Planning a family reunion in Orlando can be challenging, and picking the best resort hotel or vacation rental to meet your needs can be the toughest part. One has to find a hotel that isn’t too chaotic for grandparents and may need to be accessible for the mobility impaired. At the same time, the activities that ensure kids will not be bored should not be too childish for teens. The location must be convenient to places where everyone can have fun and not feel left out. Space and price are two other important factors to take into account.
Fortunately, we have recommendations for five top, reunion-friendly resorts in Orlando, Florida. Each of these resorts is highly praised, economical, has beautiful views, spacious rooms and can accommodate large groups of people in suites or with connecting rooms. They also offer a variety of restaurants and menus, pools, and activities that are sure to please kids, teens, and grandparents. The resorts are located nearby the famous family-friendly theme parks… but that’s not the only thing there is to do in Orlando. The city is filled with museums, shopping and restaurants, too. For more ideas and information read our Orlando guide.
We recommend you start booking your reunion up to a year in advance, before these places run out of the rooms your family prefers. In alphabetical order, we present:
7822 W Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy
Kissimmee, FL 34747
All Star Vacation Homes prides itself on offering spacious, luxurious properties as a home away from home vacation rental alternative. Their varying collection of 3-, 4-, and 5-star resort homes feature modern amenities including gourmet kitchens, Internet, plasma TV's, private swimming pools, nature trails, whirlpools, and more. Some properties can comfortably sleep as many as 16 guests in seven bedrooms, perfect for family reunions and large togethering vacations. But All Star also has a selection of quality condos and townhomes with 2+ bedrooms for families looking for a cozier setting.
All Star properties offer the comfort and privacy of a real home so kids can run and play in the yard, playgrounds, and enjoy their own bedrooms. When not hitting the area theme parks, they can keep busy with game rooms, pool tables, games, and outdoor recreation including basketball and volleyball courts.
With over 150 properties to choose from, it's not difficult to find the right accommodation to match your family's needs and interest. All Star's website alerts you to how many guests can comfortably sleep at each property, number of beds and baths, square footage, and how many miles it is from Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, and the closest beach. Additionally, All Star frequently features incentives ranging from theme park ticket upgrades, free rental cars, discounts on 7-night stays, golfing packages, and $100 gift cards for gas and groceries.
8101 World Center Drive
Orlando FL 32821
Since it opened in October 1996, the Caribe Royale has been a favorite of many repeat visitors. The exterior of the towering resort is painted deep mauve and burgundy and is surrounded by dozens of palm trees. Every adventurous soul will love the resort's main swimming area — a 6,632-square-foot heated pool with rocky waterfalls, a 75-foot serpentine waterslide and a relaxing sundeck surrounded by tropical landscaping. A separate children's area features a wading pool filled with sprinklers, spouts and other interactive toys, and an adjacent playground. Other family-friendly highlights include spacious suites, which have a separate bedroom with either queen beds or one king-size bed. The living area has a pull-out sleeper sofa, TV, microwave, and mini-bar or refrigerator. Adjoining suites are available, but it is strongly recommended to request them well in advance.
Extended families should consider one of the luxury villas, located a brief stroll from the main resort and its popular piano bar and lounge. The villas' tropical decor extends to the two separate bedrooms (one with king-size bed and Jacuzzi bathtub), living area, screened-in balcony and bright, open kitchen with dishwasher and washer/dryer. The villas also have their own grotto pool, albeit on a smaller scale than the main pool. Handicapped-accessible rooms are available.
Families can enjoy the pools, games, and local theme parks together. Other amenities include 24-hour room service, the full-service Tropicale Restaurant, and Cafe Largo, which offers deli-style sandwiches and pizza. Plus Caribe Royale offers Casa Kid's Club with plenty of games and activities for children ages 4-11. Caribe Royale is located about five miles from DisneyWorld and SeaWorld and is about 10 miles from Universal Studios. Free scheduled shuttle service is provided to Disney parks and the Buena Vista Factory Mall.
8505 W. Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy
Kissimmee, FL 34747-8201
Orange Lake is a great choice for the active family because of its true golf and country club feel. Golf carts hum down the narrow roads next to green, manicured fairways that run flush with surrounding villas. A lakefront recreation area with pools and decking was long the hub for activity, but it's been overtaken by the 12-acre recreational complex called River Island. This area features a lazy river, two beach-style walk-in pools, pool bars, spas and waterfalls; plus, a 36-hole miniature golf course. And don't worry, there are plenty of lounge chairs along the way. At the lake you can rent boats and watersports gear, or play volleyball on the small white beach. Accommodations consist of studios, suites, and one, two, and three-bedroom villas. Villa kitchens include every appliance known to man, as well as a long breakfast bar and dining table. Villas include also a sofabed in the living room, and handicapped-accessible villas are available.
The resort features four golf courses and McCord Golf Academy, driving range, putting green, pro shop, eight TruFlex tennis courts and a tennis clinic. Inside the West Village Clubhouse you'll find an indoor children's play area (private babysitting arranged through a local service), video game room, general store, movie theater and a place to rent videos. If that's still not enough to keep you busy, the Disney theme parks are about 5 miles away and Universal Studios and SeaWorld are within a 30-minute drive. Seniors who want to let their children take the grandchildren to a theme park can stay behind for one of the special activities such as aquarobics, country barbeque, Bingo, fitness walking and arts n'crafts.
On the resort grounds, guests have several dining options among the buffet, cafe, and fast food outlets. (The kitchen staff will accommodate those with special dietary needs.) Outside the resort, there are many restaurants and grocery stores along Highway 192.
6001 Destination Parkway
Orlando, FL 32819
Garnering multiple awards for luxurious amenities and excellent service, this convention center hotel successfully accommodates business people, active vacationers, those looking to relax and recharge and relatives who want some time apart to enjoy their vacation. And this is what makes it great for family reunions when your clan is comprised of older teens, young adults and elders…. just take a look at our video.
While each guestroom offers a mini-fridge, lounging area and a coffee maker, reunion-goers will appreciate the concierge-manned Executive Level, where a cityview lounge with WiFi, free breakfast, snacks and an honor bar becomes the place to gather at day's end. Guest amenities from the Hilton Serenity collection (anything from soaps to pillows to spa tubs); PURE Allergy Friendly Guestrooms with improved air quality, and the excellent dining options also make this well priced, deluxe hotel a terrific value for family groups. We know some families will be content with a quick coffee and muffin breakfast from their takeaway Marketplace Cafe, but others will want to plan a Chef's Table at the excellent Spencer's Steak House.
For parents, grandparents and kids 16+ looking to relax, the hotel has a Spa and Fitness Center that offers massages and a large gym designed by Fitness Design Group. The water facilities are the centerpiece of family fun. At 892 feet in length, the Lazy River is fun for people of all swimming levels. Filled with fountains, water cannons, and beautiful scenery, all ages can be seen floating and swimming. The Main resort pool is a very large, zero-entry swimming pool making access easy for the mobility impaired and toddlers. It is open and heated year round, has its own small water slide, and is rimmed with rental Cabanas if swim-supervisors want to stay out of the sun. Families can also play on any of the three types of sport courts offered. The hotel offers packages to Universal Orlando and Seaworld. Other family friendly packages are mostly during the weekend where kids can receive a free S'mores kit or ice cream.
6677 Sea Harbor Drive
Orlando, FL 32821
The Renaissance is a classy nine-story hotel located at the quieter end of International Drive, one of Orlando's major tourist corridors. From within the glass elevators, guests can peer down at the sophisticated atrium lobby with its miles of marble, koi pond, two-story aviary and a cafe area that's popular for swapping grandchild stories. Accommodations range from standard, but surprisingly large, rooms to spacious suites, many with balconies overlooking SeaWorld or the busy atrium. In-room extras include a two-line telephone, a coffeemaker, and ironing set-up. Refrigerators, cribs and rollaway beds are available upon request, but you should book handicapped-accessible rooms or adjoining rooms well in advance.
Behind the hotel is a quiet recreation area, featuring an Olympic-sized pool, kiddie pool, whirlpool and poolside bar. A sand volleyball court, tennis courts and a fenced-in playground are nearby. Kids and teens may want to check out Shamu's Playhouse, an electronic gameroom. There is no group children's program, but private babysitting can be arranged through a few trusted local companies.
The Renaissance has a beauty salon, health club with massage therapists, steam room and sauna. There's room service for the weary and four restaurants: creative seafood cuisine in an elegant dining room, an open-air, bistro-style cafe, a poolside Mediterranean-style grill, and a 24-hour deli. Scores of retail stores are 1 ½ miles away. Disney is about a 25-minute drive, Universal Studios less than 15 minutes away.
Trip Planning Details & More Resources for Reunion Planners
Due to increasing demand for assistance, the terrific Orlando Convention and Visitor's Bureau (407/363-5872) will help families planning reunions or even big events like weddings to organize their trip.
Services include recommending special venues such as the Orlando Museum of Art, Kraft Azalea Gardens or even a communal hot air balloon ride with Bob's Balloon Charters. Other CVB services include recommending restaurants or banquet facilities; putting guests in touch with area theme parks and attractions for group ticket discounts; locating activities outside the theme parks; offering CVB's Official Orlando Visitors Guide and local coupons for goodie bags; and offering site visitors a personalized family reunion website that provides their family with information about everything Orlando has to offer. Best of all, the CVB services are complimentary.
This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question, and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.