We drove from Atlanta to Nashville,Tennessee, the hometown of county music. It is a very easy drive from Atlanta. After Chatanooga, there are very few places to stop for bathrooms and food so be prepared.
We had a wonderful stay at the Gaylord a few days before Christmas. My son was at the age where Santa is not as magical and he really got the holiday spirit back here. As we were walking to the elevator to leave after a 3 day stay here, he reached over and hugged me and said thank you mom for a great trip! That was worth every penny.
The hotel is very large and really in 4 sections: think main hotel and then 3 sections that were gradually added on. If you do self parking, it can be a far walk, so drop off your luggage with a family member at the front door.
When you check in at the front desk, they will tell you which section you will stay in and then a room number. FYI all 6th floor rooms have no balconies. Some rooms have the atrium views and some outside views. We love the atrium view. Make sure to check around for the closest elevator as sometimes there is one closer the opposite way.
We stayed in Cascade section. They have a small arcade as you walk to the Garden Conservatory section. Their hours are 9:30-7 Sunday to Thursday, till 8pm on Friday and Saturday. There is a restaurant, Cascade Cafe and bar and area in which to sit.
We ate at the Cascades both nights as it was a great buffet. Get here early as the lines grow long.
The next area is the Delta. It has the boat ride, lots of restaurants, a Starbucks, shops and the water show at 6,7,8,9 pm, behind the pizza shop.
Next up is the Magnolia section which is the original hotel. They have the Jack Daniels Restaurant, a holiday bar/normal bar, and a few upscale shops and easy access to the water park,
The other section is the Garden Conservatory, with lots of plants. Behind it is the water park and this is where we had the Brunch with Rudolph.
The water park needs to be included when you purchase your room since they only open a few extra tickets each day and are difficult to get. They have a gift shop there and a larger arcade. If you have an elderly person who would like to watch the kids in the water park and not pay to go in, have them go in the arcade and in the back are tables and chairs that view into the water park.
I suggest you bring a cell phone water case (Amazon Affiliate Link) for the water park. They also have an outdoor water park, for warmer months.
The hotel has a bus that runs to the Opry Mills Mall, dowtown and to the river boat, and may charge a fee.
We went a few days before Christmas. Due to covid they could not do the ICE exhibit they usually do and changed it to en Elf experience. You purchase tickets ahead for any of the extra fun activites you want to do, and most are for anytime during the day. You show your tickets at each area. It is for one time, so tubing is a one person, one time tubing per ticket. You need to purchase tickets ahead of time as if you wait till that day they are usually sold out. Most activities open at 10 am.
They also have carriage rides and trees lit up outside the Magnolia area.
We found this place while walking around off Broadway and fell in love with the Goo Goo Cluster. This store has traditional ones already made or we loved making our own special one. It was about $17 and while it deosn't seem big, you could easily share it.
You go up the computer and pick the carmels, chocolate and fillings. Pay with a a charge card and then you can go and watch them make it in person.