must have thought I was joking. But what did keep them entertained was Madagascar 3. Yes, we were there to #pushawaythescreen, but with a Dive-In Movie, we made an exception and the kids frolicked and played, stopping every few minutes to catch a glimpse of the movie.

I stayed with the trio and James went off to find us some food. He came back with take-out from Wreckers Sports Bar. A wonderful Cesar salad for him and I, and fish and chips and chicken tenders for the trio. The Cesar salad was made by the dressing. It had to have been homemade. It was SO GOOD with a lot of garlic. Yum.

After a quick dip in the pool, I was ready for an adult beverage so I wandered over to Wreckers (which was the only spot open at this time of night) and got us each a libation. The beer was for me. Wink

Upon our return to our room we had this lovely welcome tray and note waiting for us! The Gaylord Palms motto of "Consider it Done" certainly rang true for us this entire staycation, and this bit of personalization was the icing on the cake.

They also stocked our fridges (yes, we had 2) with sparkling water Smile The kids were very excited for a fun Saturday at the pool, so went right to sleep.

We woke up and since we had reservations to eat Villa de Rosa for buffet dinner, we opted to not eat buffet for breakfast and headed to the Java market for a quick bite to eat. We wanted to be at the pool soon after opening! It's uncanny how James and I think alike for on this morning we both ordered a Greek salad...FOR BREAKFAST! The kids each had a breakfast sandwich. We ate in the St. Augustine atrium, and then James decided he needed a nap, so while he went back to the room the kids and I headed to the Cypress Springs Family Water Park.

You must show your room key, and give your last name when you check in at the park. Apparently it is quite common for locals to try to get in to the pool area on the weekend. When we checked in we were informed that we had a POOLSIDE CABANA!! SWEET! We were given towels, our cabana number and headed down to Cabana 17! I knew James would be quite happy to learn we had a cabana because he is quite sun sensitive! And I was right! He spent quite a bit of time in the shade reading It Starts With Food. Our cabana had a fridge stocked with water, plus 2 chaise lounges, and a dining table with 4 chairs. We also had chaise lounges right outside our cabana.

The kids had an absolute blast! They participated in poolside games! Ella did the hula-hooping contest (see Haley in the water cheering her on!!) and came in 3rd place.

And all 3 of them did the cannonball contest and Haley placed 2nd overall! Very proud of my big splashers!


The games took place on the top of every hour beginning at Noon. From 10-Noon my gang just had a blast going down the slides and swimming in the pool!



And James enjoyed the slides too! Look at that splash he made!

And you better believe that I enjoyed myself as much as the kids did!

But in typical Florida fashion, the storms rolled through at 1:45pm and closed down the pool. We hadn't eaten lunch yet, so we headed back in to the resort to the Key West area (where our suite was also located) and let the kids have a bite to eat at Sunset Sam's. We sat in the sailboat, had a few drinks, and the kids snacked on calamari. If you look closely you can see James in the left side of the photo!

It was pouring rain outside, and though we were inside, it felt like we were outside. It was amazing! The kids had so much fun exploring and before we knew it, it was time to head back to our room to get ready for dinner.

I brought along a great selection of dresses from Gwynnie Bee and decided to wear this one! I loved it. It was so comfortable, and the colors really popped!

Along the way we had time to explore all of the different eco-systems represented in the resort. The Florida Everglades was Ella's favorite! Ella loves snakes and this was her "I'm excited to see snakes" face.

And we walked though a brick area that had the name of every Florida county of them! We took our pictures next to the three that hold the most meaning for us! James is from Tampa so that's Hillsborough County, I'm from Venice, so that's Sarasota County, and now we live in Land O' Lakes, so that's Pasco County.

Then we were off to dinner! We were greeted warmly by the hostess, shown to our primo view table (which might have been located next to a quick release gate for children to easily depart to go explore the St. Augustine fort??) and the manager came over, introduced himself, shook my hand, and informed me that if there was anything we wanted to eat that we didn't see on the buffet, to please let him know and he would have his staff make it! Talk about the Consider it Done motto coming in to play again!

They had amazing healthy opitions, and here's a sneak peek of my plate(s). Yes, I ate too much. And I drank too much. But it's fine. It's not something that happens often, and I enjoyed every bite and have not one ounce of regret! Both of those plates went in my belly. Tongue Out

An alligator feeding happened at 6:30pm pretty close to where we were eating, so the kids and I hopped over there really quick, saw the show, and on the way back we ran in to Po!


And I'll be darned if it doesn't look like I am sporting a bicep!

We explored a bit more after dinner, but went to bed pretty early. I had to go and charge my phone, so went out exploring while the family was in bed and look who I ran across!

We had an amazing Saturday, and got to sleep in a bit on Sunday! The kids didn't wake us up until close to 9am! We did pretty much the same thing as the day before! Had breakfast at Java, James went to take a nap, the kids and I went back to the pool, got our cabana again, and just played until the rain closed the pool down at 3pm. That worked out perfectly because we had a late checkout at 4pm, so we came back to our room, took showers, packed and left.

Having a Staycation at the Gaylord Palms is more like a vacation! We never left the property! There was no need to go anywhere! We had plenty of food options, entertainment options, and of course the pool.

If you are looking for an amazing family getaway, I HIGHLY recommend that you check out the Gaylord Palms.

You can follow them on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest!!

Be sure to check out their webpage or social media channels for great promotions and of course their upcoming ICE show which this year will feature FROSTY the Snowman! I sure hope that they invite us back again because we sure loved being guests at the Gaylord!

Have you ever done a Staycation at a local hotel? What did you like best about it?

Comments (16) -

  • That is SO awesome! I have never really stayed at a nice hotel, just cheap ones. I had no idea that hotels like this existed in Orlando! That indoors ship is so cool and alligator feedings at the hotel? What. It sounds more like a theme park in itself. I am definitely going to have to stay here in the future. I love your brick/feet pictures. Such a cute idea. I am glad you all had a great time. Smile
  • We stayed there during the holidays a few years ago.  OMG!  We loved it!!  They have special offers and we got a room for two nights only $99 a night.  It included tickets to ICE and they had just opened up a new area where they have "snow" .  The kids had so much fun tobogganing!  

    We paid an extra $35 (I think) for Mrs. Clause to come and tuck them in at night.  She talked to them for quite awhile and read them a story.  They also got a free dvd made by Gaylord Palms.  This was my absolute favorite thing!  The kids don't remember her stopping by...bummer.

    They also have a Christmas show that is awesome!

    Highly recommend going there for the holidays and they have a great spa that any mom would LOVE!!

    I do love that you don't have to leave the hotel and that everything you need is right there.  No extra running around.
  • Would it be a good place for couples too? Or just families? I think they have a pretty sweet BOGO deal for your birthday/anniversary.
  • Nikki, it would be a GREAT place for couples! They have an ADULT ONLY pool as well as some very fancy restaurants, and a relaxing spa!! I'd love to be able to go for my anniversary sans kids!!
  • I love the Gaylord Palms.  I've stayed there before a few years ago.   But I definitely don't like snakes so I would be staying far away from the Everglades exhibit.  
  • you are totally sporting a bicep! looks like you all had a great time! my daughter went to the ice thing there, but I haven't been inside yet. If they need a family with teens to review those options, we're here for them! Someone needs to remind Crystal that Orlando is like the 4th highest vacation destination - so many pretty resorts! have you seen the pool at grand cypress? it looks like you are under rocky coves. I think they have horses and a rock climbing wall too. another Orlando place to check out....
  • What a fun time! I love the water area. Looks super fun!
  • That looks like it was an absolutely amazing trip! My parents used to take my brother and I on mini stay-cations when we were young, but they weren't nearly that fancy!
  • Looks like a fun staycation!  (And seriously, it's a small world.  I'm from Zephyrhills.)
  • Wow this place looks great!!! How fun, doesn't even look like you'd have the leave the resort.
  • My husband and I did an anniversary staycation every year. I loved it! Your staycation looked amazing! I want to go to the pool.
  • I have a few friends who have stayed here and I am always so jealous at how beautiful and fun it looks!  
  • This looks like a great vacation! it looks so much fun! My kids would looove to go there and get on the slide! And the sprinklers.  They would go crazy! Thanks for sharing Smile
  • oh my! what a lovely place to relax together with the family
  • This resort looks amazing. It looks like you had a great time.
  • What an awesome looking resort! It looks like you had a blast. Our staycations have been some of my families best vacations!

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