If your budget gets happy with free stuff, and swimming and sliding are among your family's top vacation desires, this colorful resort with its on-property, 14-slide, four-pool water park could be the perfect destination. Rooms have refrigerators, work desks, and 37-inch flat-screen TVs. Kids eat free at the restaurants, which serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. An arcade, fitness center, and children's play area add to the cruise-ship feel, and Wi-Fi, parking, and theme park shuttles are free.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The resort has a substantial daily resort fee, so the free stuff isn’t exactly free. The fee does include four tickets to the water park per room per day, or eight tickets for a family room.
Crisp white duvets against brightly painted walls give these rooms the look of a more expensive lodging. A variety of sleeping arrangements, from two double beds to a family suite ensure that families have sufficient space. Rooms have refrigerators, work desks, and 37-inch flat-screen TVs.
YOU SHOULD KNOW While a room beside the pool is normally a plus, think twice in this busy water park resort. The noise levels (music and kids playing) and humidity next to pools can be intrusive. The resort is in the process of changing out carpets for new vinyl flooring, ensuring some relief from the musty odor of wet carpeting.
Bathrooms are standard vanity/tub/shower setups.
The bright colors so prominent in the rest of the resort are subdued in the lobby. Well lit, and set up to process guests as quickly as possible, the space is simply a transit area to the water park, which is where everyone wants to be.
Coco Key has four heated pools with lifeguards: one reserved for adults, one for teens, one for toddlers, and a 54,000 sq. ft. canopy-covered pool where families can relax without fear of sunburn or rain. The water park has 14 brightly colored water slides, including ones with names like Boomerango and the Cyclone. Some of the slippery slopes are toddler friendly; others are wild enough to have height restrictions.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The water park closes some days in winter, and can become exceedingly crowded and noisy in summer.
Well equipped fitness center for those who don't get enough cardio in the pool or on the slides.
Three eateries on premises, one of which, Tradewinds, is a buffet offering breakfast and dinner. The others offer fast food and pizza. Kids eat free.
While the kids are screaming in delight at the water slides, parents can relax poolside at the Wet Rooster Bar. Sophisticated? Not a chance. But service is great, and drinks make the noise more interesting.
Located right in the middle of the busiest part of International Drive, this lodging is on the I-Ride Trolley line that takes you from one end of the busy tourist strip to the other for a nominal fee. Complimentary scheduled shuttle service takes guests to Universal Orlando, SeaWorld, and Aquatica, and for a fee, to Disney World. Public buses also run nearby. If you drive, parking at the hotel is free.
International Drive offers a wide choice of restaurants and bars, many within walking distance, or a short Trolley ride away. If you need a change from the hotel fast-food fare, Chilis and China Jade Buffet Mongolian Barbecue are only minutes away. If you are looking for something more substantial, the Rosen Inn International next door has a Kobe Steak House. For an after-swim ice cream treat, head for either Baskin Robbins or Edy's Ice Cream outlets, just a few minutes walk away.
If an evening of Latin dancing and live revue shows sounds swell, check out Mango’s, just a few blocks south, where part of the fun is watching the bartenders mix drinks with a Latin flair. Nearby, TGI Fridays is a well-known watering hole, with a nightly happy hour serving beer, wine, and cocktails.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Families on a budget who want to spend as much time as possible swimming and hurtling down water slides, along with lots of great, on-site entertainment, will find this resort the perfect vacation destination.