Dinner on a sailboat, alligator feedings, cocktails in a tree house and discovering treasure inside of a Spanish fort.
Sounds more like a full day at a top notch Orlando theme park than a lazy Saturday spent lounging inside a hotel on your Summer vacation, however all of the activities I just listed are just a small part of a Sunsational Summer stay at the Gaylord Palms Orlando Resort.
Take your family of four to an Orlando theme park and your wallet will be $400 lighter before you even enter the gates. After a day at the park, you’ll need to pay another $200 for a room to sleep in. A day at Gaylord Palms for a family of four is around $200 and you’ll have a room to retire to at the end of the day. That’s a 66% savings!
My family and I just got back from a weekend stay at this 63 acre Florida paradise and I wanted to share with you some of my favorite things to do.
Cypress Springs Family Fun Water Park
The temperature gauge on my Chevy Sonic read over 100 degrees the day we checked into the resort. With temps this extreme you are going to want to cool off in classic Florida vacation style. This will involve water. Gaylord Palms has built a water park exclusively for resort guests. The Cypress Springs area of the resort features a zero-entry swimming pool with four slides, a multi-level tree house playground and pool side activities.
Not traveling with kids? Grab a shaded lounge chair or private cabana over at the adults-only South Beach pool and let servers from the SandBar drop off mojitos, craft beer or something to nosh on while you float in the palm tree lined water.
For as many times as I have stayed at this beautiful resort I have never attended one of their scheduled gator feedings which take place on Tuesday and Saturday at 6:30 pm in the St. Augustine atrium. This trip was different. A thunder storm moved guests inside of the resort late Saturday afternoon, but we didn’t mind because there were so many things to do under the atrium. During the feeding, the wrangler actually got inside of the alligator habitat to feed the animals.
I watched guests gasp as the gators nipped at his feet.
Don’t worry if you can’t make the scheduled gator feeding time. These animals are always out sunning themselves.
The resort also has Grunt Feedings. What’s a grunt? It’s a baby alligator. Head on over to Sawgrass Place in the Everglades atrium on Monday, Wednesday and Friday around 1:20 pm to see the smaller versions get their fill of gator grub.
The resort also has complementary fish feedings in the Key West atrium on Tuesday and Saturday at 6 pm just before the gator feedings. You can watch animal care specialists feed stingrays, tarpon and other species of saltwater fish.
Dine on a Sailboat at MOOR
If you time it right you can be dining on a sailboat inside of the resort while the fish feeding is going on. Also located in the Key West atrium is the nautically themed restaurant MOOR. You can read my full review of this brand new dining establishment here: If You Haven’t Dined at MOOR in the Gaylord Palms Resort – Here’s Photo Proof of What You’re Missing
As part of the resort’s Sunsational Summer promotion, if you dine on a Wednesday you can take $10 off of a bottle of wine when ordering two entrees.
Kids Eat FREE all summer long!
Try and find that at your Orlando theme park! From now until August 31st, kids 12 and under can enjoy a complimentary entrée from the kids menu for each adult entrée purchased. The Kids Eat Free promotion is valid at Villa de Flora, MOOR, Wreckers Sports Bar, SORA and Old Hickory Steakhouse. This offer is valid for overnight hotel guests only.
And now that I’ve dropped that bit of culinary information on you, let’s take a look at everything we ate and drank while we were there.
Sushi at SORA
I had been craving sushi the entire week and I finally got my craving satisfied on our second night at Gaylord Palms resort when we had an early dinner at SORA Sushi bar in the St. Augustine atrium. While the cocktails and offerings were tasty. I felt that the serving sizes were a tad bit on the small side in comparison to the price we paid. This resulted in a late night run to MOOR where I ordered and subsequently devoured the craft beer and smoked duck and goat cheese flatbread pictured above. Omnomnom!
Cocktails in a Tree House
Have you ever had cocktails in a tree house? We did that. On Friday night we had dinner at Gaylord Palm’s signature steakhouse Old Hickory. This restaurant is literally built among the cypress trees in the Everglades atrium. You can look under the pilings below and find waterfalls, baby alligators and even a moonshine still if you look close enough.
On Fridays until 8 pm you will find Maker’s Mark inside the restaurant offering complementary bourbon tastings. Read all about our dinner here: Dinner at Old Hickory Steakhouse
Sunday Brunch at Villa de Flora
We capped off our weekend stay at the Gaylord Palms Resort with Sunday Brunch at Villa de Flora where I noshed on charcuterie, cheese, cesar and golden beet salad, prime rib, bacon mac’n’cheese and about as many mini desserts as I could make extra room for. My husband and daughter enjoyed their fill of shrimp cocktail and shrimp alfredo and we even added on a craft beer sampler for $15 which allowed us to sample six 4 oz pours of Florida craft beer.
I can’t end this review without showing you a picture of our room. We had a standard double queen with a St. Augustine atrium view. The room was a generous size and was decorated in hues of gold and dark blue. We had a mini fridge which we used for a few beverages we had brought along and I enjoyed sipping coffee on my balcony both mornings getting a little work done on the complementary wifi.
There are so many more things that I didn’t touch on in this post that are included as part of Gaylord Palm’s Sunsational Summer. You can read more and book your very own vacation here by visiting Marriott.com.
Gaylord Palms Orlando Resort
6000 West Osceola Parkway
Kissimmee, Florida 34746
Facets of this experience were made possible in partnership with the Gaylord Palms. All content and opinions are strictly my own.