Best for Families: Every Disney resort caters to families, with special menus for kids, video-game arcades, free transportation to the parks, extensive recreational facilities, and, in some cases, character meals. Some, however, stand out in particular. Disney's Beach Club Resort boasts a laid-back seaside charm, a multitude of kid-friendly dining options, and one of the coolest pools on Disney property, making it a favorite with families -- and did I mention that Epcot is literally just steps away? To enjoy wilderness of a different kind, try Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, where the animals of the African savanna seemingly come right up to your doorstep. If you prefer the rustic and woodsy feel of the Pacific Northwest's national parks, head to Disney's Wilderness Lodge.
- Best Inexpensive Hotels: That's easy: If you're going to stay on WDW property, you can't beat the prices at Disney's All-Star Movies Resort, Disney's All-Star Music Resort, Disney's All-Star Sports Resort, and Disney's Pop Century Resort. Outside of Disney, Universal's giant Endless Summer resort costs even less, and unlike Disney's hotels, it's within walking distance to lots of places to eat.
- Best Budget Motels: Brand new builds include Aloft Orlando Lake Buena Vista, Element Orlando Universal Blvd. in the shadow of the ICON wheel, and Fairfield Inn & Suites Orlando at Flamingo Crossings Town Center, the newest (and longest) name among the quickly growing cluster of affordable hotels just out Disney’s western gate. Or rent a full house, as tastefully furnished as if you lived there—Orlando’s crop of management companies make the process easier and more reliable than renting an Airbnb.
- Best for Business Travelers: Orlando is virtually synonymous with conventions, so the pickings are rich. The Gaylord Palms, Rosen Shingle Creek, and JW Marriott in both Grande Lakes and Bonnet Creek offer full concierge service, excellent restaurants, spacious lounges, and an extensive array of business services.
- Best Location: Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney's Polynesian Resort, Disney's Contemporary Resort, and Disney's Polynesian Village are on the WDW monorail route, providing easy access to the parks. The Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel, and Royal Pacific Resort are within walking distance of both Universal Orlando parks, and there's also boat service to the dock at CityWalk.
- Best Service: The elegant Four Seasons at Walt Disney World offers attentive pampering from the best staff in the area. At the Waldorf Astoria Orlando, careful service is paramount, with a concierge staff trained to follow the standards of Les Clefs d'Or, an elite group of the world's top concierges, while the Ritz-Carlton at Grande Lakes is situation away from the theme park hubbub alongside a golf course and nature reserve.
- Best Pools: All of the Walt Disney World resorts have whimsical, well-used swimming pools, and they are usually of ample size. Arguably, the best is shared by Disney's Beach Club Resort and Disney's Yacht Club Resort. Stormalong Bay, a 3-acre free-form pool and water park, stretches between them, including a shipwreck for exploring and sand-bottom pools for a toe-tickling experience. Outside the Disney complex, the best resort pool in Orlando can be found at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Resort. It's a half-acre, lagoonlike, water-world pool that flows through rock grottoes, is spanned by a rope bridge, and has 12 waterfalls and two steep water slides. The 24,000-square-foot lazy river pool shared by the Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott Orlando at Grande Lakes, however, definitely provides some stiff competition. Not to be ignored is the rock-'n'-roll pool at Universal's Hard Rock Hotel, with its underwater sound system and fantastic landscaping right next door to the park entrance.
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.