Central Florida, the metropolitan area surrounding Orlando, is best known for the Disney World parks, SeaWorld and Universal Studios. Though these attractions are certain kid-pleasers, there’s plenty to do in the nearby area. Pristine beaches, natural parks, sports and delicious dining paired with a spectacular hotel that caters to kids will round out your family trip.
The typical Wyndham Ocean Walk vacation suite has two bedrooms and can sleep four to eight guests. The 1,200-square-foot open floor plan features a breakfast bar that looks into an open kitchen, flanked by dining and living areas. The property provides kid-friendly amenities such as a pool, playground and teen activities lounge. Daily activities include craft-making and pizza movie nights with games. Adjacent Ocean Walk Village offers casual restaurants, shopping and family entertainment. Nearby attractions kids love include the free tour -- and samples -- at the Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory and the Daytona Lagoon water and dry park featuring an arcade, rock wall, laser tag, mini golf and go-kart racing.
Your kids will get warm chocolate chip cookies when you arrive at the Doubletree Guest Suites in Melbourne Beach, moments from the Kennedy Space Center. This hotel is an ideal spot to partner with a kid-friendly cruise departing from nearby Port Canaveral. Sunny guest rooms have yellow walls and bedding with accents in sea tones. Highlights include ultra-comfortable Sweet Dreams beds and private ocean-view balconies. Share a meal at one of two casual restaurants on-site. The oceanfront patio and pool lie between the property’s towering pair of coral towers.
The All-Star Movies, Music and Sports value resorts at Disney World received a 2010 Fodor’s Choice Gold Award for best hotel for kids and families. The three hotels are near Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Rooms at the sports-themed resort pay homage to baseball, basketball, football, surfing and tennis. The Grand Slam Pool, one of two at the hotel, is shaped like a baseball diamond with Goofy manning the pitcher’s mound. All-Star resort rooms are just 260 square feet, but the music-themed property offers a larger family suite that sleeps up to six guests. The two pools are shaped like a guitar and grand piano. The movie-themed resort features decor in the style of Disney classics such as "Fantasia" and "Toy Story." Food delivery includes pizza, sandwiches and desserts, and Disney character appearances and coordinated kids events occur daily.
Frommer's calls the Nickelodeon Suites Resort by Holiday Inn the best hotel for kids in Orlando outside the Disney resort. One- to three-bedroom suites have multicolored bedding and walls covered in murals of such Nickelodeon characters as Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob SquarePants. The resort has eight casual restaurants and available in-room dining. Kids can have breakfast with Nickelodeon characters, offered from 7 to 11 a.m. daily. Entertainment at the resort includes 4-D movies, a kid spa, an arcade, mini golf, basketball courts and two water parks with seven water slides dropping from a four-story water tower into a 400-gallon tank.
- Sunrise image by Doug Leugers from Fotolia.com