Pure Adventure

By | June 15th, 2018

The challenges in the Ritz Kids Badge Program include daily family activities such as gardening.

The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes is encouraging little ones to engage in real-life adventures on the property’s 500 acres

As more and more children fuel their technology addictions with constant screen time, The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes in Orlando, Fla., is encouraging little ones to engage in real-life adventures on the property’s 500 acres, while showcasing all the resort has to offer.

In February, the resort rolled out its Ritz Kids Badge Program, inviting children ages 4 to 12 to embark on a series of challenges to earn rewards along the way.

“The goal is to get kids excited,” says Ritz Kids Supervisor Tiffany Ralda. ”It was designed to encourage little ones to celebrate their innate curiosity and sense of adventure.”

THE GOAL: To create a program just for kids and families at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes that lets kids go on adventures throughout the property.
THE PLAN: Offer the Ritz Kids Badge Program, made up of a series of resort-focused challenges that allow kids to collect badges upon completion and earn prizes.
THE PAYOFF: Families enjoy a sense of adventure without having the leave the property, while engaging staff members to participate as well.

First, program participants must complete a scavenger hunt, after which they receive a Ritz Kids backpack or T-shirt to wear through the remaining 23 challenges, which can be completed in any order, says Director of Public Relations Alissa Perez.

A range of activities are available through Ritz Kids, from embarking on a kayak eco-tour, to partaking in a Surrey Bike excursion, to speed boat racing or visiting the Ritz Kids garden to meet the resort’s chickens. Kids must offer “proof” of completing the challenge, which in some cases requires taking photos, filling out a scorecard, or bringing recyclable items to the resort’s front desk.

Once a child has met the requirements for a specific challenge, he or she is eligible to collect a badge for that activity. For earning 12 badges, the child receives a Ritz-Carlton plush lion and certificate, and after 24 badges, the child becomes “Honorary General Manager for a Day,” which includes a custom jacket, nametag, pin, ID, and lunch with the General Manager, Executive Chef, or Hotel Manager, Perez says.

“Our Honorary GM will be treated as such throughout the property, so they get the feel of being ‘our boss’ for the day,” Perez says.

One of the challenges in the Ritz Kids Badge Program requires participants to spend at least two hours at a Ritz Kids Session, where they learn about the property’s flora and fauna.

Each day, 12 challenges are offered, while the other 12 are only awarded seasonally. “This offers the opportunity to keep the fun going and get little ones excited for their return visit to the resort,” Ralda says.

However, not only Ritz-Carlton guests have access to the program. Guests of the JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes and Marriott Vacation Club Lakeshore Reserve are also welcome to participate in all challenges, though they must visit the Ritz-Carlton property to complete the initial scavenger-hunt challenge.

The bottom of the instructions for each challenge shows the name of a designated staff member who will deliver the appropriate badge. Staff from the front desk, guest relations, Grande Lakes Sports, the Highball & Harvest restaurant, and the golf department all play a role in the program.

Completing the program can take any length of time, from a weekend (for the first 12 challenges) to a year (for all 12 seasonal challenges). The program gained “a lot of interest” during Easter weekend, Perez says, when many guests were running around collecting badges, including the exclusive bunny badge.

“Recently, a guest and her son ran around the property for two days to collect each of the badges,” Perez reports. “She said she could have taken her son to Disney/Universal and they would have waited in a few lines and talked—but this program created an opportunity for her to really connect with her son and create those special memories.”

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