My son is the luckiest four year old on the planet, or at least he thought so on his recent birthday when we were invited to stay for two nights at the Nickelodeon Hotel in Orlando, Florida. Talk about a fun packed few days! This hotel had so much to enjoy we didn't want to leave.
We checked in the day after Jason's fourth birthday, which was a Monday. The women at the check-in counter seemed excited to see us, and went out of their way to make sure Jason knew this was going to be a special occasion, and it was going to be all about him. They asked him about his favorite Nickelodeon cartoons, gave him a poster of the new Madagascar movie and basically treated him like royalty. From the beginning I knew this would be a trip to remember.
Based on Jason's answer that SpongeBob was his favorite Nick show, we were placed in a SpongeBob Squarepants guest suite. SpongeBob, Patrick and Squidward donned the walls creating a three dimensional feel that put you in the center of the cartoon. The room alone could have been an entire vacation. Bunk beds, flat screen TV's and video games guarantee that no one will ever be bored. As a mother I appreciated the separate bedrooms that the two room suite had to offer. The adult bedroom has a formal door while the children's room has a curtain that fully closes giving parents much needed privacy. The bathroom was spacious, with lots of storage space and enough room for two in the bathroom at all times. That is important, because as parents we know we never get to be in the bathroom alone.
We arrived in the evening, so first thing we did was head over to The Mall to check out the food court. The Mall is located inside the Nick Hotel complex and includes shopping, food and entertainment. This way you never have to leave the premises. The restaurants in The Mall are Barnie's, SubWay, The Grill, and Pizza Hut. Each offers tasty and affordable options. If you are in the mood for a full service restaurant you can try the Nick Toons Cafe.
Also in The Mall you'll find fun shops where your child can build their own SpongeBob Squarepants much like a Mr. Potato Head and buy all the Nickelodeon souvenirs your heart desires.
The Arcade offered up hours of entertainment for my whole family. My husband and son both love games that provide tickets and they weren't disappointed in this arcade. Basketball, Skeeball, SpongeBob Bowling and so many others played host to my family's favorite indoor entertainment. My son left with his first whoopie cushion as a prize, and couldn't have been happier.
The next morning even before the sun had come up my son was awake and ready to go swimming. The Nick Hotel is home to a water-park style pool complex that includes two pools, numerous slides, a kid's area with interactive water toys (you know, the kind perfect for squirting mommy) and a 400 gallon water tank that dumps periodically throughout the day and drenches both you and the slides. This water tank is also the place to go for the mass slime-ing that happens every day, this is hands down, the hotel's biggest draw. We had so much fun playing in the Lagoon pool. Unfortunately, the first day, a pipe burst closing down the slides until further notice, it sure looked like fun, but with all the other water activities we didn't feel cheated; however, trust me, we will be planning another trip in the summer to try it out!
Our favorite night-time entertainment was The 4-D Experience. The 4-D Experience is a series of 3-D movies that actually place you in the movie. I will always remember the sound of my son's surprise when he was sprinkled with water during the SpongeBob movie, and that was only the beginning. The sights, the sounds and the...smells were a sensory explosion. There are five other movies to enjoy, but for small children, SpongeBob is the only "safe" choice.
Finally our most memorable activity at Nick Hotel was the character breakfast. As I had said earlier, my son loves SpongeBob. His eyes grew huge when we walked in and not only SpongeBob, but Patrick and Squidward met us at the door. It was Jason's birthday so he was given a lot of extra attention. The Bikini Bottom crew along with Dora and Diego sang and danced him into birthday exhaustion. Pictures were taken, autographs were signed and entertainment was everywhere we turned. The food was great too. I am a big fan of breakfast buffets and this one did not disappoint. They had all the basic choices like pancakes, waffles and scrambled eggs but also surprised me with some extras that were geared towards adults or really lucky parents whose children have adventurous palettes.
You really need to experience Nick Hotel for yourself. They have so much more to offer than I have been able to share with you. Even after spending two nights I felt like we had only just scratched the surface of the many activities that my family can't wait to try. Living only 20 miles from the Nick Hotel is going to make it very hard to stay away. It was the perfect weekend getaway.