Review: SummerFest at Gaylord Palms is the perfect family getaway for this summer

No beach? No problem! Surf’s up at Gaylord Palms Resort with their annual SummerFest where guests can “Surf In & Rock Out” every day!

Taking place from now until August 13, SummerFest offers up tons of family-friendly activities, events and shows throughout the resort. Beat the heat over at Gaylord Palms’ incredible Cypress Springs Water Park that has recently undergone a multi-million dollar renovation with new mega-fun water slides and a FlowRider wave simulator that you can surf with. Yes, you can now catch a wave at a hotel.

Theme Parks & Beyond was recently invited to enjoy SummerFest to see for ourselves the new additions to the water park and the special “Surf In & Rock Out” entertainment that is currently being offered to guests. Making the trip even more special, our son was celebrating his birthday and the look on his face when he was able to check out the FlowRider and try it out was priceless. As soon as we checked into the hotel and settled into our room, the kids made a beeline for the water park.

The family-friendly vibe at the water park throughout both days we were there was perfect and there was a rocking poolside party where kids and adults alike were encouraged to participate in. There was even a “Pop Princess and Rock Super Star” belting out rock hits from the Cypress Spring Stage and hanging out with the guests in the I Wanna Rock! Sing-A-Long Show. The stage is also where guests and their kids can enjoy early-morning cartoons to start the day and family movies at night.

Two pools (one just for adults nearby) are available and we booked our time at the FlowRider (participants go in at 30-minute intervals) while our kids went straight for the seven waterslides available, with the new Tamiami Twister racing slides their favorite.

The Florida Free Fall slide, a nearly 49-foot-tall behemoth featuring the tallest AquaDrop slide at any Florida resort, proved to be a bit too daunting for the little ones in our clan but there were plenty of kids riding it. I went ahead and took the plunge and I have to admit it was even more thrilling than I imagined it would be while perched out at the very top of the tower watching guests in front of me go one-by-one into the drop.




Though it’s literally minutes away from Walt Disney World, the sheer amount of fun stuff to do at Gaylord Palms in addition to all the seasonal summer offerings had us happily enjoying everything SummerFest had to offer there. Time sure does fly when you’re having fun, but we did our best to keep up with all of the available events scheduled throughout the day and night, but guests staying multiple nights will have plenty of time to discover and enjoy it all. Some events are only offered on weekends, but many take place on a daily basis.

With nighttime approaching the kids worn out from all the fun, it was time to wash off and get settled into their pajamas for the PJ Party Under The Sea, a whimsical get-together complete with storytelling (in which all the kids helped write), snacks, dancing and games. When they say “under the sea” they mean it, with neat decorations and elaborate costumes worn by the very amusing and personable performers.

Refreshed and relaxed, we went on a scavenger hunt and explored the atrium within the Gaylord Palms, where we on the hunt for several custom SummerFest surfboards. If you can find them all, you can also enter online for a chance to win an all expenses paid stay at Gaylord. Crossing our fingers!

We wrapped up the night with the spooky fun Rock n’ Roll Never Dies Ghost Tour in which our guide discussed the most haunted places in Florida as we toured the atrium. The tour is offered at 7, 8, and 9pm and since we opted for the last tour, the atrium was less populated and quiet, adding to the charm of the tour which featured convincing stories of some very strange occurrences over the years that can’t be easily explained.

With all the fun that we had at SummerFest in addition to the wonderful accommodations, yummy food, and friendly staff, we highly recommend seeing for yourself all that Gaylord Palms Resort has to offer. Just remember to bring with you plenty of rock star attitude so you can rock n’ roll all night and party every day!

For all the details on what Gaylord Palms has to offer, including a special Surf In & Rock Out Package that includes drink tumblers, resort credit and a special SummerFest lanyard, click here for a rundown of all the SummerFest activities and special events planned.

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