Last month our family had the pleasure of being hosted for a night at Gaylord Palms Resort as part of the #GPSummerFest (we stayed another night as “regular” folk, as we wanted to make a weekend of it). We’re frequent visitors whether there’s a media event or not, so it’s no surprise we had a great time. The surprising part is that we got to play with pirates and princesses, and I got to be a mermaid! (No, really! Keep reading!)
If you’ve read my blog at all, you know how much I love a good theme, and Summer Fest has swashbuckling style from stem to stern! From Princess Priscilla’s Coronation Character Breakfast to Y’aaard Games, there’s something from sun up to sundown to enjoy.
Princess Priscilla’s Coronation Character Breakfast is the ultimate matey’s morning meal. Held not-too-coincidentally at MOOR, Gaylord Palms’ very own ship in a bottle (a restaurant that’s a ship in the atrium), this character breakfast is like “walking theater.” We met Captain Blackheart and his daughter, Princess Priscilla, who is to be the new ruler of the Pirate Kingdom. Along with their friend, Jonny Stranger their cabin boy, the pirates make their way to each table, granting guests their own pirate names, should they wish to join the crew. (I’m “Kill ‘Em All Kelly.” EEK!)
Some of my favorite items on the buffet include Steak and Eggs (NY strip, scrambled eggs, and salsa verde), and Shrimp and Grits that is made OH so good with andouille sausage and brown butter. (Yes. I ate more than one serving!) Also on deck are Treasure Chest Potatoes and Princess Toast (which is French toast with sprinkles).
Gluten Free Friends: There are items on the buffet that
can be made GF, no problem. Just ask your server.
There are assorted baked breads, fruits, cereal, oatmeal, granola, pastries, danishes (you MUST try the blueberry muffins!), and Creativity Stations where you can Build Your Own Waffle or decorate your dessert.
Be prepared to learn the Pirate Oath, or you may have to walk the plank. It’s much more fun, though, to walk to the next activity, or march.
Pirate Parade and Yaaard Games!
Pirate Invasion Parade*
Thursday through Sunday at 5:00pm, march through the atrium in all your pirate finery. (What?! Don’t YOU have pirate attire?) Follow the flag and discover pieces from the Captain’s treasure hoard from Blackheart’s Treasure Hunt* along the route. Catch (by spying, that is) the gators along 15 juvenile alligators and 30 species of native turtles in a habitat reminiscent of Florida’s natural springs.***
Pirate Stories & Chanties Under the Stars**
Climb upon the Siren’s Song and listen to the tall tales of the seven seas. Join Princess Priscilla as she embarks upon the perils and pleasures of becoming the first female Pirate captain. This high energy show involves theatrics, chanties and s’mores under the stars. Times are Thursday through Saturday at 6:00pm, 6:45pm, 7:30pm. In case of inclement weather, the tales are taken indoors to the atrium fort. Shiver me timbers, it’s fun either way.
Did You Know: A chantey is a song sung by sailors,
usually while they did hard physical work.
AAArts and Crafts** are always fun, and kids can make their own sword or princess tiara Times: Thursday-Sunday 12:00pm – 4:00pm. Kids enjoy getting crafty, and they can bring their creations along for the next parade!
Here’s where things get “fishy.” If you’ve ever dreamed of swapping your feet for a fabulous fin and swimming beneath the sea, your dreams can (sort of) come true. At Merfolk Academy, guests of all ages can wear swimmable mermaid/merman tails and participate in an hour-long class and swimming experience. Shark fins are available, too.
My son and I took part in the experience: He wore the shark fin, while I got to be a mermaid! I thought Merfolk Academy was just for kids, but was happy to learn that I, too, could check off my bucket list item of playing Madison (the mermaid from Splash). Darryl Hannah, I’m not. But it was lots of fun pretending!
If you find yourself singing Under The Sea and would like to do this yourself or would like to give your kid(s) an underwater experience they’ll remember, call 844-308-5056 for reservations. Don’t forget your underwater camera.
- Times: Select times on Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays
- Price: $30.00 for one-hour mermaid class | $20.00 for one-hour shark class
- Location: Cypress Springs Family Waterpark
Gaylord Palms is a resort that’s great for a summer vacation, staycation, or corporate event (they have ample convention space!). Check out the Orlando resort, or their other locations. Summer Fest is happening through August 21, 2016. You can read more about the events here. Make reservations by calling 407-586-0000 or clicking this link.
If we have some free time this next month, I know I can yell “All hands on deck” and my crew will follow me back to the land of pirates, princesses… and mermaids.
Events with a * are free while ** items are an added cost.
***Thanks Gatorland. They’re awesome!