Which Orlando Hotel Has the Best Pool?

Lazy river at Four Seasons Resort at Walt Disney World Four Seasons
Orlando has more than 118,000 hotel rooms—but not all resort pools are equal. Sometimes it's just a concrete tub beside the parking lot, but other times, it's a like a theme park unto itself, and those are the perfect spots to unwind after a long day trudging through theme park lines. All of them have towels, cocktail bars, and a grill where you can buy casual food. Check out some of the best swimming areas that the vacationland serving Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando has to offer.

Pictured: Lazy river at Four Seasons Resort at Walt Disney World
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Cypress Springs Water Park, Gaylord Palms Gaylord Palms
This 1,400-room hotel, visible for miles around for its massive glass atrium dome, is known for hosting meetings but when a place is this huge, it also has to have a big pool area. Gaylord Palms' zero-entry swimming system has four waterslides, a multi-level water playground "tree house" with huge tippy bucket, a lagoon with water basketball, a plunge pool, and plenty of space for poolside windows.
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Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort lazy river Four Seasons
The Four Seasons' landscaped pool complex (with free sunscreen and valets bearing refreshments such as homemade infused lemonade) seems to go on and on: adults-only pool, zero-entry family pool (which by itself is nearly 8,000 square feet), lazy river with waterfalls, a splash area that looks like a ruined mansion, and two water slides (one of them see-through) in a faux fort. An adjoining pavilion serves full meals in tropical, table-service style.
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Hard Rock Hotel, Universal Orlando Loews Hotels
The California-style hotel is built around its 12,000-square-foot pool. The Hard Rock is expansive enough to succeed on its own appeal, but it also has underwater speakers so you can hear the beat even when you're submerged. Add to that a 260-foot water slide, two hot tubs, a sand volleyball court, interactive fountains and play area, and you've got the most incredible—and alluring—pool of all of Universal's hotels. Best of all, it's literally next door to Universal Studios theme park.
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CoCo Key Orlando CoCo Key
Attached to a more-or-less-standard hotel amid the fast-food joints and B-level attractions of International Drive, CoCo Key's souped-up backyard sets it apart from its neighbors. There, you'll find 14 water slides, four heated pools, a 54,000-square-foot canopy-covered slide area (keeping toddlers from getting sunburned), and a big indoor arcade. The "Parrot's Perch" wet jungle-gym structure has a 400-gallon tippy bucket.
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Orlando World Center Marriott Orlando World Center Marriott
The main pool, called the Falls Pool, is embellished by a 90-foot drop slide and two 200-foot twisty slides coming off a tower, but its chief appeal is its size: 564,000 gallons fed by waterfalls. It feels as big as a football field. There are a few other smaller pools and a kiddie area in addition to that.
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Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress
If you're looking for something immense for soaking up the Florida sun, they don't come much larger. The Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress' free-form pool is an astounding 800,000 gallons and weaves through caverns (which also contain the hotel's fitness center), beneath waterfalls, and under a suspension bridge in one of the most elaborate swimming areas of any hotel in America. It even has an easy, 124-foot slide, rock climbing stations, and a wet deck with 39 spray jets. The resort is by the Disney Springs entertainment complex at Walt Disney World's property.
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The Big Blue Pool, Disney's Art of Animation Resort Walt Disney World
Among Disney's "Value"-priced resorts, the Art of Animation stands out. Others in that category can be rather standard, but the Art of Animation comes in at 308,527 gallons, making it the largest single pool on Disney World property. There's not much shade, but like Universal's Hard Rock Hotel, it has underwater speakers—only here, they play surf music and greetings from Finding Nemo characters that you can't hear above the surface. The resort also has two more pools: One is a pitch-perfect imitation of Cars' Radiator Springs (cabanas look like traffic cones), and the other is keyed to The Little Mermaid.
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JW Marriott Grande Lakes JW Marriott Grande Lakes
One of the city's most complex swimming amenities is over at the luxury development shared by the JW Marriott and the Ritz-Carlton, a few miles east of SeaWorld. The area is well-landscaped, with plenty of that fake rockwork endemic to Orlando's outdoor areas, and the meandering lazy river is at the top of the city's list for length and richness. Not far away, the formal-style pool at the Ritz is better for adults and suntanning.
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Lake Buena Vista Resort Village and Spa Lake Buena Vista Resort Village and Spa
The pool itself isn't very big, but oh, what a set piece—a full-size pirate ship with slides and cannons! The condo-style Lake Buena Vista Resort Village, about a mile east of Disney property, is for families who can't afford to splash out on a luxury property but still want to enjoy a resort feel. 
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Stormalong Bay, Disney's Beach Club and Disney's Yacht Club Disney Parks
Two of Disney's upper-level resorts, which lie just outside Epcot's western entrance to World Showcase, share one intense pool area. A sandy beach eases into the main pool in this three-acre area which also includes a kid's zone with a mini slide, a short lazy river, three smaller pools more popular with adults, a life-sized shipwreck replica, and flying off that, a 230-foot-long water slide. All in all, Stormalong Bay contains some 795,000 gallons of interconnected play areas. It's so popular that guests from other hotels always try to sneak in, and management issues bracelets to rightful swimmers. You'll never see it so empty (pictured) again.
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