Gaylord Palms, you had me at “Hello”

| June 21, 2008 | 10 Replies

First, I don’t recommend going to Disney World right after you’ve spent 12+ hours in a car with your husband driving back home to New York from Charlotte following your son’s wedding. I was ready for some “apartness” but off we went to Orlando just two short days after we returned.

First stop, one night at Saratoga Springs or as I call it “the only DVC resort that’s available unless you book your trip 1734 days in advance.” Being that the hubby was still having night sweats over the cost of the above mentioned wedding, we used Disney’s Magical Express to get to the resort. We were the first drop off so, when all was said and done, we were at Saratoga in a bit less than an hour. YAY!!

We went to Epcot, had dinner at the Land food court, rode Soarin’ and headed back to Saratoga. I know what you’re thinking, we are wild and crazy. Okay, boring works too.

The next morning we took a cab to Gaylord Palms where part II of our Florida mini-trip continued. We had an amazing, wonderful atrium view room for two glorious nights.  What a fantabulous resort! Having just come from Saratoga where you need to hire a Sherpa to get from one side to the other, it was great to have so much within an easy (and air conditioned) walk.

If you’re not familiar with the Gaylord hotels, they’re known for their atriums. This glass enclosed courtyard is huge and there are pathways, streams, waterfalls, wildlife and the most beautiful tropical plants you can imagine everywhere. The Gaylord Palms has a Florida theme with Key West, the Everglades and St. Augustine sections. They have alligators and manta rays!! How cool is that?!  Did I mention it’s enclosed and air conditioned? Why yes I did but it’s worth repeating.

I was in Webmaster meetings part of the time, but I also made sure to walk around and check things out. This resort has a spectacular family pool. There are slides, a water play area for the little ones and all sorts of fun things spraying and squirting including a giant octopus. During a break I did squeeze into the dreaded bathing suit and met Gary for a swim.

If you’re wondering if I went down the slide; no I didn’t because I went to the ADULT POOL. That’s right, an 18 and up pool. Don’t get me wrong, I love kids but a pool without screaming, running, screaming, jumping, screaming, mystery “warm spots” or screaming is a very welcome change. It was heavenly to have a nice, relaxing (quiet) swim. And for the record, the pools are outdoors so I did venture into the Florida sun.

Over the course of the two days, we ate at three of the restaurants. I actually had breakfast, lunch and dinner at Villa de Flora, the buffet restaurant. The menu changes with the day’s theme. We were there on Italian day and had the most delish, fall off the bone Osso Bucco. Everything was soooo good but having just eaten my way through Charlotte during the wedding adventure, I was wondering if I was going to be borrowing Gary’s pants by the end of this trip. 

On day two we all had lunch at Sunset Sam’s Fish Camp. Corey suggested we first order the Island Nachos and I’m thinking “Meh.” Out comes a giant mound of pulled pork, mango salsa, cheese, black beans and avocado sour cream on top of homemade potato chips! Chips are my weakness and with this unexpected twist, I was regretting having to share it.

Much as I knew that the Mouse was a shuttle trip away and I had time to get there before we met up again, sometimes you just need to relax. I can’t think of a better place to do exactly that than at Gaylord Palms. I know this already sounds like a travelogue, but I was so impressed with this resort that I just want to shout “You need to stay here!!” I browsed the stores, there’s a great coffee bar, an ice cream shop, and so many fun areas to explore. I didn’t get to the Canyon Ranch Spa, but hey, there’s always next time.

That night we met again for dinner at the Old Hickory Steakhouse. This is their fine dining, award winning venue, and it’s also the place where I shared my cold crabs with Walter. He liked them and offered me a taste of his hot crabs but I politely declined.

Old Hickory has Artisanal cheeses which are served by the “Maitre Fromager” or as I called her, the “Cheese Chick.”  Just the other day Gary commented on how amazing the cheese course was. Considering how many restaurants we go to (hang onto your hats, I don’t cook every night), it says a lot that this was a standout item. Did you ever eat so much that you start hallucinating and imagine you hear Captain Ahab shouting “Argh!! There’s Moby Dick” as you waddle around? That’s how I felt after the end of yet another outstanding meal.

The next morning was check-out day and I wasn’t particularly anxious to leave. No, I wasn’t going home, we were heading back to Saratoga Springs for a few days. There was one thing I had to do before we left and that was to bring Gary to Sunset Sam’s Fish Camp for those Nachos. We had lunch on the boat and I had a Pina Colada in a glass that was the size of a fish tank.

Much as I wish we didn’t have to leave, a cab took us from Gaylord back to Saratoga Springs. No more beautiful, air conditioned atrium, no more easy five minute walks to a variety of restaurants, no more ADULT pool, no more being able to wear the same outfit all day since you didn’t sweat through it, *sniffle, sniffle.* Oh well, it will be easier to get to the parks, but I knew I was going to miss this resort.

To be continued with our Saratoga Springs stay…..

Category: Disney World

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