The Gaylord Palms is located in Kissimmee, Florida, just minutes from Walt Disney World. My family stayed at the property over the Christmas holiday to experience the hotel and it’s on-site activities.
To say we were blown away is an understatement. The lights, sounds, entertainment and accommodations made for a magical stay. We left wondering when we could get back and why we hadn’t stayed here sooner.
For Orlando, the Gaylord Palms is something different in a sea of resort hotels.
The Rooms: My family stayed in a double queen atrium view room in the St. Augustine section. I found the room to be spacious and warm- a place you can feel comfortable crashing after a long day in the parks. The showstopper, of course, is the view which looks over the hotel’s atrium. Room amenities include Gaylord iConnect In-Room guest portal, wi-fi, mini fridge and coffee maker.
The Property: Under the giant atrium of the Gaylord Palms is 4 ½ acres of gardens, forts, waterways and more to explore. The hotel is Florida themed, dividing the atrium into 4 sections; St. Augustine, Key West, Everglades and Emerald Bay. What sets Gaylord Palms apart from the other local resort hotels is that it’s a destination in itself. You could spend a weekend (or more) here and never have, or want, to leave. If theme parks are on your agenda, the hotel provides complimentary shuttles to Disney World- Universal and SeaWorld parks are an additional fee.
Dining: The hotel has a nice assortment of dining options, from fine dining at Old Hickory Steakhouse to a casual buffet at Villa de Flora. There really is something for everyone. During our visit, we enjoyed a meal on a 60’ sailboat at Sunset Sam’s Fish Camp. Our dinner was outstanding! Even for a casual restaurant the food was beautifully prepared, fresh and delicious. My daughter enjoyed eating on a boat, the balloon man on stilts and her grilled cheese, which was served in the “USS Kid Ship”. The atmosphere was upbeat and fun- a great dining option for families who enjoy seafood.
My Mama Moment: Hands down, my blue drink at Sunset Sam’s Fish Camp. After a long day there was nothing better than enjoying a great meal with my family, having a cocktail and walking back to our room. No cars or buses required.
Pros: Even with a large portion of this hotel being a convention center, you’d never know it. The amenities and on-site activities really make Gaylord Palms unique. During our stay over the holidays we enjoyed a walk through ICE!, a gnome hunt and a live alligator feeding. Events and activities change with the seasons, but there is always something going on.
Cons: The parking and resort fees. Currently, parking is $12 a day and the daily resort fee is $15. Those little numbers can add up over the course of your stay. It should be noted that the daily resort fee includes a daily newspaper, wireless internet, 2 bottles of water replenished daily in room, use of Relâche Spa Fitness Center and complimentary shuttles to Disney.
Great for: Everyone! Solo, couples, girlfriend getaways, families.
Website: Gaylord Palms
Special thanks to the Gaylord Palms for hosting my visit.