Monday, April 10, 2017

Holiday Inn Orlando Water Park Review

We had a great Orlando Spring Break vacation.  The weather was beautiful, high 80s, low 90s every day.  

If you are heading to Orlando with your family, I would highly recommend the Holiday Inn Orlando Water Park Resort.  (It used to be the Nickelodeon Resort if you are familiar with the area).  
  • Location -  It was very close to the Disney parks and about a 15 minute drive to Universal Studios.
  • Cost - We paid with Holiday Inn credit card rewards.  I did have to purchase additional points for $430.  But 7 nights for $430 was a great price.
    • Parking Fees - Parking is expensive, $89 for 7 nights. 
    • Resort Fees - This is ridiculously expensive.  Almost $30 per night.  It is supposed to pay for the water park, shuttle service to the parks and poolside entertainment. Luckily, since we paid with points, this fee was waived for us.
  • Rooms - The rooms were nice and clean.  We had 2 bedrooms.  The girls had a room with bunk beds and their own tv.  A small kitchenette included a mini-fridge, coffee maker, sink and microwave.  It was just enough room for us to store the fixings for sandwiches for lunch, ham and cheese frozen sandwiches for breakfast and drinks, saving us some money not having to eat at a restaurant for every meal.
Girls Room - Organized their toys first thing.
    • My only criticism of the room would be the bathroom.  The hotel room was very clean except the bathroom shower was pretty moldy.  I tried to ignore the moldiness in the grout and in the corners on the floor around the tub.  I also didn't like that the bathroom trash kept being placed right under the toilet paper roll, so it was hanging in the trash every day.  I had to move the trash can every day after housekeeping came in.
  • Overall Resort Layout - It's huge.  There is a gym, water park, adult only pool area, basketball court, arcade, food court with multiple restaurants, miniature golf, store, 4d theater and laser challenge game.  
    • Plenty of stuff to do to keep busy.  I had thought we would leave the resort a couple times to find off site entertainment but besides going to Universal Studios, there was more than enough to do at the resort.  We actually didn't do everything that was offered.
    • But since it is so huge, you do a lot of walking.  There is only 1 entrance to the pool/water park area and it is at the back of the resort.  From our room, that meant about a 5 minute walk every time we went to the pool, or ran back to the room for something we forgot.  The marketplace, restaurants, store and arcade were even farther than the pool.
  • Amenities 
    • Water park - This was the best feature for us.  I was able to lay out or chill out in the pool while the kids ran around and went on the water slides or just played in the pool area.  There were also hot tubs that for some reason even in 80 degree weather my kids love.
    Drinks by the pool
    • Spending most of our time at the water park, we didn't use the miniature golf course, basket ball court, 4d theater or laser game.  Universal Studio rides are mostly 4d so I wasn't about to pay to see even more 4d shows.

    • Restaurants - We ordered pizza one day, hamburgers and fries on another and Starbucks a couple of times.  Everything was very good.  There was also a breakfast buffet that the kids could eat free each morning with purchase of an adult meal but we never made it there.
    • Shuttle Service - I thought about using the shuttle service to the parks, but in the end I would rather pay the $20 parking fee to have the freedom to come and go at the parks as we wanted to.
  • Pool-side Entertainment - This was my favorite feature.  Multiple dance parties by the pool, a dj every afternoon, crafts by the pool and games were all activities that were planned and happened almost daily.  I loved laying out by the pool listening to the dj with a drink in my hand.
  • Housekeeping
    • This was the only major negative that I saw.  It was frustrating that the housekeeping wasn't consistent.  Most days we would leave in the morning for the pool or to go to Universal.  But we never knew when housekeeping would come and there were a few times where we were back from being gone all day by 4 pm and housekeeping hadn't even come yet.  So we would just tell them to give us some clean towels and that would be all.  But with 4 people living in that small space, I really like to have a nice cleaning each day.  
    • Multiple times when housekeeping did come in time, they didn't replenish our supplies. One day, there was no toilet paper and we had to wait until 10:30 pm for someone to bring some to the room.  Another day we were only given 2 wash clothes (for 4 people). And the last 2 days, our coffee supplies for our coffee maker were never replenished.
Overall, I would definitely go back.  But probably only if I booked with credit card rewards again to avoid the resort fee.  At $30 per night, that would add an extra $210 to our stay and we didn't use most of the amenities that the fee went to pay for.

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