At the risk of showing my age, I have to share something. Every time I visit a Gaylord property, I can’t help but think about the movie, Bio-Dome. You know the one I am talking about, right? Pauly Shore and Stephen Baldwin find their way into a biodome when they are trying to prove to their scantily clad girlfriends that they are environmentally correct. They end up getting stuck in the biodome for a year. I can’t help but think of the movie anytime I visit a Gaylord biodome.
The last time I visited the Gaylord Opryland Hotel was about ten years ago. We were right outside of Nashville visiting family and they told us that we just had to see the Gaylord Opryland Hotel all decorated for the holidays. I remember wandering through the hotel looking at the beautiful Christmas decorations and twinkling lights. I remember thinking the property was ridiculously huge and couldn’t get over the fact that there was a river complete with a boat tour.
A few months ago, I headed up to the Gaylord Opryland Hotel for the Blissdom conference. In between sessions and socializing, I toured the property and explored the different things that the Gaylord Opryland Hotel had to offer.
The Opryland is set up in several different sections: Magnolia; Delta; Garden Conservatory, and Cascades. Each section is set up with rivers, ponds, waterfalls and more. We stayed in the Cascades in a typical two bed hotel room with a bathroom. I liked that there was a small sink area with a mirror outside of the bathroom. I was sharing the room with an old friend so it was nice to be able to have both areas so that we could get ready in the morning in a timely manner.
Our room and bathroom were clean and it was proof positive that the hotel seems to regularly deep clean the rooms. When we arrived, all of our furniture was moved about two feet away from the wall. We left it there and assumed that when housekeeping came by they would fix it. Nope! We called down to the front desk and they got a kick out of it. The women laughed at our story and sent someone up to fix it right away. Once the furniture was moved back to its proper place, our room was quite spacious.
There are a lot of dining options throughout the hotel. You could park your car and not get into it again until it was time to leave if you wanted to. I was pleasantly surprised by the options in all of the different price points. We ate breakfast once at the Cascades American Café. We had a pricey dinner at Solario, a Mexican restaurant. The first day we were there, we ate at Stax Burgers, a build your own burger place. This meal was the most reasonably priced. For only $10, I got a huge cheeseburger and french fries. There is a pizza place, a steakhouse, an Irish pub, a sushi bar, and more.
Activities for the Family
The Gaylord Opryland has two outdoor pools and one indoor pool to keep the kids occupied during your down time. There is a small arcade and lots of gardens to explore. You can grab a treat at Christie Cookie or Haagen Dazs Ice Cream. There is a water show set to music in the Delta Atrium. You can find the Dreamworks characters hanging out during certain parts of the year. SNOW! and ICE! are held during the winter and during spring break, you can celebrate with the Dreamworks friends. During select days in the summertime, you can build Princess Fiona’s Cookie Castle or have breakfast with the Shrek characters. If you attend Summer Fun with Shrek & Friends, you can join in the Madagascar Crack-a-Lackin’ Pool Party, train at the Kung Fu Panda Academy of Awesomeness, watch a movie from the pool, and more. Head to the Delta Atrium and take a ride on a riverboat. This is one thing we really wanted to do but just never found the time.
Things to Know Before You Go
Parking is pricey. You will pay $18 per day to park in their lot and $26 per day for overnight valet parking.
There is a shuttle service but it isn’t included. Shuttle service from the airport is $40 per person for a roundtrip fare. There is also shuttle service to and from various attractions around Nashville. Most of the services begin at $20.
I felt like the Gaylord Opryland is in a pretty central location so it would serve as a good base for your Nashville family vacation.
The Dreamworks characters are not always visiting the Gaylord Opryland. If you are planning a Dreamworks experience, be sure you check the schedule of events and plan your trip around those dates.