This big, all-suites pink palace, on 53 tropical acres just 10 minutes from Disney, melds luxurious decor, family-friendly ingredients, and business-traveler amenities with an affordable price. Huge meeting rooms attract corporate conferences, but families are catered to with a separate tower of suites and a children's recreation area. The main pool has a 65-foot slide, interactive water-play area, and waterfalls. Guests can rent cushy cabanas, use the on-site spa, play tennis or basketball or rent a bike.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The resort fee of $23 a night pays for WiFi, fitness center access, shuttle services and more.
Suites and two-bedroom villas offer generous space for families, and have fully equipped kitchens with refrigerator and stove. Decorated in neutral tones, with green and turquoise upholstered couches and chairs, traditional wood dressers and armoires, the rooms have flat-screen HDTVs and ergonomic work areas. Some suites have furnished balconies.
Some of the suites have two bathrooms, a plus for a family. Most have bath/shower combinations.
Sun pours through a huge hexagonal skylight into a multilevel lobby, with lots of greenery, couches, and seating areas, and a pleasant, open lounge area.
The resort's big pool has a 65-foot slide, interactive water-play area, cushy cabanas, and waterfalls. Villa guests have a separate pool. Cabana rentals come with free Wi-Fi, two free drinks, and a discount at the spa.
The resort's Island Spa offers the usual massages and body treatments along with nail, waxing, and facial services.
The well-equipped fitness center overlooks the pool, so you can imagine plunging into the turquoise waterfall while you burn off the calories.
The resort has several eateries, but the jewel in the crown is the Venetian Chop House. As its name might suggest, the restaurant offers traditional dining at its award-winning best. Holder of the sought-after AAA 4-Diamond rating for more than a decade, the restaurant serves up steaks, chops, and seafood at a leisurely pace, with impeccable service. Intimate booths allow for romantic dining, but families are also welcome. Other restaurants in the resort are The Tropicale and Java, both serving fairly pedestrian hotel-style food.
The Venetian Chop House is famed for its heavenly souffles.
Two lounges, The Loft Lobby Bar and The Falls Lounge, overlooking the waterfalls in the pool, offer sophisticated spots for cocktails or wine before dinner; cool drinks can be ordered poolside from Calypso's Pool Bar and Grill.
The resort offers guests a wide range of activities in addition to swimming: Basketball, tennis, fishing, biking (you can rent bikes to make use of the mile and a half running and cycling trail).
The resort offers scheduled shuttles to Disney and to the nearby outlet shopping mall. There's little nearby but highways, and not much within walking distance, so if you are interested in exploring, a car or ride-sharing would be necessary.
The resort sits on a busy highway, with little of note within walking distance. A car or ride-share opens up a treasure trove of eating and dining opportunities at Disney Springs, about 10 minutes away. There you can enjoy one of several celebrity-chef owned restaurants, including Morimoto Asia, Raglan Road and Frontera Cocina. Or, in the opposite direction, Pointe Orlando on I-Drive offers equally varied fare, from Copper Canyon Grille to steaks at The Capitol Grill or seafood at The Oceanaire Seafood Grill.
Disney Springs is definitely the place to be for drinks after dark. All of the restaurants have full bars, and a pub crawl can take you from sampling Guinness at Raglan Road, to sipping sake on the roof of Morimoto Asia, or enjoying a julep at Art Smith's Homecomin'. The view from the top floor outdoor bar at Paddlefish takes in the lagoon and all of Disney Springs, along with glimpses of distant fireworks displays from Magic Kingdom and Epcot.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Convenient to Disney World, SeaWorld and Universal, this sprawling resort has enough to do on property to fill any downtime after theme park hopping. Suites and villas offer a family enough space to spread out, and the price is reasonable for the amenities on hand.