Budget-minded hotels that give the big love By MiniTime
Sometimes you just don’t need a resort experience. On a typical family vacation to Orlando, you can count on dropping a pile of dough on admission to theme parks and other attractions. Since you’ll be spending so much of your time outside the hotel anyway, it may make sense to offset your expenses and look for a clean but no-frills place to crash. But with hundreds of inexpensive lodging options in Orlando, how do you cut through the chaff and find those that offer what your family really needs?
We’ve done the searching and sifting for you. Each of these chain hotels delivers a great location, a terrific list of family-friendly amenities, and a rack rate under $100 a night.
Address: 8745 International Drive (1.2 miles from Wet ’n Wild)
What we like: Loaded with the services families love: Lots of space, separate living and sleeping areas, full kitchens, multiple TVs, nice pool, free use of high chairs and cribs. Free shuttle service to Disney World, SeaWorld, and Universal Orlando.
Clarion Inn Lake Buena Vista
Address: 8442 Palm Parkway (one mile from Disney World)
What we like: Feels more like a large, sprawling resort than a budget hotel, with two terrific pools. All rooms have a refrigerator, microwave, and coffeemaker. The “Family Fun Suites” feature a separate bunk bed area for the kids. Cable TV with free Disney channel. Kids’ playground and video arcade. On-site convenience store. Free continental breakfast and “Kids Eat Free” policy for 12 and unders. Free shuttles to Disney World, Universal Orlando, and SeaWorld.
Clarion Hotel Maingate
Address: 7675 W. Irlo Bronson Highway (two miles from Disney World)
What we like: Pool area comprises gated kiddie pool, hot tub, and cute Tiki beverage bar. Rooms are comfy, featuring TV with HBO, plenty of mirrors and large closets, plus a bathroom with ample counter space. Cheap breakfast buffet ($6.95/adult, free for kids 12 and under) in pleasant outdoor setting. Free wireless Internet connection. Well-equipped exercise room. Free shuttles to Disney World, Universal Orlando, and SeaWorld.
Address: 8150 Palm Parkway (one mile from Disney World)
What we like: The furnishings and overall décor are a step up from what you normally find in this price range. The smallish pool is prettily landscaped. Cable TV with HBO and ESPN. Exercise gym. Free continental breakfast. Free shuttles to Disney World.