If are planning a trip to the Orlando Florida area, a great place to stay is the Gaylord Palms resort. It is a high-end resort with lots of activities, shops, pools, miniature golf, top-notch restaurants and an amazing spa. The Gaylord is a wonderful place for a weekend trip for you and the kids, or for a little romantic getaway. They also offer great facilities for business conferences in their large convention area.
The whole resort is really spectacular. When you are inside its large indoor atrium, you feel as though you have been transported to different parts of Florida The atrium includes themed areas from various parts of Florida such as the Key West, St. Augustine and the Everglades with amazing scenery. There is a large koi fish pond inside a Fort in the Saint Augustine section. One thing that my kids really enjoyed, was seeing the live alligator feeding, which is also in the fort area. The alligators are fed two times each day (make sure you check the lobby for the times). There are also many cute shops that you can visit.
I feel the most spectacular part of the atrium is the Everglades section where you go through tropical plants and old Florida style buildings, including a little shack where the kids can see the baby alligators, poisonous snakes and adorable turtles. This is also where the Old Hickory Steakhouse is located, and just outside the Everglades area you will find a world-class spa.
The restaurants are world-class; we ate at most of them on our visit. Sunset Sam’s a Key West grill is located insidethe Key West area within the atrium, where you eat aboard a 60 ft. sailboat. Villa de Flora is a very popular Italian restaurant which offers a huge Sunday brunch where you can enjoy fresh bread, pasta made to order, specialty selections from the carving station, Mediterranean favorites and homemade desserts that are prepared daily by the pastry chef. A large wine list is accentuated by traditional Mediterranean offerings, and also sangria made tableside! We also ate at the Japanese restaurant “Sora”, which we really enjoyed.
If you prefer a great steak house then the Old Hickory Steakhouse is for you. Its menu includes delicious aged beef as well as seafood and pasta dishes. We especially enjoyed the European cheese cart coupled with a fine selection of wine.
They have some nice rooms with a balcony view that looks out over the atrium from above. During the Christmas seasons they have spectacular light shows and live entertainment with live music, dancing and acrobatics that can be viewed from the balcony.
One thing that The Gaylord Palm is known for is “Christmas in Orlando”, the gigantic ICE show they put on every year. Ice is a spectacular exhibit that is made out of two million pounds of ice. You should dress in warm clothes, as the exhibit is kept at 9 degrees Farenheight. Every year there is a different theme. Package deals are available that include a room, Ice tickets and a wonderful gingerbread building experience for the kids. They also hide gnomes in locations throughout the resort, if you find them all you get a prize.
One thing that I thought was quite comical was the speed limit signs outside that stated “17 miles an hour”.
Gaylord Pals is currently doing a $50 million grand renovation project slated for completion in Spring 2012. They are adding two new spectacular pools, a one-of-kind new multi-level dining venue, extraordinary new amenities and activities, luxurious new guest rooms features, and a new DreamWorks experience. With all of these new additions, it’s really going to make for quite a unique experience. I know that we’ll be going back again soon.
If you are planning a trip to Florida you should visit the FloridaVacationPlans.com website, which is a great resource for planning a Florida vacation.