December Newsletter from Lovejoy Travel Agency
To the Moon and Back:
The Grand Moon Palace - Mexico
Every year, I snag one of my three kiddos for a mommy/kiddo vacation. It’s my favorite trip of the year because it lets me spend quality one-on-one time with each of my children. My last trip was with my oldest son Gavin to The Grand Moon Palace in Mexico. He has been obsessed with Mexico, even taking Spanish lessons and singing songs in Spanish while showering. Too funny. I also knew that I couldn’t take him to a “relaxing” resort, as this kid has high-energy and cannot sit still for the life of him. That’s why the Grand Moon Palace was perfect for him with its water park, arcade, turtle release and playroom.
Major Perks of the Grand Moon Palace

  • This is one of the few places where kids AND teens stay FREE!
  • You get resort credit FOR THINGS YOU WOULD ACTUALLY USE RESORT CREDIT FOR such as swimming with dolphins and jungle tours.
  • Water park (48” height requirement for the big slides)
  • Foodie Paradise
  • Free arcade
  • All you can eat hand-painted chocolate
Day 1: From Surfing to Cupcakes

When we arrived at The Grand Moon Palace, Gavin really wanted to hit the beach, but I needed him to eat first, so we detoured to the buffet. Gavin started off by picking familiar food like watermelon and grapes. Having been to Palace Resorts in the past, I knew to hit up the seafood. Gavin looked at my octopus salad, said he wanted to try it, and LOVED it. He ate all of mine then went up for more. It was such a great opportunity to try new foods and new flavors.
We never made it to the beach on the first day as we came across the water park instead. We jumped in the Lazy River and raced around, seeing if mom was quick enough to keep up. Then the Surf Simulator caught Gavin's eye and that was the end of the Lazy River. Gavin has never been on a Surf Simulator before, so he made me go on it as well. We watched an older kid who was really good and Gavin was determined to be just as good. The staff was really sweet, teaching us how to stay on. Once the staff recognized Gavin's determination to master the surf simulator, they gave Gavin tips on how to get up on your knees, how to throw the board in front of you and catch it, and how to roll all the way onto your side. The kid came out a raisin, but thankfully they close the waterpark at 6:00 pm to give you time to shower before dinner.
After Gavin flooded the room with his bubble bath in the jacuzzi tub, we put on some nice clothes and pulled up at seat at Jade for a Japanese, Chinese and Thai-flavored dinner. Gavin ordered the teriyaki pork ribs and a ramen dish. He ate that and then stole my spicy tuna roll and my octopus/cilantro skewer. Luckily he had no interest in my spicy seafood soup.

After dinner, we went across the hall to the Wired Lounge where we played unlimited arcade games while eating popcorn and cupcakes. I was hoping to get to see a show but come 9:00 pm, Gavin was tired and just wanted to go back to the room.
Day 2: Beach Surprise and Play Rooms

The first thing on Gavin’s list was still the beach. We made it past the resort pool where we stumbled upon a fenced in area. Gavin walked up the fence and saw a women digging in the sand. Gavin being Gavin asked the woman what she was doing and she told him she was collecting baby sea turtles for the turtle release that night. She stood up, dusted off her hands, and handed Gavin a turtle through the fence. She told Gavin about the turtles and why they don’t release them during the day but rather at night when they are safer from the birds. It was such a great surprise and Gavin was beside himself having had the opportunity to hold a sea turtle. The beach was clean, the water was warm and the waves were just the right amount of adventure.
I heard great things about the kids club, called the Play Room, so I wanted to check it out. This was no ordinary Play Room—they had bumper cars, a ropes course, a mirror maze, and a laser game. They had a food court with fruit and popcorn for the kiddos, and I really liked that they let me go in with Gavin to have fun with him out of the sun. From the windows of the Play Room, Gavin could see the surf simulator and was ready to go for round two. Once we were in the water, Gavin had no interest in drying off to grab lunch so I snagged a pool menu and ordered ribs, salsa, guacamole, and some daiquiris to hydrate. Even the pool menu was outstanding.
We went to Cielito Lindo for dinner, but we were so exhausted from the sun and pool that we weren’t really feeling it. We tried a few things and then found the Cake Shop where they had hand-painted chocolates. Gavin was amazed at the amount to candy in the display counter. He was telling me which one or two he was going to get. I didn’t tell him but I ordered us one of everything and we took them to-go to eat in our bed in front of the TV.
Day 3: Chichen Itza

Because of Gavin’s obsession with Mexico, I didn’t want his only experience being a resort. We hopped on a shuttle and headed to Chichen Itza. The guides were amazing, funny, and very knowledgeable about the Mayan Culture. We had a guide that took us through the property, showing us the mysteries of the structures, and teaching us the ancient games. The skills that the Mayan’s had are astonishing given the lack of technology they had at the time.
Not that long ago, guests used to be able to climb the pyramid. Unfortunately, this is no longer true due to vandalism. I know a lot of people are nervous about going to Chichen Itza because it can get really hot. Though they were right that it was hot, there are a number of pathways that are shaded and comfortable.

After the ruins, the guides took us to a beautiful authentic Mexican lunch and then to a cenote. The guides said that the cenote was 175 feet deep, which made Gavin really nervous. There were enough people in the cenote that Gavin would feel safe, but still wasn’t sold. He started down the ladder, then chickened out. We sat on the edge for a while taking it in when Gavin asked me why I wasn’t in the water. I told him I would go in if he did, but if he didn’t want to, then I have no reason to get wet. Then… the kid jumped in. Yep. I did not see that coming. He jumped in, swam back to the surface, grabbed a rope and just laughed. That is my Gavin. That is when he asked me why I wasn’t in the water. OMG, kid. He climbed out and the next dozen jumps we did together, laughing every time. These are the memories I never want to forget!
Day 4: Caving in Mexico

When we do mommy/Gavin days in Wisconsin, he really likes Cave of the Mounds, so naturally I wanted to take him to see a Mexican cave. I heard amazing things about Rio Secreto but never had the chance to check it out. This was it. It was so, so amazing. I was worried Gavin would get scared but the water was incredibly clear with very few deep locations. When we had an opportunity to be in the deep end, Gavin would belly flop into the sink hole yelling “kowabunga!” Priceless.
It only took a half a day to explore Rio Secreto, so we made it back just in time for some more Surf Simulator. It was so funny hearing other parents see Gavin on it and make comments about his bravery and skills. I was really proud of his determination.
I saw on the Moon Palace app that the sister resort (located right next door) had a fire show later that night. We had access to that side so we decided to eat at the Brazilian steakhouse close by. Gavin panicked when I told him we were going to the other resort. “But what about the chocolates, mom?!” Don’t you worry, they have chocolates on the other properties, as well. We had dinner, ate chocolates, but Gavin was too exhausted to pull through the fire show. Gavin is my little night owl, so for him to determine what his bedtime is and tell me every night that he was ready for bed that was a good sign of a fun-filled day.  
Day 5: Homeward Bound

We woke up and boarded a plane back home. We were only there a short time and my objective was to be with my son. That being said, there was so much that we missed like the complimentary hydrotherapy room in the spa, the night club, bowling alley, the adults-only pool, the Lebanese restaurant, the mariachi band, the theater, and the ice-skating rink. I could go back another time or two to check it all off my list.