Kid-Friendly Fun in the Florida Sun

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Spa fun at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando.
Spa fun at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando.

Florida is a tried and true destination for families. Here are some offerings to consider for your clients.

Hotel Happenings
A new partnership has developed between Preferred Hotels & Resorts and Rosen Hotels & Resorts. As a result, all Rosen properties can now enhance their guests’ experiences through the iPrefer hotel rewards program, which extends points redeemable for free nights and complimentary Internet, and priority check-in/late check-out to members on every stay at more than 600 Preferred Hotels & Resorts worldwide.

But that’s not all for Rosen—over in Orlando, the Rosen Shingle Creek is currently undergoing a redesign of its golf course by Arnold Palmer Design Company, plus by the end of 2016, all 1,501 guestrooms and suites will be revamped, as will its spa, dining venues and public areas. The property’s new Crayola Experience Orlando package includes tickets to Orlando’s newest attraction—The Crayola Experience at the Florida Mall—deluxe luxury accommodations, Star Taxi service to the Florida Mall, Cafe Osceola breakfast vouchers, Crayola Art tote bag, complimentary WiFi and transportation to SeaWorld Orlando and Universal Orlando. Package rates start at $279 per night through Dec. 31, 2016.

For clients who are still waiting for the arrival of their little ones, suggest the relaxing Babymoon Under the Sun getaway featuring two spa treatments, two pedicures, suite accommodations, dinner, valet, turndown service, use of spa facilities and fitness center, plus access to the VIP Lounge. Guests also receive a $50 gift certificate to use for a future stay when their little one arrives. Package rates start at $720 per couple for one night including a VIP upgrade; additional suite-only nights are $299 per night.

In St. Augustine, the Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa just completed a resort-wide $25 million refresh to the property’s 511 guestrooms and villas, pool area, the Sawgrass Spa and the Cabana Beach Club. In addition, the property has added a new butlers-serviced guest wing, and the new The American Gator Club restaurant. Rates for a Lagoon View room start at $179 per night in September. Suggest families the One Suite Vacation package, starting at $849 per night, including accommodations in a 1- or 2-bedroom Villa Suite, a $50 nightly resort credit, plus two beach chairs, umbrella, and paddleboard rental for two days valid through December 2016.

Over on the west coast, Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort, Golf Club and Spa transitions to JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort in January 2017 after a multi-phase $300 million facelift that touches all aspects of the property, including guestrooms, the golf course, and the spa. There’ll also be a new adults-only area, new dining options, a 12,000-sq.-ft. indoor entertainment center, and a new Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt shop, among other offerings. For tots, the Tiki Tribe Discovery Day Camp allows children to participate in swimming, crafts, sports, nature lessons, video games and tours. Other activities include 2-hour scenic cycling tours, a wave runner tour through the Everglades’ Ten Thousand Islands, and a 2.5-hour Sailing and Shelling tour.

Naples Grande Beach Resort’s Grande Glamily package certainly is grand, as it includes suite accommodations with Balcony Butler Service to serve up your clients and the kiddies daily morning breakfast and smoothies, as well as a private ice cream social for four on the suite balcony. But, that’s not all, the package also includes a family photo shoot, a golf outing, and a $300 per day spa resort credit, plus daily delivery of Veuve Cliquot (for parents) and milk and cookies (for the kiddos) to enjoy in their suite; a dinner for four at The Catch of the Pelican; a beachside King Bed Cabana with lunch for five; and a Family Pool Cabana at Mangrove Pool, which features a 100-ft. waterslide. Rates start at $3,500 per night.

In Miami, The Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne, known for its Ritz Kids program that taps into children’s imagination with activities such as Something’s Fishy, during which they learn about animals that live in the sea, as well as outdoor games including kickball, is refreshing its guestrooms as well as its famed Cioppino restaurant. The latter, which will debut in December, will embrace the resort’s location and be renamed Light Keepers, inspired by the nearby Cape Florida Lighthouse. Families can enjoy coastal cuisine at the restaurant and then venture down to the Bill Baggs Cape Florida state park to tour the lighthouse and learn how lighthouse keepers lived in bygone times. The guestrooms are also getting renovated; they’ll show off their brand-new look, bringing the blue of the ocean in, later this year, as well. After September, starting rate is $629.

What’s New at the Theme Parks
The theme parks are always a big hit for families and over at Walt Disney World Resort’s Magic Kingdom there’s a new show debuting next month, “The Muppets Present…Great Moments in American History.” Meanwhile, Animal Kingdom has a new Savor the Savanna tour featuring a private 2-hour safari trek through the Harambe Wildlife Reserve, plus a stop for dinner at the exclusive viewing area where guests enjoy regional beers, wines and drinks, and savor African-inspired tapas; guests also receive a keepsake at the end of the evening (rates start at $169 pp for a maximum of 12 guests 8 years and over). Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park is expanding with a new family-friendly water attraction, Miss Fortune Falls, opening spring 2017, just in time for Spring Break getaways; and next year, Walt Disney World will also open Pandora—the World of AVATAR at Animal Kingdom.

At Universal Orlando Resort, The Incredible Hulk Coaster was enhanced and has reopened at Islands of Adventure with a new storyline and a completely redesigned queue. Clients headed for a Universal vacation can opt for a stay at the 1,000-room Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, which opened in July and is connected to Loews Royal Pacific Resort, for a combined
2,000 guestrooms. Meanwhile, Seaworld Orlando debuted the 200-ft.-tall hypercoaster MAKO this past June.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay opened its latest coaster, Cobra’s Curse, this June. And now a visit to Busch Gardens is a little more affordable with the Kids Free package, including a free child’s admission (ages 3-9) with every paid adult, plus admission for 14 consecutive days, free general parking, a complimentary shuttle to the park at select hotels, and 10 percent off park dining, plus 10 percent off merchandise over $50. This package is available with Busch Gardens Tampa Bay vacation packages.

Contact Information
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay:
seaworldparks.com/en/buschgardens-tampa
Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort, Golf Club and Spa: marriott.com
Naples Grande Beach Resort: naplesgrande.com
The Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne: ritzcarlton.com
Rosen Hotels & Resorts: rosenhotels.com
Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa: marriott.com
Universal Orlando Resort: universalorlando.com
Walt Disney World Resort: disneyworld.disney.go.com