Are you looking for the best hotels in Orlando that the entire family will love? You’re in the right place! We’ve done the research, and we hope our guide helps you plan the perfect vacation.
As parents of two kids, we understand that sooner or later you’ll probably be planning a vacation to Orlando, Florida. We’ve done it several times (and will be doing it again very soon), and one thing we’ve learned is that a good hotel or resort can make a huge difference in your experience.
Orlando has no shortage of fantastic family resorts, but with so many competing for your attention, it can be hard to figure out which just look good, and which actually ARE good. A water slide and a pretty website doesn’t mean it’s a slam dunk, so we set out to find the best of the best.
Based on our experience and research, we’ve found the hotels that take service to a new level, make families feel welcome, and make you want to stay again and again. These are the hotels where you can spread out and stay awhile, relax, and actually enjoy your Orlando vacation.
The Best Hotels in Orlando for families
- Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress
- Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek
- Four Seasons Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort
- Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando
- Floridays Resort
- Sonesta ES Suites Orlando - International Drive
- JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes
- Embassy Suites Orlando - Lake Buena Vista Resort
- Orlando World Center Marriott
- Disney's Polynesian Village Resort
- Loews Portofino Bay at Universal Orlando
- B Resort and Spa - Lake Buena Vista
- Holiday Inn Orlando - Disney Springs Area
- DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Orlando - Disney Springs Area
- Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace
- Best Western Lake Buena Vista
- Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista
- Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista
- Loews Sapphire Falls & Cabana Bay
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The Best Hotels in Orlando for Kids
The Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress is truly an oasis, and we give it high marks for kid-friendliness and family fun. We stayed here during our second trip to Orlando, and you’ll feel at ease as soon as you walk through the door and are greeted by their ambassador Merlot, the scarlet macaw. There’s something for everyone at the Grand Cypress – an incredible pool complex complete with water slides, water falls, hot tubs, spa, golf course, tennis, paddle boats – the list goes on and on.Activities are included in the resort fee which is great for fun-loving families, and it might have you second guessing venturing out to the theme parks.
If you do decide to get out, the resort is just a short drive from Walt Disney World Resort, with easy access to all of its parks, attractions, and shopping. Disney Springs is only about a five-minute drive away and offers a one stop shop for good dining options and your fill of Disney souvenirs. If you decide that getting out is too much trouble, there are plenty of on-site options to enjoy. Our family was too busy enjoying the pools to be bothered with going out, so we enjoyed snacks and drinks delivered right to our pool chairs.
Rooms are clean and comfortable, which has always been our experience with Hyatt over the years. Standard rooms come with one king bed or a queen and one double. Suites are also available if you want the extra space, and we used some Hyatt points to upgrade. We ended up with a gorgeous one-bedroom suite with a small kitchenette and an enormous balcony with a couch and table perfect for relaxing and watching the fireworks in the distance from Walt Disney World. Trust us when we say it was a nice break after the kids went to bed to be able to enjoy the peace and quite after a day in the parks. It was pure luck, but it may have been the coolest upgrade we’ve ever received!
As with most hotels these days, wireless internet is complimentary and is available throughout the resort. Camp Hyatt is available for families with children ages 3-12 and includes cool activities like rock climbing, crafts, scavenger hunts, boating, biking, and other games. If the theme parks aren’t exhausting enough, there is also a fitness center where you can sweat it out (although summer in Orlando should take care of it). If relaxation is more your speed, check out the The Marilyn Monroe Spa.
No matter what, we think your family will love the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, and we think it really is one of the best resorts in Orlando for families. It has earned a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor and a 4.5 star rating with nearly 6,000 reviews.
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Things you’ll love: Kids will adore the pools and slides, and parents will love the enormous amount of options. Whether you choose to do a lot or just a little, this Hyatt knows how to cater to families.
Who should book: Families who want an upscale Orlando hotel close to Walt Disney World, but maybe want to avoid the high-end Disney resorts because of cost. It’s also a great redemption if you have Hyatt points to use. As of this writing, it is listed as a Cat. 4 property.
Don’t forget plenty of sunscreen!
Sun Bum is our favorite. It works great, has a nice scent, and is hypoallergenic and paraben free. Most importantly, it’s made with reef-safe ingredients which is now more important that ever – especially if you’re going to be snorkeling around coral.
If you’re looking to be the vacation hero for your kids this year, consider a stay at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek. With a 3 acre lazy river, pool, and water slide complex, all within minutes of Walt Disney World, you’ll be winning in no time. Rooms and suites at this Hilton can accommodate most any size family in comfort. For some extra kid-approved vacation cred, book a room with a view of the nightly fireworks show at nearby Hollywood Studios. It’s Star Wars themed you know – just sayin’…
Amenities at this resort include the typical things such as safe, iron, and mini fridge. For families with smaller children, high chairs and cribs are available. Other resort amenities include a lounge, baggage hold service, and laundry service.
For fun, rent a bicycle to ride around the property or go for a walk. If golf is your thing, give the putting green a go, hit the driving range, or play a full round at the Waldorf Astoria Golf Club right next door. Try out the Waldorf Astoria Kids Camp for kids ages 5-12, complete with scavenger hunts, t-shirt coloring, games, and more. Guests can also go for a jog around the track or work out in the fitness center. When you’re done, try out Waldorf Astoria’s award-winning spa.
Finding something tasty to eat around the resort won’t be an issue either. Between the Hilton and the Waldorf Astoria, there are twelve restaurants, cafes, and bars to choose from. From snacks by the pool, to an elegant dinner, you’ll find it here. If you have children under 12, try dining at Harvest Bistro where they can eat free off the children’s menu. This is a nice perk, and is included as part of the daily resort fee.
If you decide on a night out, nearby Disney Springs offers a wide variety of unique dining options (and, of course, a LEGO store and the largest Disney Store on the planet). The Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek offers a free shuttle to Disney Springs and to the Walt Disney World theme parks, which is great for families.
The Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek is #9 on TripAdvisor’s list of ‘Top 25 Value for Money Hotels — United States‘ for 2018, making it one of the best hotels in Orlando Florida. It also has received nearly 6,500 reviews and earned 4.5 stars. If paying with Hilton Honors points, a standard room will set you back 50,000 points per night, and don’t forget, Hilton will let you pool points between family members!
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Things you’ll love: Staying here gives you access to many of the amenities and options at the Waldorf Astoria next door without paying the WA rates. The 3-acre lazy river and pool complex is hard to beat for family fun in the sun.
Who should book: Families looking for a good value for an upscale Orlando vacation close the the theme parks, or families who just want an oasis to relax, play in the water, and enjoy the Florida sunshine.
When writing about the best hotels for families in any destination, Four Seasons typically makes the cut. In fact, the Four Seasons Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort may just be the best of the best. Parents gush about how amazing this hotel is, and the resort consistently ranks near the top of every list for Orlando hotels, including TripAdvisor’s 2018 Traveler’s Choice List of the Top 25 Luxury Hotels in the US. It also earned a perfect 5 stars from nearly 2,000 TA reviewers.
Like any Four Seasons, service will be excellent, rooms will be comfortable and welcoming down to the last detail, and they’ll have unique programming and activities for the kids. Families will love the water slides, lazy river, and splash zone, but when you’re in Orlando, it takes more than a name to make it a special destination.
What really sets Four Season apart from the rest? It’s the details, of course!
Four Seasons Orlando is one of a very few properties that resides inside the gates of WDW resort. This is really convenient for families who want to be close to the action and not far from the hotel if an escape from the afternoon heat is needed. It also means that you can book character dining right at the resort. Good Morning Breakfast with Goofy & His Pals character breakfast is available right at the hotel’s Ravello restaurant on certain days. To book, just contact the hotel for a reservation.
Another major perk of staying at the Four Seasons (or any Four Seasons) is that there are no resort fees, and everything is included. Cabanas at the pool, kids club access, table tennis, pool tables, bocce ball – it’s all included. Before you think the Four Seasons may be out of reach, this perk alone could save you $30-$40 per day depending on the hotel.
Awesome family-friendly touches include kid-sized robes, spacious, comfortable rooms arranged with families in mind, staff that engage the kids, on-site Disney vacation planning and tickets, and also complimentary Wi-Fi Internet. Families will also love the complimentary luxury coach rides to all of the Disney parks. Shuttles run all day, so you never miss a thing!
Just like other properties at Walt Disney World, any purchases made in the parks can be delivered to your room at the Four Seasons, so you don’t have to carry them around all day. Our family really loves this feature about staying on a Disney property, so this is a great perk!
To round out your perfect stay, Four Seasons offers complimentary pool toys, use of the children’s video library, baby and children’s toiletries, cribs, playpens, and babysitting for an hourly fee. Even the spa is family-friendly, with Magical Moments prince or princess makeovers.
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Things you’ll love: Everything! The Four Seasons goes to great lengths to make your Disney family vacation as perfect as it can be. Don’t be surprised if your kids decide to skip the parks for a day to play at this hotel!
Who should book: Families who are looking for one of the very best hotels around Walt Disney World. Even if you don’t plan on visiting the theme parks, the Four Seasons Orlando is a perfect retreat and home base for families looking for a fantastic, kid-friendly vacation near all that Orlando has to offer.
Related: Read our blog post on some of our favorite Walt Disney World tips, rides, and experiences. The Best of Walt Disney World Resort - Old Favorites and New Magic
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is hands-down our favorite Disney property to date. Guests are immediately transported to the plains of Africa as soon as they walk through the door. The smell of dinner roasting in their restaurants Jiko – The Cooking Place and Boma – Flavors of Africa will carry you off to a different continent, and the grandeur of the lodge as you walk in will stop you in your tracks. We think Disney really outdid themselves with this property, and it’s a perennial favorite of Disney vacationers everywhere.
The Animal Kingdom Lodge is one of Disney’s Deluxe Resorts, and rightly so. From the guest rooms to the public spaces and dining, Disney has not forgotten a single detail. What really makes this resort special though are the animals, and once you have a look at the expansive savanna and the giraffes casually strolling by, you’ll be hooked.
Consider eating a meal at Sanaa for views of the savanna while you eat, or book a special 4-course lunch with an animal specialist where you can learn and get up close to some of the wildlife.
Service here is top notch. You’re greeted at the entrance by a friendly cast member who takes your information, and quickly gets the check-in process moving. Staff all over the resort are eager to help guests, so don’t be afraid to ask. Despite arriving with a bus load of other guests on the Disney Magical Express from the Orlando airport (included for Disney resort guests), the process is quick, and they have a few surprises for fidgety kids to keep them occupied while you wait for your room keys.
Pools at the deluxe Disney resorts are fantastic and the Animal Kingdom Lodge doesn’t disappoint with an enormous 234,980-gallon, zero-entry pool complete with a 67-foot-long water slide.
Their other pool, the Samawati Springs Pool is near the Animal Kingdom Villas, and is just a short walk away. Uwanja Camp is a splash pad and water playground that younger children will love. Both offer plenty of lounge chairs, towels, and places to order refreshments.
Other activities around the resort include a kids club (Simba’s Clubhouse), a fire for roasting marshmallows, playground, arcade, or you can catch a movie in the evening out by the pool if you want a night in. During a rainy day during our visit, our kids made cookies and crafts inside and had a great time.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge also features a spa, free Wi-Fi internet, complimentary parking, complimentary Disney Magical Express bus service to and from the airport, and free delivery of all your goodies purchased in the park, which is awesome!
Rooms are laid out well, and come in a bunk bed configuration for families if they choose. Our kids loved it, and they took turns sleeping in the top bunk. Consider booking a savanna view room where you can sit on your own balcony with some coffee and enjoy the sunrise with your favorite African animals. Magic!
We could keep going on about this hotel, but to sum up: If you want a magical vacation to Walt Disney World and are willing to splurge to do that, then we absolutely recommend staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge. It’s a great resort!
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Things you’ll love: The entire experience from check-in to check out is fabulous. Pool complexes are great for hot afternoon breaks, and the savanna views will transport you to a far-off country every day.
Who should book: Families who want the full Disney experience (but from a cool angle), and are up for a splurge. Younger kids may enjoy something more traditional (like Disney’s Contemporary Resort), but our kids (ages 6 and 8) were enthralled with AKL.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge has earned the tenth spot on TripAdvisor’s list of “Top 25 Hotels for Families – United States” for 2018.
If you’re looking for a hotel at Universal Orlando, and Portofino Bay is a little too ‘grown-up’ for you, give the Hard Rock Hotel a shot. You get the same amazing perks like free Universal Express Unlimited for the entire family, but with a rock and roll attitude and a pool complex to match.
The Hard Rock Hotel is definitely one of best hotels near Universal Studios Orlando for a variety of reasons. Service is fantastic based on the nearly 10,000 TripAdvisor reviews, and is what you would expect from an upscale resort. Rooms are large and well appointed, and families with budding artists may want to book the future rock star suite. All guests of the resort receive a complimentary Fender guitar rental, you know, for writing your vacation power ballad.
Families will love access to the parks from this hotel. The Hard Rock is the closest of any of the Universal resorts to the parks, and CityWalk restaurants are within easy walking distance. If you’d like to spend time at the other resorts, shuttles and river boats are available. Keep in mind that Orlando gets frequent thunderstorms in the summer which cause the boats to stop running, making a stay at the Hard Rock advantageous in this regard.
The pool complex at this resort is one of the best at Universal, complete with a 260-foot water slide and underwater speakers pumping out tunes day and night. It’s a definite party vibe here which the kids will love.
A zero-entry beach and cabanas round out the offerings, and activities like ping-pong, beach volleyball, and kid-friendly fountains will keep everybody happy. Two jacuzzis and a spa will give Mom and Dad a much-deserved break also.
If you decide to stay in for the day, the Hard Rock Hotel offers Kids Camp through the Loews Loves Kids program for kids ages 4-14. They can enjoy crafts, games, movies, and other fun stuff all day long. As part of this program, the hotel also offers child proofing kits, a game lending library, and babysitting by request.
Other amenities at the hotel include complimentary wireless internet around the resort, safes, mini-fridge, coffee makers, room service, dry cleaning, and laundry service. Parking is not included and runs $22 for self parking and $29 for valet parking as of this writing.
Dining at the Hard Rock Hotel is delicious, particularly at the Palm Restaurant where my steak was perfectly cooked and the Key Lime Pie for dessert was divine. Other spots at the resort include The Kitchen, Emack and Bolio’s, and the beachhouse. If you’d like to dine at one of the other resorts, just hop on the dining shuttle which makes the rounds in the evenings, or just walk down to CityWalk where something chocolate from Toothsome is always appropriate!
The Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando has earned 4.5 stars and a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor.
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Things you’ll love: Next-door access to Universal Orlando Resort, complimentary Express Passes, and a rock and roll vibe may be just the thing to crank your vacation up to 11.
Who should book: Families looking for an upscale experience, uncompromising location to Universal theme parks, and a great pool where the kids can play and the parents can relax.
Floridays Resort is a condo-style, all-suite property in Orlando that’s perfect for unpacking and staying awhile. With 4.5 stars and over 8,000 reviews on TripAdvisor, it’s clear that this is a great place to stay for families. For 2018, Floridays Reseort comes in at number four on TripAdvisor’s “Top 25 Hotels for Families – United States” list making this property a serious contender for your Orlando vacation.
Each room is a 2-bedroom or 3-bedroom suite with a full kitchen and well-appointed bedrooms and living spaces to make your visit as comfortable as possible. We’ve stayed at similar properties, and we love having space to spread out and a full kitchen to prepare meals. You can save a considerable amount of money cooking your own meals rather than eating out all the time, and we think that’s a great way for families to stretch their vacation dollars.
Amenities at the resort include a pool complex with two swimming pools, game room, fitness center, and complimentary Wi-Fi. Check out their grocery shopping service. We did this once on a ski trip and it was so convenient to have the fridge and pantry already stocked when you arrive. It’s a great way to save time and start your vacation pronto!
Guests also enjoy complimentary shuttle service to and from the hotel to the local theme parks and attractions. Check here for a schedule. If you’re staying in, take in a movie at the pool, enjoy some live music or a pool party, or even enroll in Mermaid Academy. An on-site cafe and pool bar serve up meals, snacks, and drinks if you don’t feel like cooking.
Floridays Resort is located on International Drive just down the road from the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye, tons of food and shopping, and one of our favorite miniature golf courses, Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf. Your family will always have something to do nearby. In our opinion, this makes it one of the best hotels for kids in Orlando.
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Things you’ll love: Families will love the room to spread out, and the larger suites are ideal for large families that might normally have to book adjoining rooms at a hotel. The full kitchen will (potentially) knock down the cost of your food bill also.
Who should book: Floridays is perfect for larger families or those that like to unpack and feel like they’re at home. If you value space more than flashy resorts with all the bells and whistles, then the Floridays Resort may be for you.
For families who don’t want to stay at a theme park, but still want to be close to many of the popular activities in Orlando, consider staying at Sonesta ES Suites Orlando. This all-suite hotel is situated right across the street from the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye and nearly endless shops and restaurants on International Drive. The one and two-bedroom suites will keep families comfortable and provide a good home base for exploring the area. Suites can accommodate 4, 6, or 8 guests making this one of the best hotels for families in Orlando.
The Sonesta ES Suites Orlando are built around comfort and extended-stay guests, and the positive reviews on TripAdvisor reflect this. Families love the spacious bedrooms, full-size kitchens, and social spaces to relax in. Budget-minded travelers will love the complimentary breakfast buffet served in the mornings and the complimentary shuttle service to Universal Orlando Resort and Walt Disney World. Guests may also take the I-Ride Trolley to shops and attractions along International Drive like Sea World Orlando.
Other amenities at the Sonesta include a fitness center, outdoor heated pool, whirlpool, a small lounge, and a 24-hour convenience store for snacks and drinks. Families can also save time and money with local grocery delivery service right to your room. We love taking advantage of a full-size kitchen on vacation. It saves money and keeps us from eating too much fast food and junk.
Free wireless internet, free parking, on-site laundry, and in-room safes are also available. What the Sonesta lacks in water slides, cabanas, and golf courses, it makes up for with space and convenience.
The Sonesta ES Suites Orlando – International Drive has earned 4.5 stars on TripAdvisor with over two thousand reviews. They also come in at #9 in TripAdvisor’s 2018 ‘Top 25 Hotels for Families — United States‘.
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Things you’ll love: If you value space and comfort over anything else, this may be the hotel for you. Many of Orlando’s attractions are just a walk or shuttle ride away.
Who should book: Families who don’t need or want a complete theme park experience, or families who may have teens and want the extra space without needing to book extra rooms.
These are magical words that will turn an ordinary vacation into an awesome one!
The JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes is one of the best Orlando hotels for kids, and one of the first things you’ll notice (and your kids will notice!) is the lazy river. Families will love soaking up the Florida sun, sipping on cold drinks, and floating away until the sun sets.
Located right next door to the Marriott is the sister property, Ritz-Carlton, so you know there’s more to this resort than a lazy river. Guests will feel pampered by the plush rooms and suites and upscale amenities. Guest rooms also include the typical things like safes, coffee maker, etc.
If you decide to be more ambitious rather than floating around the river all day, guests have access to the pool and fitness center next door at the Ritz-Carlton. Jogging trails, kayaking, volley ball, and guided fly-fishing are some of the other unique activities to enjoy at this resort. If you want to hit the links, the on-site The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Orlando, Grande Lakes is a perfect place to do it. The Marriott charges a resort fee of $35 a day that includes bike rentals, shuttle service to area theme parks, high-speed internet, access to the driving range, floats for the lazy river, and a credit for photography services.
The JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes is only a short drive from the theme parks and popular Orlando attractions (but farther away than some others on this list), but families may prefer its more secluded location away from the other large resort hotels along the interstate.
There are seven dining options at the resort, ranging from Starbucks to farm-to-table cuisine at Whisper Creek Farm: The Kitchen or Italian fine dining at Primo. While you’re out by the pool, enjoy snacks and beverages at Quench, the poolside bar and grill.
The JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes is absolutely one of the best Orlando resorts for families, and has earned a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence along with a 4.5 star-rating from over 3,000 reviewers. This Marriott Property is a Category 8 Marriott Rewards resort.
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Things you’ll love: 500 acres of lush property to relax and play on, and having the Ritz-Carlton as your next door neighbor. The lazy river is a winner for kids.
Who should book: Families who don’t mind being a bit more secluded from the theme parks, and want a luxury resort experience that’s also very kid-friendly.
It seems like each guide we write about includes an Embassy Suites, and Orlando is no exception. With over 2,000 reviews on TripAdvisor and a 4.5-star rating, guests love staying here. With perks like all-suite rooms, complimentary Evening Reception, and free made-to-order breakfast, Embassy Suites is an easy choice for families wanting to stretch their dollars (and just stretch out) on vacation.
This resort goes a little further than other Embassy Suites though (because Orlando!) and offers up some nice perks you may not see at the others like indoor and outdoor swimming pools with dive-in movies, a putting green, fire pits, tennis courts, and fishing docks.
Yes, fishing docks!
Located along the I-4 corridor, the resort is situated right in between Sea World and Universal Orlando to the north and Walt Disney World Resort to the south, making it easy to get to wherever the fun may take you. Once you’re here enjoy a poolside cabana or grab a bite at the Pizza Express/Ice Cream Shop (two of our favorite things!).
Rooms, as you might expect, are spacious and offer a mini fridge, microwave, safe, hair dryer, iron, and table and chairs to sit down and enjoy a meal. Cribs and high chairs are also available. If the theme parks have you exhausted, book a treatment at the spa where they welcome kids, and the entire family can get some relief from sore, tired feet.
The Embassy Suites Orlando – Lake Buena Vista Resort has earned a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, making it one of the best family hotels in Orlando.
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Things you’ll love: Complimentary breakfast and Evening Reception with snacks and drinks can save your family a pretty good chunk on food alone, so take that into consideration, and the spacious rooms are always nice for spreading out after a long day.
Who should book: Families who don’t want to pay the theme park premium for their hotel, but still want to stay at a property that caters to kids and families, and who want to save some money on food costs with a hot breakfast every morning.
For one of the best resorts in Orlando, Florida, look no further than the Orlando World Center Marriott – a sprawling property just down the road from Walt Disney World that’s jam-packed with things families will love. As one of the closest Marriott properties to WDW, families can get to all the fun in a hurry.
So what makes the Orlando World Center Marriott a winner? For starters, the resort boasts four heated swimming pools and a whirlpool. One pool is indoors if you get caught in a Florida summer downpour, another has a splash zone for younger kids to enjoy, and a third has three water slides, two of which are 200 feet tall! This makes the World Center Marriott one of the best waterpark hotels in Orlando, so if that’s important to you, move this right to the top of the list.
Other things kids and families will love are the gaming lounge, arcade, table tennis, volleyball, and kids’ activity center with face painting and LEGOLAND-themed events. Mom and Dad can enjoy some time at the spa while the kids spend some time at Kids World or Kids Night Out, which is why the World Center Marriott really is one of the best Orlando resorts for kids.
This Marriott has an abundance of rooms to choose from to fit your family (2,009!). Standard rooms can sleep four with several types of suites available to give you more room. Many rooms have balconies that overlook the pools – prime viewing for the unique laser show that happens every evening. It’s also a great spot to enjoy the epic Florida sunsets.
Dining options at the resort are plentiful with 10 restaurants and lounges total. Kids will love watching the chefs entertain and cook at Mikado, the resort’s teppan-yaki grill. In our experience, when the hotel has a teppan-yaki grill, we immediately make reservations. So fun!
The resort does charge a $25 per day resort fee, but it covers transportation to Walt Disney World, wi-fi internet, two bottles of water, and a few other things. Other amenities include a mini-fridge, safe, coffee makers, and irons.
Even if Walt Disney World isn’t on your list this time, the hotel is just 10 miles from Universal Orlando Resort. LEGOLAND is also nearby, and Tampa’s Busch Gardens is about an hour away.
The Orlando World Center Marriott has nearly 5,500 reviews on TripAdvisor and a rating of 4.5 stars. If you’d like to use Marriott points for your stay, this is a Category 7 resort at the time of this writing and casts 35,000 points/nt.
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Things you’ll love: Plenty of activities and on-site options to keep you as busy or relaxed as you’d like, and it’s right in the middle of all the theme parks and attractions.
Who should book: Families who don’t need a Disney ‘experience’ but still want a very nice one that’s close enough to pop over to the parks if they want. Also, this is a good use of Marriott rewards if you’ve got ’em.
Since 1971, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort has been enchanting guests with its mix of tropical ambiance and abundance of aloha. If you’re looking for a resort that’s close to the Magic Kingdom, offers all the creature comforts you’d expect from an upscale hotel, and has a good dose of tropical flair, look no further than the Polynesian. It’s still one of the best Disney resorts for families.
This resort caters to families and kids of all ages. It’s great for families with younger kids because Disney’s monorail comes right to the hotel. Stops at Epcot, the Magic Kingdom, or other nearby resorts are just a short ride away. Plus, who doesn’t love riding the monorail! This also makes it easy if you’re on the Disney dining plan to quickly get around and make it to your reservations on time.
If you’ve got younger kids who may not handle a full day at the parks, the Polynesian has a front-row seat to the nightly fireworks shows and also the Electrical Water Pageant – no need to fight the crowds in the park for a prime viewing spot. Families can grab a snack (Dole Whip!) and watch in the comfort of the resort (and in your PJs if you want!). These are usually around 9:00 p.m., but be sure to check the schedule here to make sure.
Additionally, kids will love the nightly Luau and tropical feast complete with music, dancing, and a knife show. Reservations can be made 180 days prior to your reservation, so put it on your calendar so you don’t forget. It will sell out!
Other activities include swimming in one of the newly renovated pools with 142 ft. water slide, boat rides around the lake, fishing, campfire activities, and Movies Under the Stars. Kids 3-12 can goof off in Lilo’s Playhouse from 4:30 p.m. until midnight.
Standard rooms are nicely appointed and sleep 5 adults. Club-level rooms add some other perks like turndown service and access to the club lounge serving up snacks and refreshments all day long. If you really want to take your visit to next level, consider booking an over-water bungalow for an unforgettable South Pacific experience. Bungalows sleep 8 and are part of the Disney Vacation Club.
Dining at the resort is a highlight in our opinion. Although we haven’t stayed at the resort (we’ve stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge and Pop Century, as well as off-site) we did make a reservation to dine at Ohana. It was delicious and highly recommended! Several other restaurants and cafes will have you in the aloha spirit in no time.
Another reason to stay here is the Dole Whip.
If you know anything about us, it’s that we can’t get enough Dole Whip, and Disney’s Polynesian Resort is the only place outside of the parks to get it. If you’re on a Disney Dining Plan, these little jewels count as a snack credit, so head over to Pineapple Lanai and get yourself a Dole Whip Float. It may be the best thing you eat your entire vacation!
Complimentary Wi-Fi, transportation around the parks and resorts (by bus, ferry, or monorail), and Disney’s Magical Express are included. Be sure to take advantage of the merchandise drop-off and delivery. It’ll keep your hands free to enjoy your Dole Whip! If you’re looking for one of the best kid friendly hotels in Orlando, the Polynesian will fit the bill.
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Things you’ll love: The tropical theming, tiki torches, and beat of the drums at the Luau will have you thinking you’re in the South Pacific. Proximity to the parks (monorail), on-site Dole Whip, and prime viewing for the nightly fireworks are awesome perks.
Who should book: Families looking for a deluxe stay at Disney and want to be close to the action. The Polynesian resort is perfect for families with young children and older kids alike, as there are activities to keep everyone entertained and happy.
Book early as this is a very popular resort!
Disney is not the only theme park to step up its game and offer on-site luxury to its guests – Universal Orlando offers a great experience for families, and one of the best is at the Loews Portofino Bay Resort. As soon as you arrive, you’ll be transported to beautiful Tuscany with all the color and flair of a true Italian experience. It’s one of the best resort hotels in Orlando, loaded with family-friendly perks.
Loews hotels offer upscale luxury and comfort to families traveling all over the United States, but their resorts here at Universal Resort Orlando go above and beyond what you might find at some of their other properties, and Portofino Bay has a surprise up their sleeve for kids who can’t get enough of Stuart, Dave, and the crew from the movie Despicable Me – Minion Suites!
These 650 sq. ft. rooms offer posh luxury in the living areas and bedrooms that you would expect to find in a Tuscan villa, but the door to the kids’ bedroom is also the entrance to Gru’s laboratory where all the hijinks ensue. The rooms are outfitted with twin beds or a bunk bed, small desk, and wall-to-wall Gru-approved decor. It’s a genius touch, and a place the kids will adore.
Shoot, an adult version wouldn’t be so bad in my opinion…
King or double queen rooms are also available, as well as suites that can accommodate more people. Other amenities include complimentary Wi-Fi, safe, flat screen TV, and coffee maker.
Besides the proximity to the Universal Orlando theme parks, Portofino Bay guests can relax at the swimming pool complete with water slide, sand beach, children’s pool, hot tubs, and cabana rentals. Give bocce ball a go, or enjoy Musica della notte (Music of the Night) out on the piazza every evening.
If the kids and adults want to split up, Portofino Bay offers their Resort Kids’ Camp for kids ages 4-14, which includes games, crafts, movies, and other fun activities. Guests can also enjoy one of the many on-site restaurants (including a gelateria!) or just catch a complimentary shuttle to another restaurant at one of the other resorts or Universal CityWalk for a delicious meal.
Other perks of staying at a Universal Orlando Resort
Last but certainly not least are the additional perks of staying at a Universal Resort. Check these out:
- Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ and Universal’s Volcano Bay™, one hour before the park opens (with valid park admission).
- Complimentary delivery of merchandise purchased throughout the resort to your hotel
- Resort-wide charging privileges with your room key card
- Complimentary water taxis or shuttle buses that take you directly to Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, Volcano Bay and CityWalk™
If you are staying at the more upscale Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel and Loews Royal Pacific Resort, you can enjoy the following perks:
- FREE Universal Express Unlimited (this is a great benefit worth up to $129 per ticket per day)
- Priority seating at select restaurants throughout both theme parks and enjoy first available seating at select Universal Orlando and Universal CityWalk™ restaurants.
Notice these last two – that’s a huge value! When you factor in not waiting in as many hot sweaty lines, that means more time cooling off in the hot afternoons back at the resort, which is an idea we love (and a strategy we fully endorse). Don’t forget to sign up for their loyalty program YourFirst Rewards before you visit so you can earn extra perks!
Related: Check out our Guide to Wizarding Around Universal Orlando Resort. It's full of great tips and our favorite rides, food, and experiences around the parks.
Loews Portofino Bay has earned 4.5 stars on TripAdvisior and has over 4,500 reviews which you can read here.
AftT Quick Take
Things you’ll love: Proximity to Universal Orlando Resort and the included Express passes are great perks. Good dining, posh amenities, and over-the-top Minion suites make this a great choice, even if your time at the parks will be limited.
Who should book: Families wanting the most comfort and convenience possible while visiting Universal Orlando Resort with a good dose of fun the kids will love.
New for 2018 – Disney Springs Hotels
If you’re planning on visiting Walt Disney World Resort during your Orlando vacation, these Disney Springs Hotels offer proximity to the resort and also exclusive Disney benefits once available only to guests staying at the on-property resorts. By staying at one of these locations in 2018, guests receive the following:
- Extra Magic Hours at the parks with a valid admission ticket
- 60-day Fastpass+ with the MyDisney Experience app
- Disney shuttle service every 30 minutes to the parks.
Many of these hotels are bookable on points, making this a good value proposition for families who travel on points and miles. They are also well-reviewed which is why we’ve added them to our list. Click the links below to check the latest prices and reviews on TripAdvisor. For more information about Disney Springs Hotels, click here.
- B Resort and Spa – Lake Buena Vista
- Holiday Inn Orlando – Disney Springs Area
- DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Orlando – Disney Springs Area
- Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace
- Best Western Lake Buena Vista
- Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista
- Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista
Other hotels at Universal Orlando Resort
In addition to the Hard Rock and Portofino Bay resorts, it’s worth mentioning that the other resort properties at Universal are very kid-friendly and good places to stay – even the lower-end properties. We have stayed at Sapphire Falls and will be staying at Cabana Bay this summer (which has a bowling alley!).
If your budget doesn’t allow for the Hard Rock, don’t ignore a stay at a Universal resort altogether – they are all great for families!
Orlando is amazing – make the most of it!
We hope your Orlando vacation is perfect and stress-free, and booking a great hotel will go a long way to that end. Bookmark this guide and use it as a resource as you plan an unforgettable vacation. Who knows, maybe we’ll see you there!
What did we miss? What is your favorite Orlando hotel?
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