Best Orlando Hotels for Families and Kids

A stay at Orlando's Animal Kingdom Lodge is a special treat. Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort Hotels
A stay at Orlando's Animal Kingdom Lodge is a special treat. Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort Hotels
2/15/20 - By Charlotte B

Sifting through the many, many Orlando hotels for your next family trip to Florida? The theme park capital of the world has no shortage of family accommodations. It can be overwhelming to sort through them all, but we’ve made it easier by highlighting some of our favorites in the area, from luxury Orlando hotels near Disney to Orlando water park hotels to more serene hotels outside of the city.

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Find more family-friendly Florida towns, beaches, and attractions in our Florida Family Travel Guide.

Theme Park Orlando Hotels

1. Animal Kingdom Lodge — Walt Disney World Resort

Guests at this one-of-a-kind "deluxe" Disney Orlando resort feel like they're immersed in an African safari, surrounded by four savannas housing more than 200 exotic animals and birds, including zebras, giraffes, gazelles, and flamingos. Guests can even opt for rooms with balconies overlooking the savanna. Resort amenities include a massive 11,000-square-foot, zero-entry pool with a water slide and children’s wading pool, plus another pool with water slides and a kids’ animal-themed water playground, complete with a rope bridge and water cannons. The resort offers nightly campfire activities, Disney movies under the stars, several onsite dining options, and an extravagant lobby filled with African artifacts. Kids are sure to love the "Hakuna Matata"-themed playground and Pumbaa’s arcade as well.

2. Caribbean Beach Resort — Walt Disney World Resort

Complete with an island theme, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort ranks at the top of the "moderate" resorts among the Disney hotels in Orlando. There are five villages within the resort area, each appropriately named after Caribbean islands. Each village has its own pool and several have playground areas for little ones. The main pool mimics a Spanish fort and has two 80-foot water slides and water cannons. Younger guests will enjoy a shipwreck-themed splash area near the main pool. Little buccaneers will get a kick out of the pirate-themed rooms with beds shaped like pirate ships, and kids ages 4-12 can take part in a pirate adventure cruise. Other activities include a walking trail, beach volleyball, bike rentals, fishing excursions, Disney movies under the stars, and nightly campfire activities. This resort is also on the path of the new Disney Skyliner, which can transport guests to Epcot and Hollywood Studios.

3. Pop Century Resort — Walt Disney World Resort

This "value-level" resort (among the most economical resorts on the property) showcases fads from the 50s through the 90s. Three themed pool areas include a 1960s Hippy Dippy pool with a nearby kiddie pool, a 1950s pool shaped like a bowling pin and a 90s-themed, computer-shaped pool with a large floppy disk and keyboard. Kids can enjoy an onsite arcade and playground, arts and crafts, poolside challenges, and Disney movies under the stars. Guests receive free transportation to Disney parks, including Skyliner access An added bonus is the short walking distance to Disney’s Art of Animation resort, where guests can take advantage of this neighbor resort’s highly-rated Landscape of Flavors dining area. Hourglass Lake is adjacent to these Orlando hotels and provides a one-mile loop for taking a stroll with beautiful views.

RELATED: 50 Things to Do in Orlando with Kids Other Than the Theme Parks

Enjoy the pool and pre-opening hours at certain Universal theme parks with a stay at Hard Rock Orlando.

4. Hard Rock Hotel — Universal Orlando Hotel

Families will feel like rock and roll stars at this Universal Orlando onsite premier resort. Amenities at the Hard Rock Orlando hotel include a 12,000-square-foot pool with underwater sound system, water slide, beach area with sand volleyball, poolside activities and a game room. Guests are invited to rock out in the comfort of their guest rooms with a selection of more than 20 Fender guitars that can be loaned out and delivered straight to your room. Guests can enjoy perks such as free transportation to the parks and early admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Universal's Volcano Bay one hour before the theme parks open to the public (theme park admission required). Plus, as a guest at a Universal Premier Resort, guests receive free Universal Express Unlimited, which allows you to skip the regular lines at participating attractions at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.

5. Cabana Bay Beach Resort — Universal Orlando Hotel

Another of the Universal Orlando hotels that we like is this retro-themed resort with two large pools, a water slide, lazy river, several onsite dining options, beautifully landscaped walking paths, an arcade, and a 10-lane bowling alley. As with the Hard Rock Hotel, guests staying onsite enjoy free transportation to the parks and early admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Universal's Volcano Bay one hour before the parks open to the public (theme park admission required). Kids can sneak a peek at theme-park characters at the Universal Orlando Value Hotel on select days.

RELATED: 25 Free Things to Do in Orlando with Kids

Best Orlando Hotels for Families Not at Theme Parks

We loved the condo-style resort rooms at the Club Wyndham Bonnet Creek. Photo by Anna Fader

6. Club Wyndham Bonnet Creek

This luxurious resort is adjacent to Walt Disney World and minutes from Universal Orlando and SeaWorld. The highlight is the amazing water amenities, including five pools, two lazy rivers, water slides, and splash zones, including a pirate ship play structure. Other resort activities include miniature golf, game rooms, a playground, jogging path and weekly organized activities such as face painting, ice cream sundaes, outdoor movie nights, and bingo.  Check out our full review of Wyndham Bonnet Creek here.

7. Holiday Inn Resort Orlando Suites & Waterpark

Formerly known as the Nickelodeon Hotel Orlando (or Nick Suites Resort), this hotel is just a five-minute drive to Walt Disney World and complimentary shuttle service is available. The highlight is the 20,000-square-foot water park with multiple kid-friendly water slides and flumes, as well as two pools and a toddler splash area. The resort also features on-site kids’ activities, basketball, an arcade, 4D theater, laser challenge, miniature golf, a food court, and onsite restaurant.

All the rooms are suites at Floridays, making it easier for families to get some sleep while traveling with kids!

8. Floridays Resort Orlando

This tropical-themed resort is located just three miles from Walt Disney World and SeaWorld, and seven miles from Universal Orlando. Families flock here for the spacious suites, either a two-bedroom or three-bedroom. All come with kitchens, washer/dryer, living rooms, and dining rooms. It features a large, zero-entry pool with a kids' water playscape and splash pad, a separate beach area, and a game room. Weekly activities include dive-in movie nights and DJ pool parties. Shuttle service to the main theme parks is included in the resort fee but airport transportation must be arranged separately.

9. JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes

Among those hotels near Orlando airport, this grand hotel is a great choice. It's also located near all local major Orlando theme parks, is situated on a 500-acre property. Guests enjoy a large outdoor pool complex complete with a lazy river as well as an aqua-adventure obstacle course. Other activities include an award-winning golf course, guided kayak eco-tours on the headwaters of the Florida Everglades, a sunrise safari, fishing excursions, mountain biking, and tennis. Younger guests can enjoy the Ritz Kids drop-off program, playgrounds, splash pads and daily activities such as fish feedings, arts and crafts, and more.

10. Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld

As the official partner hotel of SeaWorld, guests staying at Renaissance Orlando receive complimentary Quick Queue at SeaWorld (front-of-the-line access to some of the best rides the park offers), priority entry to SeaWorld and Aquatica on select days, discounts on dining and merchandise at all three SeaWorld parks, and free transportation to the SeaWorld parks and Universal Orlando. The hotel also has a large pool area and an onsite water park with two water slides, toddler play area, water jets, and a rain tree. There are multiple onsite dining options, and the resort is also near International Drive, with endless entertainment and restaurants from which to choose.

RELATED: The Best Playgrounds Around Orlando for Kids

Best Suburban Orlando Hotels for Families 

The free onsite water park at the Grove Resort Orlando makes it an economical and amenity-laden pick.

11. The Grove Resort — Winter Garden

This serene resort with spacious multi-bedroom suites is among our favorite Orlando water park hotels. It features a large water park complete with a surf simulator, lazy river, water slides, a two-story water playground, and a zero-entry pool. The water park is free to guests, and there is also a separate additional pool complex directly next to the resort. Across from the water park is a state-of-the-art family fun center, complete with a large arcade and glow-in-the-dark mini-golf. Guests also enjoy resort water sports and fishing on the resort's onsite lake and eating at a range of onsite restaurants. The Grove is located six miles from Walt Disney World and provides complimentary shuttle service to the Walt Disney World Transportation Center. Read our full review of The Grove Resort Orlando.

12. Margaritaville Resort — Kissimmee

Guests staying here feel as if they are on island time from the minute they enter the tropical-themed lobby overlooking the lagoon pool area. The resort has an onsite water park, Island H2O Live, featuring technology-inspired water rides such as Follow Me Falls, Reload Rapids, and Hashtag Heights. (Note: The water park requires a separate admission cost.) Choose from among several room type options or even multi-room cottages designed for large families and multi-generational stays. The resort also offers a Parakeets Kids’ Club with games, arts and crafts, and daily activities; a Teen Center with events, games, and movies; and an outdoor retail and dining district known as Sunset Walk. Shuttle service to all Orlando theme parks is included in the resort fee.

Multiple pool areas, including this kids pool with water slides, keep everyone cool at Omni Orlando Resort.

13. Omni Orlando Resort — ChampionsGate 

Located about 30 minutes from Disney and 40 minutes from Legoland, this secluded retreat is a great halfway option for families wanting to experience both Disney and Legoland. Water amenities include a zero-entry family pool with water slide, lazy river, wave pool and a kids pool with slides. Other features include miniature golf, basketball courts, a soccer and lacrosse training complex, an arcade, bike paths, hiking trails, and complimentary transportation to Disney parks. Upon check-in, kids receive a Kids Crew backpack, complete with fun items such as an activity book, crayons, binoculars, and a small game, as well as milk and cookies on the first night’s stay. Kids ages 4 to 12 are sure to love the Camp Omni Kids Escape drop-off program, complete with movies, video games, board games, and planned activities.

14. Fantasy World Resort — Kissimmee

This family-friendly resort south of Orlando offers activities for everyone. Water amenities include two large pools, a lazy river, water slides, and a kids splash pad.  Guests also enjoy onsite mini-golf, tennis, basketball, shuffleboard, batting cages, a game room, and a covered playground. Scheduled activities include movie nights, poolside games, crafts, bingo, and trivia.

Photos courtesy of the Orlando hotels except where noted

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