Hotel at a Glance: The Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa
As an official Walt Disney World® Hotel, The Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa offers guests several theme-park perks, including a complimentary shuttle to all four Walt Disney World® Theme Parks and two water parks. But it’s not all about the parks. The four-star hotel’s spacious guest rooms and suites are outfitted with 32-inch flat-panel TVs, and the grounds have lighted tennis and volleyball courts and more to keep visitors entertained.
- Relax at the 10,000-square-foot spa and fitness center, which offers hairstyling and massages as well as a lap pool.
- Meet your favorite characters: Every Sunday at breakfast, families can meet characters such as Minnie, Pluto and Goofy while munching on pancakes at the onsite Watercress Cafe.
- Take a dip in any of the three heated swimming pools.
- Level up in the onsite arcade—kids can compete in Guitar Hero or Avengers pinball.
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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