We had the opportunity to stay at the Gaylord Palms resort a few months ago (see a full recap of our trip and the resort’s amenities here), and while we thought we loved the resort then, we hadn’t seen the Gaylord Palms at Christmas yet! The entire resort is transformed into a holiday winter wonderland the second Halloween is over, and the atmosphere is so magical. In fact, there holiday slogan is SO. MUCH. CHRISTMAS., and it is 100% accurate. There is holiday magic around every corner!
My daughters Summer and Luna are at the perfect age to truly enjoy the holidays, and the resort had so many family-friendly Christmas activities that they were absolutely in heaven during our Christmas vacation at the Gaylord Palms. Keep reading to read my full and honest review of Christmas at the Gaylord Palms resort and my top recommendations for Christmas activities for families in Orlando – including the I Love Christmas Movies Experience! You can also watch a video of our stay in this Instagram Stories highlight.
Orlando Family Christmas Activities at Gaylord Palms
While I’ll be sharing a full recap of our stay and the Gaylord Palms’ amazing Christmas amenities, I just have to show you their adorable Christmas Village first You can buy tickets for each activity in advance or purchase them on the spot, but it is such a fun holiday activity for families in Orlando! If you’re planning a stay or want to spend the day at the resort, I’d highly recommend buying one of their ticket packages to save money and make your day easier.
Snow Activities for Kids at Gaylord Palms Orlando
Our first stop was the Snow Factory, where you can make “snow” fall from the sky on a dance floor flooded with fun lights. As Floridian natives, my girls have never actually seen snow before, so it was so sweet to see the astonished look on their faces. Summer loved running over to the snow machines and pressing the pedal to prompt another round of “snow” flurries. Both of my daughters ran around for hours in the Snow Factory over the course of our stay! If you have toddlers or young children, this one is definitely a hit!
There are two other snow-themed activities in the Christmas Village. Snowball Build and Blast is a really fun activity where you play against another team and throw real snowballs! Once the teams are in place, you get a bucket of real snow. Each team makes as many snowballs as possible, and you attempt to throw the snowballs into different tubes worth different amounts of points. The team with the most points “wins,” but it’s really just a fun event and not competitive at all! This activity is really fun for toddlers all the way up to older kids!
The last snow-themed activity is the Snow Flow Mountain, where you can go tubing down a real snow slide! It looked SO fun, but unfortunately, it wasn’t open yet when we stayed at Gaylord Palms. It’s up and running now, and I think kids and adults of all ages would love it.
Gingerbread Decorating at Gaylord Palms OrlandoMy kids’ favorite activity of the weekend was the gingerbread decorating! They have lots of gingerbread kit options, and they also have a socially-distanced stage that features the Gingerbread Man himself along with a nutcracker soldier and ballerina. The characters interact with those in the room while they’re decorating, and Summer was just so tickled by their appearances. Plus, she had a BLAST decorating the gingerbread. In fact, we had so much fun that we actually went two times in two days!
As you might’ve noticed in the first picture of this post, we took the gingerbread back to our hotel room for fun. Even if you’re planning on decorating gingerbread at home with your family, I think your kids will love this activity at the hotel! The interactive characters and adorable bakery atmosphere make it so much fun, and you’ll love that you don’t have to clean up all of the crumbs, candy, and icing from your home! You can buy tickets for this event (also part of their ticket packages) here.
I Love Christmas Movies at Gaylord PalmsMy husband and I are Christmas movie fanatics, so we were so excited to visit the I Love Christmas Movies pop-up experience at the Gaylord Palms resort in Orlando. Located in the Christmas Village with the other winter activities, the I Love Christmas Movies experience takes you through a tour of scenes from iconic Christmas movies. It was adorable, and my kids loved it too even though they hadn’t actually seen most of the movies featured. Here are some of our favorite moments!
Also, I wanted to mention how this experience is set up. Each scene is located in a separate room, and there are two socially-distanced dots where you can see the interactive set. Your tour guide will take your small group through each room for a few minutes, and then you move onto the next scene. No one is touching any of the set elements. You’ll never feel crowded, and you’ll also be able to get a great view of each room.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation Set
Who wouldn’t want to see the Griswold’s infamous Christmas decorations? It was fun to get a chance to “light” the lights just like Clark!
You can even see the turkey explode in real time and watch the cat crawl around the frumpy Griswold tree. So fun for a Christmas Vacation movie fan!
The Polar Express Set
Does your family love The Polar Express? This event allows you to step inside some of the most famous scenes from the movie.
You can step inside the train and even see Santa appear in a giant jingle bell.
A Christmas Story SetIf you love A Christmas Story, you can step into the home of the Parkers, visit their kitchen, see their Christmas dinner, and even see the “fra-gil-e” leg lamp! It must be Italian!
Our favorite set to visit was definitely ELF! Ryan and I AND the kids loved seeing Santa’s workshop where Buddy made toys with the other elves.
We even got to visit Leon the Snowman and Mr. Narwhal! The narwhal even says “Bye Buddy! Hope you find your dad!”
We also had to travel through the seven levels of the Candy Cane Forest just like Buddy…
And we even got to see the Gimbels department store with all of Buddy’s Christmas decorations for Santa!
The Year Without A Santa Claus Set
They also featured famous scenes from The Year Without A Santa Claus, and Summer was tickled to see the cute animated downtown scene along with the Snow Miser and Heat Miser.
The end of the I Love Christmas Movies Pop-Up Experience at the Gaylord Palms in Orlando features a gorgeous nativity scene too. We had such a fun time exploring all of the movie scenes! If you’d like to buy tickets for this show, you can check them out here.
Socially-Distanced Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus Experiences
One of my favorite parts of the Christmas Village at the Gaylord Palms is that it allows families to celebrate the season in a safe and socially-distanced way without taking away any of the magic! I thought it was so creative to have a sweet and socially-distanced room with Mrs. Claus, where kids and families can interact with her. There’s a similar experience with Santa Claus, as well as a photo op, but unfortunately we missed him this time!
There are even more fun activities for families in the Christmas Village, including decorating your own toys at the Elf Training Academy, exploring the amazing gift shop (seriously, so many fun things!), or eating a festive snack (hot chocolate, pretzels, cinnamon rolls, and more!), I think you’ll definitely be able to find a fun activity for your kids!
Christmas Decorations at Gaylord Palms Orlando
One of my favorite Christmas activities as a child was walking around the gorgeous Orlando hotels during the holidays to see the Christmas decorations. I’m SO happy that I get the chance to continue this tradition with my family, and I’m even happier that my girls love it just as much as I did! If you love holiday decorations too, you will LOVE the festive atmosphere of the Gaylord Palms!
There are holiday photo-ops located throughout the resort, and every single room is decorated from top to bottom with poinsettias, garland, Christmas trees, candy canes, and lights. My three-year-old remembered every inch of the hotel from our last stay, and she was so tickled to see her favorite spots decked out for the holidays!
In addition to the gorgeous decorations, the Gaylord Palms also offers a family-friendly brunch featuring The Grinch himself along with his dog Max, and my girls were over-the-moon to be able to wave to Mr. Grinch when we were passing by the restaurant!
There’s also a scavenger hunt inspired by The Grinch if you want a fun way to explore the resort with your family. Summer loved spotting The Grinch items throughout our stay.
We were so busy having fun that we forgot to snap a pic of Summer playing in the water park, but you can see a full review of the Gaylord Palms’ awesome pool, water slides, and water park here. BUT we had to document Summer interacting with her all of Summer’s favorite animal friends at the Gaylord upon her request. She asked to go visit the fish, turtles, and alligators each day and night of our stay!
One of our favorite parts of our Gaylord Palms’ stays is always the gorgeous balconies overlooking the resort’s atrium. The room is spacious itself, but the large balcony makes the room seem even larger.
During the day, you can see the festive greenery and huge Christmas tree from your room and listen to the peaceful waterfalls.
And in the evening, you can even see the amazing LIT Christmas lights show! You can also buy tickets to a few really fun stage events – including a circus-style show here.
If you’d like to see a full review of the Gaylord Palms resort’s amenities and a glimpse into the beautiful rooms at the Gaylord Palms, check out my honest review here. As you can see from the photo above, my girls basically feel at home here haha! The rooms are perfect for families. Spacious, comfortable, and perfectly set up for lounging and taking a break in the room. Definitely one of our favorite hotel layouts.
If you’re looking for amazing family-friendly Christmas activities in Orlando – especially for young children, definitely head to the Gaylord Palms resort! We had such a great time, and I know your family will too!