Spending a Fun Halloween in Orlando at the Gaylord Palms Resort

carved pumpkins lit on a bail of hay for halloween in orlando

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If this isn’t the year of disappointing travel expectations, I don’t know what is. And while certain 2020 Halloween events are canceled at the major theme parks in Orlando, your family can still have a fun, and COVID-19 save, Halloween in Orlando at the Gaylord Palms Resort.

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. The Gaylord Palms is part of Marriott Hotels collection and you can use your Bonvoy Rewards there.

Read my full review of the hotel and safety precautions here.

The Goblins and Giggles event is happening each weekend through October 31, 2020. To celebrate Halloween in Orlando, the Gaylord Palms hotel package includes the following:

  • Hide & Seek Scavenger Hunt
  • Castillo de San Marcos ALIVE! Ghost Experience tickets
  • Meet and Greet with Spookley the Square Pumpkin
  • Spooky animal encounters
  • Trick or Treat Expeditions
  • Moonlight Movies
  • Phantom of the Atrium Light Display
  • and more.

Travel for Halloween in Orlando

While my kids are teenagers, they still enjoy the dressing up and candy portion of Halloween. Plus, now that they are older, they can experience more of the scary side of Halloween, as well as go off and explore on their own. I enjoyed the fact that we could experience all of the elements of Gaylord Palms’ Goblins and Giggles event. Even though many of the activities are geared towards younger children, we still appreciated and had fun doing them. If you want to celebrate Halloween in Orlando, book the Goblins and Giggles Package to experience something different.

Spookley the Pumpkin’s Hide & Seek Scavenger Hunt

I’ll be honest. I never heard of Spookley the Square Pumpkin until our weekend visit to Gaylord Palms. Spookley is a square pumpkin, living in a round pumpkin patch. It’s a really cute story with an anti-bullying message.

girl with book looking for hidden pumpkin near palm tree

Hidden all over the Gaylord Palms resort are eight stuffed Spookleys. Upon check-in, we were given a Scavenger Hunt booklet as part of our Goblins and Giggles Package. Solve the puzzles and you’ll find the various pumpkins. For the most part, the puzzles are easy to solve for ages 8 and up. For us, we handed off the booklet to the teens and let them wander and explore the resort. They had fun seeking out the hidden pumpkins as well as exploring on their own.

Castillo de San Marcos ALIVE! Ghost Experience

woman in period costume as a ghost for halloween in orlando

My personal favorite event during Goblins and Giggles is the Castillo de San Marcos ALIVE! Ghost Experience. Within the main atrium exists a replica of St. Augustine’s Castillo de San Marcos. Because the Castillo is over 350 years old, many ghosts must haunt the location. Fortunately, some of them have come to Gaylord Palms to tell their story.

I thought Gaylord Palms handled the safety precautions for the storytelling event very well. We had to book a timeslot to visit, to ensure the experience wasn’t overcrowded. We were advised that only one party at a time may visit a ghost and to allow any other parties space while they were visiting ghosts. Each ghostly visit had a clear message when it was time for us to move on. The ghost performers wore masks but it didn’t impede upon their performance.

In fact, that’s what I enjoyed the most. The performers each played their part extraordinarily well. All of us enjoyed watching them perform their stories. As an actress, I appreciated how much they were able to express themselves even with a mask on. The costumes were also extraordinary.

Phantom of the Atrium Light Display

Another thing I really enjoy is a good light show. That is why Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year. However, I’ll take a good light show if it’s Halloween themed!

lights in atrium

Because The Gaylord Palms Resort has such a large atrium, they have designed an LED light display that can be seen from anywhere inside the atrium, including the atrium rooms. We were able to watch the light show from the balcony in our room. However, I do recommend heading down to the Emerald Plaza to get the full experience.

The Phantom of the Atrium appears in the gazebo and directs the display of the lights along with Halloween themed music. The entire show is about 15 minutes and happens at 9pm.

Did you know that if even if you’re not staying at the resort, you can still experience Halloween in Orlando here. You can pay for parking, and the Castillo de San Marcos ALIVE! experience, and stay for the light show. Get some dining in too while you’re at it!

Meet and Greet “Spooky” Animals

man with alligator and snake, girl with mask

Our friends at Wild Florida host a meet and greet with an alligator and boa constrictor. Because of oils in our hands and transmitting infections, you cannot handle the animals. However, you can get a picture and ask the guide any questions you might have. The fact that Wild Florida handles this and the Aligator Cove is a bonus treat!

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    Trick or Treating

    teen girl and teen boy dressed up for halloween in orlando

    On Saturday the kids dressed up and went trick or treating around the resort. I thought Gaylord Palms handled this safely, with individually bagged candy handed out at five different stations around the property. Our experience with other trick or treating events left this experience to be a little lackluster, with only five locations. I do believe that for safety reasons, they handled this well. Halloween in Orlando is going to look different this year. Plus, it was fun to see the kids dressed up, and it was an event that we otherwise wouldn’t get to do. Just don’t expect to come away with buckets of candy like at Mickey’s Not So Scary.

    More Things to Do

    Overall, we had a terrific time with the events at the Goblins and Giggles experience at the Gaylord Palms. We also popped in the SpookEasy which had interactive talking ghost busts, haunting images, and craft cocktails. We saw Spookley the Square Pumpkin performing for photo ops, and we poppled by the pool for a showing of Spookley’s movie as well as Hocus Pocus.

    I was very pleased to get away and have some Halloween themed fun in Orlando. I recommend taking advantage of booking the Goblins and Giggles Package, here, as it includes tickets to the Castillo de San Marcos ALIVE! Ghost Experience. Otherwise, you can add on tickets for $14.99 a person.

    What are your thoughts? Are you looking for a way to celebrate Halloween in Orlando. Whether you want a staycation or you’re visiting from out of town, this was such a treat (no tricks!) to enjoy the experiences and the Gaylord Palms Orlando Resort.

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