Fodor's Expert Review Holiday Inn Resort Orlando--Waterpark (formerly Nickelodeon Suites Resort)
14500 Continental Gateway, Lake Buena Vista, Florida, 32821, United States See on Map Fodor's Choice
This 24-acre resort is so kid-friendly that you can barely take a step without bumping into cartoon images. The whole place is dedicated to play. Suites have separate kids' rooms with bunk beds and cartoon wall murals. Two giant water-park pools have slide-towers, fountains, climbing nets, and giant tipping buckets, and they are staffed by multiple lifeguards. The resort offers a 4-D movie theater and lots of on-site entertainment. Parents are not forgotten: poolside bars, a food court, Internet connections in rooms, and room service.
YOU SHOULD KNOW A substantial daily resort fee includes shuttle service, poolside entertainment and games, admission for 4 to the on-site water park, and use of the fitness room.
The white painted rooms, with blocks of vivid color, make the most of the space available, and some contain bunk beds for families. The beds have crisp, white duvet-style bedding, and in-room amenities include a 42” HDTV, free Wi-Fi, in-room coffee and tea, a dining area and the option for a full kitchen or kitchenette in the suite. On-site coin-operated laundry facilities reduce the amount of clothing you have to pack.
If you or a family member suffers from allergies, request a carpet-free room.
Basic bathroom set-up with vanity, shower, tub and Bath & Body Works products.
The round lobby has a Jetsons vibe, with spare, modern-style seating, and plenty of check-in space. The adjacent Marketplace features a 4D movie theater, a café, a 3,000 square foot arcade, a Batman Laser Challenge (entry fee) and shopping.
The Lagoon Waterpark features seven slides, jets, whirlpools, and dump tanks, a playground, mini-golf and a basketball court. For a little escape from the poolside frenzy, parents can rent cabanas next to the swimming pool, with towel service, stocked mini-fridge, and comfy furniture.
Treadmills, ellipticals, a stationary bike, free weights and a couple of weight machines are available for use in this relatively small gym space.
The Lakeside Café features casual sit-down dining for breakfast and dinner. Kids under 12 eat free for each paying adult for everything except the breakfast buffet. The Marketplace contains many dining options such as Antonio’s Pizzeria, Subway, and Cravings, a coffee, pastry and ice cream restaurant. The Lagoon Bar & Grill serves up burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, and soda/cocktails beside the pool.
The Hideaway Lounge, a sports bar with TVs, offers respite to adults who just want to grab a quick bite, have a drink and catch the latest game.
The property offers, as part of the resort fee, scheduled shuttles to Disney parks, Universal Studios and SeaWorld, making the option of going car-less quite attractive. Since there is little or nothing within easy walking distance of the property, a car or ride-share service would be necessary to visit anywhere other than theme parks. There is a parking fee if you have a car.
The closest neighborhood for dining is Disney Springs, (10-minute drive) where you can choose from casual eateries to fine dining in celebrity chef restaurants. Choices include the three-story PaddleFish, which serves seafood aboard a three-level paddle-boat; Planet Hollywood, where hamburgers and fries abound; Raglan Road, featuring refined Irish fare and lots of music and dancing; Morimoto’s Asia, an Asian Fusion eatery owned by, and often visited by, famed Japanese chef, Morimoto; and Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ restaurant, showcasing local, Southern food. House of Blues features barbecue, beer and music, and Frontera Cocina, where James Beard Foundation Award winning Chef Rick Bayless offers up traditional Mexican fare.
, or casual
Disney Springs (10-minute drive) offers dozens of places to lift a glass. The rooftop bar at Morimoto's Asia offers high-end sake; Raglan Road's Irish pub pours a mean Guinness; wine connoisseurs can head to Wine Bar George, where a master sommelier dispenses a wide range of domestic and imported wines; and House of Blues is the spot for beer.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Just outside Disney's front door, this lodging is super family oriented, and offers so many activities the kids are bound to be pleased to spend one or two days at the resort instead of a theme park.