My family really enjoys vacationing in Central Florida, and visiting the theme parks is definitely a large part of the appeal. While we often stay on property at Walt Disney World, there are times when we’d prefer to be away from all of the activity. Staying off property is a great way to not only save money, but to decompress at the end of the day. Here are four of the best off-site Orlando hotels for family vacations.
The Renaissance Orlando is as close to “on-site” at SeaWorld as possible, but it’s not owned or operated by SeaWorld. Located directly across the main gate of SeaWorld and near Discovery Cove and Aquatica, the Renaissance is also a popular convention hotel. It’s a great spot for those with little kids – the outdoor water park area is wonderful for children, and the rooms are large and good for families. If you do decide to venture to the other parks, they are a short drive away. The small spa is a nice place to relax if you have some free time, and kids will love the game room.
The Orlando World Center Marriott is the largest branded Marriott in the world, but it’s not too overwhelming. The newly remodeled pool area is one of the nicest I’ve seen, and the 10 different on-site restaurants offer options for every palette. If you do stay at the Orlando World Center Marriott, I’d advise saving at least one day to spend at the hotel – there’s so much to see and do.
The JW Marriott Grande Lakes, which is located adjacent to the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes, is perfect for a family looking for a more luxurious stay. It offers a Greg Norman Signature Golf Course, a Ritz-Carlton spa, a Lazy River, and many top-notch restaurants. It’s also located right on the headwaters of the Everglades, and guests can sign up for a canoe/kayak tour of the waters. The pool area was nice and quiet while I visited, and would be the perfect place to enjoy your afternoon after a morning of visiting the theme parks.
There are so many attractions in Central Florida, but you wouldn’t even need to leave the resort if you stay at the Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee. There’s a small family water park, arcade, spa, and several restaurants. In addition, like the other Gaylord Resorts, popular DreamWorks characters can be seen throughout the resort, and Shrek himself hosts a weekend “Shrek-fast” that families can reserve. Activities include exercise classes and dive-in movies hosted by the DreamWorks characters.
Disclosure: I was a guest of these hotels as part of the Blogging Florida press trip.