When families visit Orlando, most of them spend their time running around the theme parks, but who doesn’t want a wonderful place to stay at the end of the day? Kirsten Maxwell of Kids Are A Trip has been to Disney World and the Orlando area a dozen times with her kids and has you covered on where to stay at Disney World, both on and off property. Here are her picks for the best family resorts at Walt Disney World.
Favorite Walt Disney World Resorts
Disney’s Grand Floridian is one of the top-rated resorts at Disney World and for good reason, it’s beautiful, and close to the Magic Kingdom! The resort is elegantly decorated both inside and out and the staff is second to none. Rooms can sleep a family of five (villas are available too), and the resort has a beautiful pool area adjacent to Seven Seas Lagoon. Some of Disney’s top rated restaurants are found on property, Victoria & Albert’s, Narcoossees, and Cítricos. The hotel also features evening campfires, a pirate cruise for kids, and afternoon tea.
If you want to splurge in Orlando, the Four Seasons is where you go. This property is located near Fort Wilderness on Disney property, and is the perfect blend of Four Season amenities and Disney experiences. The resort offers Disney planning on site, character breakfasts, and Disney Magic Hours (early and/or late access to the parks). Resort guests will enjoy the massive pool area with a lazy river, water slides, and a splash zone. Parents will enjoy the dining, spa, golf and tennis amenities. Best of all, rooms are spacious and many have balconies for perfect Disney fireworks views.
Disney’s Beach Club shares many of its amenities with the neighboring Yacht Club resort, creating a unique two-for-one situation. It is within walking distance to Disney’s BoardWalk area, but it also provides pedestrian and boat access to the rear entrance of Epcot. This is a huge bonus as it is far less crowded than the front entrance. The resort has beautiful swimming pools, a pirate water park (Storm Along Bay), and a beautiful view of the Epcot fireworks in the evening down by the water. Rooms are clean and comfortable, and kids will love the Beaches & Cream soda shoppe.
The Swan and Dolphin Resort is also walking distance to the Disney BoardWalk and Epcot’s rear entrance, and boat and bus transportation is available to the other parks. Kids ages 4 to 12 can visit the resort’s kids club, Camp Dolphin (there is an hourly fee), but odds are they will prefer swimming in one of the five spectacular pools and waterfalls on property. Character breakfasts are offered, and parents will appreciate Shula’s Steak House and the Mandara Spa.
Disney’s Coronado Springs is one of the company’s Moderate resorts which means it’s in the middle price wise of their Deluxe resorts (Beach Club and Grand Floridian) and the Value resorts (such as Art of Animation). The property is massive, which means it can be a far walk from rooms to the lobby or pool area, but the resort is undergoing refurbishment which aims to cut down on the amount of walking guests have to manage. There is an awesome waterpark with a massive water slide that kids of all ages will love. There are also several pools around the property, night time movies, and a jogging trail. It’s an easy bus ride to Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot from this hotel.
Walt Disney World Off Property Hotels
Reunion Resort is about fifteen minutes from the Magic Kingdom, but once you stay here, it may be hard to stay anywhere else. The property offers villas at its AAA Four Diamond Resort, but we like the large variety of vacation rental homes they have to offer. For multi-gen trips or group gatherings, these are the best places to stay. Houses are from three to thirteen bedrooms, and offer gorgeous kitchens, living and dining rooms, and outdoor entertaining space. Some villas even have swimming pools and game rooms, meaning your family might never want to leave. The bonus here is 24- hour guest service and access to all of the Reunion Resort amenities including their water park, golf courses, tennis center, spa, and fabulous rooftop restaurant, Eleven.
Marriott Royal Palms offers luxurious villas that are perfect for families of all sizes. Each unit comes with a fully equipped kitchen, perfect for saving money on theme park meals. If you prefer, enjoy a meal at the adjacent Orlando World Center Marriott, as they share their amenities. There are smaller, quieter pools at the Royal Palms or kids might prefer a walk or shuttle ride to the waterpark at World Center. The property is close to Disney Springs, making for a ten to fifteen minute drive to the parks.
Embassy Suites Lake Buena Vista is an all-suite resort that families will love. Their traditional layout of two bedroom suites offer kitchenettes and pull out sofas with a small working desk/table. The hotel’s complimentary breakfast is a great way to start the day and families will enjoy the complimentary evening reception with snacks and drinks. This resort offers plenty of extras: indoor and outdoor pools, a basketball court, beach volleyball court, kids splash pad, dive-in movies and outdoor cabanas. This property is a Walt Disney World Good Neighbor, offering complimentary shuttle service to Magic Kingdom and guests can purchase Disney tickets at the guest services desk to save time at the parks.
A stay at Hilton Bonnet Creek allows for easy access to all Walt Disney World resorts. Kids will love the lazy river and water park, while parents will love having access to the hotel’s sister property, Waldorf Astoria. Rooms at Hilton Bonnet Creek are roomy and comfortable for families. Kids ages 5-12 can use the WA Kids Club next door and participate in things like scavenger hunts and roasting marshmallows in the evening. The hotel also provides free transportation to Walt Disney World, and the ability to purchase theme park tickets.
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Kirsten Maxwell of Kids are a Trip is an official Travelocity Gnational Gnomad. Gnational Gnomads is an exclusive group of high-profile travel and lifestyle experts who offer tips and inspiration on behalf of Travelocity.
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