Orlando, Florida is a great family vacation destination. Theme parks, great weather, swimming pools, and proximity to both the ocean and gulf put this city on the top of many family vacation lists. Orlando also boasts a lot of family-friendly resorts, but which one’s are the best? It was hard to pick just five – but here is what the Key to the World Travel® Advisors picked as their top choices. Let’s see if our list matches up with yours!
Number 5 – Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort
Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort, one of Universal Orlando’s Prime Value Hotels, has a retro feel with iconic architecture inspired by classic Florida beach resorts of the 1950s and 60s. This resort features two restaurants, the Bayliner Diner, and Galaxy Bowl Restaurant, which both offer American cuisine, and two poolside bars called the Atomic Tonic and the Hideaway Bar and Grille. There is also a full-service Starbucks and the Swizzle Lounge bar in the lobby.
For entertainment, Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort has two outdoor pools, a lazy river, fitness center, and a bowling alley! These fun amenities are sure to keep the family happy when they are not at parks!
When you are looking for room to spread out, Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort does not disappoint. In addition to standard rooms, the resort features family suites with 430 square feet of living area, two queen beds and a pull-out sofa, plus a sliding privacy partition and a compartmentalized bathroom so 3 people can get ready at once. These suites also feature a kitchenette with a mini-refrigerator, microwave and sink so you can enjoy a quick breakfast, snack or a light bite to eat whenever you like. And that retro-vibe continues here – with bright décor and mid-century inspired toiletries!
Guests staying at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort enjoy Early Park Admission* to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ and Universal’s Volcano Bay™ one hour before the park opens (valid theme park admission required). There is also a private walking path to Universal’s Volcano Bay Water Theme Park.
Number 4 – Disney’s Beach Club Resort
Nothing says family fun like a resort swimming pool. And Stormalong Bay is less hotel pool and more beachside water park! With 3 acres of fun for the whole family, Guests of the resort can climb on board a life-sized shipwreck replica and slide down a whopping 230-foot tube, float your way around the lazy river, catch a current in the sand-bottomed pool, hit one of the 3 hot tubs, relax in one of the secluded coves, or just work on your tan on the elevated deck. Kids have their own waterslide in Shipwreck pool and have lots of fun playing on the sandy beach.
But the pool is not the only reason Disney’s Beach Club Resort made our list. It is also located right in between two wonderful theme parks – Epcot, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios – and connected via sidewalk to Disney’s BoardWalkInn and The Swan and Dolphin Resorts. Guests can rent a surrey bike at Disney’s BoardWalkInn and go for an evening ride. There are some great restaurants at the hotel, including character dining at the Cape May Café, and a wonderful selection of icy treats at Beaches & Cream. Kids can also live out their own pirate adventure, with fun on the Albatross Treasure Cruise
Disney’s Beach Club Resort offers a selection of accommodations from standard rooms that sleep up to 5 (plus an infant), concierge-level rooms that offer the added bonus of having a dedicated club room with snacks and beverages. Disney’s Beach Club Villas, which are part of the Disney Vacation Club, offer studio, one- and two-bedroom options.
Number 3 – Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
“Goin’ down the bayou, goin’ down the bayou
Goin’ down the bayou, takin’ you all the way!”
From stately mansions with princess-themed room décor to quaint backwoods cottages, this family-friendly Disney Resort hotel brings to mind the casual charm of a bygone era down on the bayou and brings to mind a little Disney animated film called Princess and the Frog. Disney’s Port Orleans Resort– Riverside is a moderate resort located near the Disney Spring area. Guests staying at the resort can hop on a watercraft, and be down at the shopping area in just a short time, which is a very pleasant way to travel! This beautiful and relaxing resort is just busting with southern hospitality and lots of activities for the whole family to enjoy.
They offer horse-drawn carriage rides, bike, and surrey-bike rentals, campfires, movies under the stars, and you can even rent an old-fashioned fishing pole as part of a guided catch-and-release excursion from the Riverside Levee Marina. And then there is Ol’ Man Island – a fun water zone complete with a fun water slide. Disney’s Port Orleans Resort– Riverside connects to its sister resort Disney’s Port Orleans Resort– French Quarter, so guests can also take advantage of their activities and amenities as well.
Port Orleans Resort– Riverside has several different room types, some with guaranteed 5thsleeper accommodations, ones with Princess-inspired décor, and even dog-friendly accommodations so you don’t have to leave part of your family at home without you. Room types also vary by the view, and proximity to amenities. Your Key to the World Travel® advisor can discuss all of the different options with you.
Number 2 – Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Imagine waking up to see a heard of giraffe’s wandering outside your doorstep. That is what happens each day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge! Inspired by the traditional African kraal, the horseshoe-curved design provides spectacular views of 4 lush savannas that over 200 hoofed animals and birds call home. In addition, the resort offers daily animal programs and boasts one of the largest collections of African art in the United States. It truly feels like you are on an African safari!
Escape to an 11,000-square-foot pool with an exciting waterslide and gently sloping, zero-depth entry point similar to that of a natural watering hole. Surrounded by large canopy trees and Floridian palms, Uzima Pool is 11,000-square-feet of fun with a waterslide and gently sloping, zero-depth entry point similar to that of a natural watering hole. This pool area also includes a children’s wading pool and 2 whirlpool spas.
From pool bars to inventive African-Inspired fine dining establishments, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge has something for everyone. Families will especially enjoy the quick-service restaurant called The Mara, and breakfast at Boma – Flavors of Africa. Try the French Toast Bread Pudding – you will not regret it!
Room types at this resort range in size from standard to 2-bedroom suites, and even include options with bunk beds! Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas– Jambo House and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village, which are both part of the Disney Vacation Club, offer studio, one, two- and three-bedroom options.
Number 1 – Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
As a guest at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, you are immersed in the storytelling that only Disney and Pixar can deliver, and that makes it our number 1 family-friendly resort in Orlando! There are four different sections to this resort – Cars, Finding Nemo, Lion King, and The Little Mermaid– each with larger than life décor and room decorations representing the films. Three of the sections also have a fantastic themed swimming pool as well.
After spending some time on Route 66 with life-size characters from the movie Cars, you will want to pull in to the Cozy Cone Pool for some rest and relaxation! The Big Blue Pool, located in the Finding Nemo section of the resort is the largest hotel pool in all of Walt Disney World® Resort. Inspired by the Disney•Pixar hit, this huge, zero-entry pool contains over 308,527 gallons, larger-than-life-size characters from the movie, and there are even underwater speakers blasting out your favorite tunes! If mermaids are more your style, you can make a splash at the Flippin’ Fins Pool, located in The Little Mermaid section of the resort! This 103,642-gallon pool features the “Under the Sea Orchestra” conducted by Sebastian along with other popular characters from the film.
Families were at the forefront of the architects’ minds when they designed this resort. Three of the sections – Cars, Finding Nemo, and Lion King – feature family suites with a separate bedroom for the parents, a pull out sofa and Murphy bed for the kids, a kitchenette, and two full bathrooms, so everyone has room to spread out. The standard rooms in The Little Mermaid all have two full beds and one bathroom.
So there you have it, the top Best Family-Friendly Resorts in Orlando as chosen by Key to the World Travel® advisors. How did our list line up with yours?
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