- Resort & Convention
- Staying at the Gaylord with Health
- In-Depth Review & Description
Address: 6000 W Osceola Parkway, Kissimmee, FL 34746
Reservations: 407-586-2000 Hotel
This incredibly huge and elegant resort is so close to the Disney gate,
that it can be a quicker drive to some parts of Disney than from
locations on Disney property. Though the Gaylord literature says itís 5
minutes from the gate, it actually took us less than 3 minutes. Not only
is the Gaylord close to Disney, itís moments from International Drive
and 192 where youíll find a wide array of restaurants, a Publix
Supermarket and a Walgreens Pharmacy. There is a Super WalMart about 8
Despite the fact that youíre near so
much, the Gaylord appears to be in the middle of a very quiet area with
nothing much around it. You would never know youíre so close to the
action, which lends to itís attractiveness.
The AAA 4 Diamond 2.1
million-square-foot resort has 1,406 guest rooms, a high-tech convention
center, a Canyon Ranch SpaClub, and a seriously impressive 4.5 acre
glass-topped atrium. From the instant we entered the lobby, it struck
us as elegant, inviting and unique. The photo below doesn't actually
give you a sense of how amazing it is. There were lush gardens,
beautiful architectural touches, shops, enticing restaurants and
surprises everywhere. We were really excited to be able to explore
and enjoy this amazing resort. The atrium has three main sections designed to
reflect the Florida locales of St. Augustine, Key West and the
section of the atrium shows the architecture, natural resources, beauty
and personality of the particular destination. There are some major
landmarks inside the atrium that make walking the paths an adventure.
For example, you will find a reproduction of the Castillo de San Marcos, which
is the oldest Spanish fort in America. Guests can explore the caves
adjacent to the fort, and encounter species of Florida turtles and live
gators. Thereís a 60-foot sailboat in a massive indoor lagoon with live
stingrays and Florida game fish. Thereís a restaurant on the sailboat,
by the way, called Sunset Samís Fish Camp. Youíll find a number of
quality restaurants within the atrium. Please visit
Sunset Sam's Fish Camp
menu and photo.
Although it is a lovely vacation resort
for anyone, itís also a convention resort, which may make it a great
alternative for adult travelers. While there are many great amenities
for kids (see below), we noticed that there were far more conventioneers
and adults visible during our stay than the family oriented crowds
youíll see at the Disney resorts. Even if youíre on vacation and plan to
center your trip on the theme parks, adults may enjoy the chance to
retreat to a place that offers adult centered options. Some of the
amenities that adults will enjoy include the large and pleasant adultís
only pool with hot tubs, the spa and the award winning dining options.
Another reason to consider the Gaylord
is that their peak attendance periods can be different from Disneyís.
For example, although thereís no guarantee, summer is normally a slow
season for the Gaylord, while itís a peak season for Disney. You may
want to check out the Gaylord if you wish to avoid the Disney resort
Reservations and special room requests:
We made our special room requests when we called in to make our
reservation, and everything was exactly as we requested. If you must
request a handicapped or specially equipped room, they recommend that
you inform the reservation agent of any
special needs to ensure they have that room type available. They will
guarantee a handicapped room. The do accept special requests such as a
deep cleaning for dust allergies, and no fragrances in the room prior to
check-in. Please note that they have feather pillows, and you
can request non-feather substitutes. All rooms are non-smoking.
Before we even discuss the check-in process, we felt that the front door
was worth mentioning. Itís a large automatic revolving glass door that
spins on its own. There is a button to press if you wish to slow it
down. Those with claustrophobia might find it uncomfortable, because
once youíre inside, you have no choice but to follow it around until
your out. If you wish to bypass the revolving door, you can use the
regular side door. There is a button that those in wheelchairs can
press to have the door automatically open for them. Youíll find these
doors throughout the resort.
You will leave your luggage with a bell
person who will approach your car as you arrive. Once youíre in your
room you will call the Bell Service number on the phone, and theyíll
deliver it to your room. Once you enter the lobby, you can proceed to
the right to visit the front desk. Our check-in was fast, and the
service was superb and personal.
We found throughout our stay that the staff consistently went out of
their way for us. Everyone we encountered was friendly and
accommodating. In fact, they actually called our room after we checked
in to see if everything was to our liking, and as we requested.
Although the Gaylord is huge, we felt they gave very personal and
Our room was very pleasant, clean and
it had an upscale feel to it. There were bathrobes for both of us. The
floors in the entry and the bathroom appear to be marble tile, which is
attractive but can be slippery in socks, as Sarah found out! Many of the
inner rooms have balconies that you can sit on, that overlook the
The resort is massive, so if you have a
mobility issue, you may wish to request a room nearest to whatever you
plan to use the most. We were placed in the Emerald Bay section which
is closest to some of the restaurants, the coffee shop and adult pool.
Itís also comparatively close to the lobby, though with the massive
size of the resort, you will need to do some walking to get around
unless you have an ECV or wheelchair.
The rooms facing the interior atrium can
be noisier, depending upon your location and the events going on. We
found that at night in our room, we could hear the speakers in a
conference event that was in progress in the atrium. Although we could
hear it, we found that it wasnít loud enough to really disturb us.
If youíre looking for quiet, you may wish to request an outer room. The Everglades
section may be the quietest room location. An outside facing room in
that section may even be quieter. A
section of rooms that we hear can have some noise at night is the Key West
section, because itís right over Sunset Samís where thereís usually
music playing until 11 or 12 PM each night. Another
location that may have some noise is anywhere near Auggie's Jammin'
Piano Bar, which can also be make some noise at night.
One unusual thing we observed was that
although there is a glass dome over the atrium that you can see from
your room, it was difficult to discern the state of the weather from
inside our room. Unless it was a thunderstorm, we could not tell if it
was raining or not. If this is an issue for you, request an outer room
that has a window that views the outdoors.
Keep in mind that there are some balconies on the 3rd floor
with a blocked view. Those with claustrophobia may feel closed in
because the glass doors to the balcony are the only windows in the room,
so request a room with a full outside view or a full balcony view if thatís an issue for you. A full view of the atrium
would be really pleasant!
The beds are extremely comfortable with
a luxury feel. The mattresses are quite high, and we estimate that the
top of the mattress is approximately 3 feet off the ground. The inner atrium
facing rooms are quite dark at night when the curtains are closed. This
is great for sleeping late in the morning, but a challenge for making
your way to the bathroom in the dark.
Bring a night light if you need to have some light at night.
Each room has a desk with a computer
that has access to information about the resort, as well as internet
access. It was extremely convenient, and if you only need your computer
for checking email, you can leave yours at home. There is also wireless
high-speed connection in the room if you do wish to bring your own
Instead of a Do Not Disturb sign,
thereís an electronic system inside your room. You can push the Do Not
Disturb button, and it will flip a light outside your door for
housekeeping. We enjoyed the extra privacy that came with not having to
open the door in our bed clothes to hang a sign!
We had requested that no scented
products be used in our room. We did not detect any perfume smells,
chemical odors or strong fragrances at all. We noticed an extremely
faint scent in the hallways where the guest rooms are, but not in the
main lobby or atrium.
All rooms are accessible to wheelchairs
and ECVs, but there are specially designed rooms for those who need
them. We were in a standard room, but there was plenty of room to drive
an ECV in. There are conveniently located electrical outlets appropriate
for recharging your chair. It would be challenging to navigate in a
non-handicapped room if you had to stay in your chair.
Fully accessible rooms are normally between
410 and 440 square feet, and theyíre designed to allow you to move about
in your chair. They offer the following non-handicapped room
410 square feet
440 square feet
625 square feet
831 square feet
are four styles of handicapped rooms including the following:
Oversized with Handrails
Suite with Accessible Shower
and equipment that the Gaylord offers guests include Roll-in Showers,
modified toilets, hand rails, accessible tubs, modified beds and
closets, lowered closets and accessible sinks. They offer kits for the
hearing impaired which contain a Text Telephone, TV Decoder,
Multi-Function Alertmaster Notification System, Clip on Door Bell
Transmitter, Bed Shaker, HA-30 In-Line Amplifier and a Visual Smoke
Detector. For guests with visual impairments there is brail on the guest
room numbers outside the guest room and on elevators, however there is
nothing inside the guest room.
For those who need air
purification, the resort has air ionizers, however they are not
recommended to be placed in the room with guests. They are used to
remove odor and clean the air prior to the guestsí arrival or when a
guest is out of the room. If you need this, let them know.
We found that the door to
our guestroom was light and didnít require much strength at all. Sarah
was able to ride in and out with her scooter while holding the door open
on her own.
All guest rooms include:
stocked daily with two bottles of Dasaniģ water*
in-room computer system Ė one click access to a host of
hotel services and
complimentary Internet access
telephones with speakerphones (one is cordless)
doorbell system with LED display for housekeeping service
Modem data port
fitted with AC outlet, designed to accommodate and recharge
maker, with stoneware mugs and complimentary coffee
Full size iron
and ironing board
Guest voice mail
(*inclusion of resort
Guest bathrooms include a
granite double vanity sink, full-length mirrors, lighted 5x magnifying
makeup and shaving mirrors and hair dryers. King guest rooms feature
walk-in glass-enclosed showers. Double Queen guest rooms feature a
bathtub with shower.
You can request late check
out, but itís based on availability.
There is valet parking for
a fee, and self-parking at a reduced fee. According to the Gaylord, they
have the required accessible self parking spaces available for
disabled guests that are charged at the self parking rate. In the event
that an accessible parking space in not available in self parking, the
disabled guest may valet park their vehicle and only pay the self
parking rate. They do require a valid state issued disability sign to
receive the reduced price. If the disabled guest chooses to valet when
there are accessible self parking spaces available, they will be charged
the valet parking rate.
We self-parked and we did
find that the disabled parking spaces were quite a hike to our room. It
was necessary for me to drop Sarah off at the front entrance, where she
would sit on a bench and wait for me to return. Those who have mobility
issues and canít be dropped off should use the valet parking service.
Canyon Ranch SpaClub with
salon and fitness center.
This is a well known spa name, and we found it to be a pleasant and
elegant environment. There are 25 treatment rooms, a Tea Relaxation
Room, and Men's and Women's locker rooms offering steam and sauna.
Gaylord staff states that the therapists usually have five or more years
of experience. This can be a great way to get some pain relief or to
During your visit, you can
partake of fruits and nuts, teas, flavored and unflavored water. If you
have allergies to fragrances, let them know at the time of your
reservation. They do have some fragrance-free products, including
massage oil. Although they supply soaps, shampoo and lotions for guests,
they do not have any that are fragrance-free. They do offer guests the
luxury of heated moist towels which are infused with lavender. Those
with allergies may wish to avoid them. Throughout the spa, we felt that
there were no intense fragrances. There were areas where we discerned
mild fragrances. The rooms with the wet treatments have live candles,
but you can request not to have it. The candles did not seem to be
Goggles are offered to
guests receiving massages to help them relax, and they are sanitized
after each use. If you donít wish to use the goggles just let them
know. You can request a hot towel instead. For the baths they do
sanitize between each person. We were told that the hydro-massage is
supposed to work like a deep tissue massage, but without the pain and
discomfort typical of that type of massage.
The massage beds are
heated, which can be so relaxing! It appeared that the staff was very
attentive and eager to please.
There are handicapped
showers, including a roll-in shower with grab bars. Nearly everything
is accessible; however some people may require help with doors.
4,000-foot Fitness Center is located within the spa. Itís opened to all
guests of the resort. It features cardiovascular equipment and a Smith
Press System for bodybuilding. For those with back issues they do have
There are two pools
separated by a short walk as well as the bar and a pool side restaurant.
According to the Gaylord, they are both heated to approximately 80
degrees. Depending upon the weather and the staffing situation, there
may be drink and food service poolside. Both pools donít offer much
shade, but you may be able to move your chair next to an umbrella table
to share the shade. There are restrooms outside, nearby both pools.
Beach pool is reserved for adult guests (18 and older). Itís a large
fairly large and attractive pool with no major theming other than
Florida landscaping. There are hot tubs off to the side. There is some
music played in the background, with varying styles. Although the pool
area is accessible, there are no special features to assist with entry
for those with mobility issues.
Clearwater Cove Water
Activities Playground features a 120,000-gallon zero-entry pool, octopus
water slide, sand play area, waterfall and various water areas for kids.
found this pool to be pretty wonderful. There was extensive theming including giant sea
creatures everywhere, many of which sprayed cool, refreshing water you
could stand under. There were giant mushrooms that had waterfalls
coming out of them, and other surprises that made the pool fun. Despite
the fact that it was a peak season for Disney, there were very few
people there. We really enjoyed our time there.
The deepest this pool goes
is 3 ft 6 inches. The hot tub is not very hot, but as one young boy
reminded me, this is a kidsí area. At this pool there was an ice water
dispenser and cups for guests. The water seemed filtered. There are
some sand play areas.
If you wish to be near the adults only pool, request a room in the
Emerald Bay section near elevator A. This is also fairly close to the
handicapped parking area.
La Petite Academyģ
Gaylord offers supervised activities for children ages 3 to 12.
You can choose from a list of
themed activities or work with their team to custom design a program
that fits your child's specific needs. Kids can stay and play for one
to four hours or stay the day during your specifically planned, full-day
group activity. The Academy is housed within a 4,000-square-foot,
on-site facility designed for kids. The staff
are certified in early childhood development and fully trained in first
aid and CPR.
There are a number of
extremely nice restaurants at the Gaylord including the Old Hickory
Steakhouse, Villa de Flora, Sora, and Sunset Samís Fish Camp. The better
dining restaurants are all in lovely and unique settings. Quality is
key with locally grown produce used whenever possible.
dined at the buffet restaurant, Villa de Flora, pictured to the right.
It was a wonderful experience all the way around, with unusual dishes
that were clearly well prepared and made with quality ingredients. The
atmosphere was particularly nice, and the service was attentive. We
would love to dine there again! For a listing of the restaurants and their menus, see the
dining section on our website.
If youíre looking for
something fast and inexpensive, you might try zipping over to
International Drive. The quick food alternative at the Gaylord is the
Java Coast, where you can find choices such as sandwiches, yogurt,
salads, fruit, cakes and of course coffee. At breakfast time the lines
for coffee can be quite long.
Hereís the special dietary needs policy
as it was shared with us by our Gaylord representative: We can assist
with all dietary needs. By letting your server know, they will then
have a Chef come out and speak directly to the party involved and
together they will create a dish or dishes that works best for the
guest. Once a guest says they have special dietary needs, the Chef on
duty must talk with that person so we are very clear on ingredients we
can and cannot use. Contacting a Chef in advance is a great opportunity
for us to further research their allergy or health condition and WOW
them upon their arrival. That also gives us time to inform the other
Chefs and managers in the outlets to give them a heads up also. We do
have alternatives in every outlet. Currently we have a group coming in
and about 40% are gluten free, and since we knew in advance, we were all
able to get great gluten free products in and experiment and create
great menus for them.
Concerning In Room Dining,
they added the following: Itís just like a restaurant here and we treat
guests with allergy or health conditions the same. The Chef will either
call or come and meet with the guest to help them feel comfortable and
find out what they like to eat considering their restrictions.
All restaurants are
The elevators are glass so that you can
see out over the atrium on most of the floors. This may be helpful to
those with elevator phobias.
The Gaylord does carry some manual
wheelchairs, which are available on a first come first served basis
upon check-in. They are only for day use. If
there is one available, itís complimentary with a valid ID, which will
be held until wheelchair is returned. If available, they are stored at
Bell Services. The only way to guarantee a wheelchair upon arrival is
to rent one in advance from an outside company. The concierge can book
one for you, or you can refer to the wheelchair section of
Walt Disney World with Disabilities for
If you book a wheelchair
or ECV with an outside company and they are dropping it off at the
resort, you can pick it up at the bell station. This is to the left
when you enter the front doors of the resort. A Bell Person will
retrieve your chair for you. Be sure your name is on the chair.
As part of the hotel daily resort fee, they provide shuttle buses to and
from the Disney theme parks at scheduled times each day. The buses
should be wheelchair accessible.
Pest Management in the Gaylord:
Of course, pests are a fact of life
in Florida, and the Gaylord has a program for keeping the resort free of
this problem. Keep in mind that you can request that they donít spray
your room immediately prior to, or during your stay. Hereís what they
say they do:
management program for rooms follows IPM (Integrated Pest Management)
practices. Our pest management team inspects all rooms on a bi-annual
basis. We also inspect rooms and other areas whenever there is a report
of a potential pest issue. We apply only the control materials that are
necessary when necessary in the least invasive way possible. We apply
preventative measures including full inspections. We utilize
Eco-sensitive control materials when and where necessary. Products
utilized include but are not limited to dust (Boric acid), Granular
material (Max Force Brand) and spray where applicable (Phantom Brand).
All materials are applied by licensed professionals.
Hotel Public Space and
management program for the hotel public space and outlet areas follows
similar practices as described above however our inspection of these
areas is at minimum 2x weekly. We utilize similar materials as above,
however focus is on sanitation conditions to limit the occurrence of
potential pests. Products include dust, granular, microbial activity
for drains (good Bacteria) and liquid sprays where necessary.
Our Horticulture department also practices an Integrated Pest Management
Program consisting of scouting for pest issues, recognizing threshold
levels, applying only what is necessary when it is necessary, with the
least invasive product possible. Our control products consist of only
material labeled for interior areas. Methods of application include
spray, granular, mechanical and pellets.
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