Relaxation meets fun in the sun during SummerFest at Gaylord Palms Orlando

in Food, Hotel, Travel, Walt Disney World

Finding a place to stay during a summertime trip to Orlando just got easier as Gaylord Palms introduces SummerFest, featuring a stellar combination of added entertainment along with affordable accommodations.

Gaylord Palms Orlando is located just minutes away from the south side of Walt Disney World. It’s literally a straight shot down the road from Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Wide World of Sports, and the Art of Animation hotel – so close it’s practically on Disney property. And even though it isn’t a Disney resort, you’ll find Gaylord’s sprawling complex to be just as welcoming as Disney–at a fraction of the price.

Starting at $179 a night, the rooms at Gaylord Palms Orlando are among the most comfortable around. Whether enjoying a pool view or one looking into the beautiful atrium, there’s no going wrong with a stay at this hotel.

The atrium is quite the explorer’s paradise. It’s not your standard hotel lobby by any means. A sprawling jungle of plants, waterfalls, caves, and even live snakes, gators, and turtles await anyone who stays here.

A few of the additions for SummerFest are colorful surfboards to spot throughout the atrium. In addition, in the evening, “ghost tours” are held starting in the lobby, recounting the spookier side of this hotel.

The hotel’s main pool is quite the hot spot, especially as the Florida weather heats up. Wild water slides and a kids’ play area make it a mainstay for all staying at Gaylord Palms.

For the summer, a (rather loud) sing-along show takes place multiple times a day, aimed at children who want to scream the lyrics to pop hits.

But the most attention is on the FlowRider attraction, requiring timed reservations to hop on a boogie board and try to maneuver the wild waves.

Adults will find quieter R&R at the 18+ pool nearby. This massive pool is perfect for doing laps or simply lounging around. There are also a pair of rather large hot tubs to enjoy along with rentable cabanas.

SummerFest also includes arts & crafts on the pool deck and a PJ Party after dark at the nearby arcade. And when weather allows, the FlowRider becomes the GlowRider, illuminated as part of a dance party where the pool is transformed into a multicolored playground.

Guests visiting the hotel’s Relache Spa will find some added activities, allowing you to create your own lotion, scrub, or fizz for a small added fee.

The SummerFest Room Package also includes a welcome bag, $25 resort credit per night, a lanyard for each guest, and one of the event’s best perks: two drink tumblers for unlimited soda refills. These come in quite handy throughout the hotel, refillable by the pool or at any restaurant or store that serves fountain drinks. The Marketplace also offers lemonade and flavored water in their Coca-Cola Freestyle machine, for those who aren’t big on soda.

The hotel’s onsite dining is delightful, especially the Old Hickory Steakhouse. This upscale restaurant has a fantastic “outdoor” bar that’s part of the atrium’s Everglades-themed area. Food can be served at the bar or over white tablecloths in the main dining areas. Their steaks are cooked to perfection and easy to share, along with their fantastic family style sides. (The combination of a Delmonico, roasted mushrooms, and mac & cheese was wonderful.)

With the comfort and ease of staying at Gaylord Palms, the only downside is that just about everything outside of the night’s stay itself costs about 50% more than it should. A simple breakfast buffet will set you back around $30 a head while dinner at Old Hickory will easily top $50 a head without even trying. But it’s not hard to travel down the street to grab some more inexpensive eats as needed.

SummerFest continues at Gaylord Palms Orlando through August 13th. To learn more and book a reservation, visit

Disclaimer: Gaylord Palms provided ITM with a SummerFest Room Package for review purposes.

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