Gaylord Palms: Alexis’ First Trip to Orlando – Part I

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby on. Posted in BABY, Florida, FUN TIMES, New Mom Experience, PHOTO, TRAVEL

When we were first invited to Andrew’s mom’s wedding reception in Orlando 3 months ago, our first thought was “Oh, we’d love to, but there is no way we can drive all the way to Orlando with Lexi”. That was a bummer, but it beat the prospect of a screaming baby in the car for 4 hours. As the time went on, though, and Lexi was getting more and more manageable at 4 months on, I was starting to think that maybe, just maybe, we’d be able to make that trip. We knew her problem was the carseat and we put all our hopes into the new roomy convertible car seat from Maxi Cosi. As I wrote before, the car seat worked out fabulously. The screaming fits ended as soon as we swapped our infant seat for this new cool (as in temperature-wise) and big Pria 70. So we tentatively told my MIL that it was looking like we could actually make it.

We were both super super super excited. Before Lexi, we’d take frequent trips to Orlando to just have dinner or walk around the parks, or see friends, as well as drive to Miami and other cities of interest in Florida. It’s what we did for fun. With Alexis being a very particular baby, especially in the first 4 months, and hating the car seat, we’ve put it all on hold, but we both couldn’t wait until we would go these places with our daughter.

Each one of us had our own concerns having never traveled with an infant. I was concerned about how she’d do in the car, how she’d fall asleep there, whether I’d be able to keep her entertained for the whole 4 hours. Andrew was really worried about what we’d do in the hotel, considering that at that time Alexis would only fall asleep while being rocked. But we went for it, figuring we’d play things by ear and do what we had to do.

With it being our first overnight trip and hotel stay, we packed everything imaginable, and his mom promised us a portable foldable rocker (which worked out FABULOUSLY, btw).

So after a pretty uneventful and totally manageable drive to Orlando where I completely went through my whole repertoire of songs, books and games, we checked into the hotel and brought in a million of our bags. It was time to put Lexi down for a nap, if we had any prayer of her surviving the reception that started at 6-7pm.

After doing her nap routine and some nursing, I handed her over to Andrew to rock, while I prepared our clothes for the reception. Of course, like expected, she was more interested in the room and all the new fun things to look at, rather than sleep which is what she desperately needed. The blackout blinds didn’t help, because they still left a bit of light for her to stare at.  He had to go into the bathroom to completely block out the light for our curious little baby girl.

In the meantime, I discovered the biggest fail of the trip ( cuz there’s always gotta be one): out of all the *crap* we brought with us, Andrew somehow left the bag with MY clothes at home. I am talking: all my clothes, reception dress and shoes – everything! The only thing I had was what I was wearing, which was yoga leggings and an organic Whole Foods tee. LOL.

I was at a loss. We didn’t have time to drive to the mall or a store, I didn’t have much hope for the hotel’s touristy shops, but I figured I’d go check them out, anyways. As I was walking through the expansive and magnificent Gaylord Palms, I suddenly remembered grabbing my new Hollister dress out of the dryer and throwing it in the trunk of the car, thinking  I might  get a chance to wear it the next day.

OMG! I couldn’t believe my luck! I ran to the car and sure enough, the dress was there! Granted, it wasn’t the dress I expected to wear, but it still worked for a laid back reception better than yoga pants.

{I have to admit that I have really enjoyed the challenges that having a new baby has thrown into our life, because we were way too used to being relaxed and laid back, never rushing anywhere, just the two of us for many years. This, the excitement, the lack of time, is so much more interesting to deal with. We were getting really boring there for a while before Lexi came along and flipped our lives upside down.  Now, I cannot help it but smile thinking about all the little “screw ups” we’ve had at every turn, as we learn to deal with our “new situation” }

Ok, so back to Gaylord Palms… I came back to the room to find Lexi sleeping, Andrew said it had been really easy to put her to sleep with a rocker and in total darkness.
So we start getting ready while she sleeps. I laid out an outfit her her, the same outfit she *pooped* all over on 4th of July and we didn’t get to wear, so I was happy it got some use. Thirty minutes later she woke up, all smiles and leg kicks, and we were ready to go. Late, but ready.
The reception was held in one of the hotel’s restaurants, Villa de Flora. I will post photos of the hotel and our second day there in the Part II, but if you’ve never been to Gaylord’s, it is the most magnificent hotel I have ever been to or stayed at. It’s a little town/jungle located under a glass roof. Huge and mind blowing.

The reception was beautiful, the food was fabulous, since it was in our all-time-favorite restaurant. Lexi got to meet her Auntie Boom Boom for the first time and totally took to her from the get go. As usual, all the attention and new sights kept her happy and occupied. She even had some food I was able to pick out for her from the buffet.




After the reception we all retreated to our room and hung out there until Lexi was ready to go to sleep. To our complete amazement, she slept a normal (for her) night with me in bed and a guard rail on the other side. The only downside to co-sleeping when travelling is when we can’t get a king bed and Andrew and I have to sleep on separate bed, which sucks big time.

We were both so incredibly elated by how well Lexi handled being somewhere completely new, how she slept as well as she does at home, how she seemed to have gotten more of a kick out of being there than expected. It was a great night, one that gave us hope for many many more trips.

Next up: Gaylord Palms, The Next Day- Part II

 

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Comments (20)

  • Elena C.

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    I’m glad it went so great!
    She’s becoming a big girl, ready to travel with her parents anywhere :)

    Reply

  • HollyR

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    What a great post! My husband and I are planning to try for a baby within the next year or so, and I kind of feel this “pressure” to get any fun trips etc out of the way first, because I felt we couldn’t do much after a baby…This post opened my eyes to the fact that yes, I CAN travel with a baby :)

    Reply

    • HollyR

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      well…depending on how our baby is, lol

      Reply

      • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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        Hahaha that’s exactly the caviat I always put on things when I was pregnant :)
        The funny part was that I thought that (depending on how our baby was) we’d be able to travel easier when Lexi is small ( before 6 months) and then it’ll get more difficult because she’d be more mobile. But it’s totally the complete opposite for us.

        Reply

        • HollyR

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          lol…now, I have a toddler, almost two (Im a foster parent) and whoa are toddlers all over the place, I can’t wait until Lexi grows up even more and “we” get some tips from you on traveling with a toddler!

          Reply

          • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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            I just can’t wait till she’s a toddler to see what kind of toddler she is. I find that finding out who your baby is the best part of this whole parenting gig :)

            Reply

  • Tawny

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    I think traveling from the get go gets them used to it. We have always made several 12 hour trips per year with our brood (3 year old twins and 15 month old baby). They have always traveled well, and I think it’s because they are so used to it. Heck, I even make the 12 hour trip without my husband if he can’t get time off! I just mentally prepare myself that we’ll have to stop and stretch and potty and make sure I have some fun music to listen to :)

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      I don’t believe that’s always the case though. I don’t think we did anything to “make Alexis” travel well. One day she was just perfectly fine being out and going places and was loving it. But we waited until she was ready. The same way I bet some kids are easier to travel with than others. I know many people with babies the same age as Alexis who DEFINITELY can’t stay out late or go travelling because it disrupts their routine.

      At the same time, Alexis’ routine is one that is baby led, so we sort of do what she needs to at any given moment: sleep,eat, etc, which makes it really easy to travel, because we just follow her cues.

      On another hand, I am sure that when it comes to toddlers and older babies, it’s a lot about what they are used to, like in your case.

      Reply

  • Amanda

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    Do you use cloth wipes while traveling?

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      We do when it’s a day trip but not when it’s overnight, cuz you can’t wash them and refill them once they run out.

      Reply

  • Anna

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    Awww what a story!

    Reply

  • Sarah

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    Elena, what is the name of your all time fave restaurant? Villa de Flora? We are planning a trip to Orlando in the Spring and would love to try it out. Thanks!

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      Well, it’s an all-time favorite buffet style restaurant. I was never a fan of buffets but Villa De Flora at Gaylord’s and Boma at the Animal Kingdom Lodge changed my mind.

      I’ll give you one tip when it comes to dining. Visit as many deluxe Disney resorts for dinner as possible. Their restaurants are amazing, themed, and have great food. Some of my favorites are Boma and Kona Cafe.

      Are you guys going to Disney?

      Reply

      • Sarah

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        Thanks for the tip! Last time there, we tried the Flying Fish Cafe and loved it, so I already agree with you. :) We’re not planning on Disney for this trip, since we’ll only be in Orlando for 2-3 days and have been to all of the parks at least once before. We’re spending most of our trip (7 days) in Boca – do you any recommendations (activities and/or restaurants) in that area?

        Reply

        • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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          Yes!!! I love most restaurants at the Boardwalk!

          I dont know anything kid friendly to do in that area of Florida. I have Miami recommendations but they are all 18+. 😉

          Reply

        • flylikeagirl

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          Around the Boca Mall there are tons of great restaurants, most are the big chains. The Mizner Park area has some as well. There is the most adorable chidrens clothing store at the Mizner Park shopping area, I don’t remember the name but you can’t miss it. My 12 year old was begging me to have another baby so we could buy Tutu’s.

          I personally like Del Ray for dining and it is very close to Boca

          http://www.downtowndelraybeach.com/dining

          Most are very kid friendly.

          Reply

  • Leila

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    Omg, you guys are so so so cute! Beautiful family!
    First, your baby is AH.do.ra.ble!
    Then, your red dress is a gem! (Where is it from please please please haha)
    You pictures are fabulous!!! Bravo!
    (What camera do you use? What Lens? and what do you do to make them look kind of dark, I love that!!!). You are so very talented at taking pictures!
    I just stumbled upon your page. I don’t have a baby yet, but planing on it next year! I will be reading every bit of your blog!
    Thank you for sharing all this beauty!

    XO
    Leila

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      You’re too sweet, girl!

      I shoot with a 5D mark II and my favorite lens is 85mm ( though that’s not the one in the pic). You can read all about my gear here: Photography for Mommies: Gear.

      Also as far as the look of the photos, it’s really hard to explain how to do this. I’m going to be putting together a set of my Lightroom presets I came up with so keep in touch!

      Reply

  • Leila

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    haha nevermind for the dress I got my answer from finishing reading your post. That shows u how excited I got just looking at the pictures, didn’t even take the time to finish reading! LOl

    Reply

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