In this review, we investigate the top 10 best hotels which are closest to Walt Disney World In Orlando in Florida. There are a number of on-site hotels, which we outline below, but it is also worth considering nearby off-site hotels.
In fact, some off-site hotels are convenient for Universal as well as Disney, and we have outlined the best hotels close to Universal Orlando in case you decide to split your vacation. We have also reviewed the best Marriott Bonvoy hotels near Universal in case you collect or want to redeem Marriott Bonvoy points for your Disney or Universal trip.
Since opening in 1971, Walt Disney World in Orlando has become the ultimate place to take your family with dozens of hotels with different theme parks and hotels.
While every Disney hotel and resort is great, each has its own selling point, be it a lazy rive, brilliant kids club, amazing water park, or incredible views. Here’s our pick of the best hotels & resorts near Walt Disney World in Orlando.
Wherever you decide to stay, in Orlando or elsewhere, book via our luxury travel concierge. We offer free upgrades, free breakfasts, and free benefits at hotels, including the Four Seasons, Hyatt, Ritz-Carlton, InterContinental, and more.
Typically, our free benefits at luxury hotels include:
- Room upgrade to next category
- Complimentary breakfast for two per bedroom
- Complimentary Welcome Gift
- $100 USD equivalent Hotel experiential credit per room per stay
- Early check-in / late check-out (subject to availability)
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
1. Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World® Resort
Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World® Resort is one of the best Four Seasons hotels in Florida. Nestled within the 47 square miles of Walt Disney World, it is tucked away in the secluded millionaires’ row of Golden Oaks. This is easily the very best and most luxurious hotel within Walt Disney World.
This lakeside haven has extensive gardens, pools, and towering pillars of palms and cypress. Tee off at the exclusive Four Seasons Golf and Sports Club Orlando, splash around with the kids at Explorer Island, treat yourself to a soothing, post-park massage at The Spa, or toast the evening fireworks with dinner at our rooftop steakhouse Capa.
The hotel has its own luxury coach service to the four theme parks, and your room comes with a free EXTRA MAGIC HOURS benefit and DISNEY FASTPASS+ up to 60 days before arrival, making it the perfect base for your next Orlando adventure.
Beyond Walt Disney World® Resort is the new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, an incredible new world which is sure to excite any Star Wars fan young and old.
Within the hotel, highlights for the kids include the five-acre water park, with splash zones, interactive fountains, water slides, and pools for kids and grown-ups alike. An attentive poolside service includes towels, lounger pillows, suncream, and pitchers of iced water.
Highlights include two elegant infinity pools, one for the family and one for adults only, splashing around in the winding lazy river, two exhilarating water slides, and weekly Dive-In Movies at the family pool, which also has zero walk in water, so is ideal for any age! In fact, the pools are the biggest reason to stay here. The lazy river sparkles and is never crowded, with giant waterfalls, it just floats you along… so relaxing!
The adult pool is a quiet oasis with a hot tub and lounge chairs. It is a completely peaceful and marvelous haven of escape. Crucially, wherever you go within the grounds, it is never too crowded, even when the hotel is full.
The grounds of this Four Seasons are immaculate and beautifully landscaped, with palm trees everywhere and flower beds as well as container planters and water features.
There’s also a fitness center and a spa, plus an exclusive golf course. A special Disney concierge can arrange all theme park tickets and bookings.
The look of the buildings has a Spanish or Italian feel with tropical grounds. The entire complex is an oasis of calm and the perfect escape from the frenetic theme parks. All rooms are large, even the base standard rooms, and they are almost equally large balconies as well as signature Four Seasons marbled bathrooms with bathroom mirrors with TVs in them.
Room Tip: You must book a room above the fifth floor on the west side if this is your first trip, a Park View room so that you can see the nightly Disney fireworks! Other rooms overlook the Golden Oak properties or the surrounding lake and do not have a direct view out onto this wonderful spectacle.
That said, Golden Oak View rooms are cheaper and the same in square footage, and you might feel the premium is not worth paying for. Golden Oak View rooms are lovely, and you can always watch the fireworks from the 14th floor of the hotel from the communal hotel balcony.
If you want more space, go for a Golden Oak View Suite. They are magnificent with a larger bedroom space and a separate living area with a pull-out sofa. Some rooms have a bathtub by a window, which offers a gorgeous view while you’re bathing. If you’re staying for a long time or traveling with a lot of stuff, these rooms are lovely if your wallet stretches far enough!
There are seven dining and lounge options. All are great, Ravello has its own bar and celebrates fresh Italian food and cocktails. The pool bar PB&G offers light bites. There is a coffee bar, plus the golf clubhouse has a restaurant open for lunch.
The rooftop restaurant Capa is the place to go if you don’t have a room with a view of the fireworks. This restaurant is on the roof, and from here, you can watch the nightly Disney fireworks.
Finally, there is a free kid’s club (ages four to 12) that is open from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, with its own water-play area, water slides, and fun.
Of course, there is no Four Seasons rewards program, but if you are a regular guest of the Four Seasons or even want to try this iconic brand for the first time, you can take advantage of loyalty style benefits at Four Seasons hotels for no extra cost by booking your next stay via our luxury travel concierge.
2. Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa is the very best Disney-branded resort in Orlando. Rooms and, in fact, the entire resort is Victorian in style but with a Disney makeover of the Victorian times. Located just one stop from the Magic Kingdom, you can get to the parks by riding the complimentary Resort Monorail – what a brilliant way to arrive!
This resort is classy with mosaic floors, fountains with nymphs, lots of creams and whites, pillars, and an impressive lobby. Within the rooms, the creams are complemented by forest greens that bring the outside in. The feel is elegant and dignified.
In terms of the resort itself, you can cool down at the Beach Pool or the Seven Seas Lagoon and ride down the water slides. Both pools are massive and are flanked by cabanas and loungers. Enjoy a massage at Senses Spa, and dine with Disney characters or in award-winning restaurants. There is also a club lounge for those who want to escape,
Being so close to Disney World itself, you are in the perfect place to watch the magnificent fireworks light up the sky over Cinderella’s Castle.
3. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is located in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, but you will feel as though you’ve entered the jungles of Africa. This Deluxe resort also has a club lounge level.
The imposing African theme extends throughout this atmospheric resort, with tribal art and artifacts, African flavors in three restaurants (Jiko, Boma, and Sanaa), and the waterfalls and meandering streams of Uzima Springs Pool.
It is quite extraordinary how this beautiful resort’s designers have bought Africa to Florida, and this African theme goes beyond the vibrant safari-style interiors. There are more than 30 species of African wildlife on the resort grounds! Among the exotic animals you’ll spot are zebras, giraffes, and kudu with their spiral antlers.
Beyond this, restaurants serve traditional African dishes, and the zero-entry Uzima pool is a dream for families. Think lush vegetation, palm trees, rock formations, and brilliant slides, and you will imagine how lovely this pool is.
In terms of views, the parking lot view offers the best value but if you are looking for something more inspiring, go for a pool view, landscape view, or water view. The ultimate view at this resort is the view of the savanna and African wildlife. You won’t find a view like this anywhere else in Florida, and the animals mixed with the jungle decor will make you feel like you have left America completely.
4. Disney’s Beach Club Resort
In my opinion, this charming New England-style resort with baby blue and white clapboard frontage is the most lovely looking of all the Disney resorts. You will not be losing any of the class by booking a cheaper rate, and you can still laze on your wooden balconies in this oh so pretty, almost turreted resort design.
I love the color scheme of the rooms. The sandy carpet, the hints of sea blue in the headboard. The decor is unfussy and simple and yet classy and luxurious. The decor will remind you of a New England beach cottage, but the Disney flair makes them that bit better. Disney’s Beach Club Resort are also super convenient, walkable from Epcot and just a short boat ride (what fun!) to the popular Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
We love the fact that most of the resort looks over the charming pools and the lake beyond. Kids and adults of all ages will love splashing and sliding at the 3-acre on-site water park. A kids club also gives the younger family members a chance to make crafts and play games. If you have little ones, you must stay here for the character dining – what could be more fun!
Probably my favorite thing about this resort is the way you get to the Disney parks… You use the Disney Skyliner with its whimsical aerial gondolas. They say, “Glide across the sky and add an extra dash of pixie dust to your day. This grand, state-of-the-art gondola system conveniently connects Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the International Gateway at Epcot and links to Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort, and Disney’s Riviera Resort. The Disney Skyliner station at International Gateway at Epcot is also conveniently located just a short stroll away from Disney’s BoardWalk entertainment district, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, Disney’s Beach Club Resort, and Disney’s Boardwalk Inn.”
5. Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
Disney’s BoardWalk Inn is also within walking distance of both Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. If you want to visit the other parks, there are free shuttles provided by the resort.
The rooms here have dark blue carpet and yellow and white stripes on the walls. The lobby’s decor is more interesting, with old-fashioned white pillars like something out of a cruise ship. There are intricate lamps and gold-mounted wall paintings above the reception, making the entranceway feel very authentic.
Highlights include multiple themed pools with a waterslide, the delicious Flying Fish Cafe, and a 1940’s Atlantic City vibe. This resort sparkles by night and by day. The way it crowds around the pool means that you can take advantage of vintage charm with great views of the pool if you choose one of these rooms.
Again, this hotel offers a superb way to get to the Disney parks… You use the Disney Skyliner with its whimsical aerial gondolas. They say, “Glide across the sky and add an extra dash of pixie dust to your day. This grand, state-of-the-art gondola system conveniently connects Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the International Gateway at Epcot and links to Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort, and Disney’s Riviera Resort. The Disney Skyliner station at International Gateway at Epcot is also conveniently located just a short stroll away from Disney’s BoardWalk entertainment district, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, Disney’s Beach Club Resort, and Disney’s Boardwalk Inn.”
6. Disney’s Old Key West Resort
Stay in the Florida Keys whilst being next door to Disney World. Disney’s Old Key West Resort is minutes away from the best attractions in Orlando, and yet you feel like you are in the Florida Keys. This place even comes complete with a lighthouse!
Disney’s Old Key West Resort is just idyllic. It was the first Disney Vacation Club (DVC) property. This once small-scale timeshare program has since expanded into something huge. Victorian styling combines with pretty pastel colors and tropical vegetation giving it a great ambiance. The main meeting place is fronted by wooden balconies and pontoons that jut out into the lake. Surrounding this pretty clapboard resort are tropical palm trees and pristine golf fairways.
Check-in is located in the Hospitality House, which is along the dockside, where you can also enjoy Olivia’s Cafe, Conch Flats General Store, the Good Food To Go restaurant, the main pool, Gurgling Suitcase bar, and the marina. If you don’t like walking, stay close to Hospitality House as the resort is quite spread out.
The pools are particularly impressive here. There’s a sandcastle waterslide, a dry sauna at the base of a lighthouse, a whirlpool spa, and even a sandy beach, yes, really. Next to the beach is the children’s pool. In addition, there 3 all-ages quiet pools in the Old Turtle Pond, South Point, and Miller’s Road sections of the resort, each with a whirlpool spa.
Other facilities include a fitness facility. Take Disney’s Magical Express to and from the airport, saving you the expense of a rental car and also offering a much more eco-friendly way to travel. To get to the parks, you can take a boat to Disney Springs or catch a bus to the parks.
The rooms here have pastel blue walls and sandy yellow carpets and have a lovely beach theme. Rooms have fully equipped kitchens or kitchenettes. Rooms here are the largest of all Disney Vacation Club resorts. For example, the standard studio room is 390 square feet, comparable to most standard Deluxe Resort rooms. Studios at other Disney Vacation Club resorts are around 300 square feet, so if room size matters, Disney’s Old Key West Resort is the one to pick.
While this is a great themed resort with large rooms, it does not seem to have a club lounge, so this is not the resort to pick if you want a Disney Resort with a club lounge.
7. Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa was inspired by historic Saratoga Springs, which was a late-1800s’ New York retreat for the rich, known for its spas and horse racing.
The white buildings of Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa sit amidst the rolling greens of the golf course greens, and they overlook Lake Buena Vista. There are two pools, a waterslide, and a play area. Admittedly, the location in the center of the golf course is a major advantage if you like to play golf. You couldn’t be more conveniently located for Disney’s Lake Buena Vista Golf Course. There is also a glorious Senses full-service spa and movies under the stars. And yet, Disney theme parks, Hollywood Studios, Epcot, and more are just moments away.
There are four different kinds of units available at the resort with a garden, pool, lake, woodland, and fairway views. Our favorite is the fairway views as it is relaxing watching people trundle around the golf course. Pick a villa with a furnished balcony so that you can enjoy the Florida warmth.
8. Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando
Our top choice at Universal Orlando is the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal followed by the Hard Rock and the Royal Pacific which both come in second for different reasons. Book any of these hotels via our luxury travel concierge for a better deal.
Crucially, the rooms at the Loews Portofino Bay are 335 square feet and the largest of the three hotels, with the Hard Rock coming in at the middle. The rooms at the Lowes Royal Pacific are almost 120 square feet smaller.
Nestled along the picturesque bay at Universal Orlando Resort, this luxurious hotel recreates the charm and romance of the famed seaside village of Portofino, Italy, right down to the cobblestone streets and outdoor cafes.
This AAA Four Diamond Award-winning hotel features 750 guest rooms, including 45 spacious suites. Each room offers elegance with authentic Italian furnishings and marble accents. The rooms at all the hotels aren’t noteworthy. You get what you pay for, so the ones at the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel have the edge on the other two hotels being significantly larger and nicer with a double sink and larger bathroom (those at the Royal Pacific only have a single sink).
Expect all the usual amenities: flat-screen TV, Wi-Fi, coffee maker, fridge, and a safe. The rooms at all three hotels are decent but not amazing. Staying here is all about the parks. That said, the beds are comfortable although, be warned, adjoining doors aren’t very well soundproofed at any of these three hotels, so bring your earplugs.
Hotel guests enjoy impeccable and attentive service, an opulent spa, three themed swimming pools, and exceptional dining… plus an exclusive package of theme park benefits, including:
Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter one hour before the theme park opens (valid theme park admission required).
Free Universal Express℠ Unlimited ride access to SKIP THE REGULAR LINES in both theme parks all day, a benefit worth up to $125.00 USD per person, per day (valid theme park admission required)…”
We really like this hotel. It is your best luxury hotel choice at Universal Orlando. It is also the most expensive, with the Hard Rock and the Royal Pacific coming in cheaper. All three hotels are on-site at Universal, and the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel is an easy 20-minute stroll to City Walk and the park entrances.
The Portofino Bay has the best onsite hotel pools at Universal. There are three. One is very peaceful, and another has a slide and daily activities with prizes. It is not usually difficult to find a lounger around these pools, either, which is a blessing when compared to your other options, making this an oasis of peace in the otherwise frenetic Universal Orlando.
Loews Portofino Bay Hotel is probably the furthest of the three premium hotels from the parks. The landscaping around the whole Universal complex is fantastic, so the walk is delightful. If you can’t face walking, complimentary water taxis are also available.
The club lounge at Portofino Bay offers a better quality of food than the lounges at the other two hotels. Breakfast includes warm eggs and bacon or sausage, so it is not continental like the breakfast at the other hotels. Snacks also include vegetables and hummus. Dinner in the club always includes a salad and then an entree with two sides. The food quality and quantity are excellent, as are the desserts, and their cookies are usually a hit with the kids. Crucially, there is plenty of room and plenty of seating and no queues out of the door at mealtimes like at the Hard Rock! You can also enjoy free beer, wine, spirits, and prosecco in the lounges, making a significant saving to your drinks bill.
The Portofino Bay is undoubtedly the best of these three onsite hotels. Still, they do not have the level of luxury offered by the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, which is one of our offsite hotels, which we have reviewed below and is also our top choice and the best hotel with a club lounge in Orlando.
9. The Ritz-Carlton, Orlando, Grande Lakes
The Ritz-Carlton hotel in Orlando is a great luxury hotel choice and is, in fact, probably the most luxurious hotel base for Universal Orlando Parks. It is also well located for Disney World resorts.
The Ritz-Carlton, Orlando, Grande Lakes is located in the Grande Lakes part of the city, within a short free shuttle ride to Disney and Universal (included with the resort fee of $35 USD per day). The resort fee also includes Wi-Fi, phone calls, the driving range, some kids’ activities, access to and floaties at the JW Marriott lazy river, and shuttle transport to Disney and SeaWorld (reservation required at least 24 hours in advance) and one-hour bike rental.
The hotel is next door to the JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes. It’s about a 20-minute drive from Orlando Airport (MCO), and parking fees are around $40 USD per night if you have driven to the hotel.
I would choose this hotel because it offers luxury nearby the theme parks and an excellent club lounge. It also has three wonderful pools, a Ritz-Carlton Spa, a Greg Norman-designed golf course, and 11 dining options. You can also use the lazy river next door at the JW Marriott, which kids and the young at heart will love. The Ritz-Carlton Spa is also not to be missed, with its 40 treatment rooms, salon, private heated lap pool, and healthy spa café. Of note, the JW Marriott does not have a club lounge. Hence, you do better booking into a Club Room at the Ritz-Carlton and then taking advantage of the magnificent lazy river at the JW Marriott during your stay whilst retaining access to the RC club lounge.
The foyer is a mass of marble, and the rooms have been recently refurbished and are spacious and stylish. The rooms, including the club level, feature balconies with spectacular views of the resort’s gardens, lakes, or golf course.
The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes is ideal for families, providing convenient access to nearby Walt Disney World, SeaWorld, and Universal Studios attractions; plus, the Ritz Kids program is a favorite, and special excursions like kayaking, fishing instruction, and eco-tours allow for adventures while remaining in this 500-acre resort.
The highlight for me here is the pool, both here and next door at the JW Marriott with their lazy river and the incredible views of the resort holiday fireworks from the club lounge balcony.
The club lounge is on the 14th floor and is classic in design with orange and cream tones, mainly orange soft furnishings and creamy marbles. The long thin room is shuttered to one side with windows. The buffet here is delicious and filling. You can take a tour via the video on the Ritz-Carlton website.
The club lounge’s veranda overlooks the pool connects to the main club offering a great view of the Disney fireworks in the distance, a huge highlight, and great outdoor seating if you want to enjoy a bite and a drink alfresco as the sun goes down.
There is also a complimentary Ritz Kids Day Time Programming for children (ages 4-12), up to three per room, as well as a media room with movies and classic family games.
10. Disney Dolphin & Swan
If you are looking for an on-site Disney hotel to earn or redeem Marriott Bonvoy points, two of your best choices are the Dolphin or the Swan hotels at Walt Disney World. But which is best for families? The Dolphin vs. the Swan?
When comparing Bonvoy’s Swan and Dolphin Disney World Resorts, the Dolphin is a Sheraton property, and the Swan is a Westin. Both the Swan and Dolphin resorts sit on 87 acres of lakefront property in Disney’s Epcot area, adjacent to Disney’s Boardwalk. There is not much to choose between them in terms of location. Both hotels are located 1.8 miles from Disney and within (long!) walking distance from Epcot. It’s a pleasant walk past the Boardwalk shops and restaurants.
The walk to Epcot or Hollywood studios from the Swan is slightly shorter vs. the Dolphin, and both the Swan and the Dolphin are just across a bridge to Disney’s BoardWalk, with shopping, restaurants, bike rentals, and an arcade. It is a lovely place to while away the evening.
Both the Swan and the Dolphin are currently Marriott Category 6 properties and cost from 50,000 points per night if you are booking on redemption.
The Dolphin’s disadvantage is its size and the huge lobby, which can be overwhelming and full of business travelers attending meetings at the attached conference center, which takes Disney magic away from the stay. The Walt Disney World Dolphin has been fairly recently renovated as has the Walt Disney World Swan.
The rooms at the Dolphin are good, and many have balconies. There are more balconies in this hotel than the Swan. Family rooms at the Dolphin have two double beds, whereas the Swan has 2 larger queens. Crucially, if you are a family of 5, you should go for the Dolphin as it will work out a much better deal as there is a maximum capacity of five per room compared to four at Swan.
The Swan and Dolphin have five heated pools between them, and you can access them all, whichever hotel you stay in, so these are not a dealbreaker. Families will particularly enjoy the large grotto pool at the Dolphin with a waterfall and a water slide, but you should avoid the Dolphin poolside rooms unless you like deep bass from the pool music all day.
All the pools are nestled in an exotic tropical environment, so you can relax in the shade or tan in the sun. The expansive pool area provides the best of both worlds: quiet alcoves for those who prefer a private place to unwind and more lively areas with seasonal disc jockeys and entertainment for those who prefer a little more excitement.
You can also work out in the crystal blue lap pool or take a leisurely ride around Crescent Lake on a swan paddle boat!
There’s a kids’ playground on the grounds, and activities happen most nights, such as entertainers and s’mores on the beach. The Camp Dolphin kids’ club is free for two kids for two hours when parents are dining at the Swan or Dolphin’s signature restaurants, which is a useful facility for families.
If the gym is a dealbreaker, the one at the Dolphin is bigger.
The Swan has a bus advantage vs. the Dolphin, as the Disney bus picks up at the Swan first, so if the resorts are busy, you have a better chance of getting a seat on the bus if you get on at the Swan. If you decide to take the boat to Hollywood or Epcot, be aware that it is very slow.
There is a resort fee of $31.50 USD per night at these hotels, but this is reduced if you are a Platinum Bonvoy member so remember to mention this related to these charges at check-in or check-out.
Overall, the Swan is smaller and feels quieter, and the character breakfasts on Saturdays and Sundays at Garden Grove features Chip and Dale, Pluto and Goofy are magical. If you are a family of 4 or under, choose the Swan. If you are a family of 5, you can all share the same room at the Dolphin, so it would be better to choose the Dolphin.
The website description of the Dolphin details features, room numbers, etc.:
Located in the center of the Walt Disney World® Resort adjacent to Epcot® and Disney’s Hollywood Studios™, with the Magic Kingdom® Park and Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park nearby, this award-winning resort offers entertainment, activities, dining, and the luxurious Mandara Spa. Enter a world of wonder and enchantment. As our guest, you’re entitled to special Disney benefits, such as Extra Magic Hours in theme parks, complimentary transportation, on-site character dining, and advance tee times on championship golf courses. All of our 1,514 guest rooms and suites feature the Heavenly® Bed, two dual-line telephones with voicemail messaging and data port, high-speed Internet access, color/cable TV, individual climate control, and much more.”
The website description of the Swan also features some useful facts:
Surrounded by all the wonders of the Walt Disney World® Resort, the Walt Disney World Swan offers a truly magical experience. Visit the Magic Kingdom® Park, Epcot®, and other amazing theme parks and attractions with the greatest of ease. Our hotel offers a truly magical experience in the heart of the Walt Disney World® Resort. Take advantage of special Disney benefits, including Extra Magic Hours in theme parks, FastPass+, complimentary transportation, and on-site character dining. Featuring the unique, contemporary designs of world-famous architect Michael Graves and Westin’s signature Heavenly® Bed, our 756 rooms and suites offer a tranquil retreat at the end of an adventure-packed day.
Note: Benefits offered correct at the time of writing but may be amended at discretion of the vendor. Posts may be sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own & are in no way influenced.