The Orlando area is overflowing with family-oriented venues. While the on-property resorts at Disney World are well known for their family-friendly features, you don’t need to stay at a Disney hotel to get many of the same benefits. Properties in the surrounding area have jumped at the chance to attract families visiting Orlando for a magical theme park vacation and provide a variety of special touches to make kids and adults feel welcome.
Universal Orlando Resorts
Universal Studios Orlando has three resorts, all of which are recipients of the AAA four-diamond reward. Loews Portofino Bay Hotel and Loews Royal Pacific Resort offer Kid Suites that consist of a private bedroom for parents connected to a themed bedroom for kids. Kids’ rooms don’t have access to the hall, so little ones must pass through the parents’ room to get out. At the Portofino Bay Hotel, Kid Suites have a Dr. Seuss theme, while those at the Royal Pacific Resort are themed after Jurassic Park. Amenities throughout these resorts include gourmet coffee and teas, 32-inch flat-screen televisions and refreshment pantries. The Portofino Bay Hotel also provides bathrobes and daily newspapers. Families with older children may prefer the Hard Rock Hotel where visitors are surrounded by classic rock 'n roll memorabilia. In the evening, families can catch an outdoor movie beside the pool. Amenities at the Hard Rock Hotel include iPod clock radios, gourmet coffee and teas, a refreshment pantry, and an in-room safe.
Fans of Nickelodean characters will enjoy the immersive experience of a stay at the Nickelodeon Hotel. The resort encompasses two water parks, a theater, a 4-D Experience show, multiple shopping and dining options, and an arcade. Nickelodeon characters appear for meet and greets at the Nicktoons Cafe character breakfast. All accommodations at this hotel are suites with one to three bedrooms as well as a kitchen or kitchenette. Amenities include high-speed Internet, premium cable and an in-suite safe. Transportation is provided by bus to all four of the Walt Disney World theme parks.
Grand Lake Orlando
The Grand Lakes property houses both the Ritz-Carlton Resort and the JW Marriott. At the Ritz-Carleton, children are greeted with a special check-in desk that provides a special welcome bag for young visitors. Kids' programs are offered for guests between the ages of 5 and 12, so Mom and Dad can get away while children enjoy supervised entertainment. Families can take advantage of kids' suites that provide children with a separate room with toys and pint-sized furniture. At the JW Marriott, kids can enjoy a lazy river spanning 24,000 square feet. Both hotels have a library of family-friendly books and movies. Room service and restaurants on property provide a complete kid’s menu. Amenities at both hotels include plush bathrobes, in-room safes and 32-inch flat-screen televisions.
Marriott World Center
At the Marriott World Center, families can enjoy everything from water slides and wading pools to golf programs for kids. Limbo contests, scavenger hunts, hula hooping and face painting are provided as well. Amenities include an alarm clock with an iPod dock, weekday newspapers, and Bath and Body Works soaps and lotions. Some of the resort’s rooms provide a view of the Disney parks, so you can watch the nightly fireworks displays right from your balcony. Transportation to the Disney parks can be arranged for a fee.
- Frommer’s Walt Disney World and Orlando 2010; Laura Miller; 2009
- Fodor’s Walt Disney World with Kids 2010: with Universal and SeaWorld; Kim Wright Wiley; 2009
- Moon Walt Disney World and Orlando: Including Daytona Beach and The Space Coast; Laura Reiley; 2007