Where to Stay in Orlando with Family? In this post, I will help you to find the best areas and neighborhoods to stay in Orlando with kids and best family-friendly hotels in Orlando for all budgets and preferences.
Orlando is a city located in central Florida, United States. It is often referred to as the “Theme Park Capital of the World” due to its numerous world-famous theme parks, including Universal Orlando Resort, Walt Disney World Resort, and SeaWorld Orlando.
Orlando is a great destination for families due to its numerous family-friendly attractions and activities. It is home to famous theme parks, offering a wide range of rides, shows, and experiences suitable for all ages.
Beyond the theme parks, Orlando offers a variety of family-oriented activities including water parks, miniature golf courses, zoos, aquariums, and interactive museums.
The city has a wide range of accommodation options to suit different budgets, including family-friendly resorts and hotels that cater to the needs of families traveling with children.
It’s worth noting that the popularity of Orlando as a family destination also means that it can get crowded, especially during peak seasons. Additionally, costs associated with theme park tickets, accommodations, and dining can add up, so families should plan and budget accordingly.
Where to Stay in Orlando with Family?
The best areas to stay in Orlando with family are International Drive, Lake Buena Vista, Universal Orlando Area, Kissimmee, Celebration, and Downtown Orlando. These areas offer plenty of family-friendly accommodations and attractions for children of all ages.
When choosing the best area for your family, consider your priorities. If you want easy access to theme parks, look for accommodations near Disney World or Universal Orlando.
If you’re looking for a more diverse experience beyond the parks and want to experience local restaurants and events, Downtown Orlando might be a better fit.
Be sure to check if the chosen accommodation offers any special packages or deals that can help you save money on your trip. Keep in mind that booking early, especially during peak travel seasons, can often result in better options and rates.
Overview of best neighborhoods to stay in Orlando for family
|Commonly known as I-Drive, this area is home to a variety of hotels, resorts, and restaurants. It’s a great location if you’re planning to visit attractions like Universal Orlando, SeaWorld, and the ICON Orlando observation wheel.
|Lake Buena Vista
|is one of the most convenient areas for families visiting Disney World. There are numerous hotels and resorts within close proximity to the Disney parks, and many offer special perks like early park access and shuttle services to the parks.
|Universal Orlando Area
|If you plan to spend most of your time at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, staying in the vicinity of Universal Orlando can be very convenient. There are several on-site and nearby hotels that offer perks like early park access.
|Just south of Orlando, Kissimmee offers a range of budget-friendly accommodations. It’s close to the Disney parks and offers a quieter atmosphere compared to the hustle and bustle of the city.
|This planned community near Disney World offers a charming small-town atmosphere. It’s designed with families in mind and has a variety of accommodations, shops, and dining options.
|While not as close to the theme parks, Downtown Orlando offers a more urban experience with cultural attractions, restaurants, and shopping. It can be a good option if you’re looking for a different side of Orlando beyond the theme parks.
Map of areas and neighborhoods in Orlando with family:
6 Best areas to Stay in Orlando with Family are:
1. International Drive
International Drive, often referred to as I-Drive, is one of the best areas to stay in Orlando for families due to its high concentrations of hotels, restaurants, entertainment options, as well as proximity to major theme parks like Universal Studios, SeaWorld, and the ICON Park.
International Drive is a popular tourist corridor located in Orlando. It runs approximately 11 miles through the heart of the city, from the southern end near SeaWorld Orlando and the Orange County Convention Center, all the way north to the area near Universal Orlando Resort.
The middle section of International Drive is where you’ll find a concentration of tourist amenities and shopping centers. This area includes attractions like ICON Park (formerly known as the Orlando Eye), Madame Tussauds Orlando, WonderWorks, and more.
I-Drive has a wide range of family-friendly accommodations. Many hotels offer shuttle services to these attractions, making it easy to access them without the hassle of driving and parking.
Additionally, the area is relatively walkable, you can easily explore on foot. The I-RIDE trolley serves the area, making it a great base for families without a car. Your family can use the trolley to visit Universal Studios and SeaWorld.
In addition to family-friendly attractions, I-Drive is home to a plethora of restaurants, ranging from fast food to fine dining, catering to various tastes. There are also entertainment options like miniature golf, dinner theaters.
I-Drive is known for its outlet malls and shopping centers, which can be a fun way to spend time with the family, especially during breaks from the theme parks.
Best places to stay in International Drive in with family:
Budget ($): Holiday Inn Orlando International Drive, great 3-star family-friendly hotel, one of the best places to stay in Orlando with children of all ages. It is centrally located on International Drive, within walking distance from Ripley’s Believe It or Not and ICON PARK. It offers FREE transfer to Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, and SeaWorld Orlando.
Mid-range ($$): Embassy Suites by Hilton Orlando International Drive, popular kid-friendly hotel, centrally located on I-Drive, easy access to major attractions and amenities. The hotel offers complimentary shuttles to Disney and Universal, making it a great base to stay in Orlando for families without a car. Also close to the I-RIDE trolley, easy reach Sea World.
Luxury ($$$): Hyatt Regency Orlando, 4-star children-friendly hotel, located in the heart of International Drive, featuring good breakfast and two resort pools, one featuring a waterslide, waterfall, splash pad and separate children pool. Easy access to public transportation, theme parks, and within walking distance from Orange County Convention Center.BEST HOTELS IN INTERNATIONAL DRIVE
2. Lake Buena Vista / Walt Disney World
Lake Buena Vista is often considered a popular area to stay in Orlando, especially for families with kids, due to its proximity to the Walt Disney World Resort.
Lake Buena Vista is incredibly close to the Walt Disney World Resort, making it convenient for families who plan to spend a lot of time at the Disney parks. Many hotels in this area offer shuttle services to the parks, making transportation easier.
There are numerous dining options and entertainment venues in the area, both within the Disney resorts and in the surrounding vicinity. This can provide a variety of dining experiences and activities for families.
Many of the hotels in Lake Buena Vista are themed and cater to families, offering kid-friendly amenities and services, such as character breakfasts, pools with water slides, and themed decor.
The area has many shops offering Disney and Orlando-themed merchandise, allowing families to shop for souvenirs without having to travel far.
The area is generally safe and well-maintained, which can be comforting for families traveling with children.
Staying in Lake Buena Vista, especially within the Disney resorts, can be more expensive compared to other areas in Orlando. Accommodation, dining, and other expenses within the resorts might come at a premium.
While this might be a pro for some families, if you’re looking to explore other attractions in Orlando, you might find Lake Buena Vista’s proximity to Disney somewhat limiting.
In conclusion, Lake Buena Vista is a great area to stay in Orlando with kids, especially if you’re primarily interested in visiting the Disney parks. It offers convenience, themed experiences, and a family-friendly atmosphere.
Best places to stay in Lake Buena Vista in for family with kids:
Luxury ($$$): Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Resort, children-friendly resort, located 3 minutes’ drive from Walt Disney World. It has a private lake, an outdoor lagoon pool with a water slide, 6 restaurants, and a children’s play area.
Mid-range ($$): Sheraton Vistana Resort Villas, Lake Buena Vista Orlando 4-star family-friendly resort, featuring 7 outdoor heated pools, 6 restaurants, and spacious villas with kitchen facilities. It is a short drive from Disney Springs.
Budget ($): Sonesta ES Suites Orlando – Lake Buena Vista, 3-star hotel, located within 5 minutes’ walk from restaurants at the Crossroads shopping center and a 4 minutes’ drive from the Walt Disney World Resort.BEST HOTELS IN LAKE BUENA VISTA
3. Universal Orlando Area
The Universal Orlando area is a great place to stay with kids when visiting Orlando. Staying in the Universal Orlando area means you’ll be close to the Universal theme parks, which can be very convenient, especially if you plan to spend a lot of time there.
Many Universal Orlando resorts offer early park access to their guests, allowing you to enter the parks before they open to the general public. This can be a significant advantage in terms of avoiding crowds and enjoying popular attractions.
Universal Orlando resorts often have immersive, themed accommodations that can enhance the overall experience for kids. They may have character meet-and-greets, themed pools, and other kid-friendly amenities.
The Universal Orlando area has a variety of dining and entertainment options beyond the theme parks, including CityWalk. This can provide additional options for family fun in the evenings.
Staying in the Universal Orlando area can be more expensive compared to off-site accommodations. The convenience and benefits come with a price tag, so it’s important to consider your budget.
While you’ll have easy access to Universal theme parks, transportation to other Orlando attractions like Walt Disney World or SeaWorld might not be as straightforward if you don’t have a car.
The Universal Orlando area can get quite crowded, especially during peak travel times. While early park access can help mitigate this, you might still encounter large crowds.
If your family plans to explore other attractions in the Orlando area beyond Universal Studios, staying in this area might mean you’ll need to deal with longer travel times to reach other destinations.
Best places to stay in Universal Orlando Area in with children:
Luxury ($$$): Universal’s Loews Royal Pacific Resort, great kid-friendly resort, offering FREE Universal Express Unlimited ride access to skip the regular lines at most popular attractions in Universal Studios Florida and the Islands of Adventure. Also Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Universal’s Volcano Bay water theme park.
Mid-range ($$): Universal’s Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, this resort offers free transfer service between Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. It also has Outdoor swimming pool and 4 on-site restaurants serving Caribbean cuisine.
Budget ($): Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort, 3-star family-friendly resort, located right next to Universal’s Volcano Bay, offering a free transfer to all 3 Universal Orlando theme parks and Universal CityWalk. Also offers Early Park Admission.BEST HOTELS IN UNIVERSAL ORLANDO AREA
Kissimmee is a popular area for visitors to the Orlando area, particularly for those planning to visit the nearby theme parks such as Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld.
While it offers several advantages for families with kids, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider.
Kissimmee is located very close to many of the major theme parks in Orlando, including Walt Disney World and Universal Studios. This means you’ll have relatively short travel times to and from the parks, which can be convenient when traveling with kids.
In general, accommodations in Kissimmee can be more affordable than staying on-site at the theme parks. This can be particularly beneficial for families looking to save on lodging costs.
Many of the accommodations in Kissimmee are designed with families in mind, offering amenities such as kid-friendly pools, game rooms, and playgrounds.
Staying in a theme park resort can provide certain benefits like extended park hours, early park entry, and transportation to the parks. Staying in Kissimmee might not offer these same advantages.
In summary, Kissimmee can be a good option for families looking to visit the Orlando theme parks while keeping accommodation costs more manageable.
Best places to stay in Kissimmee with family:
- Budget ($): Embassy Suites by Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista South
- Budget ($): Holiday Inn Express & Suites S Lake Buena Vista, an IHG Hotel
- Budget ($): Magic Moment Resort and Kids Club
Celebration is a master-planned community located near Orlando, known for its picturesque neighborhoods, charming downtown area, and family-friendly atmosphere.
While it’s not located directly within the theme park areas of Orlando, it can still be a great place to stay with kids, depending on your preferences and priorities.
Celebration was designed with families in mind, so it’s generally a safe and pleasant environment for kids. The downtown area offers shops, restaurants, and entertainment options that can be enjoyable for families.
While not right next to the Disney parks, Celebration is relatively close, making it convenient for visiting the theme parks.
If you prefer a quieter atmosphere compared to the hustle and bustle of the tourist areas, Celebration can offer a more relaxed environment.
While Celebration is close to Disney, it’s farther from other popular Orlando attractions like Universal Studios and SeaWorld. You might need to drive a bit to reach these places.
Staying in Celebration could be more expensive compared to some other accommodations in the area due to its upscale nature.
Having a car is often necessary in Celebration, as it’s a planned community designed around driving rather than walking.
In summary, Celebration can be a great choice for families looking for a quieter and more upscale atmosphere near the Disney parks. It offers a unique experience with its charming design and community events.
Best places to stay in Orlando in Celebration with family:
- Luxury ($$$): Meliá Orlando Celebration
- Mid-range ($$): Vacation Village at Parkway
- Budget ($): Celebration Suites
6. Downtown Orlando
Downtown Orlando can be a convenient and enjoyable place to stay with kids, but it’s important to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision.
Downtown Orlando is relatively close to various attractions, such as museums, parks, and cultural sites, which can provide a diverse range of activities for kids.
The downtown area typically offers a variety of restaurants, cafes, and entertainment options suitable for families, providing opportunities for both adults and kids to enjoy.
Downtown Orlando often has good public transportation options, which can be helpful for families who want to explore the city without the hassle of driving and parking.
Downtown areas usually have museums, art galleries, and other cultural venues that can provide educational experiences for kids.
Depending on the specific neighborhood within downtown, you may find that it’s pedestrian-friendly, allowing for easy strolls and exploration with children.
Downtown areas can be noisy and crowded, which might not be ideal for families with young children who require a quieter environment to rest.
Parking can be challenging and expensive in downtown areas. Additionally, traffic congestion might make getting around more difficult, especially during peak hours.
While downtown areas often have security measures in place, some families might be concerned about safety, particularly during nighttime.
If you’re primarily interested in theme parks, staying closer to those areas might offer more convenience. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a mix of cultural experiences, dining, and some local attractions, Downtown Orlando could be a viable option.
Best places to stay in Downtown Orlando with family:
- Mid-range ($$): Home2 Suites by Hilton Orlando Downtown, FL
- Mid-range ($$): Embassy Suites by Hilton Orlando Downtown
- Mid-range ($$): Courtyard by Marriott Orlando Downtown
Summary – Where to Stay in Orlando with kids?
In conclusion, International Drive, Lake Buena Vista, Universal Orlando Area, Kissimmee, Celebration, and Downtown Orlando are the best places to stay in Orlando for families with kids. They offer plenty of things to do and see for children of all ages both young and older.
International Drive is the best area to stay in Orlando for all theme parks, Lake Buena Vista is the best neighborhood for Disney enthusiasts seeking magical experience. The Universal Orlando Area is the best base inside Universal Studios.
Kissimmee is the best area for a relaxed vibe, affordable hotels, and proximity to various parks. Downtown Orlando is the best location for families seeking a mix of city attractions and nearby theme parks. Choose wisely to make your family’s Orlando vacation unforgettable.