Hotel at a Glance: Crowne Plaza Orlando Universal
The family-friendly Crowne Plaza Orlando Universal is packed with amenities, from an outdoor pool to a tiki bar. Its crowning achievement, though, is its location—mere minutes from Universal Orlando Resort and the city's other beloved theme parks. There's even a complimentary shuttle scheduled to ferry guests to and from the excitement.
- Nosh on fish tacos and burgers and sip inventive cocktails amid plasma TVs at Elements Bar and Grille.
- Buffet-breakfast spreads include waffles, fresh fruit, and custom omelets; kids 10 or younger eat free with the purchase of an adult entree.
- Get comfy: Guest rooms and junior suites feature pillow-top bedding and flat-screen TVs.
- Notable awards: TripAdvisor's 2013 Certificate of Excellence and InterContinental Hotels Group's 2013 Torchbearer Award
- Fitness center stocked with weights and cardio equipment
- Business-friendly amenities include 7,000 square feet of meeting space and access to digital and LCD projectors.
Orlando, Florida: World-Famous Theme Parks and Cultural Surprises
Located in the center of Florida, Orlando may be forever associated with the Walt Disney World® Theme Parks, which now are part of the world’s most-visited entertainment resort. It spans roughly 30,000 acres, encompassing four theme parks, two water parks, five golf courses, and the Downtown Disney® Marketplace. There’s no shortage of things to do here: begin your day by boarding a rocket-shaped three-seater that climbs to 180 feet before entering a deep black tunnel and racing past stars, satellites, and constellations. Walk across the park to sample Moroccan cuisine for lunch, or ride a dune buggy through a haunted 18th-century mansion. Before heading back to the hotel, take in the nightly fireworks, laser, and water show. As one of the most popular family destinations in the world, sunny Orlando is home to other theme parks including Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld, and Gatorland.
Those hoping to shake up the typical theme-park-dominated itinerary can head into downtown Orlando's vibrant arts district. The neighborhood boasts venues such as CityArts Factory, a multifaceted patchwork of gallery spaces, and SAK Comedy Lab, which hosts family-friendly improv shows five nights a week.
About a 10-minute drive north, you’ll find eight cultural institutions at Loch Haven Park, including the Orlando Museum of Art, which houses pieces by Georgia O’Keeffe, Robert Rauschenberg, Ansel Adams, and Andy Warhol. The park is also home to the Orlando Shakespeare Theater, the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Orlando Science Center. Visit the science center to take a rover across a simulation of Mars’s red surface, or race on a 70-foot pinewood derby track.