14500 Continental Gateway
Orlando, FL 32821
One of the more popular resorts on the Orlando resort scene making a big splash with its guests, figuratively and literally, is the Nickelodeon Suites Hotel, or as kids call it, the Nick Hotel.
If you have children and they watch any television, chances are they've seen the commercials and are being called to visit the Nick Hotel like some sort of religious pilgrimage. For a parent, a decision to stay at the Nick Hotel is a decision that can't be beat. As far as Orlando resorts, for kids it's the equivalent of the hottest, gotta have Christmas toy; the place all of the kids want to stay.
The $110 million property was developed by the creators of Holiday Inns' KidSuites hotels. From suites decked out with favorite Nick characters such as SpongeBob SquarePants, Cosmo and Wanda from The Fairly OddParents, and Rugrats, Nickelodeon Family Suites by Holiday Inn has been infused with the essence of Nickelodeon.
Located within five minutes of Disney World, the 800-room hotel property, which opened in early 2005, has been turned virtually into a kid's camp. In fact, there is so much going on that it is almost a shame to leave the hotel's 24 acres to visit a theme park or another outside activity.
Beginning Jan. 5, 2009, the Nickelodeon Hotel will hoist its own flag as an independent resort, marketing itself exclusively as an extension of the world-famous Nickelodeon brand, and will launch a new, dedicated reservation number. Guests and travel partners will be able to book reservations at Nickelodeon Hotel's newly dedicated number, (877) NICK-KID, or online at www.nickhotel.com.
The excitement for the family begins to build as you approach the hotel when your children see and recognize the gigantic billboard sized Nickelodeon characters adorning the sides of the hotel. If you don't know the names of the many characters on Nick TV, you will by the end of your visit: character meals with SpongeBob SquarePants; characters in your room; characters walking about the resort area and stationary characters posed for photo opportunities in specific resort locations.
Water park at a resort?
The Nick Hotel has taken the concept of a hotel pool to a whole new level; try a water park at your hotel. To give you an idea of the scope of the pool, the interactive water tower is four stories high and is topped by a 400 gallon dump tank that splashes down on the unsuspecting below who are making their way through the maze of ropes, slides and flumes beneath.
This is just the beginning of the water attractions: there are interactive water play toys, climbing nets, seven different water slides, two whirlpool spas and a zero depth entry pool. (Zero depth entry pools give the illusion of a gently sloping beach, with no step, and are perfect for toddlers or persons with disabilities or in wheelchairs.)
Poolside there is also complimentary nine hole miniature golf course, lighted basketball courts and other activities hosted by hotel staff. The daily activities when we visited included contests and games and a favorite Nick television activity, a number of lucky kids were chosen to be 'SLIMED' in front of the several hundred poolside on-lookers.
There are a variety of rooms available, but the most popular are the rooms equipped with bunk beads. Make sure you inquire about the theme of the room (which Nick TV character), as most will include a large mural of a specific character. In addition, take a wake-up call from SpongeBob SquarePants. (My nine-year old daughter and nine-year old niece fought to hear the wakeup call.)
Nick Hotel at Night
Besides the water activities, what happens at night is what really sets this resort apart from other Orlando resorts. The Nick Hotel boasts a one-stop entertainment complex that houses restaurants, an arcade, computer games, a food court, kid's spa and more.
The anchor of this area is Studio Nick, a million dollar state-of-the-art theater. If you want family entertainment, this is the place my group had a great time watching others compete in family game shows and family karaoke until my nine year old summoned the courage to take a stab at karaoke. Who knows, during a game show, someone in your group may even be slimed! The hourly shows run from 6 pm until midnight and are free; some shows do fill up so if you are interested obtain your tickets for a particular show when you arrive at the resort.