For our trip to Orlando we had the opportunity to stay at the Nickelodeon Suites Resort. When we pulled up to the resort, the first thing we saw were the cast of characters. My daughter LOVES Dora (it was the first cartoon that she ever watched). We purposely never told her we were staying at a “Dora” hotel because we wanted to see the look on her face. She didn’t disappoint.
The checkin process was fairly quick and easy. We were given a copy of the Nick Hotel bus schedule to the various theme parks, a map of the property and the 411, which listed all the daily activities by time for the days we would be at the resort, dining options and hours and other general guest information. As we parked our car and started walking towards our suite, we realized that we were overlooking the Lagoon Pool. From the balcony we had a bird’s eye view of everything going on.
Of course at this point, my daughter was all about getting into that pool and any unpacking, exploring or even eating would have to wait. The Lagoon Pool was perfect for her. She could walk around, swim (i.e., crawl on her hands) and play in the various fountains without me worrying about her getting into water too deep. In addition to me watching her like a hawk, there were several lifeguards who were constantly patrolling the area. We learned that my daughter loves the water and swimming lessons are definitely in her future.
The Nickelodeon Suites Resort opened in June 2005 as the first Nick Hotel in the world. The complex spans over 24 acres and throughout the resort Nickelodeon characters are around every corner. Families have three options when it comes to accommodations: one-bedroom suites and two & three bedroom KidSuites. We had a two-bedroom suite which was decked out in a SpongeBob theme. One condition I have when traveling is that we have separate sleeping areas. It makes it easier for whomever needs to nap (parents included) and because my husband snores like a freight train, I can kick him out of the bedroom if needed. The first thing you notice when you walk in the room is that all of the televisions are tuned into the Nickelodeon channel. The two-bedroom KidSuites have a kitchenette instead of a full kitchen. The sink area was really quite small and because of all of the food and drinks we brought along, was a bit cramped. The next time we stay here I’ll definitely make sure we get a suite with a full kitchen.
After letting B swim for a while, we then got cleaned up and went over to the Mall area to eat dinner and meet Dora. Remember that 411 pamphlet I mentioned? That made it easy to ensure my daughter got to meet her favorite character. We arrived there just a few minutes before Dora was scheduled to appear and the line was already 30 families deep. I was pleasantly surprised to realize that the Nickelodeon staff moved families through the line pretty quickly while still giving the kids ample time with the characters. I was so proud of my daughter. Just 5 months ago she was deathly afraid of mascot type characters. But not on this day. This day she went up to Dora and have her the biggest hug ever that even the other parents and the Nick staff were saying “awwww.” The rest of the night all she talked about was getting to meet Dora with the biggest grin on her face. That alone was reason enough to stay at the Nick hotel!
Our meal at the Nick Cafe wasn’t too bad either. I was a bit disappointed that they were out of the mahi mahi sandwich. My step-son and I had looked at the menu while we were exploring the property and both of us wanted some seafood. After all, we were in Florida! So as an alternative he went with a burger and I got a somewhat healthier grilled chicken sandwich. Both were surprisingly good. The portions were large and the prices reasonable. My daughter got her favorite, chicken nuggets (hey, it’s vacation) but I think she ate more butter than nuggets.
Our last morning at the resort we had the opportunity to attend a character breakfast. If you decide to do a character breakfast I highly suggest you make your reservation as soon as possible so you can get the day and time that you want. We lucked out and were able to get an 8:00 time slot. The character breakfasts are held in the Nick Cafe (where we ate the previous night). It includes a full buffet with any breakfast item you want, including made-to-order omelets, and each of the characters except SpongeBob and Patrick (they stay in the front of the restaurant in Bikini Bottom..lol) visit your table.
Then Nickelodeon Suites Resort is a family-oriented resort that has something fun for everyone in the family. At first my 15 year old step-son was turned off at the thought of sleeping next to SpongeBob. Then he found the two tubes of slime that were left for us as a gift and he played (yes, I’m using the term played) with them all night long. There really is a lot to do at the resort that doesn’t cost extra money. You can meet the characters over at the mall, attend the mass slimings at the Lagoon Pool or attend some of the Studio Nick Live Family Entertainment. I wish we would have spent more time at the resort, especially the Lagoon Pool.
Nick Resort also provides bus service for its guests to the Disney Parks, SeaWorld Parks and Universal Orlando. We never used this service as the departure and return times didn’t work for us but if you can get it work out, it will save you the $14 parking fee at most of the parks. One thing to mention is there is a $25/daily resort fee. We were never notified of this at check-in. Part of the resort fee is a daily $17 parking fee. Parking was very hard to comeby. Both nights we stayed at the resort we have to park quite a distance away from our building. Keep that in mind if you’re hauling lots of stuff home from the parks. Have someone drop you off at your doorstep.
When we visit Orlando again, we’ll definitely considering staying at the Nick Suites again. The rooms were spacious, the kids loved it (even my step-son) and we weren’t too far away from the parks. We made a lot of wonderful memories that we’ll cherish forever!
East9thStreet received discounted hotel rates and complimentary tickets to the character breakfast in order to conduct this review. Regardless, all opinions are mine and yours may differ.