Best Orlando Hotels for Families

Disney's Polynesian Village Resort, Orlando. Photo by Walt Disney World
By Laura Lea Miller

Whether you prefer to stay on-site at an official Disney property or want to seek refuge outside the theme parks, here are some hotel standouts to consider for your next family vacation in Orlando.

Photo Caption: Pool of Tranquility at Disney's Polynesian Resort in Orlando
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Nestled in natural forest glens near Downtown Disney, a new type of adventure welcomes guests with the Treehouse Villas at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fl. Photo by Courtesy of Walt Disney World Resorts
All Disney properties cater to families, with special menus for kids, free transportation to the theme parks, extensive recreational facilities, and, in some cases, character meals and kids' clubs.

Set high atop the trees, Disney's Treehouse Villas make roughing it a stylish and comfortable affair for families. Located within Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, the upscale yet casual treetop cabins offer all the comforts of home (think plasma TVs, full kitchens, and cozy bedding) and unparalleled views.

More Info: tel. 407/934-7639; http://disneyworld.disney.go.com

Photo Caption: A new type of adventure welcomes guests with the Treehouse Villas at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa at Walt Disney World Resort.
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The magic of movies inspires Disney's 1,920-room All-Star Movies Resort, one of the popular value resorts at Walt Disney World Resort. Photo by Courtesy The Walt Disney Company
If you're going to stay on WDW property, you can't beat these Value Resorts: Disney's All-Star Movies Resort, All-Star Music Resort, All-Star Sports Resort, and Pop Century Resort.

Each themed resort -- from a 47-foot-tall Buzz Lightyear sculpture at the All-Star Movies Resort to a four-story Rubik's Cube at the Pop Century Resort -- is sure to impress and amuse the kids.

More Info: http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/resorts

Photo Caption: Find larger-than-life movie magic at Disney's All-Star Movies Resort, one of the popular value resorts at Walt Disney World Resort.
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Water park and pools at the Nickelodeon Family Suites Resort, Orlando. Photo by Courtesy of Nickelodeon Resorts
It's hard to beat the Nickelodeon Suites Resort, with its themed kids' suites and character breakfasts. Two water park-style pools -- complete with slides, flumes, squirters, fountains, and more -- ensure the action here keeps going.

More Info: tel. 407/387-5437; www.nickhotel.com

Note: Since publication, Nickelodeon has removed its sponsorship from this property. The water play area remains, but themed kids' suites and character events are gone.
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Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Resort, Orlando. Photo by Courtesy of Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Resort
Arguably the best pool in O-Town is at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Resort. It's a half-acre, lagoonlike pool that flows through rock grottoes, is spanned by a rope bridge, and has 12 waterfalls and two steep water slides.

The Lazy River at the JW Marriott (tel. 800/241-3333) finishes a very close second. It's a 24,000-square-foot stream winding through small waterfalls and rock formations.

At Disney, squish your toes in the sand-bottom pool of Stormalong Bay at Disney's Yacht Club Resort.

Photo Caption: Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Resort in Orlando
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White sandy beaches, palm trees, water recreation and traditional South Seas longhouses are all combined in Disney's Polynesian Resort at Walt Disney World. Photo by Walt Disney World
Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Polynesian Resort, Contemporary Resort, and Bay Lake Tower not only offer waterfront access to Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake, but they're also right on the WDW monorail, providing quick and easy access to the parks.

More Info: http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/resorts

Photo Caption: White sandy beaches, palm trees, and traditional South Seas longhouses are all combined in Disney's Polynesian Resort at Walt Disney World.
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New room decor at Disney's Contemporary Resort, Walt Disney World. Photo by Courtesy of Walt Disney World Resorts
The whole family can watch the Magic Kingdom's Wishes fireworks display from the comfort of your room if you book one on an upper floor on the west side of Disney's Contemporary Resort.

Disney's Bay Lake Tower offers an unobstructed view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks (and the starlit sky above) from its rooftop lounge while park-view rooms on the upper floors allow families with little ones to watch in the comfort of their room -- and in the comfort of their pajamas.

From boardwalk-side rooms at Disney's BoardWalk Inn & Villas, you can catch the fireworks during Epcot's IllumiNations. And you have a front-row seat for the action at SeaWorld from the upper-east-side floors at the Renaissance Orlando Resort at SeaWorld.

Photo Caption: You'll find new room décor at Disney's Contemporary Resort.
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Guest room at Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista, in the Walt Disney World Resort. Photo by Hilton Hotels
The Hilton in the Walt Disney World Resort is the only official resort on Hotel Plaza Boulevard to offer Disney's Extra Magic Hours option. Other pluses include two pools and spacious junior suites -- and it's located just across from Downtown Disney.

More Info: tel. 407/827-4000; www.hilton.com

Photo Caption: A room at Hilton in the Walt Disney World Resort.
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