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If you’re looking for a family-friendly, spacious, safe resort, look no further than Gaylord Palms Resort in Orlando. This stunning resort has everything you need for a fun family vacation. Plus, they are using top-notch safety procedures. The following is our review of the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Orlando.
Gaylord Palms Resort hosted us for their Goblins and Giggles event. All opinions are my own.
The Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Orlando is located just outside of Walt Disney World. It’s an expansive resort with a stunning atrium. Gaylord Palms is part of the Marriott Hotels collection and you can earn and use your Bonvoy Rewards there.
The Gaylord Palms Resort Orlando Property
The Gaylord Palms Resort is a stunningly gorgeous resort themed to areas around Florida. Themed areas include Key West, St. Augustine, the Everglades, and Emerald Bay, which reminds me of old Spanish architecture and an extension of St. Augustine.
The resort also has the unique feature of a massive atrium. Many of the rooms are atrium rooms with balconies. The atrium itself provides a covered yet still outdoor tropical feel. Full-size palm trees reach toward the atrium ceiling. The gardens around the atrium are lush and inviting.
The atrium is so big in fact, that there is an almost true-to-scale representation of the Castillo de San Marcos fort from St. Augustine located in the middle. This distinctive structure is surrounded by a moat filled with koi fish. Walkways and stairs allow you to explore the fort from many angles.
Part of the reason we felt safe and socially distanced from others is due to the size of the atrium, allowing us to walk and explore freely.
COVID-19 Safety measures
Speaking of safety, everywhere signs remind guests to wear masks. I did not see a single person without their face coverings the entire visit.
Elevator signs state only four people per elevator or one party allowed at a time. Signs on the floor help identify spacing and the limit of four.
At the pool area, spacing and traffic flow are one-way only. Chairs are either arranged for small groups or blocked ot encourage social distancing.
From Marriott and Gaylord Palms Resort Orlando website, “In accordance with Marriott’s “Commitment to Clean” practices, the resort provides enhanced cleaning technology, hospital-grade disinfectants, attendants dedicated to sanitizing frequently throughout the day, social distancing protocols, and hundreds of new cleaning processes to take care of guests while they enjoy the resort’s amenities.”
Gaylord Palms Resort Rooms
Over 1300 rooms at Gaylord Palms Resort Orlando include an atrium view, lawn or pool view, and Florida view. We stayed in an Emerald Bay room with the main atrium view.
Our 410 square foot room was super spacious, with plenty of floor space to move around, and definitely comfortable for a family of four. My favorite feature, however, is the balcony atrium view. I enjoyed sitting on a balcony overlooking a lush tropical garden. Even better, I further enjoyed the fact that I’m still in an air-conditioned covered atrium, unaffected by the weather. You can’t beat it.
Additional props should go to Gaylord Palms for their use of full-size shampoo, conditioner, and body wash bottles in the bathroom. Not only are they mounted to the shower wall for convenience, but it also eliminates the need for housekeeping during our stay and is so much better for the environment. I do not like the excessive and small plastic bottle waste most hotels employ and this is a step in the right direction.
The Gaylord Palms Resort Orlando offers most of your standard amenities. The rooms have mini-fridges if you want to bring your own drinks and snacks. If you’ve forgotten anything, a sundries and gift shop likely has what you need. Additional gift shops do appear to be closed, however, they will open up for you if you wish to shop.
Notes on added costs
If you need to park at the resort, it is $26 a day, and the valet is $38. Expect to also pay a resort fee of $30 a day as well.
You may cancel at no charge up to 24 hours before your stay as well.
The dining at Gaylord Palms is impeccably delicious. We had the good fortune to stay on a weekend, where their exquisite restaurant Moor, offered a breakfast buffet. More on that in a moment. Currently, open is Moor with open-air atrium dining; you’ll feel as if you’re outside. The poolside SandBar offers casual fare. Socio, located just off the lobby, is home to cocktails. A Starbucks coffee shop is located inside of The Cocoa Bean. Finally, the Wreckers sports bar is safely serving guests standard and large portioned pub fare.
New in 2021, the Old Hickory Steakhouse has reopened. Villa de Flora has had an extensive renovation with attended buffet options.
We dined for dinner at both Moor and Wreckers. Each experience was delicious. At Moor, we opted for a tapas-style appetizer selection. We dined on lobster deviled eggs, smoked fish dip, crab cakes, ad ahi tuna. At Wreckers, we had perfectly cooked burgers, nachos, and fish and chips. Nothing disappointed.
My favorite however is the breakfast buffet at Moor. Currently, they are only offering this on weekends. Now, you may think a buffet isn’t safe during COVID times. However, I thought they handled this well. You cannot serve yourself. Plexiglass covers all the food when it’s not covered by a lid. Servers are wearing masks and gloves.
The food was fresh. The pastries were the flakiest I’ve ever had on a buffet. Nothing was greasy. And the pancakes were top-notch. Seriously, I can’t stop thinking of this buffet!
Pool and Water Park
The pool and water park are just other exciting features at the resort. Truly, you don’t need to go anywhere else when you are here, which made for a perfect staycation for us.
The water park offers twisty slides, speed slides, and a huge interactive splash pad playground.
The main pool is large enough to accommodate social distance. The South Beach pool, formally adults only, is open to families to encourage more distancing. We opted to hang out there for the day because of its long shape with pool seating at the sides of the pool. Again, this is just another one of the property’s lush tropical details with palms lining the pool.
Events at Gaylord Palms Resort Orlando
If you can, I recommend visiting Gaylord Palms Resort in Orlando during one of their annual events. As a family, the events are an added bonus to enjoying more of what the resort has to offer.
SummerFest had Atrium Vibes concerts, scavenger hunts, trivia, Illuminate Florida Light Show, movie nights at the pool, and more.
Fall Events brings Goblins and Giggles to life. You can read my full review of our experience here. We had a lot of fun, both silly and scary.
Christmas at Gaylord Palms brings an “I Love Christmas Movies” pop-up experience with immersive multi-sensory exhibits featuring your favorite movies. While the full lineup of events has yet to be announced, I can’t wait to visit again to check it out.
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