Walt Disney World Area
Walt Disney World is a globally renowned entertainment and family holiday hub located close to Orlando and Kissimmee, Florida. It opened in October 1971 and now attracts more than 52 million people every year. Consequently, huge numbers of people with varying requirements and budgets are constantly looking for hotels in Orlando or Kissimmee hotels, in order to be near everything offered by the 40 square miles of Walt Disney World.
Some of the facts and figures attached to Walt Disney World give an idea of its breathtaking size and scope. It employs 74,000 people and is home to 34 hotels, 28 of which are operated by Disney. It also includes four theme parks, four golf courses, two water parks and the Disney Springs shopping, dining and entertainment complex.
Hotels in the Walt Disney World area are also in high demand because Orlando is a major tourist attraction in its own right. Orlando is a place which isn’t short of nicknames, something which reflects the diverse range of attractions it offers. It is known as “The City Beautiful” and also as “the theme park capital of the world”. Most visitors looking for Walt Disney World area hotels are intent on exploring the thrills and spills these theme parks offer, but there’s much more to Orlando, which it would be a shame to miss out on.
Where to stay in the Walt Disney World area
The vast majority of hotels close to Walt Disney World can be found in Orlando itself. The city is divided into a number of separate districts, each offering something different and bound to appeal to a wide range of visitors. If you’re staying with friends rather than bringing the kids to enjoy the Disney experience, then you’ll enjoy visiting a hotel in the hip enclave of Thornton Park. With its European architecture and brick-lined streets, this is where you’ll find upmarket alfresco restaurants, high-end fashion boutiques and beauty parlours and bars stocking craft ales and local wines. Students or backpackers seeking Orlando nightlife should seek out a hotel in Audubon Park, a thriving entertainment and live music hub and also the scene of regular events such as wine tastings, book readings, street parties and costume balls. If all of this sounds a bit too energetic you can unwind in the wide open spaces of Harry P. Leu Gardens or by taking a stroll around the community market which takes place every Monday evening.
If you’re something of a culture vulture then accommodation in Ivanhoe Park will place you just a short stroll from a selection of museums, galleries and theatres, offering everything from modern art to Shakespeare and upmarket burlesque shows.
Different types of hotel
You can find 4 or 5 star hotels around virtually every corner in Orlando, and the hotels around Walt Disney World offer everything from 5 star luxury to budget-priced hostels and family-oriented bed and breakfasts. For sheer indulgent luxury, and if money is no object, book into the Waldorf Astoria on Bonnet Creek Resort Lane. Not only is it only three miles from Walt Disney World, it also offers three outdoor pools, a full service spa and its own dedicated golf course. Similarly opulent is the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes, on Central Florida Parkway, which sits in a 500 acre lakefront resort and includes kayaking, eco-tours and fishing among its many attractions. If you’re working to more of a budget then the Grand Beach by Diamond Resorts which is on Lake Bryan Beach Boulevard, offers 3 star accommodation which also includes a miniature golf course, yoga classes and water sports on Lake Bryan itself.
What to do during your stay in the Walt Disney World area
If you’re looking for alternatives to Walt Disney World itself then you’re spoilt for choice. The Kennedy Space Centre experience includes transport from your hotel and offers the chance to touch a piece of moon rock, walk under the shadow of a vast rocket and experience a virtual shuttle launch. The Everglades Airboat & Miami Tour transports you first to Miami and then on an exhilarating airboat ride on the waters of the Everglades. The landscape is stunning in its own right, and there’s always a chance you’ll catch a glimpse of a genuine Florida alligator. If you want to get the kids out of the blazing sun for a while then sit down for The Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show, which combines freshly made pizza with stunning close-up magic and audience participation to keep the whole family entertained.
Whether you want to explore the varied offerings of Orlando itself, or use the city as base from which to enjoy Walt Disney World, you’ll save time and money if you book your flights and hotel together with Expedia.