For those of us who wouldn't dream of going on vacation without our pets, more and more lodgings are going the pet-friendly route. Be aware, however, that policies vary from property to property in Orlando, so call ahead to find out the particulars of your hotel.
None of the Disney resorts allows animals (except service dogs) to stay on the premises or has its own on-site kennel (the only exception being Disney's Fort Wilderness Campground, where you can have your pet at the full-hook-up campsites), but resort guests are welcome to board their animals overnight in the new Best Friends Pet Care facility on Bonnet Creek Parkway. Universal Orlando and SeaWorld will board small pets during the day only, not overnight.
Universal's three Loews-run resorts do allow pets on the property. In fact, "Loews Loves Pets" is a program that caters to pets and their families by offering such amenities as food, leashes, bedding, toys, and more. Pet walking, pet pagers, and door hangers (to let the resort staff know that there is a pet in the room) are also available.
An excellent resource is www.petswelcome.com, which dispenses medical tips, pet-friendly lodgings and campgrounds, and veterinarians. Also check out www.dogfriendly.com, which features links to Orlando accommodations, eateries, attractions, and parks that welcome canine companions.
The Peripatetic Pet -- It is illegal in Florida to leave your pet inside a parked car, windows rolled down or not. The sweltering heat can easily kill an animal in only a few minutes. All of the major theme parks have kennel facilities available, so if you have brought your pet along, take advantage of these kennels.
Make sure your pet is wearing a name-tag that includes your name and phone number, as well as the phone number of a contact person who can take the call if your pet gets lost while you're away from home.
Kennels -- The major theme parks offer animal boarding, usually for about $12 to $15 per day. At Disney, a single facility, Best Friends Pet Care, on the Bonnet Creek Parkway (tel. 877/493-9738), opened in 2010, replacing the numerous facilities once scattered about the resort. Overnight boarding, day care, and a slew of specialized services are offered for the pampered pet set. Resort guests can board their pets overnight for $10 to $34 ($12-$37 for those not staying at Disney), depending on the size and type of pet (larger, more luxurious accommodations go for a higher price). Pets are also welcome to stay overnight at Disney's Fort Wilderness Campground (at select campsites) for a nightly fee of $5. SeaWorld ($15) and Universal Orlando ($15) also offer kennels, but overnight boarding is not available (though all Universal Orlando resorts welcome pets to stay with you right in your room for a small fee). A current vaccination record is a must at all kennels.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.