If you follow along with us on our adventures, you know that we live very close to the Orlando Area. It’s not uncommon for us to visit Orlando multiple times in a week. We are huge theme park fans, but also really enjoy experiencing the wonderful resorts that Orlando has to offer. We find that, if you choose the right one, your entire family vacation can be spent without ever leaving the resort. I’ve highlighted some of our favorite resort experiences here, and created a list of The 5 Best Orlando Resorts for Families.
The Wyndham Grand Bonnet Creek is one of our favorite resorts, located very close to the Disney Area. They offer some of the best activities and amenities of any resort in the Orlando Area and is super kid friendly. Just exploring the beautiful lakefront property was an adventure all its own. It offers a half-mile walking path around it’s 10-acre lake with lots of fun stops along the way, including 2 areas to feed giant Koi fish.
There are 5 pools, 2 lazy rivers, a nice playground, 2 splash parks, and 2 great waterslides, one coming out of a sunken pirate ship! We were so impressed with the level of detail that went into the grounds and landscaping. We were even more impressed with the quality of the food and drinks at every cafe, restaurant, and even in the room. The girls were in heaven here!
The guest rooms and suites offer very comfortable and they offer some amazing views of the Walt Disney World evening fireworks. Our favorite room has to be the Family Bunk Bedrooms, which comes with either 1 King Bed or 1 Queen Bed, along with a cute little bunk bed in a private nook for the littles. We could have stayed in our room all day!
The resort offered a ton of different food options, from delicious snacks at the cafe to award-winning seafood. Each restaurant has its own unique flare and offers everything from a quick bite by the lake to fine dining overlooking the veranda inside the main tower. The cocktails were also exceptionally good at all of the bars and restaurants. Because the food exceeded our expectations, I am going to list more details on each place here:
Bar 1521 was a great place to grab a hand-crafted cocktail. They aso have a good selection of wines and craft beer, along with a nice selection of higher-end appitizers. Good place to come for a drink while the kids are in an activity.
Back Bay Bar & Grill
Back Bay is a very casual atmosphere with great views of the lake. They have some very tastly bites for everyone and some fun specialty drinks for adults and kids alike.
Tesoro Cove is an American-style buffet that is a great option for families, with lots of options for everyone in your group.
The Barista is a perfect place for breakfast on the go and they serve Starbucks. You can also pick up a pizza or sandwich, or a scoop of ice cream anytime throughout the day. The kids really liked this place!
Grand Eats Delivery
Grand Eats Delivery is an easy room service option. They have a lot of really god choices, very convenient.
Deep Blu Seafood Grille
This was our favorite by far, possibly in the entire Orlando area. They’re a recipient of the Open Table Diners’ Choice Award, as well as first-place Orlando Magazine Readers’ Choice Awards for Best Restaurant, Best Hotel Restaurant, Best Seafood, and Best Chef. They are only open from 5:30–10 p.m. Reserve on OpenTable
Blue Harmony Spa
This onsite full-service spa offers everything from deep tissue massages, to facials and specialty services.
Hilton Orlando, is centrally located to all of the major theme-parks and attractions. We found it so easy to get in and out of the hotel for our other plans, but really did not want to leave.
The entire Hilton poperty is very family-friendly and has options for each person in the family. The pool area itself has so many amazing things to offer, that you could spend all of your time just exploring the outdoor amenities. Check out one of our fun TikTok videos on our Orlando Family Vacation in 15 seconds.
Our family spent a day at one of thier private cabanas, we swam and splashed all day, and ate lunch and dinner right there poolside.. Before we retired for the night, we roasted marshmallows at one of the fire pits nearby.
Places to Eat
Hilton Orlando offers some really outstanding dining options. They offer fine-dining experiences at Spencer’s and much more casual Tropics Pool Bar & Grill. We even chose to order out one evening and have it delivered to the pool to enjoy.
A Modern American Bistro featuring simple, fresh, and natural food in a comfortable and casual setting. Breakfast Buffet starting at 7am. Lunch starting at 12pm
David’s Club Bar & Grill
This sports pub features a seasonal menu and offers a high-energy environment. Open daily at 4pm KIDS MENU
Tropics Pool Bar And Grill
Seasonal, island-inspired poolside fare will make you feel like you’re in the tropics.
This is a 24-hour gourmet marketplace that specializes in homemade food. Espressos and Coffees and gourmet teas. Pastries, sandwiches, pizzas and sides.
Spencer’s For Steaks & Chops
American steakhouse redefines the classic steakhouse with innovative preparations and contemporary twists.
*There is a dress code no swimsuits/cover ups, no hats or open toe shoes for men
This centrally located lobby bar, overlooking our tropical oasis resort area.
Family-sized Fire Pits
Main Resort Pool *Note: Must be at least 48″ tall to go down the water slide
The Spy Game
These fire pits were scattered all over the property and were so much fun to roast marshmallows at, so we would go there everynight after dinner. They sell the marshmallow roasting kits right at the lobby gift shop. See some of our Orlando Spring Break Trip at Hilton.
The lazy river is such a beautiful and relaxing ride with lush landscaping, which is where you found us most of the time.
The Gaylord Palms is one of our favorite resorts in all of Florida, especially during the holidays. The property is so unique in every way. The entire interior of the hotel is enclosed in a glass atrium, that houses plants, waterways, and animals. There’s a sprawling courtyard with several Florida themed landscapes to explore, and so many different activities to participate in. Makes is super easy to enjoy any time of the year, and never have to leave the hotel to explore and have fun.
Outside of the hotel, when the weather is permitting, there’s a while other world to explore. Gaylord Palms has amazing pools, a newly refurbished waterpark, and even an adventure river! There’s restaurants with all different types of cuisines and so much to see and do for kids…in the summer there’s light shows, movies, and lots of adventure.
Places to Eat for the Family
The Gaylord Palms has 9 award-winning restaurants onsite and each one of them is as good as the next. You could eat at a different restaurant every day for a week, which is pretty much what we did on our stay.
Moor offers a unique dining experience in the Key West Atrium, overlooking the lagoon and serving some of the best seafood we’ve had in a while. Great ambiance and good music!
Wreckers Sports Bar
Offering a 37-foot screen and more than 50 HDTVs, Wreckers is great for games or big parties. We like to head there for the wings and some of their signature desserts.
Villa de Flora
Villa de Flora is a staff attended buffet restaurant that has a modern coastal Mediterranean theme. The food is very good and the kids always get their fill, so that they are fueled up for anything we have on the agenda.
Old Hickory Steakhouse
This steakhouse is set into the rustic area of the everglades in the atrium and offers gourmet steaks, fish, chicken, and artisanal cheeses. There is often a wait to get in, but it seems to be better for earlier dinner times.
The SandBar serves a variety of fresh salads, flatbreads, sandwiches and has a great kids menu. This is an easy place to eat when everyone is playing at the pool and not ready to dry off and head inside.
Socio is an upscale, Cuban-inspired bar and lounge. This one is for the adults, when the kids are on their explorations.
The Cocoa Bean
With flaky pastries and quick serve snacks, the Cocoa Bean was perfect for our morning coffee. It served Starbucks and other great morning beverages, like smoothies.
The Family Pool Area
Gaylord Palms has a very large outdoor space, with several pools, hot tubs, and new additions to the water park. Almost everything on the property is family-friendly, with exception of the south beach pool. Even then, the atmosphere is still family-friendly, just more calm and geared toward relaxing. The Gaylord Palms pool is buy far one of the best for families.
Crystal River Rapids
Crystal River Rapids is not your everyday “lazy-river”. This thing has so many twists and turns, which leaves you feeling more excited than relaxed. You can certainly lay back and try, but there are lots of water features that will keep you awake and cooled off all at the same time.
FlowRider Surfing Experience
FlowRider is an artificial wave system, where you can body board or surf the day away at an additional cost.
Premium Pool Seating
The pools offer private cabanas that provide extra shade and space for the entire family. The cabanas are super comfortable, come with their own lounge areas, and with fully stocked refrigerators. (also at additional costs) You can get full-service for food and all beverages right from your cabana. This is a great way to relax and enjoy the day.
Cypress Springs Water Park
Cypress Springs Water Park is an adventure for your entire family, as the girls and I ran around getting splashed and riding the slides all afternoon. There are different levels for all ages and so much fun!!
Big Cypress Tower
Big Cypress Tower is a 35-foot fall through a trap door, where you’ll end the ride by spinning around the slide’s giant bowl. This one is not for the littles in the family, but certainly a lot of fun for those who are tall enough.
Multi-Level Water Playground
The Water Playground is intended for smaller children and has so much for them to stay entertained. They can slide down, one of four water slides, splash in the fountain and ground spray area, or get drenched by a huge tipping bucket.
South Beach Pool
This an adult-only pool with a sophisticated South Beach flair. We did n’t spend much time there with the family, but it was nice to have the option when the kids were occupied.
There is so much to do for families here at the Gaylord Palms. Any any given time throughout the year they have interactive events going on throughout the resort. From scavenger hunts to nighttime performances there is always something fun to do.
On our visit we were able to do a really fun scavenger hunt that taught us all about Florida history. The girls had so much fun and the Scott and I did too.
The award-winning Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin and new Walt Disney World Swan Reserve is located right in the heart of the Walt Disney World. This is such a great place to stay if you are going to Epcot or Hollywood Studios. We love the convenience of being able to walk to Disney Boardwalk Hotel, Epcot or take a quick boat ride to Hollywood Studios. Ending the evening with a nice walk along the promenade is such a nice way to wind down and have some ice cream.
We have also visited the resorts during the holidays, and boy do they have so much going on around the property. Of course, the activities and itinerary changes from year to year, but the Swan and Dolphin never disappoints. If you want to see some of our experiences from our last trip during the holidays check out my stories on Orlando Holidays.
Geting to The Resort with Your Family
Boat – Our favorite way to get to the Swan and Dolphin is taking the complimentary water taxi from the boat dock to Epcot or Disney’s Hollywood Studios, or feel free to take a leisurely stroll. Boats depart every 15-20 minutes.
Bus – Complimentary transportation to all Walt Disney World parks and attractions, including Disney Springs. Buses depart every 20-30 minutes.
Stroll – You can conveniently walk over small bridges and onto the Disney Boardwalk or even over to Epcot.
The Rooms for Families
Rooms at the Walt Disney World Swan, Walt Disney World Dolphin and Walt Disney World Swan Reserve are available in various sizes and floor plans. We really prefer to book a family room or a junior suite, because there are 5 of us and we need more square footage and separate rooms.
The Dining options for the Family
Visit one of their amazing fine dining restaurants around the property, they are all very good!
Shula’s Steak House
Shula’s offers premium Black Angus steak, that has been “Critic’s Choice for Orlando’s Best Restaurant.” They also have an extensive wine list featuring more than 450 selections.
Il Mulino offers great wood-fired pizzas, fresh fish, chicken, pastas and meats inspired from the Abruzzi region of Italy.
KimonosKimonos was voted top restaurant for sushi by the Orlando Sentinel readers. Besides the amazing sushi, they offer traditional hors d’oeuvres, gyoza, octopus, shrimp, tempura platters and Kobe beef satay.
Todd English BlueZoo
BlueZoo serves a mix of coastal cuisine and is AAA Four Diamond rated. There is a very cool underwater theme.
AmareAmare offers a very wide variety of seafood, olive oils, pasta and pitas. Amare also has an extensive Mediterranean-based wine list with wine flights from across the region.
Casual Dining and Quick Service
If you are anything like us, most of our meals are on the go and still dressed in our pool attire. If it’s convenience you’re after, these are some great choices for casual and quick-service meals. Everything we had was very good!
Here’s a list of most:
Cabana Bar & Beach Club
Splash Pool Bar & Grill
Fresh Mediterranean Market
On Site Family Resort Activities
There’s so much to do for the entire family all around the resort area, which is why we love the property so much. One of our favorite elements at the resort is their Camp Dolphin, that gives the kids some . The kids can stay and play with other kids and participate in games and activities.
Camp Dolphin is a club exclusively for kids to have fun and meet friends. Camp Dolphin is located next to the health club, so you can get in a workout or take a stroll around the property or have a quiet dinner. The club provides kids 5 to 12, supervised activities that will have them asking to go back again.
The Health Club offers some great classes, along with a full fitness center. Here’s some of the better ones:
One of the best perks is how close you are to the parks! We loved walking over the boardwalk and there is even a path to walk all the way to Epcot!
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort Orlando
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort has a very relaxed and easy-going atmosphere. It’s about as close as you can get to being in the actual Caribbean, including the beautiful crystal clear blue waters.
They do a great job of representing some of the best of the Caribbean with 5 distinct islands themes:
Pirate-Themed Family Rooms
Our room was cratively decorated in a pirate theme, which made our stay that much more enjoyable. We often took turns talking like pirates and pretending that we were castaways on a big ship.
Pool with Waterslide
There’s an old Spanish ship that houese 2 slides and water cannons. Kids can climb a spiral staircase to the top for a thrilling turn down the larger slide, which leads through the fortress.
There’s a large spa nearby that can hold about 12 people and lots of fun to watch the kids from.
Kids Splash Pad
For the smaller pirates in the group, there is a very fun shipwreck play area. High atop, there’s a barrel that periodically dumps a ton of water on the fun-lovers down below.
Disney Skyliner Transportation
Disney Syliner runs right through the property and makes for a very easy transporattion option to the nearby parks and other attractions. If you ‘ve never ridden them, it’s worth the trip. Lots of fun!
Old Port Royale
Explore the Old Port Royale at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. Get everything you need or anything you forgot at the Calypso Trading Post. Centertown Market is an easy place to grab a snack or some drinks for the pool or your room. Don’t forget to grab a special cocktail at the Banana Cabana bar and lounge, the frozen drinks are amazing.
Family Dining Options
Sebastian’s is a Caribbean-inspired tropical poolside grill, that had all of us very impressed.
Family-style dishes like:
Centertown Market is a quick-service dining hall that has some great options for kids.
Perfect spot for a frozen drink or a smoothie for the kids, also has some light foods options.
Spyglass Grill features American fare with a Caribbean twist for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The breakfast is amazing, be sure to get the kids breakfast cuban.
Things to do with the Family
Pools at Caribbean Beach are excellent, each with its own theme and characters. Lots of fun too experience all of them and take in the unique vibe that they each provide. One of our family’s favorite past times, pool hopping.
Caribbean Beach Campfire Activities
Every night as the sun goes down, there’s places to roast marshmallows and enjoy sing-alongs and other fun activities.
Movies Under the Stars
Just off of the main pool is Caribbean Cay Island, which is transformed into a movie lawn in the evenings. The girls looked forward to this to end every night, even if we did not stay for the entire movie. Great memories!
Pirate Adventure Cruise
The kids can take a daily pirate adventure, where they follow cool clues to discover the hidden treasure.
From the Caribbean Cay Island, there’s also day fishing expeditions on the nearby lakes.
If you walk down the island promenade, you will see a place where you can rent bikes for a nice stroll.
There are several fun and interactive playgrounds across the property, including the water play area.
If you enjoyed the rundown of our 5 favorite Orlando Resorts for Families, here are some other posts that you may enjoy.
Diana Blinkhorn is a professional content creator, social media strategist, and owner of TheGrayRuby.com. Her site caters to the everyday mother, sharing the real and raw side of motherhood. She loves to write about trave,l with a focus on cruising and Disney, and sharing her everyday life raising 3 young girls. With over 6 years of experience in social media marketing, Diana has built a business in this ever-evolving industry. She has been featured in publications such as Tampa Bay Parenting, HGTV.com, and HuffPost Parents.
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