PHOTO: Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center

The Best Hotels in Orlando Super Close to Free Entertainment

Jennifer Greenhill-Taylor | January 05, 2018

Orlando vacations can gobble up a budget faster than you can say Mickey, but there are ways to keep the bottom line from eating up an annual salary. Some hotels offer free entertainment, and others have opportunities for free or low-cost fun close by. Here are ten of our favorite lodgings that deliver amusement without decimating the budget.


Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center

Why it made the list

Highlights of the state of Florida are on show for free in the hotel’s 4.5-acre atrium, featuring tropical plants and spring-like ponds with fish, alligators, and turtles. Stroll through areas reminiscent of Saint Augustine, the Everglades, and the Florida Keys, and then take a seat and watch the passersby.

Built to showcase the many faces of Florida, this huge resor Read More


Meliá Orlando Suite Hotel at Celebration

Why it made the list

Celebration, a very strollable community conceived by Disney, offers charming streets lined with the architecture of small- town America, and a farmers’ market at Lakeside Park, and with a wide pathway for wandering around the lake. Traditional holidays are celebrated the old-fashioned way in this town, and in winter, visitors can even experience fake snow falls.

Stylish and comfortable, the Meliá Orlando is human in scale Read More


Avanti Resort

Why it made the list

Smack-dab in the middle of all the activities on International Drive, this resort offers families a home away from home with plenty of amenities at a reasonable price. The I-Ride Trolley offers low-cost transportation from one end of this tourist district to the other, including the entertainment dense Pointe Orlando and the area near the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye.

Amid all the activities on International Drive, this resort Read More


Park Plaza Hotel

Why it made the list

This charming, old-fashioned boutique hotel on Park Avenue in Winter Park is reminiscent of New Orleans, with its fern and plant bedecked balconies overlooking the street. Free amusements can be found from the north end of Park Avenue (Cornell Fine Arts Museum on the campus of Rollins College, the Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Garden, the farmers market on Saturdays) to the south end (galleries, free movies in the park, and the Morse Museum, which often has free evening entry). Strolling Park Avenue with its sidewalk cafes, fascinating gardens, and shops offers a full afternoon of diversions.

Perched above Winter Park's cafe scene, this fern-bedecked v Read More


Aloft Orlando Downtown

Why it made the list

Just steps from the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, the Amway Center, City Hall, and Church Street nightlife, this former utilities building, now an urban hotel, proves that utilitarian, mid-century buildings can be transformed into hip, trendy, and useful spaces. Downtown Orlando offers art galleries, festivals, and Lake Eola, a 43-acre recreational area right in the center of town, where you can picnic by the water, enjoy a free concert at the amphitheater, feed the resident swans or stop by the farmer's market on Sundays.

In the heart of downtown, this hip, urban hotel is steps awa Read More


Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace Disney Springs Area

Why it made the list

This “official Walt Disney World Hotel” is closer to Disney Springs than any of the actual on-property Disney hotels. From some rooms, guests can watch the tethered hot-air balloon rise and lower, and see the boats carrying passengers across the lake. A pedestrian skyway bridge connects the hotel to the entertainment and dining complex, giving guests easy access to hours of free entertainment, including music, street theater, boat rides, and people watching. Kids can visit the Lego Imagination Center, with its free Lego building stations.

Just yards from Disney Springs, this large resort gets kudos Read More

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