Anisa Benitez: Reconnect With Yourself In Kissimmee
Explore wellness, meditation and connection in and around Kissimmee with Anisa Benitez.
Often, the best part of a vacation is using the time to rest, relax and reconnect. It’s even better when you can form a connection to the destination, whether it’s through nature, interaction with locals, finding unique activities or identifying parts of yourself that align with the experience. Kissimmee is a great place to find all that and more. It’s close enough to drop into the theme parks, but just far enough to disconnect with moments of peace and serenity. In this episode of The Kissimmee Experience, join Anisa Benitez as she guides us through her itinerary of mindfulness and reconnection.
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Yoga is for the Goats
The first leg of Anisa’s journey was a typical relaxation activity — with a twist. Since it was her first time meeting show host Jen Bonner, they used outdoor yoga as an opportunity to connect with each other while interacting with several cute goats of different sizes, colors and personalities. Goat yoga is a staple activity at Bell Family Farm and Apiary, which husband and wife owners Sarah and Ray Bell opened a few years ago despite challenges related to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The owner has been practicing yoga for many years, so she led the group through several exercises that allowed the goats to interact. The goats’ activity depends on their mood — sometimes they will sit next to the participant, sometimes they will try to untie shoelaces (especially the precocious goat named Bonk), and sometimes the smallest ones will climb on the back of willing participants. It was a great way to enjoy the present moment and connect with nature.
The farm also offers opportunities to interact and pet several other farm animals, and is open Wednesday through Sunday for a fee that helps the owners maintain and develop their beautiful farm.
My favorite part of the trip was the people. There’s a high quality of life in Kissimmee that attracts people who want to enjoy this unpredictable time... Those who choose boldly to embrace the present moment and enjoy it regardless, I find they often have wonderful energy and are a pleasure to be around.
— Anisa Benitez
Traditional Relaxation at Gaylord Palms
South Beach Pool
After connecting with Jen, it was time for Anisa to reconnect with herself in a more traditional way at Gaylord Palms Resort. First, they took a moment to enjoy a drink in a reserved cabana at the South Beach Pool. Guests can reserve seating at the pool for a fee, and servers will come take orders for the SandBar, a poolside bar serving resort cuisine such as margaritas, frozen cocktails, sharable appetizers, and sandwiches.
Relâche Spa & Salon
Every inch of the Gaylord Palms Resort is beautifully manicured and appointed with luxe décor, and the Relâche Spa is no exception. You can access the spa from a dedicated entrance or by walking through the Everglades atrium — a journey of relaxation and lush beauty unto itself. The services include facials (including hydrafacials), body treatments, massage, and services for hair and nails. Anisa and Jenn experienced one of their signature facials, then took a moment to relax in the lovely tea lounge.
I was surprised by the variety of experiences offered in Kissimmee, which cater to a wide range of people. It’s great for big families who aren’t always on the same page around vacation plans. It felt like anyone would be able to enjoy themselves.
— Anisa Benitez
An Evening at Island Grove Wine Co.
To finish their relaxing itinerary, Jen took Anisa to one final stop in Kissimmee, the Island Grove Wine Company at Formosa Gardens, a 13,000-square-foot sustainable fruit winery dedicated to celebrating healthy lifestyles, community, and social, economic and environmental responsibility. Island Grove specializes in berry wine using blueberries grown locally in Florida, and they also grow other fruits right on the property.
The trip was hugely relaxing, especially in contrast to my usual New York City winter. The warm weather, friendly people, peaceful nature, and relaxing experiences at the spa, winery, and yoga farm were all a welcomed change of pace. I left feeling nourished.
— Anisa Benitez
Relax and Rejuvenate in Kissimmee
Anisa’s trip showcased great ways to connect with others, herself, and the destination. What's more, Kissimmee has many additional activities centered around mindfulness and connection. Explore other relaxing experiences such as a quiet kayak trip through 100-year old cypress trees at The Paddling Center at Shingle Creek, a boat tour with Toho Riverboat Adventures, or hop-infused soaking treatments at the Beer Spa. Find endless ways to relax, right in Kissimmee.
Episode Seven Locations
Check out the relaxation activities that Anisa enjoyed in her episode of The Kissimmee Experience.