I’m such a huge fan of the Walt Disney World resort hotels that I got married at one—and held my reception at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. So it’s no wonder that if given the opportunity, I’d opt for a stay on Disney property, where the hotels somehow all feel extra-magical. That said, budget and schedule don’t always allow a Disney stay, so I’m happy to report that there are lots and lots of amazing hotel options just a stone’s throw away from the theme park. Many of these just-slightly-offsite lodgings offer perks, amenities and spectacular deals that would be tough to find anywhere else in the world. You really can’t go wrong with any of the resorts within Disney’s main gates—including the Best Western Lake Buena Vista Resort, the Doubletree Guest Suites Resort, B Resort and Buena Vista Palace. For a truly incredible experience, though, consider one of the options below.
Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center
To call this hotel enormous would be a vast understatement. It’s practically a city unto itself, with 1,291 rooms, 115 suites, six unique restaurants, a coffee shop, a frozen yogurt spot, multiple pools and an upscale spa. With its sprawling convention center, it’s a great place to do business; it’s also perfect for families or couples.
Waldorf Astoria Orlando
This luxurious property is tucked away on the Bonnet Creek Resort enclave, accessible through Disney property. With a swanky pool, a gorgeous Rees Jones-designed golf course, an outstanding spa and the award-winning Bull & Bear restaurant, it offers plenty of opulence. Plus, it’s connected to the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, which has plenty of its own impressive restaurants and amenities.
Orlando World Center Marriott
You can’t miss this soaring hotel, which sits just across the interstate from Walt Disney World. With more than 2,000 rooms and suites, the property includes a pool with a slide tower and a splash park for kids. Dining choices here include a food court, as well as six restaurants—among them the popular Hawk’s Landing Steakhouse & Grille, and Mikado Japanese Steakhouse.
Four Seasons Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort
This brand-new hotel luxury inside the gates of the Walt Disney resort offers two waterslides, a kids’ splash zone, an adults-only pool, an upscale spa, a Tom Fazio golf course, and some of the largest standard hotel rooms in Orlando (at 500 square feet apiece). The rooftop steakhouse, Capa, offers spectacular views of the Magic Kingdom’s fireworks display.
Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin
You can’t get much closer to the theme parks; from these twin hotels, you can even walk to Epcot or Disney’s Hollywood Studios (or take a water taxi, if you’d prefer). The resort features a pool with a tropical grotto, two lap pools, four whirlpools and a white sand beach among other amenities. It's also home to Todd English’s bluezoo, Shula’s Steak House and the popular Mandara Spa.