When deciding on hotels in Orlando Disney takes center stage, especially for
families. But there are many other Orlando
vacation rental options in every price range, from posh luxury resorts to
intimate Art Deco suites.
The House of Mouse
For families, you can't go wrong at a Disney resort. Their special family-friendly
amenities include character meals, kids menus, video arcades, free park transportation,
and recreational facilities. For direct monorail connection to Walt
Disney World, you'll want to consider Disney's Grand Floridian Resort &
Spa, Disney's Polynesian Resort, and Disney's Contemporary Resort.
For a natural touch, families will feel at home with the laid-back Florida
Keys charm of Disney's Old Key West Resort. Come face-to-face with nature
Animal Kingdom, where African savannah animals come up to the balcony for
feedings. If your family loves to get wet, you may want to explore the shipwreck-themed
Storm Along Bay water park, set between Disney's Beach Club Resort (tel. 407/934-7639
or 407/934-8000) and Disney's Yacht Club Resort. If the outdoors is your family's
preferred place for bonding, Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground offers
secluded camping in the woods.
Kids and parents who are used to the lap of luxury flock to Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, a Gilded Age Victorian resort. The five-story lobby features a Chinese Chippendale aviary. Victoria & Albert's, the resort's five-star restaurant, features live big-band music. For a good value, enjoy the French Quarter charm of Disney's Port Orleans Resort, with its unique dragon-mouth waterslide. Prices can't be beat at Disney's All-Star Movies Resort, Disney's All-Star Music Resort, Disney's All-Star Sports Resort, and Disney's Pop Century Resort.
Universal Strikes Back
If your kids are crazy for SpongeBob, they'll love the décor of Universal's new $20 million Nickelodeon Family Suites, featuring two lagoons with waterslides, and live theater. Kids get bunk beds with television and videogames, while parents get their own closeable-doored bedroom.
The Portofino Bay Hotel simulates the experience of the Italian coastal village with a private harbor, murals, and musicians, and also provides shuttles and express queues for Universal, SeaWorld, and Wet ‘n Wild. Simulating the opulence of the Memphis original down to the mascot ducks, the Peabody Orlando has impeccable service, orchid and palm gardens, and a near-Olympic sized pool.
The Hilton in the Walt
Disney World Resort offers the Disney's Extra Magic Hour option and a great
location. La Quinta Inn Lakeside is a good non-Disney budget option, with pool,
playground, and free park shuttle.
Leave the world behind at the Emerald Bay rooms of the Gaylord Palms, featuring
a glass atrium and a Canyon Ranch spa. The Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Resort
has a grottoed lagoon with a dozen waterfalls, Jack Nicklaus golf courses, and
a 45-acre nature walk. Not to be outdone, the Ritz-Carlton Orlando has a 40,000-square-foot
spa, and a 24,000-square-foot lazy river pool.
For a romantic getaway, try the boutique rental residences at Courtyard at Lake Lucerne, which includes Art Deco kitchen suites and an 1883 house.