Orlando Getaways For Families This Summer

Orlando Getaways For Families This Summer

By Georgina Cruz

With the opening this spring of the new Toy Story Land at Magic Kingdom Park in Walt Disney World, many families are planning a getaway to Orlando this summer. To find the right accommodations in “Theme Park Central” city you don’t need a fairy godmother, just look for properties that offer lodgings –villas, suites and family rooms—with plenty of space to spread out in for all members of the family.

Here are five options for families or groups of friends to consider pre-cruise in Orlando:

Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge (com)

Our last trip to Orlando, our family (six of us) stayed here. It is a deluxe category resort that offers 184 rustically-themed accommodations inspired in the beauty of the Pacific Northwest including studios, one-, two-, three-bedroom villas and waterfront cabins. The studios offer room for up to four guests, while the larger one- and two-bedroom villas and three-bedroom grand villas feature the comforts of home with full kitchens, expanded storage space for belongings and private patios or balconies with scenic views. The 26 waterfront Cascade Cabins feature two-bedrooms and two-baths, sleep up to eight and include a full kitchen, flat-panel televisions, a washer and dryer, a hidden pull-down bed featuring artwork of Chip and Dale, a built-in hot tub on the porch, and an indoor/outdoor fireplace. A free water taxi ride away is Magic Kingdom Park, and the resort offers bus access to other Disney parks and water parks. Resort amenities include a new pool and shared access to Wilderness Lodge facilities. Lodging here and in other Disney resorts offers Extra Magic Hours in Disney parks (extra time in the parks before they open to the general public and after they close to the general public).

The All-Star Music Resort is a value category hotel at Walt Disney World (disneyworld.com) that features rooms and two-bedroom/two-bath Family Suites. The 215 Family Suites sleep six and feature a master bedroom, kitchenette with microwave, coffeemaker and small refrigerator (to save time and money with quick breakfasts, snacks and other meals). We stayed here for one of our family get-togethers and when we did not want to bother with fixing meals – particularly dinners when we returned tired from the parks – we patronized the resort’s Intermission Food Court offering salads, soups, pizzas, burgers, hot dogs, chicken fingers and other popular fare as well as a big screen television showing cartoons to keep the kids entertained during meals. When we called it a day, we had two 27″ flat-screen televisions at our disposal. The resort is located within the Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park resort area and features free bus transportation to Disney parks and attractions.

The Embassy Suites Orlando Airport by Hilton (embassysuitesorlandoairport.com)

is a moderate-price category hotel, practical for families or groups of friends as its accommodations are all suites with bedroom (king-size bed or two queen-size), living area with double sofa-bed, and kitchenette with mini-refrigerator and microwave. Amenities include outdoor swimming pool and spa, fitness room, restaurant, free and bountiful breakfast buffet each morning (one of our family’s favorite features here) and complimentary evening reception.

The Walt Disney World Swan And Dolphin (swandolphin.com).

This is a deluxe two-hotel resort: the Swan is a Westin and the Dolphin is a Sheraton, from which you can walk to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios (or take a free launch to each of those parks, and there is free bus transportation to other Disney parks and attractions). It offers family rooms, which we have enjoyed on several trips, and a variety of suites. Amenities include Westin Heavenly Beds (in the Swan), Mandara Spa, five swimming pools, two health clubs, tennis courts, nearby golf, Extra Magic Hours in Disney Parks and18 restaurants and lounges. Among these is the Garden Grove Café, ideal for families as it features appearances by Disney characters such as the chipmunks Chip and Dale and Pluto at dinner nightly and for breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays. The restaurant has a park-like ambiance and a 25-foot tree adorned with lanterns and lights as its centerpiece. It serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Buffet-style dinners include unlimited prime rib, half roasted chicken and cedar plank salmon, vegetables, soups, salads and desserts –on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays there is a special seafood buffet featuring Maine lobster, snow crab legs and N.Y. strip roast among other dishes.

The Cabana Bay Beach Resort (universalorlando.com)

is a moderate-price category hotel onsite at Universal Orlando. The hotel features retro-style rooms and suites and its architecture and design are inspired by Florida beach resorts of the ‘50s and ‘60s. Family suites have 430 square feet of living space and sleep up to six people with two queen beds and pull-out sofa. A compartmentalized bathroom has a sliding privacy partition so three people can use it at once. The suites also have a kitchenette with mini-refrigerator, microwave and sink. Resort amenities include a food court, two swimming pools, a lazy river, and a bowling alley. Guests here and at other Universal Orlando hotels can enter Universal’s parks an hour before the public and skip the regular lines at popular attractions with the free Universal Express Unlimited.

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