Centrally Located, Family-Friendly Poolside Resort near Theme Parks
When Walt Disney designed the Walt Disney World® Theme Parks in the 1960s, he envisioned a futuristic “Community of Tomorrow” that would exist right alongside the park. Even though his planned city never came to pass, his resort grew to become so successful that most of greater Orlando now reflects his influence. There are mouse ears, costumed characters, and grand-scale spectacles everywhere, especially in Downtown Disney® Marketplace, a public shopping and entertainment district so extravagant that it’s practically a theme park of its own. The Best Western Lake Buena Vista Resort Hotel neighbors this neon stretch, making it one of the area’s most conveniently located hotels.
Outside the hotel, families can relax at a heated pool with an adjoining kiddie pool. Even though it’s located minutes from one of the most-visited places on the planet, the poolside area is quiet, shielded by palms and live oaks. You can get to the theme parks using the hotel's free shuttle, which stops by the lobby every 30 minutes. It’s one of many ways the hotel is intertwined with the parks; you can visit the onsite gift shop for themed souvenirs or turn on the Disney Channel on each TV.
Lake Buena Vista, Florida: Gateway to World-Famous Theme Parks and Downtown Orlando
About 20 miles from downtown Orlando, Lake Buena Vista is the home of the Walt Disney World® Theme Parks and is named after the street where The Walt Disney Studios in Burbank is located. The world’s most-visited entertainment resort, spanning nearly 30,000 acres, encompasses four theme parks, two water parks, five golf courses, and the Downtown Disney® Area. 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. The park's success has brought an influx of other theme parks to Orlando, including Universal Studios and SeaWorld.
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 the CityArts Factory, a multifaceted patchwork of gallery spaces, and SAK Comedy Lab, which holds improv shows five nights a week.
About a 10-minute drive north from the arts district, you’ll find several cultural institutions surrounding Orlando Loch Haven Park, including the Orlando Museum of Art, with a collection featuring pieces by Georgia O’Keeffe, Robert Rauschenberg, Ansel Adams, and Andy Warhol. Loch Haven Park is also home to the Orlando Shakespeare Theater and the Orlando Science Center. Visit the science center to take a rover across a simulation of Mars’ red surface, or race model cars down a more than 50-foot pinewood derby track.