Florida Vacation #1 - Nickelodeon Hotel - Family Perspective

Associated parks:
None

Tuesday, August 29, 2006 10:59 PM
The Nick Hotel is located VERY close to all things Orlando, as it is across the road from the Downtown Disney area. The hotel prides itself as the only official Nickelodeon Hotel. This is actually a good thing which I will describe ad-nauseam..

The suites, though somewhat boxy in their appearance, aren't worth the money they are asking for. The kids' room has one wall painted as a Nick Character (In our case sponge Bob) the rest of the suite is very "normal." There is a PS2 in the kids room, but games can be rented if you don't have them. I also thought the walls were a bit too hollow. The free TV had many useful channels for those traveling with young kids. (There is NO reason what-so-ever for adults to be there without kids) The internet connection is free, but the wire is not near the desk. It's near the couch, making it hard to use. We did get two appropriate wake up calls that we asked for and one that we didn't. (Doh)

Pools - The resort showcases its pools in its brochure and website. The water is heated, but the slides which empty into either trays or to 3.5 foot designated depths was a source of controversy. All kids below a certain height had to wear an "Around-the-body" float in order to use the slide. This made many of the kids (Pre-flux included) embarrassed to be see in them, which in turn caused many kids not to use them. (Big kids and adults were ok) I think 48 inches was the cut-off. There was also a toddler area with a mini slide and a spray fountain.

The pools opened earlier and closed later than the slides. On a few occasions, "Team Nick" would show up and have some of the kids play games such as stacking cups and simon says type of things, but no Nick Characters were present.

The Mall Most of the time, "The Mall" is where the resort out-of-pool activities took place, was very loud. The parents looked tired and the kids were revved up. This is also where the restaurants are located. On-property was Pizza Hut Express, A&W, Subway, A regular buffet, the Character Café and a General Store. The fast food joints where what you would expect, though a bit pricier than their non-nick locations. The regular buffet had a breakfast buffet that was 10 bucks per adult with kids eating free.

I found out that the only places to see the characters were at the Character Buffet, but we weren't going to do it, as we already committed for a Disney breakfast. The eggs were (in my opinion) undercooked and Mother Fluxer thought the coffee was cold, but we all found something to eat.

Also at the mall was a place to buy Universal Tickets, a Nick Store, a bar called "Nick at Night," a Studio (For a game show), face painting, balloon sculpting. Hair braiding, an arcade and a few computer terminals set to Nick.com. It made me think of a large Family Entertainment Center…better than Chucky Cheese…but four times as loud. (Especially during a storm when the pools closed.)

Studio Show - This can be a lot of fun if you are playing. The Studio offers several shows a day. We went to a competition between two families (Chosen – I found out later, by poolside participants with "desired characteristics" [Four People, energetic, photogenic, etc]) The MC was a typical Nick-type host who hammed it up for the crowd. He was joined by 4 helpers who threw out large orange balls into the audience. (think rock concert.) The audience was divided into blue and red teams and then they would provide set up stunts where people would have to dress up like babies and have food hurled at them. (Think afternoons at nick). The set was professional, and the Show lasted about an hour. If you go, you must have reservations. We didn't, but we sneaked in with a group of 15.

Bottom Line If your kids LOVE Nick, come for one night (no more than two). Do what they have, spring for the character meal, see the show, but do not use this as a base for your theme-park based stay in Orlando. It's just too expensive, and most of the time you are off-property anyway. The pool areas are nice, but not enough of an attraction. The rooms are clean, but not that special.

Reflux Tip - Book a vacation. Then cancel. A few days after the cancellation date, we got an E-mail saying that if we want to come back again, we can do so at 25 per cent off. (It's still too expensive, but it's better than paying full price) *** Edited 8/30/2006 4:34:35 AM UTC by Richie Reflux***

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006 11:09 PM
That hotel actually looks pretty cool, was curious about it since my family and I ended up passing it about at least half dozen times once trying to find the other half of International Drive.
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Wednesday, August 30, 2006 8:59 PM
Nice review of the hotel. The commericals make the hotel look interesting but it sounds like a ripoff. I can't believe they make you rent games for the PS2 if you don't bring them with. In other hotels, there is a way for games to be accessed through a network (they usually have just a controller hooked up to the TV and you pay by the hour), I'm sure they could have done the same thing but not charged extra for it.
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Thursday, August 31, 2006 9:38 AM
Thanks for the review of this hotel. My daughter has been bugging to stay here on our trip to FL next year. Unfortunately for her, Uncle Jimmy's house is much less expensive, free in fact, but we might spring for one night depending on the cost.
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Thursday, August 31, 2006 10:44 AM
Maybe "Uncle Jimmy" can put us up next time too.

Does he have a pool?

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Thursday, August 31, 2006 10:58 AM
Richie: I recommend renting a private townhome. Here's the one we rented last year---very reasonably priced, 3BR/3BA, equipped kitchen, a private plunge pool, and a much bigger resort pool.

http://www.vrbo.com/69056

It's like Uncle Jimmy's place, without Uncle Jimmy.

This year, we're going with another family, and are splitting a 5BR/5BA home with a larger private pool.

http://www.luxuryorlandovilla.co.uk/

Both of these are less than 15 minutes to MK, and closer to the other WDW parks. This subdivision is a bit farther from Universal/Sea World than the Nick hotel, though.

The Nick Hotel, back when it was the Holiday Inn Family Suites, often had some very good deals. Once it got themed, it also got expensive---overpriced, IMO.

For those interested in the private home rental market, you will find literally a ton of places here:

www.vrbo.com

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Monday, September 4, 2006 9:24 PM
We actually rented a house for a week when we went down last year. Uncle Jimmy's house just isn't big enough for 6 guests and doesn't have a pool.

It was a 3BR/3BA with a pool about 15 minutes from Disney. The house was well kept and we were able to eat a lot of meals at the house instead of spending tons of cash on Disney food. If you don't mind driving to Disney everyday, this is a great option and has the potential of being cheaper than staying at a Disney resort.

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