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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Review of our trip to Nickelodeon Suites Resort in Orlando, FL




Recently, I took my son to the Nickelodeon Suites Resort in Orlando, FL.  I got a great media rate but I looked up rates and found some for under $150 a night, awesome for all that this place has to offer!  I booked my airfare through Vacation by V and we flew to Orlando from the Louisville airport through Memphis and into Orlando.  It turned out to be cheaper to rent a car for 3 days than to pay for a cab/shuttle, so I rented from Thrifty online for just $50 for the weekend.  My son is five, so we took a booster seat with us, you can gate check booster/car seats!  We only had carry-on luggage;packed light.  I packed a backpack of new activity books and snacks for my son to enjoy during the travel and keep him busy. At the Louisville airport, we parked in the open lot for $9/day.  It is very close to the terminal.  We checked in quickly, there was no line and only had to go through a short line for security.  I find the Louisville airport to be generally kid-friendly for travel as they do have a separate line for people traveling with small children.

We arrived in Orlando on time with only one minor issue on the plane, ear pain for my son when we were descending. Since my son doesn't chew gum, I brought lots of fruit snacks in case this happened. It wasn't a perfect cure, but it did help him get through the discomfort.  In Orlando, we found the rental car desks and got our car in under 15 minutes.  The cars were outside in the parking deck and they let us pick any in the rental class we paid for, my son thought that was cool! He picked a snazzy little red Ford.  I printed directions at home from the Nick Hotel website.  They were accurate and we were at the hotel in less than 30 minutes.  Be prepared with cash and quarters to pay toll roads!!

At the Nickelodeon Suites Resort, someone greeted us as we pulled into park to verify our reservation.  They also offered to help with our baggage.  We checked in early and our room was not ready but they took my number to text me when it was ready.  We could explore since they gave us our wrist bands! Also, they give you a great 411 sheet of times for shows and happenings.  If something requires reservations, sign up when you check in! Since we packed very little, we just grabbed our bags and headed to the food court area to have lunch.  The food court offers family-friendly items from subs to pizza to grill items.  It was clean and open.  The prices were high compared to if you were just out shopping somewhere but not so high for a resort.  The portions were large so we were able to share things to keep the cost down.  After lunch, we explored the mall area and then changed in a restroom to get ready for swimming!  

We went to the Oasis.  It is the smaller of the two pool areas but it was still very spacious.  We gave our room number and name to get some towels and a life vest.  My son took to the slides immediately and the water was so warm and refreshing!  There were attentive life guards all around, they were very professional. We also spent some time in the kids' play area which is great for the younger crowd and contained by a fence.  In this area, they also have a small playground and a concession stand as well as private cabanas that you can rent that even have TVs.

When our room was ready, we did get a text and we headed right there after turning in our towels and life vest.  We had a "Fairly Odd Parents" themed room that my son just loved!  Ours was a 2-bedroom kids suite with a semi-private room for my son that had bunk beds, a bedroom with a queen bed, a living area, a kitchenette area and a bathroom.  We were on the Lagoon side of the hotel on the 4th floor. The only thing that took me by surprise was that the carpets in the living area were damp.  They seemed to have just been cleaned as I could smell the solution a bit.  A plus that they are so attentive to cleanliness but damp on my feet for the first bit that we were there!  We had some down time in the room and headed back out to swim at the Lagoon.  

The Lagoon was much more populated since people were checking in by then. It has more cabanas, a larger grill for dining at the pool, activities, crafts on the weekend, shows, a kids play area, a hot tub and basketball!  We arrived right when they were getting ready for Slime Time, the daily mass sliming!  We got our towels and vest, found a chair to put our stuff and watched as the staff came out in their sliming gear, everyone sang, danced and cheered and then they slimed everyone!  The families were loving it!  The slime drained right off and everyone went back to swimming.  We explored the slides and pool. Then, we noticed they also have mini-golf behind the slides and played a few rounds.  

Finally, as the sun set, we got a little cold since it was early May and we headed to our room to get changed.  We decided to end our night with a The Krabby Patty Celebration show (free with your stay and my son LOVED it), a few arcade games and pizza back in our room.  We also grabbed some ice cream in the sundry shop to take back and have for dessert. There's a freezer in the room in the small kitchenette fridge.  We noticed they were starting a "dive in" movie by the pool when we headed back to our room. Back in the room, we relaxed, watched some shows and went to bed.  If you have younger kids, you might want a room on the Oasis side because it will be a little quieter. We were on the Lagoon pool side and it stay open until 10pm.  However, for tween and teens, the Lagoon pool would be really fun to be near, it's where all of the action is.

The next morning, we had breakfast in our room, some items I brought with me.  To save money, there is a Super Target just a few exits down toward the airport and you can pick up food for your room! My room had a microwave too but some rooms even have a stove top.  I saw a lot of families arriving with groceries.  We had already made reservations for our shuttle to Disney (included in the resort fee).  It was right on time!  We spent the day at Disney World and I knew when the shuttle was coming back (various times throughout the day) so we headed to the bus area and it was right on time.  Back at the hotel, we visited the pool again and grabbed some dinner at the Nicktoons Cafe to bring back to our room after the long day.  

On our last day, we went to the Character Breakfast at 9am.  It's open from 1-11am and requires reservations.  I chose to go in the middle of it so that we could have a nice big meal that would last a while since we were traveling.  It is $22 for those 13 and up, $13 for kids 4-12.  A little pricey, but definitely the thing to do at the hotel and inexpensive compared to the Disney character meals. If you go at around 10am, you probably will not need lunch.  There was so much food.  Options from pastries and cereals to breakfast burritos and homemade omelets.  Go hungry!  Every half hour, the characters and staff members sing or have a parade around the room for kids to join.  Throughout the breakfast, some of the characters are off to the side for photos.  We stayed for an hour and ate and enjoyed having all of the characters greet us at our table.  

After breakfast, we shopped at the mall and fed the fish and ducks outside.  There was a staff member filling the dispensers with food and he let my son just dig into the bucket and feed the fish a ton.  Each staff member we met were just as friendly. If you need a break from the pools, there are things to do!  They have 4-D movies, shows, a teen lounge and meet 'n greet times with characters for photo opps.  We chose to go to the Oasis pool one more time before heading to the airport. We did the speedy checkout on the phone and took our bags to the pool.  You can stay until 1pm on the day of checkout and checkout it at 11am.  We swan and relaxed poolside.  Before heading out, we changed in the family room of the bathroom in the mall area. On the way out, they were holding some of the interactive family shows by the pool that everyone was really enjoying.  

The Nickelodeon Suites Resort is so easy for traveling.  We hopped back into our rental car and headed right back to the airport by reversing the directions. There was a gas station right the the way for refueling and returning the car.  Car rental return was clearly displayed at the Orlando airport and they checked us out right in the parking garage!  We had a late lunch at the food court, the Orlando airport has a full mall in it, it's very nice!  Then, we went through security (longer lines than Louisville) and took the shuttle tram to our gate.  We  were back in Louisville after a change-over in Atlanta (big airport, so leave time to change planes!).  What a trip!  I definitely think we went down and back too quickly and you should stay at least 3 nights at this hotel to really get to do everything!

Happy travels, I love Louisville but sometimes, you just want to get out of town for a special vacation and this is a fantastic option. 

Stephanie

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