Gaylord Palms Orlando | Hotel Tour & Review


The Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center is one of the most unique luxury resort hotels in the greater Orlando area. This massive property was originally constructed in 2002 and consists of 1,406 rooms & 106 suites surrounding more than 4.5 acres of indoor, glass-covered atrium that is separated into four distinct themed areas.

With approximately 400,000 square feet of convention, event and meeting space, the Gaylord Palms is one of the largest convention hotels in the state and it is known as the “unofficial” convention center for Osceola County. 

In addition being a hotel for “business travelers”, the Gaylord Palms is perfect for families and vacationers as it is a very short distance to the Walt Disney World Resort theme parks in Orlando, Florida and has a number of family-friendly amenities including a massive outdoor water park.

At the time of our stay in July 2020 the hotel recently reopened due to the COVID pandemic.  A number of the resort features and amenities were not available due to physical distancing requirements as well as other restrictions.

However, the $158 million resort expansion appeared to be making substantial progress.  This expansion will add a new wing consisting of 302 additional rooms, 90,000 square feet of convention and meeting space as well as a 12,000 square foot outside event lawn.  The original timeline for completion is for the third quarter 2021.

Click here for rates and availability at the Gaylord Palms Resort

Frequently Asked Questions – Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center

What are the hotel rates at the Gaylord Palms Resort?

Hotel rates at the Gaylord Palms Orlando typically range from around $179 per night for a standard room to move than $400 per night for the suites depending on the time of year.  See our chart below for pricing for specific dates / room types.

How close is the Gaylord Palms Resort to Walt Disney World?

According to Google Maps, the Gaylord Palms is 7 miles to the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.  Travel time is typically less than 15 minutes. 

Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney Springs are also all less than 15 minutes from the Gaylord Palms.

Is there a Resort Fee or Parking Charge at the Gaylord Palms Resort?

There is a $30 per day Resort Fees at Fontainebleau Miami Beach which includes free wireless internet access, pool / water park access, fitness center access.  On-site self parking is $26 per day and valet parking is $38 per day.

Is there a spa at Gaylord Palms Resort?

The Gaylord Palms features the 25,000 square foot Relache Spa that features 24 individual treatment rooms and a full-service salon with make up services.

Is the water park at the Gaylord Palms Resort free?

Access to the Cypress Springs Water Park at the Gaylord Palms is free to hotel guests.  This includes a resort pool, multi-story water play area, water slides, a fast moving “lazy” river and a FlowRider surf simulator.

What is the pet policy at the Gaylord Palms Resort?

Unfortunately pets are not allowed at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center.

How close is the Gaylord Palms Resort to the Orlando International Airport?

According to Google Maps, the Gaylord Palms Resort is approximately 20 miles from the Orlando International Airport.   Travel time would vary during the time of day but typically ranges from 25 to 35 minutes. 

About the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center

Located just outside the Walt Disney World Resort, the Gaylord Palms is one of the largest hotels in the greater Orlando area.  There are over 1,400 rooms, 106 suites including 9 Presidential suites and ten hospitality suites under a 4.5 +acres of indoor atrium which is separated into four individually themed areas which are knows as:

  • St. Augustine
  • Key West
  • The Everglades
  • Emerald Bay

St. Augustine is the largest of four and includes a replica of the Castillo de San Marcos (oldest fort in the continental US) as well as “Alligator Springs” where guests will find live alligators and turtles.  This area of the atrium is also home to a wedding pavilion, the Villa de Flora Italian restaurant and an evening light show (see our video for the show).

The Key West area is themed after Mallory Square which is a popular Florida keys destination and features a 65-foot sailboat in a central lagoon.  The sailboat is home to a seafood restaurant called Moor.

The Everglades is picturesque and themed with a number of tropical plants as well as raised deck-type walkways.  This area is home to the Old Hickory Steakhouse restaurant, the Relache Spa and the Arcade.  

Emerald Bay is home to some of the finest rooms at the Gaylord Palms including several luxury suites.  It also has more than 15,000 square feet of meeting space, several gift shops and boutiques, The Cocoa Bean Coffee House, ice cream parlor and the Emerald Bay Marketplace.

Emerald Bay also features Emerald Plaza which is a large open area that hosts events & gatherings as well as a fantastic holiday show.  See our video in the “Special Events at the Gaylord Palms” section for highlights from the holiday show.

Click here to see the photo gallery for the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center

The Location of the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center

The Gaylord is located adjacent to Interstate 4 along Osceola Parkway at the intersection of International Drive in Kissimmee, Florida.  

Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center

6000 West Osceola Parkway

Kissimmee, Florida 34746

407.586.0000

The Gaylord Palms has a direct route from the Orlando International Airport via SR 528 (the Beachline Expressway) to Interstate 4 west.  Barring any significant traffic issues, it will take approximately 30 minutes to get from the airport to the resort.  The Orlando / Orange County Convention Center is also quite close the this hotel at just 10 miles along Interstate 4 east towards downtown Orlando.

The Walt Disney World Resort including all four Disney theme parks, the two Disney water parks and Disney Springs, is just a very short distance away with most destinations being less than 15 minutes drive time.

Travel time per Google Maps (non-peak hours) to the other Orlando area theme parks and significant destinations include:

  • The Universal Orlando Resort: approximately 20 minutes
  • SeaWorld Orlando: approximately 15 minutes
  • ICON Park: approximately 20 minutes
  • Downtown Orlando: approximately 30 minutes
  • Vineland Premium Outlets: approximately 15 minutes
  • The Mall at Millenia: approximately 25 miles
  • The Florida Mall: approximately 25 minutes

For an additional fee, the Gaylord Palms offers airport shuttle services through Mears Transportation.

Click here for rates and availability at the Gaylord Palms Resort

Hotels Amenities at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center

Amenities are the Gaylord Palms are some of the best in all luxury hotels throughout Orlando. From exciting features for kids to relaxation areas for adults, there is something for everyone at this resort.

Amenities at the Gaylord Palms Include:

  • The Cypress Springs Water Park which features a huge resort style zero-entry pool with in-water basketball hoops, a multi-story water play area, two racing style slides including a 35-foot freefall drop and a double “FlowRider” surfing wave machine. 
  • For for 2021 is the Crystal River Rapids which is the Gaylord’s high-tech action river.  This fast moving “lazy” river features numerous interactive water features as well as a state of the art.
  • For a more relaxing experience, The South Beach Pool is adjacent to Cypress Springs.  Palm trees line this “South Beach” themed pool that is surrounded by two whirlpool tubs, lounge chairs and private cabanas.  This pool is located just behind the SandBar (pool restaurant).
  • The 25,000 square foot Relache Spa at the Gaylord Palms is one of just two Orlando area spas that were awarded four-stars by the Forbes Travel Guide.  The spa features 24 treatment rooms, a full-service salon, make-up services and locker rooms with steam room / sauna and rainforest showers.  Click here to see the spa menu of services.
  • The 24-hour Relache Fitness Center is a fully equipped fitness center with floor to ceiling windows that feature a variety of cardiovascular equipment with the UNITY 3.0 console, strength training machines and free weights.  Personal training services and group training classes are offered.
  • Arcade / Game Room
  • Complimentary shuttle service to the Walt Disney World theme parks and Disney Springs. Shuttle service to SeaWorld Orlando and the Universal Orlando Resort is offered for $21 per person round trip.

As we noted, a number of these amenities were not open during our stay in July 2020 including the Relache Spa. 

Dining at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center

The Gaylord Palms offers a variety of dining experiences including quick-service, room service, casual dining and fine dining.  There is something to offer for any palette. 

Villa de Flora

Guests will enjoy authentic Mediterranean / Italian style gourmet cuisine in this buffet style restaurant. Enjoy fresh pasta, carving stations and more at this classic restaurant that is located in the St. Augustine atrium.  Open for breakfast and dinner service only.

Having previously eaten at Villa de Flora, this is one of the finest Mediterranean /  | Italian restaurants of any of the major hotels in the Orlando area.

MOOR

MOOR is a casual seafood restaurant located in the Key West atrium.  Part of the dining area is located on the 65-foot sailboat that is located within the hotel atrium itself.   This restaurant is open for both lunch and dinner service.

Old Hickory Steakhouse

Located in the Everglades atrium, this rustic steakhouse restaurant features certified Black Angus beef along with a Wine Spectator award-winning wine list.

Wreckers Sports Bar

Watch the game on a 37-foot, two-story screen along with over 50 HDTV’s while dining on wings, burgers and salads.  Wreckers is open for lunch and dinner service and is adjacent to the Gaylord Palms Convention Center.

With seating for up to 400 guests including a VIP skybox, lounge, patio & veranda seating, Wreckers can accommodate most  groups and private events.

SandBar

Dine alfresco at this poolside restaurant and bar.  The SandBar serves a variety of burgers, sandwiches and flatbreads.  There is also a kids menu offered for the younger travelers.  The SandBar is open for lunch and dinner service.

Socio

Guests will enjoy Cuban-inspired / Caribbean style cuisine at this casual lobby bar and lounge.  In addition to small plates, Socio features a variety of cocktails, wines and beer.  Socio is only open in the evenings.

Emerald Bay Marketplace

Enjoy grab-and-go meals which include fresh salads, sandwiches, wraps and deserts.  The Emerald Bay Marketplace also serviced Starbucks coffee, beer and wine.

The Cocoa Bean

Guests can get their Starbucks coffee along with gourmet sandwiches, bakery items as well as beer and wine at this grab-and-go venue.

Crystal River Refreshments

New for 2021, this poolside quick-service restaurant services a mixture of burgers, sandwiches, salads and flatbreads as well as beer, wine and specialty cocktails.

The Rooms at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center

Rooms and suites range from standard guests rooms to two lavish Presidential Suites. Features include premium linens, modern decor and high quality bathroom finishes. Several rooms offer balconies and stunning views of the hotel atrium.

The room types at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center are as follows:

  • Florida view guest room with one King bed.
  • Florida view guest room with two Queen beds.
  • Atrium view guest room with one King bed.
  • Atrium view guest room with two Queen beds.
  • Main Atrium (St. Augustine) view guest room with one King bed.
  • Main Atrium (St. Augustine) view guest room with two Queen beds.
  • Emerald Bay, pool or lawn view guest room with one King bed.
  • Emerald Bay, pool or lawn view guest room with two Queen beds.
  • Emerald Bay, Main Atrium (St. Augustine) view guest room with one King bed.
  • Emerald Bay, Main Atrium (St. Augustine) view guest room with two Queen beds.
  • One-bedroom 625 sf Executive suite with one King bed.
  • One-bedroom Deluxe 831 sf Executive suite with one King bed.
  • Vista Suite and Hemingway Suite.
  • Grand Presidential Suite includes a 14-seat dining table with bar, pool table, private fitness area, office and two bedrooms.

Each room includes a writing desk and chair(s), alarm clock, coffee maker / tea service, mini-refrigerator, in-room safe, flat panel television featuring HBO, ESPN, CNN and pay-per-view movies, complimentary high-speed internet and room service. 

Select rooms have pool views, lawn views, atrium views (St. Augustine, Everglades and Key West) as well as balconies and outdoor patios.

Special Events at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center

Christmas at the Gaylord Palms

Christmas at the Gaylord Palms is one of the premier holiday events enjoyed by both locals and vacation travelers alike.  Typically running from mid-November to the New Year, this amazing event is not to be missed. 

Several of the special holiday themed activities and special events include:

  • ICE! at the Gaylord Palms.  The north pole comes to Florida where the Gaylord Palms Convention Center transforms into a winter wonderland where two-million pounds of ice are shaped into a variety of themed characters and stories which differ every year.  Some of the prior years include “Christmas Around the World”, “The Polar Express”, “Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas”.  There are also two-story ice slides which guests can slide down and tunnels which can be explored.  The walk-though experience takes about 15 to 30 minutes and fully length parka jackets are provided but you should bring your own gloves and hats.  ICE! at the Gaylord Palms is a separate ticketed event
  • Alpine Village at the Gaylord Palms.  The Alpine Village offers a number of spectacular winter things to do including snow tubing, snowball throwing, a Build-A-Bear Workshop, gingerbread decorating, holiday themed gift shop and a meet & greet with Santa & Mrs. Clause. (separately ticketed event)
  • Cirque Christmas Dreams Unwrapped.  Complimentary with your stay, this amazing acrobatic show is held at the Emerald Plaza right in the St. Augustine atrium featuring a number of amazing theatrics.  Seats are first come, first serve.  Endless Summer Tip – get a balcony / atrium view in the Emerald Bay Section of the hotel.  It will be more expensive but completely worth it.
  • #LIT Light Show. A holiday themed light and sound show above the St. Augustine atrium featuring two-million lights.
  • Elf on the Shelf Character Breakfast. Guests enjoy a delicious buffet breakfast with one of Santa’s official elves. (separately ticketed event)
  • The Gaylord Palms Christmas Tree Trail See all the wonderful Christmas trees on this walking tour through the Everglades atrium.
  • Sugary Sweet Storytime with the Sugarplum Fairy. 

Click here for rates and availability at the Gaylord Palms Resort

CHRISTMAS AT THE GAYLORD PALMS – UPDATE FOR 2020

Due to the pandemic, for 2020 the Gaylord Palms will offer a “pop-up” Christmas experience that will be centered around popular Christmas movies including “The Polar Express, “ELF”, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” and “A Christmas Story”.   The 2020 celebration begins on November 13th and extends through January 3, 2021.

In the “I Love Christmas Movies” experience, guests will be immersed in a walk-through exhibition of these films which will be conducted in collaboration with Warner Bros.  The exhibits will include film props, audio clips and lifelike experiences just like they were in the movies itself.

Although ICE! will not be offered in 2020, there will be ice/snow tubing offered as well as stage shows, gingerbread decorating and scavenger hunts.

Don’t go anywhere until you check out our amazing Gaylord Palms Holiday videos.

Christmas at the Gaylord Palms

ICE! at the Gaylord Palms

Easter Eggstravaganza

Held annually during select dates in March and April, kids enjoy special Easter themed events like Easter egg hunts, themed Easter displays throughout the hotel, character breakfasts and a visit from the Easter bunny.  

On Easter Sunday kids can grab up to 1,000 multi-colored eggs which are filled with all kinds of sweets.

Pirate & Princess Weekends

Typically held on weekends from late April to early May, the Pirate & Princess Weekends features a number of special activities.  The Gaylord’s press release states:

Pirate and Princess Weekends tells the tale of Gaylord Palms Resort as it’s commandeered by a notorious band of pirates led by Captain Hornswoggle. Swashbuckling Sunshine and her first mate Clarence Mockingbird the Third are searching for kind Princess Orangeblossom’s treasure Guests will get to embark on their own adventures as they choose to be recruited for the Captain’s crew or join Orangeblossom and become an honorary prince and princess for the day.”

Special Pirate and Princess Activities include:

  • The Pirate Invasion Pool Party
  • A nighttime Pirate & Princess Light Show in the St. Augustine Atrium
  • Princess Orangeblossom’s Shiny Stash Scavenger Hunt
  • Storytelling in the Princess Orangeblossom and Sunshine the Pirate
  • A Pirate and Princess dance party
  • The Captain’s Hidden Treason Escape Room (separate ticket event)

SummerFest at the Gaylord Palms

SummerFest at the Gaylord Palms typically extend from take June to Labor Day weekend and provided summer concerts, poolside DJ’s, the Illuminate Florida Light Show (in the St. Augustine Atrium), family movie nights, sunrise yoga sessions, animal encounters, the Florida Explorer Scavenger Hunt and interactive trivia sessions.

Goblins and Giggles Getaway Weekends at the Gaylord Palms

Get ready for a goolish adventure at the Gaylord Palms which hosts a number of Halloween themed activities from mid-September to Halloween night.  These special activities include:

  • Poolside fun with “Jack O Lantern”
  • Trick or Treat Expedition under the 4.5-acre enclosed atrium
  • Halloween themed Moonlight Movies.
  • Spooky the Square Pumpkin Meet & Greet
  • Spooky Animal Encounters
  • Adventure Kids: A Spooky Celebration – Kids will join along with Adventure Kid Sophie, Seth the Sea Turtle and Ava the Alligator to explore some of Florida’s creepy plant life.
  • Bedtime Stories with Morgana & Monster Mash Bash with Vlad – television stories broadcast right to your room on Channel 51.
  • Halloween Hide & Seek featuring Spooky the Square Pumpkin (separate ticketed event)
  • A “Ghost Experience” within the walls of the Castillo de San Marcos fort in the St. Augustine atrium (separate ticketed event).

Conferences and Events at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center

The Gaylord Palms boasts the second largest hotel conference center in the metro Orlando area (second to the Rosen Shingle Creek).

The resort features 72 event rooms which comprise an astounding 462,296 square feet of event space and have a capacity of more than 10,000 attendees.  The Osceola Ballroom is 48,505 square feet and features a 42 by 96 foot stage with dressing rooms and green rooms.  This ballroom can be divided into six sections for maximum flexibility.

In addition to the indoor meeting and event space, the Gaylord Palms Resort features the 14,000 square foot outdoor Coquina Lawn as well as 3,100+ square feet of deck and lawn space surrounding the South Beach Pool.

The Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center Expansion

At this time the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center is undergoing a $158 million expansion which is anticipated to be completed by third quarter 2021.  The expansion includes:

  • 302 additional hotel rooms
  • 90,000 square feet of meeting space
  • A 12,000 square foot event lawn
  •  Multi-level parking structure
  • Expansion of the resort pool to include a lazy river feature

Hotels Rates at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center

Rates are this resort vary for different dates throughout the year.  The rates shown below are the best available rate for two adults in three different room types offered at the Gaylord Palms.  

The following rates were obtained from the hotel web site at the time of publication.  

Rates for 2021   June 15 September 15 December 15
Florida View – 2 Queen Beds Guest Room   $205.00 $283.00 $342.00
Atrium View or Gulf Coast – 2 Queen Beds Guest Room   $244.00 $283.00 $381.00
Main Atrium View – 2 Queen Beds Guest Room   $254.00 $332.00 $420.00

Click here for rates and availability at the Gaylord Palms Resort

There is a resort fee of $30 per day as well a 6% resort tax on top of a 6.5% sales tax on rates for this hotel.  Other charges include an on-site self parking fee of $26 per day ($38 for valet parking) and enhanced internet can be purchased for $14.95 per day.

If you are a Marriott Bonvoy member you can use points for these hotels. Category 5 hotels like the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center require 30,000 during off peak nights, 35,000 during standard nights and 40,000 during peak nights.

 

What We Liked about the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center

There are so many things to like at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center.  Following are some of the highlights:

  • Unique Design and Features including the 4.5 acres of enclosed atrium themed after various locations in the state of Florida.
  • Extensive amenities including a large water park with a FlowRider
  • Excellent location adjacent to the Walt Disney World Resort.
  • Unique experiences including special events like Christmas at the Gaylord Palms (including ICE!), SummerFest and more.
  • Spacious rooms with atrium facing balconies
  • Excellent Service –  that signature services goes a long way.

What We Didn’t Like about the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center

There are just a few things we found to dislike at the Gaylord Palms.  Nothing that we would consider significant but should be mentioned when doing an honest review.  

  • Massive Size of the Hotel. This hotel is so large that it’s very easy to get turned around, even for repeat guests.  It can also be a fairly long walk to your car or vehicle.  And it is especially frustrating when the electronic key does not work (happens to us almost every stay) and it takes 20 minutes to get another key from the front desk.
  • Resort fees and Parking Fees.  While these are becoming the norm in luxury hotels in Orlando, it still adds almost $60 to the daily hotel rate.
  • Limited Poolside Seating for the size of the hotel.  During peak summer travel times and conventions, getting a place to sit at the pool can be difficult.
  • Limited Casual Dining Options. During prior stays we have experienced significant wait times at the casual restaurants, especially during holiday events or when large conventions are being held.

What We Think the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center is Perfect For:

This hotel has so much to offer in just about every area and we consider it perfect for the travelers who are coming to the Orlando area for:

  • Family Walt Disney World vacations
  • Couples and/or Family weekend getaways (With all there is to do – especially when the Gaylord Palms hosts special events, guests really never have to leave the property).
  • Conferences, events and business conventions in the Orlando area

Endless Summer Recommendation:  If you are spending the full day at a theme park and are fine with a lesser quality hotel, there are less expensive options than the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center that are in the immediate area of Walt Disney World.

Our Endless Summer Hotel Rating

We consider the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center one of the top luxury hotels near the Walt Disney World Resort and we would highly recommend it during you next stay.  With it’s unique design, fantastic amenities and countless special events, it’s the perfect spot for your next Orlando vacation.

We rate the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center a 4.5 out of a possible 5 stars and would highly recommend it for your next trip to Orlando.

Click here for rates and availability at the Gaylord Palms Resort

Endless Summer

Endless Summer Florida is all about amazing places to Vacation in Florida. From world class theme parks to white sandy beaches, there is so much to see and do in our state.

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