I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville wife and mother with a passion for family travel, (mostly) healthy cooking, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries with you, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark.
March 2, 2012
A few weeks ago, I got an e-mail from Klout Perks, offering my family an overnight stay at Gaylord Opryland Hotel for a Dreamworks Experience overnight stay. “Hmmm,” I thought to myself. “I wonder if my family would enjoy spending a night at Opryland and going to a big Shrek party for kids? Hmmmmmmm….”
I am totally kidding about the hesitation, of course. I don’t think I’ve ever responded to an e-mail so quickly before.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Gaylord Opryland Hotel, it’s a massive structure that’s a little bit like a city under glass. It has three immense greenhouse-like atriums with lush garden paths, waterfalls, an indoor river, riverboats, and a New Orleans-style plantation house and town. The hotel also contains multiple restaurants, from a sushi bar to an Irish pub to a fancy steakhouse to a nightclub– and everything else in between. It is a destination in and of itself, and in the ten years I’ve lived in Nashville, I’ve stayed there many times for various events. My children, though, hadn’t been there since they were babies.
My husband and I decided to surprise the kids with our special night. We put a Shrek movie on the portable DVD player and drove the 30 minutes across town to the hotel. As we entered the hotel, the kids were amazed by the grandness of the lobby. There was a special check-in just for Dreamworks families and the kids got their own coloring books and Shrek ears, which they wore for the rest of our stay.
After we checked in to our room (which had a balcony overlooking one of the atriums and completely fascinated the kids), we went exploring, letting the kids lead the way along the maze of paths, stopping for an ice cream snack, and riding the riverboat.
After a little exploring, it was time for some special Dreamworks events. First, a scavenger hunt had us wandering the hotel, searching for magic beans hidden from Shrek villains Jack and Jill. Next, we had a chance to meet a few Dreamworks characters, who were waiting for us in locations throughout the hotel.
By the time that was done, it was time for dinner. We ate at Stax, a burger bar, and found seats at a table that was right beside Opryland’s famous water fountain show. As rousing music played, colored jets of water jetted high into the air in time to the music. Watching it, the kids were beside themselves. At one point, my four-year-old son ran up to me and yelled at the top of his lungs, “THIS IS THE BEST! SURPRISE! EVERRRRRRRR!”
After dinner, it was time for the Shrek party in one of the hotel’s ballrooms.
Shrek, Fiona and Puss in Boots were waiting to meet the kids when the party began. Soon afterward, a DJ started playing family-friendly dance tunes and the dance floor filled with parents, kids, and Shrek characters.
The party also included fun crafts for the kids to work on at the tables around the dance floor and some kid-friendly treats, including freshly popped popcorn, “swamp juice,” pigs in blankets, and dirt cake complete with gummy worms. After an hour of dancing, blankets were brought onto the dance floor and Shrek Two was shown on a big screen on stage. We stayed for the whole show and everyone had a blast.
But that wasn’t all.
After sleeping in the next morning, breakfast arrived. We knew that it was going to be a Shrek-themed breakfast, and expected some sort of Shrek reference to be included on our tray. Instead, a waiter showed up with an enormous, formally-set table. He rolled it between our beds, poured us all our drinks, and proceeded to bring out plate after plate of food. Breakfast included coffee, milk, green-colored fruit juice, hash brown potatoes, scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, fresh fruit, pastries, croissants, pancakes, and Shrek-shaped waffles.
Gaylord hosts these Dreamworks family nights throughout the year and the next ones are coming up March 16th, 24th, and 30th– perfect for a spring break vacation. I’d highly recommend scheduling one of these for your family as part of a Nashville-themed vacation, for a special birthday suprise, or for a surprise staycation for your family here in the Nashville area. Prices start at $179 for up to 4 people, and trust me when I say that your kids will have a FANTASTIC time- and so will you!
I wasn’t asked to blog about this experience, but it was such a fun treat that I just had to share it with you!