Gaylord Palms Resort
REVIEW: Gaylord Palms Goblins and Giggles Weekends 2020
Gaylord Palms Resort
If you haven’t heard of the Gaylord Palms Resort, it is situated over in Kissimmee. It’s actually very close to the ESPN Wide World of Sports/Art of Animation side of the Walt Disney World Resort property. It’s super easy to get to and close-by for those wondering if it’s easy to stay there and go to the parks. We have stayed there a few times over the years, and absolutely love the resort. The resort itself is a great place to do a staycation for locals too because there is so much to explore and do in the hotel itself. We’ll have full resort and room tour videos coming up later this week, so be sure to subscribe to our Zannaland channel and click the bell to get notified when they go live! Now, let’s get to our review of Goblins & Giggles Weekends!
What is Goblins and Giggles Weekends?
We discuss all that’s included in Goblins and Giggles Weekends in our previous article, so check that out if you’re curious as to what’s included. In addition to this Goblins and Giggles review, you can watch our video from our weekend there to see what we saw and enjoyed! Watch here:
Is Goblins and Giggles Worth it?
I think it is, yes. The event weekend rates start at $189/nt and I think that’s a great value with some extras thrown in like the Halloween Hide & Seek with Spookley the Square Pumpkin, the Trick or Treating, and the little shows, animal encounters and storytelling on the tv. We didn’t get video of that but basically on channel 51 of our room tv, from 6-10pm, we could watch storytime with Morgana, and Monster Mash with Vlad, where their costumed characters told stories or did dance numbers for the kids. That was the only place we saw the Goblin in question from the weekend name. Unless we missed him being somewhere else, be sure to tune in to see him.
I will say that while I personally enjoyed the Castillo de San Marcos ALIVE! experience, because I love fun theatre-y stuff like that where people perform dramatic monologues, I can see how some people might not think it was worth the $15 per person ticket price. I don’t usually do any sort of Halloween experiences like that, so maybe that’s the going rate, I’m not sure, so I’ll let you decide for yourself.
For the ticket fee, you see some lit up jack-o-lantern collections, which are very fun, but I do wish I could’ve taken some photos of them in the daylight too. Then you experience 3 different ghost “stations” where each ghost tells you their tale and then ushers you on. It ends with Bones, a “comic relief” performance to counteract the creepy (and based on real stories?) tales you just heard. Bones was really fun, we loved him. Then you are sent to the SpookEasy, where you can enjoy an alcoholic drink if you’d like. So if you had a big family, that price would add up quickly, but again, it’s up to you to decide if it would work for you. I will say the performers were all great, really into their characters and the makeup and costumes were on point too. I really had fun.
Lastly, there is the Phantom of the Atrium Light Show. I was really looking forward to this as I love a light show, and anything Phantom of the Opera related. This was a fun show, but it was quick, only 5 minutes long. The Phantom “conducts” from below, and the lights display various Halloweenie images and characters, with classical spooky music. I think this could be a much longer show, even if the lights aren’t necessarily showing graphics, they are just lights. Some of the images were a little cheesy, but again, it was super fun to watch from our balcony. I’d have sat through an hour-long show!
Will My Kids Like it?
There are some activities which are definitely geared toward younger kids. The Seth the Sea Turtle and Ava the Alligator Adventure Kids show is for sure. The bedtime stories on the tv are as well. The Hide and Seek is great for little kids and older kids, because if the little ones can’t solve the puzzles, older siblings or parents can help, and the littler kids can search for Spookley the Square Pumpkin. Trick-or-Treating is of course for everyone. The ALIVE! experience isn’t really very scary, it’s just loud in some parts when the actors really get into something. But little kids may not enjoy it if you are going at night. The Phantom of the Atrium Light Show is great for everyone!
Bottom Line Review
My Gaylord Palms Goblins and Giggles review in a sentence: I had a great time, my family had a great time. I think the value is there, and on par with Disney’s value resorts, which Gaylord Palms certainly exceeds in terms of comfort and surroundings. Again, I love going there for a Staycation and not even visiting the parks, because with the resort itself (even now when some things are closed) and the water park area, there is a ton to do.
I will say that we were a little disappointed in the lack of enforcement of the mask-wearing policy. It IS clearly stated everywhere that it’s required in the hotel, and at the pool unless you are in the water, but we did not see anyone outside of the front desk reminding people to keep their masks on or up over their noses. Many times people would be asking an employee a question, with no mask on, and no one was telling them to stop and put their mask on.
Additionally, they have notices to keep elevators at 4 people max occupancy, or your entire party, and we had to, at least twice, stop people from getting on the elevator with us. I realize that is a people problem and not a Gaylord Palms problem, but I do wish they had at least one person stationed around the atrium enforcing mask-wearing. We felt safe the whole time, however, we just stayed away from those who weren’t complying. Just something to be aware of if you are immuno-compromised.
How to Book
You can book directly at GaylordPalms.com and don’t forget about their upcoming holiday season as well with the Gaylord Palms I Love Christmas Movies pop-up experience!! We can’t wait for that! Thank you to Gaylord Palms for having us out and we hope you enjoyed our Goblins and Giggles vlog and review – stay tuned this week for Resort and Room Tour videos coming up on Zannaland!
You can also see the fun from our weekend on my instagram story if you missed it while we were there, I’ve saved it in a Gaylord Goblins highlight.
Disclosure: Gaylord Palms invited my family and I to stay for the weekend and experience Goblins and Giggles Weekends. We were provided with a $100 resort credit, passes for the ALIVE! experience and preferred seating at the pool area. As always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.
I Love Christmas Movies! Pop Up Experience at Gaylord Palms
On the heels of their last announcement regarding Gaylord Palms Halloween event – Goblins and Giggles Weekends, the resort hotel has now announced their holiday offerings. Gaylord Palms ICE! has become a staple of holiday events in the Orlando area for well over a decade. My family have been visiting since 2007, and it has become a tradition for us and many others as well. However, due to international travel restrictions and the global pandemic this year, ICE! will not be a part of the Christmas at Gaylord Palms lineup.
Don’t let that deter your plans to include Gaylord Palms as part of your holiday traditions. Gaylord Palms still has a HUGE schedule of events for the upcoming season. Traditional favorites like Cirque Dreams and the tree lighting atrium light show return, along with an all-new “pop-up” offering. Let’s see the news directly from Gaylord Palms:
As the holiday season approaches, Gaylord Palms is excited to announce a new one-of-a-kind marquee Christmas pop-up experience that will debut November 13, 2020 and run through January 3, 2021. Called “I Love Christmas Movies,” the new experience presents a multi-sensory exhibition in collaboration with Warner Bros. Consumer Products allowing guests to experience beloved holiday movies in a completely new way. The new pop-up experience anchors Gaylord Palms’ lineup of renowned annual Christmas programming, promising an enchanting holiday celebration this year.
With the unveiling of the new I Love Christmas Movies immersive pop-up experience, visitors will enjoy enhanced holiday fun and delights as they discover this exclusive activity offered only at Gaylord Hotels for a limited time.
I Love Christmas Movies presents a fully immersive exhibit featuring key moments from some of the most iconic Warner Bros. Pictures Christmas movies including THE POLAR EXPRESS™, A CHRISTMAS STORY™, ELF™, NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION™, and THE YEAR WITHOUT A SANTA CLAUS™. As guests young and young at heart navigate the multi-sensory exhibits, they will enjoy over 13 fully immersive scenes complete with replicas of film props, audio clips and more, making participants feel as if they have stepped into part of the actual story. Guests will travel with Buddy the Elf from Santa’s North Pole workshop to New York City; take photos in front of the Griswold’s house adorned with thousands of Christmas lights; and more.
For almost two decades, Gaylord Palms has become legendary for providing magical holiday events and activities for winter visitors to experience, and this year will be no different. A lineup of additional signature activities and experiences visitors have come to know and love over the years is being developed and will be featured alongside the new I Love Christmas Movies experience.
With a full lineup to be announced soon, visitors can look forward to experiences such as ice tubing, scavenger hunts, gingerbread decorating, elf training academy, holiday stage shows and much more, all to be enjoyed within acres of airy indoor atriums decorated with millions of twinkling holiday lights, towering Christmas trees and thousands of shimmering ornaments.
“The holidays are the perfect time of year to make memories with friends and family, and we know that this year more than ever, guests will be looking for places where they can celebrate the magic of the season in a safe environment,” said General Manager Johann Krieger. “This year we are excited to present the new I Love Christmas Movies experience, along with our other amazing events and activities our guests have come to know and love.”
As the safety of guests and STARS (employees) is of paramount importance, the Christmas at Gaylord Palms program is being developed in accordance with Marriott’s “Commitment to Clean” program and with enhanced protocols and social-distancing measures. Programming will also operate in consideration with the latest local, state and federal legislation.
Overnight Christmas packages including admission into the I Love Christmas Movies immersive pop-up experience are available to book now. Tickets for all the events and activities for Christmas at Gaylord Palms will go on sale in early October.
For more information about the I Love Christmas Movies pop-up and Christmas programming, visit ChristmasatGaylordPalms.com, which will be updated with this year’s lineup soon.
Have you visited Gaylord Palms for the holidays? What was your favorite part of the lineup? Let us know in the comments below!
Check out our Gaylord Palms room tour below:
Gaylord Palms Goblins & Giggles Weekends Begin Soon
As you may know if you have been following Zannaland for a while, or subscribed to our YouTube channel – we LOVE Gaylord Palms Resort! It’s such an amazing getaway, it’s THE perfect place for a “staycation.” There is so much to see and do within the resort, you have no reason to leave! Now, to celebrate the spooky season coming upon us soon (I know all of 2020 has been pretty spooky, but you might as well have some FUN with it, right?) Gaylord Palms is presenting Goblins and Giggles Getaway Weekends!
What are Goblins and Giggles Getaway Weekends you ask? Let me explain. This Fall, guests are invited to experience spooktacular weekends September 11 through October 31, 2020. Throughout the season, in addition to their amazing holiday experiences, Gaylord Palms creates fun family weekends that really give you a reason to getaway, relax, and have fun. These weekend themed events are such great fun and Gaylord Palms Resort is so huge, a scavenger hunt is really a hunt! There are so many places to explore and discover: pools, a water park, dining, live alligators, saltwater fish, and so much more. Here’s the breakdown of the Gaylord Palms Goblins & Giggles Weekends:
Goblins & Giggles Getaway Weekends offers a wide array of family-friendly activities from spooky animal encounters and a Halloween-themed scavenger hunt to wicked pool fun and a meet and greet with Spookley the Square Pumpkin.
Most of the activities take place Friday through Sunday.
• In celebration of Goblins & Giggles, the resort is offering a special package starting at $189.
The package includes overnight accommodations, a Hide and Seek Scavenger Hunt booklet and tickets to the new Castillo de San Marcos ALIVE! Ghost Experience. The package excludes resort fee and parking.
Weekend events and activities include:
- NEW! Castillo de San Marcos ALIVE! Ghost Experience features live storytellers who recount real-life ghost stories for all who are brave enough to listen. Guests will explore the fort’s stone walls and encounter the spirits who remain trapped within. Includes an imaginative walkthrough experience transporting visitors of all ages through a world of Halloween Jack-o-Lantern fun.
- NEW! The resort’s haunted hideaway SpookEasy offers spine-chilling craft cocktails and a spooky collection of terrifying, ghostly artwork procured by owner’s past. *This haunt is PG-13 due to graphic spooky activities inside.*
- NEW! Meet and Greet with Spookley the Square Pumpkin at a fun photo op. One day in the pumpkin patch, the strangest little pumpkin hatched. Spookley the Pumpkin was different. All the other pumpkins teased him, until Spookley proved that being different can save the day.
- Spooky Animal Encounters provides guests with the opportunity to conquer their fears by getting up-close to live animals and learn about common myths surrounding some of the world’s most misunderstood creatures.
- Guests, young and young at heart, can explore the resort during a Trick-or-Treat Expedition, with stops throughout the resort for some deliciously spooky treats.
- Seth the Sea Turtle, Ava the Alligator and everyone’s favorite Adventure Kid Sophie explore Florida’s creepier flora and fauna during Adventure Kids: A Spooky Celebration.
- Families can hang out poolside with the Halloween host with the most Jack O’ Lantern for some Wicked Awesome Pool Fun in the Sun.
- Spend the evening at Moonlight Movies watching family-friendly movies on the resort’s pool screen at Cypress Springs Water Park.
Daily activities include:
- The Hide and Seek Scavenger Hunt featuring Spookley the Square Pumpkin. Spookley found eight spooktacular hiding spots at the resort for his game of Halloween Hide & Seek. Guests solve puzzles to find each clue’s missing word and then use the clues to find Spookley.
- The Wildlife Rescue Experience guides guests throughout the resort to track down endangered species and help ensure that they are monitored for their protection. The virtual adventure highlights indigenous animals from Florida and, with the magic of augmented reality, brings them to life before the participants’ eyes.
- From the comfort of their guest room, families can enjoy two interactive Halloween videos: Bedtime Stories with Morgana, a treat-making witch from Spooksville, and Monster Mash Bash with Vlad the Vampire.
- The Phantom of the Atrium Light Display is a haunting masterpiece filled with mystery, mischief and, of course, magic in the St. Augustine atrium sky.
What About Pools?!
Guests can relax and unwind at Cypress Springs Water Park & Resort Pools, which feature a zero-entry swimming pool, multi-level water playground, racing slides, a drop slide and a FlowRider surf simulator.
The pool experience has been upgraded to implement new cleanliness and social distancing measures. Gaylord Palms has done this while balancing the aquatic experience guests have come to love.
In addition to spaced seating, guests can rent a private cabana for the day including shaded seating, a flat-screen television, refrigerator, and snacks. Premium guaranteed pool seating is also available for purchase.
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
- hundreds of new cleaning processes
- all to take care of guests while they enjoy the resort’s amenities.
This sounds like such a FUN event! With so many Halloween events being canceled this year, it would be such a fun family getaway to make some wonderful memories. Sign me up!