4-Star Kid-Friendly Resort Adjacent to Orlando Theme Parks
As an official Walt Disney World® hotel, The Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa offers several theme-park perks to guests, including a complimentary shuttle to all four Walt Disney World® Theme Parks and two water parks. This 4-star hotel is located across the street from the shops and eateries of the Downtown Disney® Area, within easy driving distance of three championship golf courses. Even with the hotel’s superb spot amid the action, Fodor’s writes that the resort “gets kudos as much for its on-site charms as for its location.”
Guest rooms and suites are spacious and outfitted with 32-inch flat-panel TVs. In addition, many guest rooms have private balconies. The hotel has several onsite dining options, including One80 Sportgrill & Bar and the Watercress Cafe, which hosts Disney Character Breakfasts on Sunday mornings.
If theme parks don’t tucker out the kids, the hotel has plenty to keep them occupied until bedtime: three heated outdoor pools, an arcade, a playground, and tennis, volleyball, and basketball courts. For the grownups, there’s the Kay Casperson Lifestyle Spa & Boutique, a 10,000-square-foot spa, salon, and fitness center.
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 at Magic Kingdom® Park by boarding Space Mountain® Attraction, a rocket-shaped three-seater that climbs to 180 feet before entering a deep black tunnel and racing past stars, satellites, and constellations. After that, ride past the ghastly goofballs inside The Haunted Mansion. For dinner, head over to Epcot® to sample cuisine from Morocco, Mexico, France, Italy, and several other countries at the World Showcase. 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 5 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.
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