By Sarah Sekula
Don't let family vacation time intimidate you; travel with the whole crew and stay at a family friendly hotel in Orlando. Looking to spend time in the company of your kids or relatives without sacrificing privacy with your spouse? Try the Vista Cay Resort Orlando or the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando. As you drink in the skyline and the city's sights and sounds, let the whole family create and share the memories from your visit to Orlando. Family friendly hotels can help remove some of the stress of a group trip so you can focus on time with your loved ones.
The Westgate Lake Resort and Spa is a wonderful option for both kids and adults. Check out their tennis, basketball and volleyball courts or pick up a round of putt putt golf on the miniature golf course. Grab a couple bicycles to glide around the property or hit up the action packed game room. After all of that activity it is a good thing children under 10 eat free per adult entree. There are plenty of adult activities also, including lounging in the Serenity Spa by Westgate, enjoying one of the seven outdoor pools or gathering with friends at the Westgate Smokehouse Grill for a bite. Hop into an adult ping pong tournament, sign up for a sunrise kayak or rent a fishing pool for a few hours.
For a real win with the kids book a room at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Where else can kids see animals out of their window? Or watch your kids smile as they lounge in the lazy river at Disney’s Beach Club Resort.
10 Disney's Beach Club Resort
This New England-style resort is surrounded by beautiful gardens, a white-sand beach and a stunning lake. There is no shortage of family activities on this property, choose from renting a watercraft, catch-and-release fishing or floating through the lazy river. For a work out hop over to the Ship Shape Health Club, open 24-hours a day and offering saunas, steam rooms and message therapy or climb up to the elevated tanning deck for a little sun.
9 Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center
This dynamic hotel located just minutes from Walt Disney World brings the outside in -- literally. Their signature atriums and indoor gardens recreate some of the environmental scenes the state of Florida is known for, making it easy for you to "visit" the Everglades, St. Augustine and Key West. But don't let the outdoors theme fool you; this hotel brings class and modern amenities to the table. Besides the four-and-a-half acres of gardens, the hotel offers an array of fine dining options like sushi at Sora, Italian at Villa de Flora or steak at Old Hickory Steakhouse. With over 1,400 guestrooms, the Gaylord Palms has something for everyone -- Ralache Spa, a South Beach-style pool, its own retail street with boutiques and an in-room child care service. TIP: If you can plan it, come in the winter to experience ICE! And the other holiday d--cor and events the hotel offers.
8 Nickelodeon Suites Resort
Sea World, Walt Disney World, Downtown Disney, Universal Studios, Epcot Center, and the Orange County Convention Center are all within easy reach of the Nickelodeon Suites Resort, giving visitors a wide variety of choices without wasting much travel time. Orlando is approximately 40 minutes' drive from the ocean, for those who wish to get out farther and explore the beaches that Florida is famous for. The Orlando International Airport is a short shuttle ride from the Nickelodeon Suites Resort, and area transport is easy to arrange from your room or the lobby. Car parking is available at no charge. The Nickelodeon Suites Resort offers two suite options to guests, with separate living and sleeping quarters for one, two, and three bedroom suites. Kid's rooms are splashed with color and equipped with gaming consoles. There are many water features and gaming areas at the Nickelodeon Suites Resort, as well a huge arcade. Kid's areas, spa treatments, many meal options in the food court, and after hours childcare are available as well.
7 Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando
The Royal Pacific Resort Universal is in close proximity to some of the nation's most exciting attractions, including Universal Studios, the Magic Kingdom, Epcot Center, Animal Kingdom, Sea World, and Silver Springs. Guests of the hotel will enjoy many amenities, including special benefits at Universal Studios, such as priority seating at restaurants and the ability to bypass long lines. The hotel also features an outdoor swimming pool, a poolside bar and grill, a restaurant, a children's club, and a weekly luau. A very pet friendly hotel, the Royal Pacific charges a simple fee of US$ 25 per stay for guests with furry family members.
6 Hyatt Regency Orlando
This new Hyatt -- formerly the Peabody Orlando -- sits practically (if elegantly) on top of the Orange County Convention Center; it's located directly across the street from its main entrance. More than 1,600 guest rooms and roughly 300,000 square feet of meeting and event space make it an attractive home base away from the trade show floor, as do its three swimming pools, 22,000-square-foot spa and sumptuous dining and lounging options, Rocks, Fiorenzo Italian Steakhouse and Napa among them. The latter's farm-to-table California-inspired dining is lauded, drawing locals as often as visitors with its inspired offerings. The 24-hour B Line Diner makes mom's cooking available any hour of the day or night -- convenient for trips with long-running meetings and other business engagements. Each guest room includes premium-cable and network TV, a television embedded in the bathroom mirror, wireless internet, luxurious bath robe and the wonderfully soft Peabody Dream Bed. The property offers numerous dining options ranging from the quick breakfast spots to lavish dinner reservations. Lastly, ensure you get a peek at the March of the Peabody Ducks promptly at 11am and 5 pm daily.
5 Rosen Plaza Hotel
The Rosen Plaza Hotel Orlando is adjacent to the Orange County Convention Center and just minutes from some of Orlando's top attractions including SeaWorld, Aquatica and Universal Studios. Enjoy the heated swimming pool and heated whirlpool spa or work out in the fitness center equipped with "Life Fitness" cardiovascular and exercise machines as well as a full range of free weights. High end amenities are available such as baby sitting, a dry cleaning service, airport shuttle, valet parking, attraction tickets and transportation arranged by guest services. The Rosen Plaza Hotel Orlando offers a tasty range of dining options including Lite Bite, a mini grocery store offering deli sandwiches, snacks and convenience items 24 hours a day or make a reservation at Jack'a Place Restaurant for a juicy prime steak and fresh seafood. And for all of those coffee lovers, Smooth Java proudly brews Starbucks Coffee. This spectacular property is the definition of hospitality, service and value.
4 Vista Cay Resort Orlando
With its high quality rental accommodations, resort style leisure amenities, and superb location, the Vista Cay Resort is the first choice for many of Orlando's repeat visitors. This exciting resort is situated just off International Drive on Universal Boulevard in the heart of the Orlando tourist area with the Orlando Convention Center within easy walking distance. A stunningly attractive Tuscan-themed gated community, it is set in over 1,500 landscaped tropical acres adjacent to beautiful Lake Cay, near enough to the action and yet far enough away to offer peace, quiet and a more refined and relaxed stay for visitors to Orlando. Pets are welcome at the Vista Cay Resort, with no additional fees.
3 Disney All Star Movies Resort Lake Buena Vista
One of Walt Disney World resort's most scenic and popular destinations is home to this Lake Buena Vista accommodation, and this location offers many advantages to both the working and the pleasure tourist. The city is just minutes from the Disney All Star Movies Resort Lake Buena Vista, which means that all those who are forced to work while in town are afforded a very short commute to the Orange County Convention Center and the downtown corporate and financial districts. Other nearby amusements include many world class golf courses, Downtown Disney for shopping, nightlife, and dining, and further tours toward Universal Studios, MGM Studios, and SeaWorld. Guests are invited to utilize the onsite car parking at the Disney All Star Movies Resort Lake Buena Vista, and the airport is less than thirty minutes from the property. Guest units at the Disney All Star Movies Resort Lake Buena Vista offer room service, luxury appointments, wireless Internet access, satellite television, and working desks. There are many dining and bar options at the Disney All Star Movies Resort Lake Buena Vista, as well as multiple water features, a fitness center, business and conference facilities, and children's services and activities.
2 Wyndham Orlando Resort
The Wyndham Resort Orlando offers family-friendly services and amenities including a complimentary shuttle to and from Universal Studios and Sea World theme parks. The hotel offers complimentary airport and theme park shuttles to most major attractions. There is a jogging path on property, three swimming pools, and a state of the art fitness center. The Wyndham aims to provide every guest with a stress-free stay by offering amenities such as same-day dry cleaning, valet laundry, and computer rentals. The Wyndham Resort understands that your furry friends are a part of the family, and strives to be as pet friendly as possible, so that you never have to leave them behind.
1 Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas - Kidani Village
As evident by its name, Disney's Animal Kingdom surrounds the Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas - Kidani Village and offers easy access to all that the resort has to offer. The Orange County Convention Center and the bustling downtown business and corporate districts are just a short jaunt from the resort as well, making this a centered and convenient launching point for visitors of all purposes. Nearby attractions include the many golf courses, the shopping and dining at Downtown Disney, Universal Studios, Disney's Magic Kingdom, SeaWorld, and Epcot Center. The Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas - Kidani Village is less than thirty minutes' drive from the airport and offers guest car parking onsite. Guests of the Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas - Kidani Village are afforded wireless Internet access, room service, satellite television, work desks, microwaves and refrigerators, and valet laundry service. There are multiple dining options at the Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas - Kidani Village, as well as ample meeting and business facilities, swimming pools, a fitness center, a spa, and children's activities and play areas.
About Sarah Sekula
When Sarah's not zigzagging around the planet — swimming with sea lions in the Galapagos Islands, scaling glaciers in Iceland or roaming through remote jungles in India — she's writing about her adventures, the environment, fitness, health/wellness, extraordinary people and social injustice issues.
Sarah's written for USA Today, ISLANDS, Sherman’s Travel, Caribbean Travel & Life, Cayman Airways Skies, American Eagle Latitudes, Orlando Sentinel, abcnews.com, Where Orlando, Where First Coast, nileguide.com, tripatlas.com, Upscale and Wild Blue Yonder.
She's also an editor and photographer, and has a strong background in public relations. She has a real knack for rounding up facts, making deadlines, project-juggling, storytelling, and wiggling her ears (which she claims hasn’t come in handy yet).
Read more about Sarah Sekula here.