Mother's Day weekend at the Nickelodeon Family Suites. What, am I crazy?

"We want slime!
We want slime!"

Am I just a glutton for punishment? Children. I see them everywhere. Aren't mine enough? And this is what I wanted for my special Mother's Day present? I start to question my sanity as visions of gooey green slime dance in my head.

Orlando! is always the answer to the question, "Where do you want to go?" when I ask my daughter to choose the trip. Okay, so Orlando has more theme parks and attractions than anywhere else in the country.

Big names such as Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer, Deacon Jones, and Darius Washington came from this city. It boasts many amazing museums and art centers. Orlando is the home city of major and college sports teams.

The weather is subtropical and soaked in sun. My preteen starts spitting out trivial tidbits faster than any game show participant.

Okay, Orlando, I agree. Don't get me wrong. I love Orlando but being surrounded by kids at a 24-acre "children first" resort for the long weekend is a questionable idea for me. Nickelodeon FAMILY Suites is the name. Family includes the parents. Yikes.

The tranquil side of Nickelodeon.

Signs of Mother's Day were everywhere as we enter the Nick lobby.

"Would you please find a vase for these flowers and hide them until I can bring my wife to the suite where the rest of the family will be? I want to surprise her," asks one man as he quickly dashes out to continue his surprise party plans.

Without a single hesitation, the guy behind the counter asks the guest what type of vase he desires, gets on the phone to meet the requests, swiftly accommodates the needs of another guest, and then professionally moves on to assist a family with their check-in.

My family and I watch in amazement as if we are viewing a movie. Families checking in and checking out, guests with incredibly customized requests, and children all around yet nothing was chaotic.

Convenient seating and televisions were placed just so with families in mind. Nickelodeon's signature orange and green slime colors, splats, and characters play along the walls of the lobby.

Even the exhilarating aroma of the signature slime and shampoo freshens the air. I await some director to say, "Now cue in the playful puppies." Now mind you, this is a place for children and things do get, well, childlike yet the staff and the setting are geared for anything goes and they made it look like (pardon the pun) child's play.

Standing outside the suite we look down
into the surreal outdoors of Nickelodeon.

The world of Nick is for KIDS!

We have now entered the world of Nickelodeon.

There's no doubt about that!

It is unbelievable!

Get lost in the nestle of nets,
jets, slides, and flumes.

From the front of the resort, one would never guess what is in store behind the front entrance. "The Lagoon" is the name of this incredible courtyard that we are viewing from atop.

A first-of-its kind courtyard featuring a zero-depth (beach-like) entry heated pool anchored by a four-story interactive water tower is the main focus.

The interactive water tour features water fumes, slides, climbing nets, water jets and the best of all — a 400 gallon dump tank that splashes the infamous green slime on guests during the daily mass sliming.

If this isn't enough, additional features and poolside activities include:

— A netted basketball court featuring several multi-height basketball hoops for all ages

— A wet/dry preschool play area with a five-foot slide and Nick Jr.-branded water-based activities

Having a Crabby Patty with
Spongebob during breakfast.

— Private cabanas that offer a tranquil and secluded oasis with well-stocked mini fridges, cozy cushioned lounge chairs, and personal poolside service. These cabanas are truly heaven. A haven from the sun, a solution for trips back and forth to the snack bars or suites for the never-ending foods, television breaks, and a private space. A plasma TV with cable, Playstation2 access, and premium towels are part of this unique poolside experience.

The cabanas can be left open to keep up with all the outdoor action or drawn for complete privacy.

The personal service is impeccable.

— A soothing soothing massage on the Lagoon Pool Deck is available daily from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Squidward has his
own version of "splat"

— A free-form, nine-hole golf course

— Poolside bar and grill serving healthy options including salads and sandwiches and items such as hamburgers and hot dogs, soft drinks,  snacks, specialty drinks, and alcoholic beverages

— Poolside entertainment where families throw pies and slim each other. A very energetic cast motivates the fun family competition in interactive games that end with a final group sliming.

— The dive-in movie feature a gigantic movie screen for poolside viewing so that you can swim and view at the same time.

— Show casting where nighttime family shows take place

Opening the door to our suite, we realize that the Nick characters also live here as brightly painted characters surround our spaces, Dora and Spongebob and other live characters sing dance around our breakfast, and green slime showers our heads. We literally now eat, sleep, and breathe Nickelodeon.

My daughter Lauren is so thrilled that she can hardly
contain it, like all the other children at the resort.

I get the top bunk!

Cool! We don't have to share
a room with Mom and Dad.

The guest suites contain one, two, or three bedrooms. Or is the two-bedroom suite which sleeps up to six people.

The semi-private kids' bedroom includes bunk beds (some include two twin beds), a game table, 20" television (and I am pleased to find that only children-rated channels and in-suite television movie rentals).

I was very happily surprised to find that only kids-rated channels can be viewed in the kids' room. Nickelodeon does care about children.

Our suite also contains a 25" TV in the private adult bedroom. A lighted make-up mirror and the freshly scent green slime shampoo. The family room features a pullout sleeper sofa, 32" LCD flat screen television, high speed Internet access, and dining table. The kitchenette has a sink, mini-fridge, microwave, and coffee maker.

Nick rooms have character.

There is so much to do that there's no need to ever leave the area. In fact, to keep order of things, "The Script", a three-day schedule, is handed out to the guests. This is a listing of the happenings including the who, what, where, when, why, and how of each activity and event. For example, "The Script" announces that the Kids Drink of the Day is the Cherry Bomb and the Adult Drink of the Day is the Peach Punch. Then a sample of the schedule begins:

The author celebrates
Mother's Day.

8:45 a.m. - 9:45 a.m.
Free craft time in the Nick Workshop to make a postcard

10:00 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.
Create your own Nickelodeon 3-D foam art at the lagoon pool. *Charges apply.

... and on into the night's schedule:

6:30 p.m., 8:00 p.m., and 9:30 p.m.
Nick Live Family Style Goes Wild inside Studio Nick.

10:45 p.m.
Family Karaoke inside Studio Nick. Reservation not required.

Additional activities that vary throughout the year are included. During this trip one of these events is called "Celebrate Mother's Day the Nickelodeon Way!" Cooking up a recipe for entertainment involves one part whip cream and one part mess! This pie brigade is giving a special gift to moms who will get the chance to pie their unsuspecting kids.

Another one of the additional events is the "Bikini Bottom Bash". Spongebob and Patrick invite you to their happening where music, a snack, games, prizes, tattoos, a craft, and a personal meet and great photo op is part of this nautical nonsense party. (Additional may apply for some additional events.)

Nothing brings family together better than food and Nickelodeon prepares it in their own style. The resort restaurants include:

Character Breakfast

Breakfast with character witnesses.

Shrimp and ceviche were on the brunch menu for Mother's Day.

Guests can enjoy a delicious buffet breakfast in Nicktoons' Cafe while the kids spend time with some of their favorite friends like SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer, Cosmo and Wanda from the Fairly Odd Parents, or the Rugrats. Character Breakfast includes favorite breakfast items such as fresh fruit, waffles, breakfast meats, eggs, cook-to-order omelets, pancakes, and special kids' buffet.

Nicktoons Cafe:
This cafe offers other dining options in a full-service setting with an a la carte and buffet menu for select meals. A full room service menu is also available.

The Buffet:
The Buffet serves a hot, American breakfast buffet every morning. Other meals are offered based on occupancy. Details provided on arrival.

The Lounge:
This provides adults with a comfortable, welcoming atmosphere to relax and enjoy a cocktail , frozen drink, or after-dinner coffee in a full-service bar.

Private cabanas - A haven
for trips to the snack bars or suites

Food Court:
The Food Court offers selections provided by Pizza Hut Express, Subway, and Barnie's Coffee & Tea Company

Lagoon Shop & Grill
They cook p fresh sandwiches, wraps, salads, snacks, and grilled favorites.

Private Cabanas:
These offer luxurious and tranquil oasis with a private well-stocked mini fridge and personal pool side assistance.

Oasis Pool Bar:
This bar offers a selection of sandwiches, finger foods, and ice cream.

Other Stuff:
This convenient pit stop in the Mall is stocked with sundry and snacks items including chips, juices, sodas, medicines, and more.

Room Service:
Order your favorite meal and have it delivered right to your family suite.

I'll go for the eggs,
sausage, and home fries.

Kids age five and under eat free at select eateries from the kid's menus when accompanied by a family member dining from the full price regular menu.

For the younger children, The Oasis is a wee one's play area with a lap-style heated pool and multi-level, interactive water tower with two whirlpools. At the tower, little ones plunge down twisting and turning flumes that "splash down" into the Oasis pool. Lower level slides, a kids' play are (including a wet/dry pre-school play area) offer Nick Jr.-branded soaking fun activities. Tiny tots also have their own pool snack bar.

Adults can enjoy the private cabanas, spa treatments, and The Lounge where their favorite beverages and mixed drinks are happily served. The opposite side of The Lagoon, where all the main activity goes on provides a quiet haven, a completely different world from all the action. Big kids can also simply enjoy their suites for an air-conditioned escape from the Nickelodeon excitement, if they wish.

Proscuitto and capers for
Mom's Special Brunch.

However, I have experienced children of all ages jumping up and down yelling, "We want slime! We want slime!" as they anxiously await the mass daily sliming. Fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, everyone in the family screech with laughter as the green goo dumps over their heads onto everything and then talk about it for hours afterwards.

The fun doesn't stop when the sun goes down and the fun doesn't end when heading indoors. Studio Nick shows are specifically designed for hotel guests and are performed in a state-of-the-art theater with seating for 200 + people. The live entertainment is provided by guests in the audience. Talk about a reality show! Regardless, it all ends up with laughter and slime.

Now we never forget what Nickelodeon's claim to fame is ... television entertainment... and the 4-D experience is one you'll never forget. Take a 3-D movie and add another dimension such as moving seats, wind, water, bubbles, scents, leg ticklers, strobes, seat poke, and much more and you are virtually participating in the action that is showing on the silver screen. Some of the show experiences are:

SpongeBob SquarePants — Journey along with SpongeBob and Patrick in pursuit of the perfect krabby Patty.

Get slimed with your family daily.

Extreme Log Ride — For adventurous spirits who want to to ride the rapids

Animal Kingdom - Big and small, the animal kingdom comes to life.

Dino Island — Join the Earth Science Team as they attempt to capture the only remaining T-Rex on Dino Island.

Fun House — Surprises are around very corner in this crazy carnival.

Deep Sea - Dive to the depths of the ocean in search of the Giant Squid.

There is so much more to mention and yet this feature sadly must come to an end. However, one last mention is Nickelodeon's The Mall. It si the hub of activities for the hotel. Guests can dine at the nationally-branded food court which features a variety of eateries and they can purchase snacks and drinks at the Other Stuff convenience stores. They have everything you need at The Mall so there is no need to order out or go out for dining. Security is so tight for children and family's safety that food deliveries cannot get pass the security gates. The Arcade, a 3000-square foot game room within The Mall, also offers Play Station 2 rentals for in-suite use

The winning family gets slimed
and the losing family gets slimed!

Number one in children entertainment for 29 years with television programming and production, feature films, recreation, books, and magazines throughout the world, Nickelodeon has much to brag about. 96 million households stay glued to the tube for Nickelodeon's U.S. television network's production which has held spot numero uno for fourteen consecutive years with basic cable. Its titles, characters, and logos are worn and displayed everywhere, Nickelodeon knows kids.

And Nick knows families. Now I see why Nickelodeon Family Suites has "family" in its name. They have not only placed children as number one in everything, they understand that attached to these children are their parents, grandparents, and anyone and everyone dear to them. I have written much and yet the only way to experience the Nickelodeon Family Suites, the first and only Nickelodeon Hotel in the World, it to go and have the slime of your life!

In conclusion, I had a wonderful Mother's Day weekend and Nickelodeon, it's guests and staff live happily ever after alongside with Dora, Diego, SpongeBob SquarePants, Patrick, Starfish, Squidward, Angelica Pickles, and many others. Find out for yourself how great life is with these characters at the Nickelodeon Family Suites, a world only Nickelodeon can dream up and create.

— Feature by Lena Hunt, Jetsetters Magazine Florida Corespondent; photos by Lena and courtesy of Nick Hotel Orlando.