I love a beach trip with the best of you and we definitely have a family ski trip on our wish list in the next few years, BUT… this year we decided a staycation was on the docket for spring break and it was the best decision.

 

Even though 2020 and the start of 2021 should be slower paced (We “can’t” be as social right now.) for the Martin Family, Mom seems to be a little more frazzled than ever. Who knew that was possible- ha! As I self reflect on that, I think it’s honestly the unknown that heightens my anxiety and is leaving me never feeling fully rested.

Will one of us get Covid?

Will one of us be exposed and have to quarantine?
Will we be the ones who expose someone?

Will the plans we attempt to make happen even though it’s scheduled?

So many questions. It feels like nothing is for sure until it actually happens.

Then there is the frustration from a 12-year-old that she can’t be as social as she’d like, a 10-year-old who doesn’t always remember the social distancing stuff, and a 6-year-old boy who can’t ever seem to remember his dang mask.

It’s just all SO MUCH… so… staycation it is for us!

 

Kaiser, Mary Catherine and James at Gaylord

Thankfully everyone was healthy and happy entering spring break so our plans for a staycation at the famous Nashville hot spot was the perfect choice. We had a lazy day at home to kick off the break and then woke up Sunday morning, threw some things in a suitcase, and headed to Gaylord’s Opryland Resort.Check in was so easy and our sweet lady helping us offered to put us in our room right away (we were there super early in the day) OR she offered to check us in a little while and get us a room with a “better view” since we had requested an interior atrium view, which I highly recommend. We took her up on that offer since we weren’t planning on hanging in the room right away anyway!

They held our bags for us and we were OFF!

Where you ask? Opryland’s very own indoor waterpark- SoundWaves. Let me just tell you, I had 3 extremely excited children, but I think J.T. was even more eager than they were to make a splash.

In full disclosure, I am not a waterpark girl… normally, they kinda gross me out and duh, I don’t like to get my hair wet – ha. Well, let me say it here so it’s in dark print – I AM A FAN and we were already planning our next visit before we even left from this one. 

Ok, let me start from the beginning…

You get souvenir bracelets when you check in as your ticket into SoundWaves and let me warn you, my children are still wearing them – it’s like their prize to show the world they got to experience the fun! As you enter the water area, you hold that bracelet up to a screen that opens the doors to the magic.

As you enter the water area, the relaxing sound of waterfalls takes over and all you see is fun ahead. SoundWaves provides towels for you, which is super amazing, so you can grab a few and head to find chairs.

Take my word for it –  you just need chairs as a “landing spot” for your children to find you, so a chair for each adult is plenty. Our kiddos, wether I like it or not (insert mom tear), are to an age that they dropped their stuff and were OFF. I felt so safe not having my eyes on them every second, so it was a break for momma too.

As I mentioned, the sisters and James darted straight to the slides and then all the sudden we looked up and Sweet Baby James was in line for the Crowd Surfer, aka the flow rider, so JT jumped at the opportunity to join him in line. Very soon after the sisters spotted them and were up for waiting too. This is the only spot that we really waited in line the whole time.

While the line is often long, it is worth the wait.

The men and women working the area are so incredibly patient and actually work on technique with each child and adult that takes part in this fun activity. To be totally honest, all I saw were dads and kids doing it and the moms seemed to be standing back videoing the whole experience. Anyone surprised? Ha!

In line patiently waiting…

The action…
P.S. You do sign a wavier Crowd Surfer so be sure to do that before you wait in line!

Kaiser, who always craves family time, wanted to do the “family ride” (aka Rapid Remix) on repeat.

This is a super big tube that you sit inside with your friends or family. You then loop around and around while fun lights and music are being played. I actually chanced my phone on this one with us one time to try and capture the joy we were all feeling. It’s not the most beautiful or flattering of any of us, but when I look at the picture all I see is a family genuinely enjoying each other’s company and making memories together.

I also see a missing Sweet Baby James because while he obliged, he actually was a bit scared so he held onto JT with a death grip!

If you are feeling tired just reading about our start to the adventures, never fear… fuel is here!

Yes, there is a yummy place to order some lunch or snacks, as well as some adult beverages. We enjoyed sitting in the restaurant area taking a break, and definitely enjoyed some adult beverages waterside as well.

Beside the Groovin’ Lagoon Activity Pool JT and I got a few minutes to ourselves while the sisters and James were playing on the rock wall, shooting water baskets (yes, basketball), and attempting the lily pad walk.

Our family loves American Ninja Warrior so they felt like they were on one of those courses with the moving lily pads, and it was a hoot to watch!

As you can see, there is so much to do to keep you entertained. The sisters, James, and JT did lots of slides in addition to the family one, but I will tell you about the others in a second, because I got TRICKED by my own child and I can still hear her laughing!

Before we left, everyone visited the instant drying machine. That is certainly not the official name for this cool contraption, but it’s what we called it. You literally just stand in there, push a button, and heat comes out! So nice to get a little dry before walking back to our room.

We didn’t make reservations for dinner because we didn’t want to be tied to a schedule… yes, me… I just wanted to go with the flow. See, it is possible for me to go with the flow and I lived to tell about it! Ha.

We got settled in our room and even though everyone was EXHAUSTED, we decided we could sleep when we got home.

We got changed into dinner clothes and went out and about walking through the beautiful atriums to find a dinner spot.

I didn’t get pictures of our room, but it was wonderful. Two beds and we always take a cot for one child. If you have more than two kiddos you need this in your life. (I probably didn’t get pics inside the room because we wanted to spend all our time on the balcony.)

Anyway… dinner… because of the pandemic lots of the restaurants are closed, so until they are back open, my recommendation would be to plan to order room service or make reservations. We ended up at the Jack Daniels restaurant where we waited listening to live music. James and Mary Catherine thought that was SO cool!

The food was okay, but by this point it was 9 o’clock and we had played hard ALL day so all 5 of us were just trying to get food down so we could go to sleep!!! We had another day tomorrow and we had to be full of energy, right?

Monday morning, Kaiser, James, and I woke up before Daddy and Mary Catherine so we tip toed out of the room on the hunt for coffee and breakfast snacks.

We stumbled upon a few fun things and landed at real Starbucks with some amazingly delicious pastries.

The great thing about having a balcony was going out there to eat our breakfast. We got to have sweet visits and look at the gorgeous surroundings while MC and Daddy slept in a little bit. Soon after we returned, Daddy’s FOMO was too much and he joined us on the balcony too.

We ended up all getting back in the bed. By the way, THAT is one of my favorite things about this adventure… snuggling together in bed watching a movie. No laundry to be started, no dishwasher to be unloaded, no mail to sort… our only “to do” was to be together.

We picked the absolute perfect movie for the occasion. Because the TV was loaded with Netflix, we watched YES DAY and gosh, it sure hit home for me. Two thumbs up for Jennifer Garner playing a role that I, not proudly, connect with way too much!

After the movie, we packed up and Daddy took our bags to the car while we went to start the fun. He’s the best, isn’t he?!!?

Oh, before we talk more about the fun slides and entertainment, I do want to give you a big recommendation – GOGGLES.

James and Mary Catherine constantly open their eyes under water (odd) and their eyes were burning at the end of day 1 and again on day 2. Let me just tell you though… the Opryland resort employees are INCREDIBLE. One of them noticed Mary Catherine’s eyes and brought us little container of fluid to flush our her eyes. How considerate and accommodating is that?!?! Ok, so… now you know… pack your goggles! 

Let’s talk about the two rivers…

Down Temp Lazy River (James’s favorite) and Up Tempo Rapids River. The Lazy River you can choose to do with no tube, a single, or a double. We did every option more times that I can count. There are rock features with small waterfalls that you can choose to go under or not as well. While we all enjoyed this one, anytime we said “Where’s James?” We knew to look for him at the Lazy River.
JT was a huge fan of the Rapids River. I wish I had more pictures, because he and Kaiser did this loop a TON and we did it a few times as a family. It is much harder to NOT get your hair wet on this one (insert mom eye roll and kiddos laugh). It is much more rapid and is only for bodies… no floats!

Now, I have saved the best for last… the Record Launch options…

I don’t have any pictures because we were living in the moment, but I will give you the rundown.

You walk up steps to a mid level (top level is the family ride) and when you arrive you go to one side if you are going down Stage Dive (aka body only…aka no float) and the other side if you are going on a tube (single or double).

Well, I certainly wasn’t going to do the body one even though JT and the girls did and LOVED it! I did the double tube one with James and then towards the end of our day, Kaiser said “come do the single tube with me.”

Because I am the FUN MOM that I am (ha!), I listened and didn’t think anything when she said she would go first. Well… I soon realized why. SHE TRICKED ME! The single tube slide is what she calls the toilet bowl and I am going to let you use your imagination about what that slide experience is like. While is was fun, and I didn’t melt when I got my hair wet. The best part was coming out and she was just about rolling on the ground she was laughing so hard!

There are 4 areas I will touch on that we didn’t spend much time, if any…

  • There is an area that seems perfect for little children… Quarter Note Cove and Half Note Cove. They are in an area that is sort of separated so it seems like it would be easy to watch littles. We stayed out of that area, not because it didn’t look fun, but because there are only so many hours in the day- ha!
  • There is also an adult only bar on the very top floor. I didn’t even walk up there, so I am not sure what all that entails, but if you so desire, you can sneak away for a little bit.
  • The last place we didn’t spend any time is a private cabana. Now, I can tell you, I won’t be able to say the same next time. While the two chairs were perfect for just our little family, the sister and James have big plans with our good family friends that they want to come back with when the outside is open after May. JT and I agreed that, with another family, the cabana would be very nice to have a home base and be able to visit as adults while the kids played.

Opryland and Soundwaves… THANK YOU for the fun and memories made right here in our own town. WE WILL BE BACK!

Who wants to join us? Comment and tell me which part of the adventure you’d be most excited about?!?!?