What to Expect at Gaylord Palms Resort, Orlando

by GO GlobeHopper

Located in Kissimmee, Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center is a short drive from several famous family-friendly Orlando attractions, including Disney World® Parks, LEGOLAND®, Universal Orlando®, Sea World Orlando, and much more. Free shuttle services to Disney World® Theme Parks and Disney Springs are offered by the hotel. This stunningly beautiful resort, which is now owned by Marriott, sits on a massive property containing so much to see and do that it could be classified as one of the area’s major attractions.  So, let’s break it down.

Main Atrium

The hotel is built around a 4.6-acre glass-covered atrium and contains 1412 rooms and suites.  The Marriott website and original Gaylord Palms site tend to overcomplicate the room categories and choices, but it is easily simplified with the following explanation.

Standard rooms come with a choice of 1 King or 2 Queen Beds and the option of several different views depending on which section of the hotel the room is located.  These sections include Everglades, Key West, Emerald Bay, Gulf Coast, and St. Augustine Atrium, each of which contains different amenities, attractions, and restaurants.

Room views from each of these different sections can include Florida View and Waterpark View for rooms facing the exterior of the property, as well as Atrium or Main Atrium Views for rooms facing inward.  Accommodations feature balconies, cable TV, work station, mini-fridge, coffee maker and complimentary bottled water,  iron and ironing board, marble bathroom with walk-in shower, hairdryer, and safe deposit box. Rollaway beds and cribs are available at an extra charge, and connecting rooms are available to accommodate larger groups. All of these include access to the waterpark.  Wifi is available for a fee.

2 Queen Beds – Waterpark View

The Executive Suite and the Deluxe Suite both feature 1 King Bed and a sofa bed, plus a separate sitting area for extra space. These suites are contained in the Emerald Bay section and contain all the features of a standard room plus a wet bar and 2 flat-screen TVs.

Gaylord Palms is disability-friendly with rooms adjusted for guests with mobility issues.

Onsite dining options include 7 restaurants and bars.  Guests can enjoy a breakfast buffet at Villa del Flora, eat lunch at SandBar which offers salads and sandwiches, and savor dinner with fine dining at the Old Hickory Steakhouse or Moor for seafood. Wreckers Sports Bar provides entertainment with casual cuisine. Socio is a Cuban-inspired bar and lounge with interactive cocktail service. Guests can grab a cup of Starbucks® coffee at The Cocoa Bean. In-room breakfast services are available as well.

Crystal River Rapids

There is much to explore on the property with Cypress Springs Water Park & Pools which includes waterslides, a zero-entry pool, a rapid river, and a tropical poolscape. Family fun and a thrilling new ride can be found at Crystal River Rapids where participants can speed through an oasis of currents, natural waterfalls, and limestone rock formations. FlowRider surfing is available at an additional fee. A sand beach play area and nightly entertainment, such as movie night, can also be found in this area.

Guests can rejuvenate with Thai-inspired treatments at Relâche Spa, which can be found in the Everglades section of the hotel.  Specialty services and custom packages are available for weddings. An onsite convention center provides meeting/banquet facilities with 76 event rooms and 76 breakout rooms, as well as 5 ballrooms, and several outdoor spaces for private functions.

Sailboat in Key West section

Within the hotel’s different sections, some notable attractions include an alligator exhibit with live feedings, displays of sunken Spanish treasure, and a replica of North America’s oldest fort, Castillo de San Marcos, all of which can be found in the St. Augustine section. A sailboat measuring 65 feet is on display in the Key West section.  Several shops and boutiques are located in the Emerald Bay section.

Gaylord Resort and its many on-site amenities provide guests with an unforgettable vacation experience. Overall, the hotel scores high within reviews because there is so much available all in one place while providing easy access to local attractions. However, the trade-off for this convenience comes in the form of high prices, especially when it comes to on-site dining options.  Additional fees for wifi are also questionable considering the price.  And, because the property is so very big and popular, with the ability to accommodate such large numbers of guests, it can create excessive wait times for front desk services, room service, housekeeping, shuttle buses to Disney, etc.  Plus, given the size of the property, there is an extensive walk to get from one thing to another, particularly the parking lot.

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