Any suggestions for a hotel within 5 miles or on Disney property in Orlando for a family of 4? Would like a Cat 5 or 6 preferably, plenty of points to spare!
Thanks in advance
If you are going to Disney, Dolphin or Swan are your best bet. Not my favorite hotels as I have had issues with the room being ready on time and pullout bed cleanliness but the availability to book your fast passes 60 days out is very nice. Cool to walk to Epcot and the Boardwalk is fun at nighy. Movies on the lawn for the kids and fun entertainment acts every 30 min. Good restaurants in the hotels too.
If you dont care about that, Gaylord Palms is my favorite place to stay. So much to do.
If cost is a concern, there are a plethora of Springhill, Courtyard, Fairfield ect.
Agree with the recommendation of the Swan or Dolphin. Stayed at the Dolphin a year ago and got a good rate and was upgraded to a top floor room with a balcony and view towards Epcot. The only thing we missed by not using a Disney property was no Magic Band for park charges to room and no use of the Magical Express from airport to the hotel. Used a Super Shuttle instead.
Our room was available before the published check in time and was clean although we did not use the pull out bed. YMMV. Main issue was the room that had the tub and toilet was very small and a couple of times housekeeping didnt replace the used glasses.
The Swan and Dolphin are the low-hanging fruit here, on-site walking to Epcot and Hollywood Studios, plus early hours access and 60-day fastpasses, I stayed there for 2 weeks last year and my blog goes through my stay and room plus resort pictures Back to the Magic - 2 weeks at the Sheraton Dolphin! The Swan is a Westin and the Dolphin a Sheraton but I couldn’t really see any difference between them. You can charge to your room across both hotels 15+ restaurants, bars and eateries.
Beyond the borders of DisneyWorld, the Delta and the Sheraton Lake Beuna Vista are both close enough to walk to Disney Springs outside the sweltering summer months. As are the Courtyard FFI and SHS there. All are a ~$10 Uber to Hollywood Studios, Epcot and Magic Kingdom. Beyond that you’re starting to need a car but there are loads of Bonvoy options.
Alas none of the hotels beyond Disneyworld have early park access or 60-day fastpasses, if these are important but you’re looking to keep costs reasonable then you could consider the “Disney Springs Hotels” being 2 Hilton’s, a Wyndham and a Holiday Inn. All these have early hours, 60-day fastpasses and are easy walking to Disney Springs with regular all-day bus services running to and from the parks. It’s unfortunate that Bonvoy doesn’t have one of those properties but they could be a good fit, especially if you’re a member of Hilton, IHG or Wyndham Rewards programs...
Hello Brighltybob, do you find the early entry and the 60 day fast pass to be crucial? I was looking to save a few $ and stay at the Orlando World Center. I do have a reservation at the Swan as well I am considering.
It depends on what rides you are looking for. If you are good with not brand new rides then World Center is fine. If you want Slinky Dog roller coaster or Avatar flight of Passage, you need the 60 day fast pass. You can also get better times for Mine Train, test track and other popular rides.
The extra hour in the morning will get you on a couple of rides extra by getting up and being in the park early. The problem with Disney is they have a zillion rooms to sell and everyone staying there gets the same extra hour in the morning deal, so everyone is champing at the bit to do the same thing as everyone else. My best luck has been to go and do stuff in the morning, and go back to the hotel swim, have fun and enjoy the sun, and do the midnight shift at the park. Pick a day that the park is open to really late, shortly before the second fireworks and parade head to the back of the park and watch all the people heading to the front of the park. It does not always work, but you can sometimes start walking onto rides at 10 or 11 that were lined up for over an hour at 2. After midnight you will easily walk onto everything. Next morning have a nice lay in.
At Universal, do not drive, Uber and be there 20 mins before park opens, you will be dropped off at the bottom of the escalators to the main entrance. The people who drive will be an hour behind you and 25 dollars poorer from parking. As soon as the park opens head to the back, you will get about 90 minutes of stuff done before everyone catches up. Universal does have some on site privilege stayers but it is nothing like Disney. You can get Harry and the water stuff done quite easily. Also personally I would not waste my time at the water park at Universal, 30 seconds of thrill is not worth 90 minutes of wait.
Great tips, thank you.
When I was there I needed the full 60 days to get any Slinky or Avatar, or decent times on mine train or test track. Of course once you get to 60 days before the first night of your stay, you can then book fast passes for your entire stay and I found 65 days was wide open for anything and everything. Without 60-day fastpasses your only hope is people who change their park itinerary and cancel their prime Slinky/Avatar slots. Which does happen, but don’t count on catching them, the competition is hot!
Early and late hours are very useful for on-siters, but for off-sisters just make sure you turn up half an hour before opening time (at a park not doing early hours) then you can easily do Avatar (animal kingdom) Slinky (Hollywood studios) Test Track (Epcot) or Mine Train (Magic Kingdom) all of which are very tough Fastpass asks at 30 days.
And yes, I absolutely endorse pey’s Uber tip for Universal. Works every well.
Thank you for the insights! I don't want to miss out on those rides!
We just went to Disney world in April. You definitely need that 60 days window to get fast passes for the most popular rides. They go fast. For Avatar FoP, there was nothing left 45 days prior to the date. Even with the ability to get FPs 60 days ahead, we couldn’t get Avatar FPs for our first and second day of the trip.
Plus, the extra magic hours is always good to have.
This photo was taken at Animal Kingdom on our first day of the trip.
We got there 45 minutes before the park official opening time on an extra magic hour day. You can see there were already so many people in front of us waiting outside Animal Kingdom’s entrance. But the line moved pretty fast by the time they let us into the rides. We got to ride both Avatar FoP and Navii River Journey and done with both by 9 am, an hour after official park opening time. I imagine the crowd is bigger on a non extra magic hour day.
Thanks to everyone for the recommendations!
PointSaver rates for Orlando World Marriott - maybe dates will work for you. C
Book With PointSavers & Boost Your Rewards | Marriott Bonvoy
Orlando, Florida Resort | Orlando World Center Marriott
Swan and Dolphin are so overrated properties in terms of quality but many stay here because of location which is understandable.
If I wanted to burn points, I would burn them at the JW or RC in Grande Lakes simply because of the quality of the properties and services. The RC spa is a favorite as well as the pools and extensive resort activities available.
I do understand that many coming to enjoy the parks (usually with kids) could care less about the hotel experience other than a comfortable bed in the evening and for that type of vacation experience many economical choices exist.
We will see how the brand new JW Marriott in Bonnet Creek (just across I-4 on the other side of the World Center Marriott) opening estimated February 2020 adds to the Orlando mix. Luxury Hotel in Orlando | JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa
You can already see many of the area hotels raising their rates by as much as 25% due to the new Star Wars experience opening in late August 2019. Star Wars Attractions & Merchandise | Walt Disney World Resort
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