Zebra herd
You'll feel like you're in the wilderness right alongside a herd of zebras at the Animal Kingdom Lodge.
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Pack in the Fun at 6 of the Best Family-Friendly Resorts in Orlando

Great Getaways in the Theme Park Capital of the World

When you think about must-visit locales, a place like Orlando, FL, probably doesn’t cross your mind. Sure, the Sunshine State is an enjoyable enough place. But it lacks the panache of, say, Los Angeles or the historic importance of Washington, D.C., or the cultural grandeur of Chicago.

Don’t sell Orlando short, though. In 2017, it set a record as the first U.S. city to have more than 70 million travelers visit in a calendar year. So what’s the draw? Well, the temperate climate doesn’t hurt. And Orlando also boasts a bevy of world-class attractions, everything from the famous Disney parks to more niche diversions.

Of course, if you want to visit Orlando, you’re going to want a place to stay and not just any place. The Theme Park Capital of the World is chock full of resorts that offer plenty for families. We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorites, everything from themed Orlando family resorts to five-star resorts to budget options. In no particular order, some of the best family resorts in Orlando are…

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Zebras. African-themed food. A massage and fitness center. The Animal Kingdom Lodge (rooms staring at $345 USD) brings the splendor of Africa — or at least a reasonable facsimile — to you in the heart of the Greatest Place on Earth. Families will love the outdoor fire-pits and night vision goggles that let you spy out nocturnal critters.

And that’s before we even get to the kid-specific activities. There’s a 24-hour playground on site, an arcade packed with video games, nighttime showings of Disney films and multiple pools.

The various Disney parks aren’t quite as accessible as other company resorts (it’s about a 10-minute ride by bus to the Magic Kingdom), but the Animal Kingdom Lodge makes up for it by making you feel as though you’re in the middle of the wilderness.

Women looking at the camera on floaties in the swimming poolThe Floridays Resort knows exactly what families are looking for.Photo Credit: Getty Images

Floridays Resort

The centrally located Floridays Resort (rooms starting at $135 USD) seems to understand exactly what traveling families need. Forget tiny hotel rooms — it offers two- or three-room condo units, all with full kitchens. Floridays also provides shuttle service to the most popular parks. And there’s even free WiFi!

However, the managers of the property haven’t forgotten to add in some fun. A Mediterranean-themed resort, Floridays features a gigantic pair of pools, a game room and a fully stocked fitness center.

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Young couple on vacation and shoppingGranted, this resort might be more directed at adults, but there's still plenty to keep kids entertained.Photo Credit: Getty Images

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando

A more chic take on the resort concept, the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel (rooms starting at $339 USD) admittedly tilts more toward adults than children. Styled after a village in Southern Italy, it boasts a spa, nighttime music from the Beautiful Country, lots of onsite shopping, and even quarterly festivals centered around wine and jazz.

Yet the Loews Portofino Bay hasn’t forgotten the importance of keeping the little ones occupied. In addition to the onsite Resort Kids’ Camp, where kids ages 4 to 14 can indulge in arts and crafts, board and video games, movies and various supervised activities, every visitor gets early admission to select Universal Studios attractions and free transportation to Universal parks.

Two cute kids having fun while riding a carousel at an amusement park or carnivalA budget-conscious option, the Art of Animation Resort still offers plenty of great amenities.Photo Credit: Getty Images

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

Though most people think Disney resorts are pricey, you can find still values in Mickey Mouse’s home. Disney’s Art of Animation Resort (rooms starting at $136 USD) is one such value. A newer property (it opened in 2012), it features big splashy graphics from various Disney movies scattered throughout the resort.

You’ll also find three pools, a skeletal elephant from “The Lion King” and free WiFi.

You shouldn’t expect the white-glove treatment, though. The rooms are significantly smaller than other Disney properties, which fits the price. Still, you have easy access to a host of Disney parks.

Golf ball on rough grass fairway on sunsetMake the most of the 45-hole golf course as well as plenty of other adult (and kid, of course) -centric activities on the property. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

Straddling the line between luxury and affordability, the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress (rooms starting at $129 USD) has almost enough activities to be an amusement park in and of itself. This 1,500-acre property boasts a 45-hole golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus, a tennis academy so you can perfect your serve, various hiking trails to explore and a rock climbing wall to monkey around on.

Children won’t feel left out either, not with Camp Hyatt, a kid-centric weekend camp for tykes ages 3 to 12. They’ll get to enjoy roasting marshmallows, partaking in scavenger hunts and assembling various crafts. The resort is minutes from various Disney parks, and you can even plan day trips to attractions such as LEGOLAND or Kennedy Space Center.

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Cheerful young man enjoying a water slideThe Orlando World Center Marriott has one of the world's coolest water slides for all the members of your family to enjoy.Photo Credit: Getty Images

Orlando World Center Marriott

You won’t need to sell little ones on staying at the Orlando World Center Marriott (rooms starting at $152 USD). There’s a mini water park on the grounds that ABC News dubbed one of the world’s coolest water slides.

The G.R.I.D area (aka Gaming Recreational Interactive Destination) has electronic diversions for young screen fiends. What’s more, the brave reptile handlers from Gatorland have also been known to put on shows.

With the kids occupied, parents can enjoy a little rest and relaxation. There’s golf, a 4,000-square-foot fitness center, spa and fine dining.

As you can tell, finding the best Orlando resorts for families is no difficult task. Armed with these resorts and an itinerary to match, you and your clan can have a great time in The City Beautiful.

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