December 13, 2017

DC Getaway: Family Fun Night at Gaylord National


Getting ready to register for Family Fun Night

Over the weekend, my three girls and I had the opportunity to check out Family Fun Night at the Gaylord National Resort just outside Washington, DC. I’d not yet been to the National Harbor area and had been wanting to go for ages since that area of the waterfront sprung up with lots of new hotels, restaurants and shops a few years ago.

First, I’ll tell you that Gaylord National is completely beautiful. It’s huge, spotless and the staff was helpful and charming. We checked into our room, and then picked up our welcome packet at the Family Fun Night Registration desk. We were ready for our girls getaway and night of fun!

One of the scavenger hunt clues

Our girls getaway began right away as we tried our skills at Puss in Boots’ Quest for the Magic Beans, a fun scavenger hunt that took us through the lobby and atrium searching for clues. At the end, we were supposed to uncover a mystery word to help us claim a prize. We failed at that part of the activity (I’m still trying to figure out what we did wrong), but the concierge was nice enough to reward us with Kung Fu Panda activity books, as well as some magic beans, for our efforts.

Next, we headed down to National Harbor, and as luck would have it, Peeps & Company(an amazing store dedicated to Peeps!), was also having a scavenger hunt. So, we picked up our passports and went store to store collecting passport stamps. In the end, we received some Mike & Ike notecards for collecting eight stamps. We also bought some chocolate-covered Peeps for ourselves, which were so tasty after spending some quality time in our in-room refrigerator!

Time to start the Peeps Scavenger Hunt!

We ate dinner at Elevation Burger, which was amazing. All of their ingredients are fresh and organic, making the burgers and milkshakes we had about as delicious as they could be. Elevation Burger is two doors down from the National Children’s Museum Launch Zone, which holds small events from time to time. The full children’s museum is expected to open next year. We can’t wait!

After dinner, we trudged back to the hotel (those milkshakes were filling!), and took a break before heading to Family Fun Night with Shrek & Friends. We got back to our room and were greeted by some dainty chocolate treats. What a sweet way to get ready for our Shrek-filled evening to come!

Designing their own pillow cases

The girls cleaned up and we headed down to the event. While we missed seeing Shrek, Fiona and Puss in Boots make an appearance, my girls absolutely loved the family craft activity, which was designing their own pillow cases using Sharpie markers and stencils. I mean, really, how often is it okay to color on anything but paper?

We watched Shrek Forever After in this huge conference room where all the kids were in their jammies and laying on the floor with pillows and blankets. It was like a huge slumber party! Plus, they had yummy Ogre treats, like brownies, popcorn and Rice Krispies Treats, as well as lemonade (aka Swamp Juice). It was so much fun!

Magical dancing fountains at the Gaylord National Resort

After the movie, I think they were going to have a DJ dance party, but by then it was 9 p.m. and we were exhausted! It was time for bed. If we’d had more time, we definitely would have checked out the huge pool as well as the dancing water fountains that perform each night.

Later this month, the Gaylord National will offer a Spring Break with Friends from Madagascar overnight package. This fun-filled package includes overnight accommodations, admission to “Can’t Be Tamed” family games, like three-legged races, marshmallow-eating contests and bingo, a dance party and souvenir family photos. This package is available March 31 to April 14.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary overnight stay at the Gaylord National Resort, admission to Family Fun Night and breakfast vouchers for myself and my kids. However, all opinions expressed in this blog post are entirely my own. 


  1. Krissy says:

    I have two boys ages 5and 3. My husband and are are skeptical about booking a hotel room with this pkg. eventhough the concept sounded good. I though the characters would be present for a longer period of time or at least give the parents a time frame when to expect them. Since dinner is not included we would also venture elsewhere for a meal possibly. Nothing is mentioned about a brunch with Mom on Sunday.
    Thinking is this really worth it or look at another place that provides a nice room and also a wonderful Brunch for Mom.

    • Erin Gifford says:

      Hi Krissy — I did this back in March, so I’m really not sure whether the current package includes a Mother’s Day brunch. I can tell you though that my kids had a great time. There should be a set time when the characters are present, and try to go early in that time frame. You should then also have time to pick up a printed photo and enjoy some of the craft activities. 🙂

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