Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, specializes in family entertainment. Five theme parks, two water parks, Downtown Disney and ESPN Wide World of Sports are among the attractions. Hotels in all price ranges are near each venue. Most are Disney owned and operated, though not all. All hotels on the property provide free shuttle service to all the theme parks; extra hours in the park are a benefit for guests staying on Disney grounds.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Recognized by "Travel and Leisure" as one of the top 50 hotels for families in 2010, the Animal Kingdom Lodge offers accommodations for families visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the largest animal-themed park in the world. "Conde Nast" touts the Animal Kingdom Lodge as “by far the most interesting Disney-run hotel.” The hotel is set in a wildlife preserve central to 30 species of wildlife, visible from selected areas in the resort. Ideal for children, an 11,000 square foot pool features a 67 foot waterslide. Daily family activities are highlighted by several animal programs, including night vision animal viewing. Two award-winning restaurants offer African cuisine; fast, casual dining at the Mara is on the premises as well.
Animal Kingdom Lodge 2901 Osceola Parkway Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830 407-939-6244 disneyworld.disney.go.com
Disney’s Beach Club Villas
Rated four keys by Gayot, Disney’s Beach Club Villas feature full kitchens and more space than a standard hotel room. The villas are part of the time share program, but are available for rental outside of the program. Situated on a man-made lake, Beach Club Villas offers an abundance of water sports activities, from watercraft rental to swimming pools. Gayot touts Stormalong Bay, one of several water options in the Villas as, “without a doubt the best pool amongst the twenty Disney resorts.” Stormalong Bay, a water park with three acres of water fun, includes a wrecked pirate ship to explore and visitors to the hotel can walk or take a boat to Epcot Center or Hollywood Studios or buses to the other Disney parks. Dining is available at all levels, from formal to beachfront ice cream shops. Villas tend to be priced in the higher range.
Disney Beach Club Villas 1800 Epcot Resorts Blvd. Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830 407-939-6244 disneyworld.disney.go.com
Grand Floridian Resort and Spa
Grand Floridian Resort and Spa located near The Magic Kingdom, is considered Disney’s flagship hotel. Its theme based restaurants features visits from many of the Disney characters and Wonderland tea parties. This hotel offers entertainment and events equally appealing to children and adults. The Grand Floridian, done in the Victorian style, boasts a world-class spa with many massage and spa packages; it is considered by Gayot as one of the world’s best. In addition, the Fodor-rated four star restaurant, Victoria and Albert’s, is considered one of the best in Florida. The formal restaurant features French and International cuisine; jackets are required. Both the hotel and the restaurant are pricey.
Grand Floridian Resort and Spa 4401 Floridian Way Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830 407-939-6244 disneyworld.disney.go.com