Some say a trip to the Orlando theme parks with kids cannot truly be considered a “vacation.” After all, the word “vacation” suggests leaving your stresses — like long lines, noisy crowds and roller coaster-induced nausea — behind.
It’s possible, however, to enjoy an Orlando family theme park vacation in which you actually relax, have fun and make memories, and return home feeling as rested, or in better shape. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion, looking to treat the kids, or are simply trying to keep your sanity intact while visiting the theme parks, these luxury hotels in Orlando have all the comforts, frills, thrills and escape-routes you need to achieve Orlando family vacation bliss.
Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World
Photo Courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World
Featuring famously attentive service and swanky surroundings just a short luxury coach ride from “the World,” Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World is one of the most celebrated new additions to the luxury resorts in Orlando. From complimentary care for children ages 4 to 12 through Kids for All Seasons to free use of cribs, pool toys, swim diapers and tot-friendly toiletries, the central Florida AAA Five-Diamond resort features all the extra family frills that the luxury chain is known for, in a setting that’s simply fabulous.
At the heart of the property is Explorer Island, a 5-acre family water and recreation playground complete with a zero-entry family pool, multiple waterslides, a lazy river, an interactive splash zone and specially designed entertainment areas for kids and teens. Kids can enjoy a “Magical Moments” princess or pirate makeover at the onsite spa, have family breakfast with Disney characters, board a luxury Four Seasons coach back and forth to Disney theme parks, and return home to an official Disney “in-room celebration.”
Measuring 500 square feet, standard guestrooms are luxuriously appointed and feature modern furnishings and upscale amenities, including marble bathrooms with in-mirror televisions, luxury linens, plush bathrobes and nightly turndown service. Five configurations of family-friendly suites feature multiple bathrooms and range in size from 825 to 1,700 square feet. Connecting rooms are also available.
The Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes Orlando
Photo Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes Orlando
Presenting one of the most prestigious addresses in all of Orlando, along with extensive amenities for children and adults, The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes is truly one of the best luxury hotels in Orlando.
Opened in 2003, the Italian palazzo-inspired property features 582 rooms, including 63 suites and 56 Club Level accommodations. Standard Deluxe rooms (480 square feet) are spacious by Orlando standards and feature oversized marble bathrooms, luxurious linens, plush robes, balconies with a view and nightly turndown service. Club Level guests enjoy exclusive access to a VIP Lounge, featuring an in-house movie theater and five daily food and beverage presentations.
Families can enjoy the onsite adult and children’s pools, or meander over to the famous Lazy River pool at the J.W. Marriott next door, where a fun-filled lineup of activities is planned daily. After a swim, you can rent surrey bikes, join a fish feeding, hang out at the playground or book a parent/child treatment at the spa. Better yet, check the kids into Ritz Kids, which offers free supervised care and organized activities for children ages 4 to 12, while you enjoy some down time. Ritz Kids is complimentary all day for Club Level guests, and for up to two hours per day for regular guests.
Villas at Grand Cypress
Photo Courtesy of Villas at Grand Cypress
Overlooking 45 holes of Jack Nicklaus Signature-designed golf, Villas of Grand Cypress promises a serene setting for golfers, and even offers a junior golf camp. But you don’t have to love golf to love Villas of Grand Cypress. Featuring some of the most spacious luxury accommodations in central Florida, Villas of Grand Cypress Orlando offers a peaceful respite from the theme parks with plenty of pampering opportunities for those who crave coddling.
Family-friendly amenities include access to the fabulous recreational offerings at the adjacent Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, including a rock climbing wall, bicycles, boating and an amazing half-acre, lagoon-style pool with twelve waterfalls, a waterslide tower and a tot-friendly splash zone.
Accommodation options range from 650-square-foot Club Suites to luxuriously spacious one- to four-bedroom golf course villas. Villas are 1,250 square feet to 2,800 square feet and feature modern furnishings and luxurious finishes. If, after a day of fun, you’re too drained to leave your expansive abode, room service and in-suite spa services are available. Complimentary transportation is provided to the Hyatt pool complex and to Disney theme parks. In the event you can’t wait to arrive, you’ll be happy to know there’s a helipad onsite for your convenience.
Waldorf Astoria Orlando
Photo Courtesy of Waldorf Astoria Orlando
Inspired by New York’s landmark Waldorf Astoria hotel and situated on a 482-acre central Florida nature preserve just outside the Walt Disney World gates, Waldorf Astoria Orlando features signature “True Waldorf” service with lots of kid-friendly luxuries. In addition to a tropically landscaped zero-entry pool with cabana service, families can take advantage of an onsite Kids Club for children ages 5 to 12, kid-friendly menu items at all dining venues and free private transportation to Disney’s four Orlando theme parks.
Adjacent to Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort, with which it shares amenities, the 498-room Disney Good Neighbor hotel is a bit more peaceful than its lazy river pool neighbor, but still offers up an admirable lineup of kid-friendly seasonal activities. Summertime features poolside games, GPS scavenger hunts, family golf clinics, derby car races and Gatorland critter visits, while the December holidays bring special and appreciated family offerings, including nightly menorah lightings, royal teas, decorated trees for in-room enjoyment, holiday photos and Mrs. Claus-hosted bedtime stories.
Accommodation options range from 448-square-foot Deluxe guest rooms with marble bathrooms, plush bathrobes and twice-daily housekeeping service to a palatial 2,485-square-foot Presidential Suite.
Waldorf Astoria Orlando’s 171 suites, available in a number of configurations, are well suited to traveling families and offer separate living and dining areas and an “executive kitchenette” featuring the ever-important wine refrigerator.
Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando
Photo Courtesy of Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando
When you’re traveling with kids, two magic words will elevate a stay at this hotel. And that secret phrase, dear parents, is “Club Level.” The most upscale of Universal Orlando’s four onsite properties, the Italian-themed Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando transports guests to the Italian Riviera, with European-inspired d?cor, outdoor cafes, nightly opera music and a scenic location overlooking a manmade waterway. A family Beach Pool with a Roman aqueduct waterslide, onsite kids club for ages 4 to 14 and a multitude of restaurants please families plenty, but the real luxury here is convenience in the form of exclusive front-of-the-line Universal Orlando theme park privileges and access to all-day instant (i.e. kid-calming) nourishment via optional Club Level service.
Family-friendly accommodations include 450-square-foot standard guest rooms, which sleep up to five guests, whimsical 675-square-foot “Despicable Me” themed Kids Suites with “missile” beds and Minion bedding and one- and two-bedroom Portofino Parlor and Villa Parlor Suites (660 to 1,600 square feet.)
Similar to standard rooms, Club Level rooms are also 450 square feet and accommodate up to five guests, but come with enhanced amenities, including nightly turndown service, concierge service and access to the heavenly Club Level Lounge, featuring a games lending library and four daily food and beverage presentations.
The daily rate includes early park admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, complimentary theme park transportation via water taxi or shuttle bus and Universal Express Unlimited passes for all guests, allowing you to breeze through the rides.
Expert photo by TripAdvisor
If your idea of luxury is spreading out in a lavish four-bedroom, four-bathroom home with a private pool, putting green, movie theater, room service and access to all-day entertainment for the kids, Reunion Resort will likely win you over. Perfect for family vacations and group gatherings, the resort offers over 360 accommodations, including 96 hotel suites and an extensive inventory of spacious villas and multi-bedroom homes.
The 10-year-old Salamander Hotels & Resorts central Florida property is known for legendary golf, but almost as celebrated is its 5-acre, tropically landscaped waterpark-style pool featuring a 1,000-foot lazy river. When parents need a break, Kids Crew, a supervised activities program for children ages 4 to 10 is on-hand, with half-day and full-day options.
Families who want to get out on the greens can tee off on three championship courses, sign the kids up for Annika Sorenstam’s Junior Golf Academy, or play a round of “foot golf,” a new combination golf/soccer game that everyone will get a “kick” out of. If you’re compelled to leave this peaceful oasis for a day of theme park fun, Walt Disney World Resort is just 6 miles away.
Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek
Photo Courtesy of a TripAdvisor Traveler/ken s
Overlooking a private 10-acre lake and less than five minutes from the Walt Disney World theme parks, Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek offers a wealth of family-friendly amenities in a location that’s ultra-convenient. Opened in October, 2011, the 400-room AAA Four Diamond resort is relatively new on the Disney neighborhood luxury scene. Highlights for the kids include a zero-entry lagoon style pool with a pirate ship slide, cabanas, a splash zone and a game room. Parents will appreciate access to a full-service spa with outdoor treatment rooms, five dining options, complimentary Disney theme park shuttles and convenient 24-hour room service.
Standard guestrooms are 400 square feet, sleep four and feature plush bedding and luxury-level amenities. Several special sleeping configurations are available for families, including bunk bed rooms that sleep up to six and VIP-worthy suites that are so expansive, you might forget the kids are with you.
Guests enjoy use of facilities at the Wyndham Grand Bonnet Creek resort next door, including six pools, miniature golf and two lazy rivers. If you want to bring your pet with you to help lap up the luxury, note that there are some guidelines. Family pets under 25 pounds are welcome for a fee, as long as they are supervised in-room by an owner.
Note: Don’t make the mistake of confusing this resort with properties with similar names. This luxury resort is not a timeshare, nor is it situated in Downtown Disney.
Omni Orlando Resort at Championsgate
Photo Courtesy of Omni Orlando Resort at Championsgate
Just when we thought there couldn’t possibly be another golf resort in central Florida that does a great job of catering to families, Omni Orlando Resort at Championsgate arrived on the scene. Making its debut in 2004, the luxury property is a bit removed from the theme parks, and that’s what makes it especially attractive for escapees. Two Greg Norman-designed championship golf courses lend Championsgate its name, but it’s the family-friendly features that earn the property champion status in our book.
Two heated pools, including a zero-entry family pool with a winding waterslide and an 850-foot lazy river, will keep the kids entertained from morning to night. Camp Omni offers evening programs from 5 to 10 p.m. nightly for kids ages 4 to 12, and the Omni spa is open until 6 or 7 p.m., depending on the day of the week. While the kids play, parents can enjoy a blissful hour of demand-free pampering, order room service (available 24 hours) or have a quiet moment for two at one of seven food and beverage outlets. See what we mean about luxury?
Standard and suite accommodations are located in the 16-story main hotel tower, while spacious two-and three-bedroom villas are situated just adjacent and feature convenient parking and dedicated concierge service. Complimentary shuttle service to Walt Disney World theme parks is available with an advance reservation.
Orlando World Center Marriott Resort
Photo Courtesy of Orlando World Center Marriott Resort
Known for its marvelous kid-friendly pool complex, as a popular convention site and as the Spring Training home base for the Atlanta Braves, Orlando World Center Marriott Resort appeals to a variety of faithful fans. Less than 2 miles from the Magic Kingdom (shuttle service is provided), the sprawling 200-plus acre, 1,883-room, 221-suite resort features ten dining outlets, a championship golf course and a full-service spa.
Beyond easy access to Mickey’s “World,” the World Center’s main draw for families is its newly redesigned tropical water play complex, featuring a zero-entry Kids Splash Zone with fountains, bubblers, water cannons and a mini-waterslide and the “Falls Pool Oasis,” which lures more experienced swimmers with multiple waterfalls and two high-speed waterslides. If it rains, no worries — the property also features an indoor pool. Nearby, there’s a game room, as well as “Kid’s World” kids club, which offers all-day and half-day supervised play for children ages 4 to 12.
Standard guestrooms at the Orlando World Center Marriott Resort sleep up to four and are 425 square feet, with plush bedding and 24-hour room service. For larger families, connecting rooms are available. For those with deeper pockets, suites that connect with guestrooms offer more space and some added luxuries like kitchenettes and balconies with water and fireworks views.
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