Word on the street is that even Mickey Mouse has an offsite pad to get away from the hustle of Disney World from time to time. For us travelers, there are wonderful options outside of the park area that allow you to relax after an exciting day at Walt Disney World.
1. The Villas of Grand Cypress | $$
Pure bliss is how I would describe this resort-style retreat that sprawls over 1,500 acres. You’ll feel like you’re in a whole different place when you see the two pools (with waterfalls!) and accompanying spa tubs. That’s enough for me, but guests can also take advantage of tennis and basketball courts, a rock climbing wall, golf, fishing, and a fitness center. It’s Florida, so of course the golf course is gorgeous and highly reviewed.
One of the best things about The Villas is that it has a mature feel while being completely family friendly. After a full day at a park designed to bring out the kid in everyone, it’s nice to feel the calm of adult relaxation.
As for convenience, there are free shuttles to park destinations and shopping centers around town. Guests can also use complimentary bicycles to explore!
2. Holiday Inn Resort Orlando Suites – Waterpark | $
Remember that “mature feel” I was talking about? Forget it here. This Holiday Inn Resort is a former Nickelodeon creation, the feel of which has been preserved under new ownership – namely the large orange and yellow water park/playground that’s the centerpiece of the complex.
Your kids will love you for staying here (though, they are already going to Disney so, how much more love can they give?). Parents are equally appreciative, given the myriad of activities available to keep kids entertained (read: occupied) the entire time, including a 4D theater, live shows, and an arcade. Even you’ll be entertained. If there’s ever a moment when you can’t handle kid-stuff anymore, head to the adults only Hideaway Lounge for drinks and small eats. I’ll be there all night (just kidding, I’ll be at Disney World, aka my spirit place).
Overall, this is a great family-oriented option at very reasonable prices. And, let’s be honest, the Nickelodeon kid in you has always wanted to stay here.
3. Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort | $$$
This has all the feel of a classic Florida resort with sprinklings of Disney magic. The magic namely comes across at the whopping four pools accessible to guests, one of which features a crazy pirate shipwreck theme (done in a classy way). There’s also a very lazy river type tube pool that’s situated right by the water. That’s right – the resort has it’s own little body of water as the centerpiece.
This place is big. Its condo-style rooms are spread across several towers, so it effectively feels like a private residential community. Some may appreciate the privacy, while others may not be excited about having a long walk (or having to drive) to the on-grounds store and restaurant, depending on which tower you’re in. It all depends on your style. The benefit of the condo style is it is great for families and offers much more privacy than a typical hotel.
4. Waldorf Astoria Orlando | $$
When you think Disney, the old-world luxury of Waldorf Astoria certainly doesn’t come to mind. However, I refreshed my browser several times when I checked prices for this particular Waldorf, which are surprisingly reasonable for the esteemed brand of resorts and hotels. That, paired with the beauty and amenities of the rooms and facilities make it highly worth considering paying a little more for the Waldorf experience.
You’ll also be relieved to know that out of all the resorts listed, you’ll be safest here in a food famine with 12 restaurants and 2 cafes on site. Seriously, how is that necessary? Just remember not to fill-up too much at breakfast before heading out for a day of roller coaster rides.
Speaking of which, there are rooms available with a distant but recognizable view of Disney. That way while you’re enthralled with the mahogany, gold, and black marble appointments of your room you still won’t completely forget why you came here in the first place.
5. Four Seasons Resort Orlando | $$$$
Okay - most people (myself included) are not actually staying here. I’ve taken entire trips for less than the cost of one night here. But, then again, Disney is the place where dreams come true so, why not?
This Four Seasons (as all of them usually are) is a literal dream. You’ll have to pinch yourself daily when you look out on the grounds situated among lakes and gardens (and, of course, a top-notch golf course). The multiple pools, to no one’s surprise, are not just holes in the ground filled with water. They are mini oases. Their fitness center, health club, and fitness programming are all really good and worth mentioning, which says a lot for most hotels.
I do not recommend this Four Seasons if you’re planning to go to Disney, because you will never actually make it to the park. As soon as you enter the Four Seasons you become lost in a paradise absent of time, space, and any awareness of the outside world. Sure, they offer guests early park access and shuttles, but you will convince yourself (and try to convince the children) those services don’t exist just to spend one more waking minute in pure luxury.
Which one of these places would you stay at on your trip to Disney? Let me know in the comments!
Walt Disney World is one of my favorite places. Need some help planning your next Disney trip? My custom itineraries come with daily park schedules so you can hit all the rides you want and wait in line as little as possible. Click here to learn more!