Wunderground® Travel Planner: The Villages, FL

Your Have Searched For: The Villages, FL | January 1 - January 1 | Golf New Search
Historical Weather
Location
The Villages, FL
Time Period
January 1 - January 1
Total Recorded Days
6
Year Long Trend Viewer
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Fog
2 days / 33%
Top Conditions
Weather Observed Recorded Days (of 6 total)
Fog
2 days (33%)
Rain
1 days (17%)
Thunderstorms
0 days (0%)
Hail
0 days (0%)
Snow
0 days (0%)
Precipitation 1 days (17%)
More Conditions

Of 6 days between 1996 and 2018, Fog was the most frequent condition. Additionally, 1 days were recorded with precipitation.

Note: As multiple conditions can be recorded during one day, the weather observed may total more than 6.

Warm
6 days / 83%
 
0 ° | 0 °F
Average Temperature
57°
84°
37°
66°
High Low
Dew Point
Wind Speed
0

We are confident that the weather will be Warm.

Average Day Trend Viewer
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Activities
Location
The Villages, FL
Activity
Golf
When is it good weather for the activity: Golf in The Villages, FL?
Golf

Sunny weather practically year-round makes Central Florida a golfer's haven, and there are about 150 golf courses and 17 golf academies within a 45-minute drive of Orlando International Airport. Most of Florida is extremely flat, but many of the courses listed here have man-made hills that make them more challenging. Many resort hotels let nonguests use their golf facilities. Some country clubs are affiliated with particular hotels, and their guests can play at preferred rates. If you're staying near a course you'd like to use, call and inquire. Because hotels have become so attuned to the popularity of golf, many that don't have golf courses nearby might still have golf privileges or discounts at courses around town. Check with your hotel about what it offers before you set out on your own.

In general, even public courses have dress codes—most courses would just as soon see you stark naked as wearing a tank top, for instance—so call to find out the specifics at each, and be sure to reserve tee times in advance. The yardages quoted are those from the blue tees. Greens fees usually vary by season, but the highest and lowest figures are provided, and virtually all include mandatory cart rental, except for the few 9-hole walking courses.

Golfpac

(483 Montgomery Pl., Altamonte Springs, 32714. Tel. 407/260-2288 or 800/327-0878. www.golfpactravel.com) packages golf vacations and prearranges tee times at more than 78 courses around Orlando. Rates vary based on hotel and course, and at least 60 to 90 days' advance notice is recommended to set up a vacation.

Walt Disney World

Golf

Where else would you find a sand trap shaped like the head of a well-known mouse? Disney has 99 holes of golf on five championship courses—all on the PGA Tour route—plus a 9-hole walking course. Eagle Pines and Osprey Ridge are the newcomers, flanking the Bonnet Creek Golf Club just east of Fort Wilderness. WDW's original courses, the Palm and the Magnolia, flank the Shades of Green Resort to the west and the Lake Buena Vista course near Downtown Disney's Marketplace. All courses have a driving range, pro shop, locker room, snack bar-restaurant, and PGA-staffed teaching and training program. Disney provides a perk to any guest at a WDW hotel who checks in specifically to play golf: free cab fare for you and your clubs between the hotel and the course you play. Ask at the front desk when you check into the hotel or call407/939-7529.

Greens Fees

There are lots of variables here, with prices ranging from $20 for a youngster 17 or under to play 9 holes at Oak Trail walking course, to an adult nonhotel guest paying $174 to play 18 holes at one of Disney's newer courses in peak season. Disney guests get a price break, with rates ranging from $94 for a Disney hotel guest playing Monday through Thursday at the Lake Buena Vista course to $174 for a day visitor playing the Osprey Ridge course. All have a twilight discount rate, $38-$80 for the 18-hole courses, which goes into effect at 2 pm from January 16 to February 28 and at 3 pm from March 11 to October 26. The 9-hole, par-36 Oak Trail course is best for those on a budget, with a year-round rate of $20 for golfers 17 and under and $39 golfers 18 and older, and can be played for a twilight rate of $15 for adults and $10 for youngsters under 17 after 3 pm between May 14 and September 27. Rates at all courses except Oak Trail include an electric golf cart. No electric carts are allowed at Oak Trail, and a pull cart for your bag is $6. If you've got the stamina and desire to play the same course twice in the same day, you can do so for half price the second time around, but you can't reserve that option in advance, and this "Re-Play Option," as Disney calls it, is subject to availability. Golf shoes rent for $10 a pair, and range balls cost $7 a bucket. Rental clubs cost $55 for adults and nothing for juniors (17 and under). Tee times must be cancelled at least 48 hours in advance to avoid being charged. Note that golf rates change frequently, so double-check them.

Tee Times and Reservations

Tee times are available daily from 6:45 am until dark. You can book them up to 90 days in advance if you're staying at a WDW-owned hotel, 30 days ahead if you're staying elsewhere from May through December, and four days in advance from January through April. For tee times and private lessons at any course, call Walt Disney World Golf & Recreation Reservations

(Tel. 407/939-7529).

Golf Instruction

One-on-one instruction from PGA-accredited professionals is available at any Disney course. Prices for private lessons vary: 45-minute lessons cost $75 for adults and $50 for youngsters 17 and under. Call the Walt Disney World Golf & Recreation Reservations

to book a lesson.

Courses

Eagle Pines

, one of the newer Walt Disney World courses, was designed by golf-course architect Pete Dye. The dish-shaped fairways and vast sand beds are lined with pines and punctuated by challenging bunkers.

Golf Digest

gave this course 4 stars. Bonnet Creek Golf Club. 18 holes, 6,772 yards, par 72, USGA rating 72.3.

The Lake Buena Vista

course winds among Downtown Disney-area town houses and villas. Greens are narrow, and hitting straight is important because errant balls risk ending up in someone's bedroom. Be prepared for the famous island green on the 7th. Lake Buena Vista Dr.18 holes, 6,819 yards, par 72, USGA rating 72.7.

The Magnolia

, played by the pros in the Disney-Oldsmobile Golf Classic, is long but forgiving, with extra-wide fairways. More than 1,500 magnolia trees line the course. Shades of Green, 1950 W. Magnolia-Palm Dr.18 holes, 7,190 yards, par 72, USGA rating 73.9.

Oak Trail

is a 9-hole, par-36 walking course, designed to be fun for the entire family. It was designed by Ron Garl and is noted for its small, undulating greens. Shades of Green, 1950 W. Magnolia-Palm Dr.9 holes, 2,913 yards, par 36.

Osprey Ridge

, sculpted from some of the still-forested portions of the huge WDW acreage, was transformed into a relaxing tour in the hands of designer Tom Fazio. However, tees and greens as much as 20 feet above the fairways keep competitive players from getting too comfortable. The course was rated 4 stars by

Golf Digest.

Rental clubs require photo ID and a major credit card for refundable deposit of $500 per set. Bonnet Creek Golf Club, 3451 Golf View Dr.18 holes, 7,101 yards, par 72, USGA rating 73.9.

The Palm

, one of WDW's original courses, has been confounding the pros as part of the annual Disney-Oldsmobile Golf Classic for years. It's not as long as the Magnolia, or as wide, but it has 9 water holes and 94 bunkers. Shades of Green, 1950 W. Magnolia-Palm Dr.18 holes, 6,957 yards, par 72, USGA rating 73.

Golf Locations
1 Amelia Island Plantation
Amelia Island Plantation
6800 1st Coast Hwy.
Fernandina Beach, FL 32034

The first-rate golf, tennis, and spa facilities are big draws at this sprawling, family-oriented resort where accommodations include full-service hotel rooms as well as 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom villas. All hotel rooms are oceanfront with private balconies or patios, though 1st-floor rooms have a better view of the marsh or golf course than the Atlantic. If the sound of waves crashing on the beach doesn't lull you to sleep, the pillow-top mattresses should do the trick. Villas are privately owned, so availability, and amenities, and decor vary. With its ancient oaks, marshes, and lagoons, the resort is also a worthy destination for hiking, biking, and bird-watching. Pros:

family-friendly; variety of outdoor activities; shuttle service throughout property.

Cons:

far removed from facilities (golf course, shops, tennis courts); quality of villas inconsistent; a hike to some hotel rooms. www.aipfl.com. 249 rooms, 361 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom villas. In-room: safe, kitchen (some). In-hotel: restaurants, bars, golf courses, pools, tennis courts, gym, spa, beach, water sports, children's programs, laundry facilities (some), some pets allowed. Credit cards accepted.

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2 Ponte Vedra Inn & Club
Ponte Vedra Inn & Club
200 Ponte Vedra Blvd.
, FL 32082

Considered northeast Florida's premier resort for decades, this 1928 landmark continues to wow guests with its stellar service and recently renovated rooms and common areas. Accommodations are in a series of white-brick, Spanish-style buildings lining the beach; rooms are extra large, and most have ocean views. The main house holds the registration area and some common spaces, including a big living room with fireplace. The inn's renowned full-service spa, which recently got a face-lift, attracts the rich and famous, including actors, supermodels, and former first ladies. Pros:

accommodating, friendly staff; private beach; adults-only pool.

Cons:

charge for umbrellas and chaises on the beach; crowded pool; $15-$18 gratuity charge automatically added to bill nightly. www.pvresorts.com. 205 rooms, 45 suites. In-room: safe, kitchen (some), Wi-Fi. In-hotel: restaurants, bars, golf courses, pool, tennis courts, gym, spa, beach, children's programs, parking. Credit cards accepted.

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3 Renaissance Resort at World Golf Village
Renaissance Resort at World Golf Village
500 S. Legacy Trail
St. Augustine, FL 32092

If you want to be within walking distance of all World Golf Village has to offer, this full-service resort is an excellent choice. Rooms and suites surround a 10-story atrium, at the bottom of which is a restaurant set amid tropical foliage and streams. A recent $10-million renovation has given guest rooms, which now feature colonial Asian decor and spa-inspired bathrooms, a shot of style and elegance. The hotel is adjacent to the World Golf Hall of Fame and borders championship golf courses. And if you don't know the difference between a bogey and a birdie, not to worry; the PGA TOUR Spa Laterra is but a free shuttle ride away. Guests also have access to a 24-hour fitness center and billiards room and privileges at the private oceanfront Serenata Beach Club. Pros:

breakfast buffet; friendly staff; large bathrooms.

Cons:

not much to do for nongolfers; small pool. www.worldgolfrenaissance.com. 301 rooms, 28 suites. In-room: safe, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: restaurant, bar, golf course, pool, tennis court, gym, laundry facilities, parking. Credit cards accepted.

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4 The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island
The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island
4750 Amelia Island Pkwy.
Fernandina Beach, FL 32034

Guests know what to expect from the Ritz-Carlton (namely, elegance, superb comfort, and excellent service), and the Amelia Island location is certainly no exception. All accommodations in the eight-story building have balconies and ocean views; suites and rooms are spacious and luxurious and are furnished with heavy print draperies, plush carpet, framed prints, and beds so comfortable, you'll need a drag-out call instead of a wake-up call. Public areas are exquisitely maintained, and fine cuisine can be had at a choice of restaurants, including Salt. Room service is available 24/7. Pros:

fine-dining restaurant; world-class spa; private beach access; accommodating staff.

Cons:

no self-parking; lack of nightlife; a drive to sites and restaurants. www.ritzcarlton.com/ameliaisland. 444 rooms, 44 suites. In-room: safe, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: restaurants, bars, golf course, pools, tennis courts, gym, spa, beach, children's programs. Credit cards accepted.

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5 Sawgrass Golf Resort & Spa, a Marriott Resort
Sawgrass Golf Resort & Spa, a Marriott Resort
1000 PGA Tour Blvd.
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082

One of the top golf resorts in the country and host hotel of the world-famous THE PLAYERS Championship, the Sawgrass Golf Resort & Spa has plenty to offer golfers, including playing privileges on the renowned TPC at Sawgrass Stadium Course. This is truly a full-service resort, whether you've come to laze about (the resort includes a 25,000-square-foot, full-service spa and allows guests access to the Cabana Beach Club, a private beach club nearby) or get active playing an Arnold Palmer-designed 18-hole mini-golf course, swimming in one of four pools or fishing in freshwater lakes and ponds. A $16-million room-renovation project in 2007 has given the resort a face more befitting its name. Pros:

championship golf courses; readily available shuttle; efficient staff.

Cons:

beach not within walking distance; overrated food; no free parking. www.sawgrassmarriott.com. 508 rooms, 24 suites, 80 villas. In-room: kitchen (some), Wi-Fi. In-hotel: restaurants, bars, golf course, pools, tennis court, gym, spa, children's programs, laundry facilities, parking, some pets allowed. Credit cards accepted.

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6 Wyndham Ocean Walk Resort
Wyndham Ocean Walk Resort
300 N. Atlantic Ave.
Daytona Beach, FL 32118

Kids definitely won't be bored at this high-rise beachfront resort that boasts four swimming pools, a waterslide, lazy river, game room, indoor miniature golf course, activities center, and the only traffic-free beach in Daytona Beach. Guests also appreciate the 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom condominium-style units equipped with kitchens (dishware and utensils included), washers, and dryers, as well as the proximity to the shops and restaurants of Ocean Walk Village. Because the property doubles as a hotel and time-share resort, certain amenities such as room service and valet parking aren't offered. Pros:

family-friendly; beachfront; spacious accommodations.

Cons:

no room service; very slow elevators. www.oceanwalk.com. 200 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom suites. In-room: safe, kitchen. In-hotel: restaurants, bars, golf course, pools, gym, spa, beach, water sports, children's programs, laundry facilities. Credit cards accepted.

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7 Daytona Lagoon
Daytona Lagoon
601 Earl St.
Daytona Beach, FL 32118

Parents looking for a non-sandy way to occupy the kids for a few hours or a whole day may find their salvation at this colorful complex that features go-karts, miniature golf, laser-tag games, a video arcade with 100+ games, a water park with 10 different slides, and a 500,000-gallon tidal-wave pool. More adult entertainment—in the form of pool tables, dartboards, and plasma TVs—can be found in Gilligan's Sports Bar and Grill. www.daytonalagoon.com. Admission: Entertainment Center: free (fees for rides and games); Water Park: $27.99. Hours: Family Entertainment Center: Sun.-Thurs. 10-10, Fri. and Sat. 10-midnight; Water Park: call for hrs; Water Park closed early Oct.-late Mar.

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8 World Golf Hall of Fame
World Golf Hall of Fame
1 World Golf Pl.
St. Augustine, FL 32092

This stunning tribute to the game of golf is the centerpiece of World Golf Village,

an extraordinary complex that includes 36 holes of golf, a golf academy, several accommodation options, a convention center, spa, and a variety of restaurants, including Murray Bros. Caddyshack. The Hall of Fame features an adjacent IMAX theater and houses a variety of exhibits combining historical artifacts and personal memorabilia with the latest in interactive technology. Stand up to the pressures of the TV camera and crowd noise as you try to sink a final putt, take a swing on the museum's simulator, or snap a photo as you walk across a replica of St. Andrews' Swilcan Burn Bridge. Once you're sufficiently inspired, see how you fare on the 18-hole natural-grass putting course. www.wgv.com. Admission: $20.50 (includes all-day admission to the museum, one IMAX film, and one round on the putting course). Hours: Mon.-Sat. 10-6, Sun. noon-6.

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9 Buena Vista Palace Resort & Spa in the WDW Resort
Buena Vista Palace Resort & Spa in the WDW Resort
1900 Buena Vista Dr.
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

This hotel gets kudos as much for its on-site charms as for its location—100 yards from the Wolfgang Puck's restaurant in Downtown Disney. All rooms have patios or balconies, most with great views of Downtown Disney. As a guest, you receive free transportation to all Disney parks, the chance to sign up for Disney character meals at your hotel, access to Disney golf courses, and early entrance to the Disney theme parks, just like in the Disney on-property hotels. Pros

: easy walk to Downtown Disney; spa is huge and luxurious.

Cons

: inconvenient to Universal and downtown Orlando. www.luxuryresorts.com. 1,014 rooms, 209 suites. In-room: safe, Internet. In-hotel: restaurants, pools, tennis courts, gym, spa, children's programs, laundry facilities. Credit cards accepted.

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10 The Cabins at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort
The Cabins at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort
4510 N. Fort Wildnerness Trail
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

The cabins in this 700-acre campground right across the lake from the Magic Kingdom don't exactly constitute roughing it, as they are small, air-conditioned log homes that accommodate four grown-ups and two youngsters. The campground is a resort in itself, with dozens of entertainment options, including outdoor movies, singing around the campfire, and the hokey, but popular, Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Review and Backyard BBQ character event. Horse and carriage or wagon rides are available, along with bikes or electric cart rentals for getting around the large campground. Pros:

lots of traditional camping activities and a real campground community feel; you can save money by cooking, but you don't have to, as there is a three-meals-a-day restaurant and nightly barbecue; pricey for what is really just a mobile home encased in logs.

Cons:

shuttle to Disney theme parks is free, but slow; coin-op laundry is pricey. 421 cabins. In-room: kitchen, Internet. In-hotel: restaurant, golf course, pool, tennis court, beach, water sports, children's programs, laundry facilities, parking, some pets allowed. Guest laundry, fire pit, grills, picnic table, food service, general store, play area, swimming. Credit cards accepted.

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11 Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge
2901 Osceola Pkwy.
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Giraffes, zebras, and other wildlife roam three 11-acre savannas separated by the encircling arms of this grand hotel, designed to resemble a "kraal" or animal enclosure in Africa. Entering the vast atrium lobby is like entering a cathedral with a roof formed of thatch rather than marble. A massive clay chimney structure dominates the right-hand side of the four-story lobby. Cultural ambassadors give talks about their African homelands, the animals, and the often museum-quality artwork on display; evenings include storytelling sessions around the fire circle on the Arusha Rock terrace. Pros:

extraordinary wildlife and cultural experiences; excellent on-site restaurants, Jiko, Boma and Sanaa.

Cons:

shuttle to parks other than Animal Kingdom can take more than an hour; guided savanna tours available only to guests on the concierge level, where the least expensive room is $100 a night higher than the least expensive rooms in other parts of the hotel. 972 rooms, 499 suites or villas. In-room: safe, Internet. In-hotel: restaurants, bar, golf course, pools, gym, spa, children's programs, laundry facilities, business center, parking. Credit cards accepted.

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12 Disney's Beach Club Villas
Disney's Beach Club Villas
1800 Epcot Resorts Blvd.
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Each villa in this pale-turquoise-and-white waterfront area next to the Yacht and Beach Club Resorts has a separate living room, kitchen, and one or two bedrooms. Interiors are warm neutral colors with white iron bedsteads. Private balconies on the upper levels or porches at street level ensure that you can enjoy your morning coffee with a view of the lake. The villas are marketed as time-share properties for Disney Vacation Club members, but available rooms are also rented on a per-night basis. You'll have access to all the facilities of the adjacent Yacht and Beach Club resorts, including the Stormalong Bay water park. Pros:

short walk to the Disney BoardWalk area; regular ferrys to Epcot and Hollywood Studios; in-suite kitchens let you save money on meals.

Cons:

can be noisy; not close to Magic or Animal Kingdoms; fee for high-speed Internet. 205 villas. In-room: safe, Internet. In-hotel: restaurant, bar, golf course, pools, tennis courts, gym, beach, water sports, children's programs, laundry facilities, business center, parking. Credit cards accepted.

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13 Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort
Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort
900 Cayman Way
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Six palm-studded "villages," awash in dizzying pastels and labeled with names straight from the Caribbean, each with its own pool, share 45-acre Barefoot Bay and its white-sand beach. Bridges connect to a 1-acre path-crossed play and picnic area called Parrot Cay. You can rent boats to explore the lake, or rent bikes to ride along the 1½-mile lakefront promenade. Pros:

plenty of on-site outdoor activities, like volleyball, give the place a lush summer-camp feel; convenient to Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios, and Downtown Disney.

Cons:

you don't truly feel swept away to a tropical island; the beach is for sitting on, as the only swimmable waters are in the pools, not the lake; walks from your room to the beach or a restaurant can be up to 15 minutes; fee for high speed Internet. 2,112 rooms. In-room: safe, Internet. In-hotel: restaurant, golf course, pools, beach, children's programs, laundry facilities, parking. Credit cards accepted.

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14 Disney's Contemporary Resort
Disney's Contemporary Resort
4600 N. World Dr.
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

You're paying for location at this sleek, modern resort in the heart of WDW, as the monorail runs right through the lobby, making park hopping a breeze, and offering quick respite for families in search of relief from the midday heat. The Contemporary Resort still lives up to its name despite being more than 40 years old. Rooms in the main tower (pricier) offer great views of activities in and around the Magic Kingdom, including nightly fireworks and a lighted boat parade on Bay Lake and the Seven Seas Lagoon. For the fireworks alone, at least one dinner at the California Grill (atop the main building) is worth the tab. Bay Lake Tower, built in 2009, offers 1- and 2-bedroom villas. While the resort is the perfect spot for families with youngsters eager to rub elbows with Mickey and pals, it also welcomes those on romantic getaways, or corporate travelers. Pros:

easy access to parks via monorail; Chef Mickey's, the epicenter of the character-meal world, is here; launching point for romantic Bay Lake cruises.

Cons:

a mix of conventioneers and vacationers means it can be too frenzied for the former and too staid for the latter; if you don't like lots of kids around, look elsewhere; daily fee for high speed Internet access. 1,013 rooms, 25 suites. In-room: safe, Internet, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: restaurants, bars, golf course, pools, tennis courts, gym, beach, water sports, children's programs, laundry facilities, business center, parking. Credit cards accepted.

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15 Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
1000 W. Buena Vista Dr.
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Popular with convention-goers who love the huge meeting spaces, and with families who appreciate its casual Southwestern architecture, the lively, Mexican-style food court, and its elaborate swimming pool, colorful Coronado Springs Resort also offers a moderate price. A 95,000-square-foot convention center and the adjacent 60,000-square-foot ballroom make this Disney's go-to convention hotel. The meeting space is in its own wing, making the resort perfect for families of convention-goers, as the kids can have fun while the parents attend to business. The pool is a real masterpiece of Disney imagineering, with its Mayan pyramid slide and creeping vine-covered waterfall. Pros:

great pool with a play-area arcade for kids and a bar for adults; lots of outdoor activities.

Cons:

some accommodations are a half-mile from the restaurants; standard rooms are on the small side; as in many Disney lakefront properties, the lake is for looking at and boating on, not for swimming in. 1,917 rooms. In-room: safe, Internet. In-hotel: restaurants, bar, golf course, pools, gym, spa, beach, children's programs, laundry facilities, business center, parking. Credit cards accepted.

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16 Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
4401 Floridian Way
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

On the shores of the Seven Seas Lagoon, this red-roofed Victorian emulates the style of the great railroad resorts of a prior century with beautifully appointed guest rooms, rambling verandas, delicate, white-painted gingerbread woodwork, and brick chimneys. The view across the lake to the Magic Kingdom is spectacular, day or night, as you can see the colors change on Cinderella's castle along with the fireworks; rooms on this side are more expensive. Afternoon high tea and a pianist at the grand piano nightly in the lobby are among the more genteel touches. Amenities include a serene spa, gourmet restaurants, a dock from which you can rent a yacht for a romantic cruise; you can also take the free ferry across the lake to the Magic Kingdom. Pros:

old-Florida ambience; on the monorail route; Victoria & Albert's, one of Disney's best restaurants, offers an evening-long experience in dining; if you're a couple with no kids, this is definitely the most romantic on-property Disney hotel.

Cons:

pricey; convention clientele and vacationing singles may be more comfortable than families with young children. 867 rooms, 90 suites. In-room: safe, Internet. In-hotel: restaurants, bars, golf course, pools, tennis courts, gym, spa, beach, water sports, children's programs, laundry facilities, business center, parking. Credit cards accepted.

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17 Disney's Old Key West Resort
Disney's Old Key West Resort
1510 N. Cove Rd.
, FL 32830

Freestanding villas resembling turn-of-the-20th-century Key West houses have full kitchens, white and pastel clapboard siding, delicate ornamental woodwork, and private balconies that overlook the waterways winding through the grounds. A red-and-white lighthouse sets the scene, on an island in the middle of the resort. Light, airy rooms are decorated in bright, beachy tropical colors. The resort is part of the Disney Vacation Club network, but rooms are rented to anyone when they're available. Pros:

quiet and romantic; full kitchens in villas; abundance of accommodations with whirlpool baths.

Cons:

long walks between rooms and restaurants, recreation facilities, bus stops; fee for Internet. 761 units. In-room: safe, kitchen, Internet. In-hotel: restaurant, bar, golf course, pools, tennis courts, gym, spa, water sports, children's programs, laundry facilities, parking. Credit cards accepted.

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18 Disney's Polynesian Resort
Disney's Polynesian Resort
1600 Seven Seas Dr.
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

You may not think you're in Fiji, but families with kids can have fun pretending here, especially after hearing the drumming and chanting that occasionally fills the three-story atrium of the Great Ceremonial House—aka the lobby—or, in the case of the adults in the party, downing a few of the tropical drinks available at the bar. Orchids bloom alongside coconut palms and banana trees, and water cascades from volcanic-rock fountains. At the evening luau, Polynesian dancers perform. Lagoon-view rooms—which overlook Magic Kingdom fireworks—are peaceful but costly. Pros:

on the monorail; great atmosphere.

Cons:

pricey; not good for those bothered by lots of loud children. 847 rooms, 5 suites. In-room: safe, Internet. In-hotel: restaurants, bar, golf course, pools, gym, beach, children's programs, laundry facilities, business center, parking. Credit cards accepted.

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19 Disney's Pop Century Resort
Disney's Pop Century Resort
1050 Century Dr.
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Giant jukeboxes, 65-foot-tall bowling pins, an oversized Big Wheel and Rubik's Cube, and other pop-culture memorabilia are scattered throughout the grounds of this value resort. Items from mood rings to eight-track tapes are incorporated into the architecture; wall-mounted shadow boxes display toys, fashions, and fads from each decade since the 1950s. A big food court serves reasonably priced fare. Pros:

great room rates; hotel provides a trip down memory lane; proximity to ESPN Wide World of Sports and Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Cons:

big crowds at the front desk; big crowds (and noise) in the food court; small rooms; lots of small kids around. 2,880 rooms. In-room: safe, Internet. In-hotel: restaurant, bar, golf course, pools, gym, laundry facilities, parking. Credit cards accepted.

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20 Disney's Port Orleans Resort-French Quarter
Disney's Port Orleans Resort-French Quarter
1251 Riverside Dr.
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Ornate Big Easy-style row houses with wrought-iron-clad balconies cluster around magnolia shaded squares in this relatively quiet resort, which appeals to couples more than families. Lamp-lighted sidewalks are named for French Quarter thoroughfares. The food court serves Crescent City specialties such as jambalaya and beignets, and to give it even more New Orleans flavor, Mardi Gras colors and parade-float props are scattered around. Pros:

authentic, or as authentic as you get at Disney; fun New Orleans-style atmosphere; moderate price; lots of water recreation options, including boat rentals.

Cons:

even though there are fewer kids here, public areas can still be quite noisy; shuttle service is slow; food court is the only on-site dining option. 1,008 rooms. In-room: safe, Internet. In-hotel: restaurant, golf course, pool, water sports, laundry facilities, parking. Credit cards accepted.

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21 Disney's Port Orleans Resort-Riverside
Disney's Port Orleans Resort-Riverside
1251 Riverside Dr.
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Buildings in this family-friendly, moderately priced resort look like Southern plantation-style mansions (in the Magnolia Bend section) and rustic bayou dwellings (in the Alligator Bayou section) and you can usually pick which section you want. The registration area looks like a steamboat interior; you can take horse and carriage rides along the river; and the 3½-acre, old-fashioned swimming-hole complex called Ol' Man Island has a pool with slides, rope swings, and a nearby play area. Pros:

carriage rides; river cruises; lots of recreation options for kids.

Cons:

shuttle can be slow; no shortage of extremely noisy youngsters, if that's a concern. 2,048 rooms. In-room: safe, Internet. In-hotel: restaurant, bar, golf course, pools, gym, water sports, children's programs, laundry facilities, parking. Credit cards accepted.

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22 Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
1960 Broadway
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

This large Disney Vacation Club takes its inspiration from 19th-century horse-and-spa resorts in upstate New York, where hot springs and lakes ruled the landscape. Transport that to Disney in Florida and you get a more tropical feel to the hundreds of units on 16 acres. Three- and four-story buildings overlook a giant pool with artificial hot springs and faux boulders. Standard rooms have microwaves and refrigerators; suites have full kitchens. There are also 60 tree-house cabins that let you live a sort of Swiss Family Robinson-type life. Rich woods, Early American-style furniture, and overstuffed couches lend a homey, country-chic look. Pros:

kitchens can shave down the food bill; in-room massage available; abundance of rooms with whirlpool baths.

Cons:

it's a fair hike from some accommodations to the restaurant and other facilities; no full-service restaurant; fee for Internet access. 924 units. In-room: safe, Internet. In-hotel: restaurant, golf course, pools, tennis courts, gym, spa, laundry facilities, parking. Credit cards accepted.

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23 Disney's Wilderness Lodge
Disney's Wilderness Lodge
901 Timberline Dr.
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

The architects outdid themselves with this seven-story hotel modeled after majestic turn-of-the-20th-century lodges of the American Northwest. The five-story lobby, supported by towering tree trunks, has an 82-foot-high, three-sided fireplace made of rocks from the Grand Canyon and lighted by enormous tepee-shaped chandeliers. Two 55-foot-tall hand-carved totem poles pay homage to the Native American culture of the Northwest. The hotel's showstopper is its Fire Rock Geyser, a faux Old Faithful that erupts with sometimes alarming regularity, near the large pool, which begins as an artificially heated hot spring in the lobby. This hotel is a good option if you're a couple without kids looking for more serenity than is found at Disney's other hotels. Pros:

high wow-factor architecture; boarding point for romantic Bay Lake sunset cruises or free water taxi to Magic Kingdom; elegant dining options.

Cons:

no direct bus to Magic Kingdom; extra fee for high-speed Internet access. 727 rooms, 31 suites. In-room: safe, Internet. In-hotel: restaurants, bars, golf course, pool, gym, beach, children's programs, laundry facilities, business center, parking. Credit cards accepted.

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24 Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Resorts
Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Resorts
1700 Epcot Resorts Blvd.
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

These big Crescent Lake inns next door to Epcot seem straight out of a Cape Cod summer, with their nautical decor, waterfront locale, rockingchair porches and family-friendly water-based activities. The five-story Yacht Club has hardwood floors, a lobby full of gleaming brass and polished leather, an oyster-gray clapboard facade, and evergreen landscaping; there's even a lighthouse on its pier. At the Beach Club, a croquet lawn and cabana-dotted white-sand beach set the scene. Stormalong Bay, a 3-acre water park with a pirate ship slide and whirlpools, sits between the clubs. Pros:

location, location, location—it's easy to walk or hop a ferry to Epcot, the BoardWalk, or Hollywood Studios.

Cons:

distances within the hotel—like, from your room to the front desk—can seem vast; high noise factor; extra fee for high-speed Internet. 1,213 rooms, 112 suites. In-room: safe, Internet, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: restaurants, bar, golf course, pools, tennis courts, gym, beach, water sports, children's programs, laundry facilities, business center, parking. Credit cards accepted.

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25 DoubleTree Suites by Hilton in the WDW Resort
DoubleTree Suites by Hilton in the WDW Resort
2305 Hotel Plaza Blvd.
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Price and location make this all-suites, Hilton-owned hotel a good choice for families and business travelers, as there are amenities for both, and it's a quick, free bus ride to any of the Disney parks. The front of the hotel faces the treelined Hotel Plaza Boulevard on Disney property; the back faces the intersection of Interstate 4 and State Rd. 535. Suites offer one or two bedrooms, each with two flat screen TVs. Some suites have an 8-person conference table in the dining area, and the hotel has a free business center and fitness center, along with separate pools for kids and grownups. Guests also have access to Disney golf courses. Pros:

family and business traveler amenities; separate pools for kids, adults; free shuttle to Disney attractions; quick access to I-4.

Cons:

of the properties on Hotel Plaza Blvd., this is the furthest away from Downtown Disney; inconvenient to Universal and downtown Orlando. www.doubletreeguestsuites.com. 229 units. In-room: safe, Internet, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: restaurants, bars, pool, tennis courts, gym, children's programs, laundry facilities, business center, parking. Credit cards accepted.

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26 Shades of Green
Shades of Green
1905 West Magnolia Palm Dr.
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Operated by the U.S. Armed Forces Recreation Center, the resort is open only to active-duty and retired personnel from the armed forces, as well as reserves, National Guard, active civilian employees of the Department of Defense, widows or widowers of service members, disabled veterans, and Medal of Honor recipients. Rates vary with your rank, but are significantly lower than at Disney hotels open to the public. You'll find family suites that sleep up to eight adults each, and two swimming pools surrounded by expansive decks and lush, tropical foliage. A full-service spa on site is operated by the same folks who run the Grand Floridian spa. A little-known fact is that the resort is only a short walk from the Polynesian, so it's easy to use the monorail stop there to expedite your travels around Disney World. Pros:

large standard rooms; on Disney's shuttle line; Army-Air Force Exchange store discounts deeply for people with military IDs.

Cons:

price ranges vary greatly based on rank; daily fee for Internet usage. www.shadesofgreen.org. 585 rooms, 12 suites. In-room: safe, Internet. In-hotel: restaurants, bars, golf course, pools, tennis courts, gym, spa, laundry facilities, business center, parking. Credit cards accepted.

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27 Walt Disney World Dolphin
Walt Disney World Dolphin
1500 Epcot Resorts Blvd.
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830-2653

World-renowned architect Michael Graves designed the neighboring Dolphin and Swan hotels which are dominated by giant sculptures of their namesakes, and are within easy ferry distance from Epcot. A pair of 56-foot-tall sea creatures bookend this 25-story glass pyramid. The fabric-draped lobby resembles a giant sultan's tent. All rooms have either two queen beds or one king, with pillow-top mattresses, down comforters with crisp white duvet covers, and overstuffed pillows. These amenities make the beds here some of the kingdom's most comfortable. The pool's cave and waterfall complex is so inviting that the kids won't complain if you escape from the midday heat at the Magic Kingdom or Epcot for a relaxing cool-down. Pros:

access to all facilities at the Walt Disney World Swan; easy walk or boat ride to BoardWalk and Epcot; good on-site restaurants.

Cons:

self-parking is $10 a day; a daily resort fee covers Wi-Fi and Internet access, use of health club, and local phone calls; room-charge privileges stop at the front door, and don't extend to the Disney parks. www.swandolphin.com. 1,509 rooms, 112 suites. In-room: safe, Internet, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: restaurants, bars, golf course, pools, tennis courts, gym, spa, beach, water sports, children's programs, laundry facilities, business center, parking. Credit cards accepted.

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28 Walt Disney World Swan
Walt Disney World Swan
1200 Epcot Resorts Blvd.
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

The Grotto, a 3-acre water playground complete with waterslides and waterfalls, lies between and is shared by the Dolphin and Swan; Disney's BoardWalk and the Fantasia Gardens miniature-golf complex are nearby, giving guests lots to do between park hopping. Facing the Dolphin across Crescent Lake, the Swan is a twin in many ways to its sister hotel, with the same level of service, comfort in the rooms, and food choices. It has two 46-foot tall swans gracing the rooftop, so you can tell from a distance which hotel is which when you are meandering the miles of paths among immaculate landscaping. Pros:

charge privileges and access to all facilities at the Dolphin (but not inside Disney World); easy walk to BoardWalk; free boats take you to the BoardWalk and Epcot; good on-site restaurants.

Cons:

long bus ride to and from Magic Kingdom; daily resort fee. www.swandolphin.com. 756 rooms, 55 suites. In-room: safe, Internet, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: restaurants, bars, golf course, pools, tennis courts, gym, spa, beach, water sports, children's programs, laundry facilities, business center, parking. Credit cards accepted.

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29 Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Resort
Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Resort
1850 Hotel Plaza Blvd.
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

Any hotel within a skip and a hop of Downtown Disney is a great draw, and one with a fresh makeover, and a water-playground complex that will entice kids away from the Magic Kingdom during the midday heat is even better. Formerly the Regal Sun Resort, this hotel received a facelift in 2011 after Wyndham took over. Rooms received new beds with deluxe duvet bedding, 37-inch flat screen TVs, upgraded bathrooms, and new safes and refrigerators. Kids programs, including character breakfasts, and a separate kids' recreation area make it a good choice for families. Guests have the choice of five on-site eateries, along with access to Disney golf courses, and transportation to all the Disney parks. Pros:

good kids programs; great views from some rooms; free shuttle to all Disney attractions.

Cons:

$16 daily resort fee for parking, Internet, gym; inconvenient to Universal and downtown Orlando. www.wyndhamlakebuenavista.com. 619 rooms, 7 suites. In-room: safe, Internet, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: restaurants, bar, golf course, pools, tennis courts, gym, children's programs, laundry facilities, business center, parking. Credit cards accepted.

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30 Living with the Land
Living with the Land

,

Duration:

14 min.

Crowds:

Moderate all day.

Strategy:

The line moves fairly quickly, so go anytime. Use Fastpass in the case of peak season crowds.

Audience:

Teens and adults.

Rating:

***

A boat ride into a faux rain forest is just the beginning of this entertaining tour that focuses on strides in agriculture and aquaculture. You climb aboard a canopied boat that cruises, accompanied by recorded narration, through three biomes—rain forest, desert, and prairie ecological communities—and into an experimental greenhouse that demonstrates how food sources may be grown in the future, not only on the planet but also in outer space. Shrimp, sunshine bass, tilapia, eels, catfish, and alligators are raised in controlled aquacells, and tomatoes, peppers, and squash thrive in the Desert Farm area via drip irrigation that delivers just the right amount of water and nutrients to their roots. Gardeners are usually interested in the section on integrated pest management, which relies on "good" insects like ladybugs to control more harmful predators. Everyone enjoys seeing Mickey Mouse-shaped fruits and vegetables (there may be pumpkins, cucumbers, or watermelons) nurtured with the help of molds created by the Land's science team; scientists also are growing a "tomato tree"—the first of its kind in the United States—that yields thousands of tomatoes from a single vine. Many of the growing areas are actual experiments-in-progress, in which Disney and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have joined forces to produce, say, a sweeter pineapple or a faster-growing pepper. The plants (including the tomato tree's golf-ball-size tomatoes) and fish that grow in the greenhouse are regularly harvested for use in the Land's restaurants.

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31 Soarin'
Soarin'

,

Crowds:

Heavy.

Strategy:

Go early and grab a Fastpass, or go just before park closing.

Audience:

Adults and children 40" or taller. This is a mild flight with a thrilling view; even very shy children will love it.

Rating:

***

If you've ever wondered what it's like to fly, or at least hang glide, this attraction is your chance to enjoy the sensation without actually taking the plunge. It's based on the popular attraction Soarin' Over California at Disney's California Adventure in Anaheim. It uses motion-based technology to literally lift you in your seat 40 feet into the air within a giant projection-screen dome. As you soar above the Golden Gate Bridge, Napa Valley, Yosemite, and other California wonders, you feel the wind and smell pine forests and orange blossoms. Navy buffs get a kick out of swooping over a massive aircraft carrier. Duffers can't help but duck when that golf ball heads their way. The accompanying score created by Jerry Goldsmith (Mulan, Star Trek

) builds on the thrill, and the crispness and definition of the film, projected at twice the rate of a typical motion picture, adds realism.

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32 Spaceship Earth
Spaceship Earth

,

Duration:

15 min.

Crowds:

Longest during the morning and shortest just before closing.

Strategy:

Ride while you're waiting for your Mission: SPACE or Test Track appointments.

Audience:

All ages.

Rating:

***

Balanced like a giant golf ball waiting for some celestial being to tee off, the multifaceted silver geosphere of Spaceship Earth is to Epcot what Cinderella Castle is to the Magic Kingdom. As much a landmark as an icon, it can be seen on a clear day from an airplane flying down either coast of Florida.

Inside the ball, the Spaceship Earth ride transports you past a series of tableaux that explore human progress and the continuing search for better forms of communication. In 2008 Disney Imagineers upgraded the ride to present new and enhanced scenes with more vibrant sets and lighting effects. Most of the Audio-Animatronics figures received hair and costume makeovers, and their movements were tweaked so they appear noticeably more lifelike. The script, by science-fiction writer Ray Bradbury, in the past was narrated by Walter Cronkite and, more recently, Jeremy Irons. For the updated experience, Oscar-winner Dame Judi Dench narrates the journey that begins in the darkest tunnels of time, proceeds through history, and ends poised on the edge of the future. For the first time on a Disney ride, the narration also is offered in French, Japanese, German, Spanish, and Portuguese. Ten-time Emmy winner Bruce Broughton composed the new musical score.

Audio-Animatronics figures present Cro-Magnon man daubing mystic paintings on cave walls, Egyptian scribes scratching hieroglyphics on papyrus, Roman centurions building roads, Islamic scholars mapping the heavens, and 11th- and 12th-century Benedictine monks hand-copying ancient manuscripts. As you move into the Renaissance, Michelangelo paints the Sistine Chapel, Gutenberg invents the printing press, and in rapid succession, the telegraph, radio, television, and computer come into being. New scenes depict a family viewing the moon landing on TV, a massive two-story computer room circa 1960s, and a '70s garage where the personal computer was born. As your ride vehicle swings backward and descends slowly, there's new interactive fun for riders. Touch screens quiz guests about how they envision their own future, then play back an animated, "Jetsonesque" scenario based on the answers. Siemans, which presents the higher-tech attraction, created a fun-packed post show with high-demand interactive games that involve simulated driving, piecing together a digital human body, and managing a growing city's power grid. As you exit the ride and enter the post show, watch the giant digital map screen to see your photo taken during the ride and posted in your hometown location.

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33 Bohemian Hotel Celebration
Bohemian Hotel Celebration
700 Bloom St.
Celebration, FL 34747

Like everything in the Disney-created town of Celebration, this 115-room boutique hotel in the middle of the charming village borrows from the best of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. As in all Kessler hotels, art is at the heart of the design, and eclecticism rules. A total facelift in 2011 has lightened the lobby and the mood, replacing the dark woods and plantation-inspired furniture with pale, gold-splashed upholstry. The restaurant is more casual than the name Chop House implies, and food can be served in the bar, on the terrace overlooking the lake, or in your room. Rooms have plasma-screen TVs and high-speed Internet access. Even though it's less than 1 mile south of the U.S. 192 tourist strip in Kissimmee, the hotel's surroundings are serene, and the restaurants, shops, cinema, and more in downtown Celebration are a pleasant stroll away. Pros:

in the heart of Celebration village; rental bikes and golf carts make touring town a breeze; free shuttle to Celebration Golf and Fitness Center.

Cons:

daily fee for Internet and parking; shuttle to Disney is $25 per family of four, round-trip; need a rental car (or lots of cab money) to get anwhere other than Celebration. www.celebrationhotel.com. 115 rooms. In-room: Internet, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: restaurant, bar, pool, gym, business center, parking, some pets allowed. Credit cards accepted.

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34 Doubletree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld
Doubletree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld
10100 International Dr.
Orlando, FL 32821

On 28 acres just south of the convention center, this hotel with its Indonesian-tinged decor, its mix of low, bungalow-style buildings and 17-story tower, offers families as well as conventioneers a warm welcome, literally and metaphorically. From the warm cookies handed out at check-in, to the lush linens and stylish decor in the guest rooms, and the full-service spa, visitors are offered a serene escape from the hectic I-Drive area. It's about midway between the airport and Disney, less than a mile from SeaWorld, and a five-minute drive from Universal. The hotel is tricky to get to, because even though the address is International Drive, the entrance is around the corner on Westwood Blvd. Pros:

on-site miniature golf course; free theme-parks shuttle.

Cons:

few shops and restaurants within walking distance. www.doubletreeorlandoseaworld.com. 1,094 rooms, 35 suites. In-room: safe, Internet, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: restaurants, golf course, pools, gym, spa, business center. Credit cards accepted.

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35 Gaylord Palms Resort
Gaylord Palms Resort
6000 W. Osceola Pkwy.
Kissimmee, FL 34746

Built in the style of a grand turn-of-the-20th-century Florida mansion, this resort is meant to inspire awe. Inside its enormous atrium, covered by a 4-acre glass roof, are re-creations of Florida destination icons such as the Everglades, Key West, and old St. Augustine. A renovation scheduled for completion early in 2012 brings new carpeting, wallpaper, upgraded bed linens, bigger flat-screen TVs, and ergonomic work stations to the rooms, which carry on the Florida themes with colorful, tropical decorations. With two pool areas and the huge Relache spa, the hotel connives to make you never want to leave. Pros:

you could have a great vacation without ever leaving the grounds; free shuttle to Disney.

Cons:

daily $20 resort fee; rooms are pricey; not much within walking distance (although the hotel is so big that you can take quite a hike inside the building); shuttles to Universal and SeaWorld are available for a fee. www.gaylordpalms.com. 1,406 rooms, 86 suites. In-room: a/c, safe, Internet, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: restaurants, bars, golf course, pools, gym, spa, children's programs, laundry facilities, business center, parking. Credit cards accepted.

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36 Ginn Reunion Resort & Club of Orlando
Ginn Reunion Resort & Club of Orlando
7593 Gathering Dr.
Reunion, FL 34747

It's on 28,000 tranquil acres of a former orange grove, far from the bustle of I-4, and yet it's only 12 minutes from Disney. A stay here includes access to three private world-caliber golf courses designed by Tom Watson, Arnold Palmer, and Jack Nicklaus. (And the property adjoins the ANNIKA Academy, operated by LPGA great Annika Sorenstam, if you want to polish your game.) The resort was developed as a residential and vacation-home complex, but its condo-style villas are available on a per-night basis. Activities include walking and horseback riding on meandering trails. Kids love the swim pavilion with a winding lagoon, wave pool, slide, and beach volleyball area. Pros:

secluded atmosphere; proximity to Disney and ChampionsGate area.

Cons:

no Disney shuttle; you need a rental car, but if you are staying here, you can likely afford one. www.reunionresort.com. 60 units. In-room: safe, Internet. In-hotel: restaurant, bar, golf course, pools, gym, spa, children's programs, laundry facilities. Credit cards accepted.

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37 Hilton Orlando
Hilton Orlando
6001 Destination Pkwy.
Orlando, FL 32819

The target clientele for this award-winning hotel is clearly corporate groups, but Hilton doesn't forget the families: conventioneers appreciate the vast meeting space, the direct walkway to the Convention Center, the substantial restaurants and bars and the work desks with ergonomic chairs; the families, on the other hand, get three pools, a kids club, a basketball court, a tennis court, full-service spa, and shuttles to theme parks. From the spacious entry, with its striking chandeliers, to the restrained decor, the hotel exudes elegance. Pros:

three pools; free shuttle to SeaWorld; direct walkway to convention center

Cons:

about 80% of the guests here will be conventioneers; no free shuttle to Disney World or Universal; daily fee for Internet, parking. www.thehiltonorlando.com. 1,417 rooms 53 suites. In-room: Internet, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: restaurants, bars, golf course, pools, tennis court, gym, spa, some pets allowed. Credit cards accepted.

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38 Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek
Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek
14100 Bonnet Creek Resort Lane
Orlando, FL 32821

The Hilton is not quite as plush as its neighbor the Waldorf Astoria, but it has a load of amenities, and appeals to families, with its 2-acre lagoon pool, kids-eat-free program, free transportation to Disney World, and discounted tickets to Disney parks. The hotel is part of the Bonnet Creek resort area, tucked into a corner of Disney World's own vast forest lands. Connected to the Waldorf by a convention hall, the hotel offers guests full use of facilities such as the Waldorf Astoria Spa by Guerlain and the Waldorf restaurants. Pros:

wonderful setting for a hotel—Disney is just moments away, but the views southwest over the golf course and forest beyond give it a remote air; next door to the Waldorf, with its amenities easily at hand; free Disney shuttle; free Wi-fi.

Cons:

nothing within walking distance; you will need to rent a car; daily parking fee. www.hiltonbonnetcreek.com. 1,000 rooms, 36 suites. In-room: safe, Internet, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: restaurants, bars, golf course, pools, gym, spa, children's programs, business center, parking. Credit cards accepted.

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39 Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Resort
Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Resort
1 Grand Cypress Blvd.
Orlando, FL 32836

Sitting amid 1,500 lushly landscaped acres just outside Disney's back gate, this luxury resort hotel has a private lake with watercraft, three golf courses, and miles of trails for strolling, bicycling, jogging, and horseback riding. The resort finished a $54-million renovation in 2011, giving a complete new look to guest rooms and meeting spaces. Tropical birds, plants, and a museum's treasure of Asian sculpture fill the 18-story atrium, which can be viewed from the glass-fronted elevators. Rooms overlooking Disney have a spectacular view of the evening fireworks at Epcot and the Magic Kingdom, and guests can watch the giant hot-air balloon rise and lower at Downtown Disney. Shuttle to Disney, Universal, and SeaWorld is part of the $22 daily resort fee, which also includes internet access. Pros:

great Sunday brunch at La Coquina restaurant; huge pool; lots of recreation options, including nearby equestrian center.

Cons:

pricey rooms, pricey resort fee; you'll need a car or taxi to get to downtown Orlando.

The Villas of Grand Cypress.

The view from the terraces of this award-winning golf resort's villas and suites include the fairways of the Jack Nicklaus-designed North Course, waterways and lush tropical foliage; you'd never know you were right next door to a busy tourist area. Designed for avid golfers, business travelers and vacationing families, the resort offers free transportation to Disney, SeaWorld and Universal, in addition to on-site activities including golf, tennis, fishing, boating, bicycles, and a rock-climbing wall. A camp for kids at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, right next door, offers swimming, crafts, movies, cooking, and exploring the resort's 1,500 acres. After a round of golf, or a busy day at the theme parks, adults can relax in the Roman tubs in the generous bathrooms, or enjoy a meal at the resort's restaurants or at one of the seven more at the Hyatt.

Pros:

upscale, golf-resort atmosphere; free transportation to all theme parks; Wi-Fi in all rooms; golf courses on site; kids activities at Hyatt.

Cons:

$18 a day resort fee; pricey. 1 N. Jacaranda Dr., 32836. Tel. 407/239-4700 or 800/835-7377. www.grandcypress.com. 191 units. In-room: safe, kitchen (some), Internet, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: restaurants, bars, golf courses, pools, tennis courts, gym, spa, water sports, children's programs, laundry facilities, business center, parking, some pets allowed. www.hyattgrandcypress.com. 815 rooms. In-room: safe, Internet, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: restaurants, bars, golf courses, pools, tennis courts, gym, spa, beach, water sports, children's programs, business center, parking, some pets allowed. Credit cards accepted.

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40 JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes
JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes
4040 Central Florida Pkwy.
Orlando, FL 32837

With more than 70,000 square feet of meeting space, this hotel caters to a convention clientele, but it's also part of a lush resort with a European-style spa, a Greg Norman-designed golf course, and a huge, lazy-river style pool complex, giving it family and leisure appeal. A total renovation to guest rooms was completed in 2011, including drapes, carpets, colors, and bedding. Rooms have ergonomic work stations and flat screen TVs. A long, enclosed hallway connects the hotel to the Ritz-Carlton next door, where Marriott guests are welcome to use their room charge card in the restaurants and shops. Pros:

pool is great for kids and adults; shares amenities with the Ritz, including a world-class, albeit pricey, health and beauty spa; golf course; free shuttle service to SeaWorld and Universal.

Cons:

things are spread out on the grounds; you need a rental car to reach Disney or shopping. www.grandelakes.com. 1,000 rooms, 64 suites. In-room: safe, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: restaurants, bars, golf course, pool, tennis court, gym, spa, children's programs, laundry facilities, business center, parking. Credit cards accepted.

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41 Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate
Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate
1500 Masters Blvd.
ChampionsGate, FL 33896

Omni took over a 1,200-acre golf club with two Greg Norman-designed courses and a David Leadbetter academy to create this huge Mediterranean-style complex south of Disney. With a 70,000-square-foot conference center, the resort definitely attracts the corporate crowd. But there's family appeal, too, thanks to a lazy-river-style pool and excellent children's programs. The hotel is a 10-minute drive from Disney, but you don't have to drive—it offers a free shuttle (well, sort of free; it's part of the daily resort fee). Pros:

big European-style spa; huge, water-park-style pool; good restaurants; golf school and two golf courses.

Cons:

rooms and food are pricey; daily resort fee for Internet, shuttles, newspapers, gym; separate fee for parking. www.omnihotels.com. 720 rooms, 35 suites, 57 villas. In-room: Internet, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: restaurants, bars, golf courses, pools, tennis courts, gym, spa, children's programs, business center, parking, some pets allowed. Credit cards accepted.

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42 Orlando World Center Marriott
Orlando World Center Marriott
8701 World Center Dr.
Orlando, FL 32821

With 2,000 recently renovated rooms, this is one of Orlando's largest hotels, catering to conventions (410,000 sq. feet of meeting space) and families. All rooms have deluxe bedding, new bathrooms, and flat screen HDTVs. Families with children are welcome, and there are scheduled programs planned just for them. The complex encompasses six pools: two for kids, with a waterfall, cave, and slide feature, and four (one indoors) for more serene swimming and quiet sunbathing. Pros:

full-service spa; good steak house on-site; golf course; lobby Starbucks.

Cons:

Internet fee of $14.95 daily; no Wi-Fi in room; on-site restaurants have expense-account-sized prices; nothing worth seeing within walking distance; in fact, the hotel fronts a highway that doesn't encourage pedestrians. www.marriottworldcenter.com. 2,000 rooms, 110 suites. In-room: safe, Internet, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: restaurants, bar, golf course, pools, tennis court, gym, spa, children's programs, laundry facilities, business center, parking. Credit cards accepted.

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43 Parc Corniche Condominium Suite Hotel
Parc Corniche Condominium Suite Hotel
6300 Parc Corniche Dr.
Orlando, FL 32821

Set back from traffic on the south end of International Drive, the hotel offers a good deal for a family that loves golf and theme parks. Renovated in 2011, the suites offer new furniture, flat screen TVs, updated kitchens and bathrooms. A golf course next to the property offers hotel residents a discount, and the Nick Faldo Golf Institute is just across International Drive. Each of the one- and two-bedroom suites, decorated in pale yellows and blues, with brightly patterned bedspreads, has a full kitchen (with a dishwasher) plus a patio or balcony with golf-course views. A free continental breakfast is served daily. SeaWorld is only a few blocks away. Pros:

great for golf lovers; well-equipped kitchens; free theme-parks shuttle; free breakfast.

Cons:

not much within walking distance; daily fee for Internet access. www.parccorniche.com. 210 suites. In-room: kitchen, Internet, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: restaurant, bar, golf course, pool, gym, laundry facilities, business center, parking. Credit cards accepted. Rate includes: Breakfast.

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44 Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes
Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes
4012 Central Florida Pkwy.
Orlando, FL 32837

Orlando's first and only Ritz-Carlton is a particularly extravagant link in the luxury chain, with exemplary service that extends from the fully attended porte-cochere entrance to the 18-hole golf course and 40-room spa. A total room renovation was completed in 2011, with new carpets, bedding with down or down alternative comforters for guests who may be sensitive to feathers, and new furniture. The suites also have large balconies, and decadent white marble baths (with separate showers and tubs). Chef Norman Van Aken's signature restaurant, Norman's is the centerpiece of dining at the Ritz, but there are several other choices. An enclosed hallway connects the Ritz to the JW Marriott Hotel next door, where you'll find more restaurants and a kid-friendly lazy river pool complex. Pros:

truly luxurious; impeccable service; great spa; golf course; shares amenities with Marriott.

Cons:

pricey; need a rental car to reach theme parks, area shops, and restaurants. www.grandelakes.com. 582 rooms, 63 suites. In-room: Wi-Fi. In-hotel: restaurants, bars, golf course, pools, tennis court, gym, spa, water sports, children's programs, business center, parking. Credit cards accepted.

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45 Rosen Plaza Hotel
Rosen Plaza Hotel
9700 International Dr.
Orlando, FL 32819

Harris Rosen, Orlando's largest independent hotel owner, is cornering the market on hotels in the I-Drive area; this one was totally renovated in 2010, with new tile in bathrooms, flat-screen TVs, and mini-refrigerators. Although it's essentially a convention hotel, leisure travelers like the prime location and long list of amenities. The caricature art in Jack's Place restaurant is worth checking out, as is the food. Rosen's father, Jack, worked at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York, and drew caricatures of many of the famous guests. Another plus is the BAGS service, which allows you to get your airline boarding pass and check your suitcases in the hotel lobby, so you can go straight to the gate at Orlando International. Pros:

within walking distance of I-Drive eateries and attractions; guests in all Rosen-owned hotels in Orlando get priority reservations at the 18-hole golf course at Rosen's Shingle Creek, a couple of blocks away; free shuttle to Universal.

Cons:

Convention Center traffic can be bad; daily Internet fee. www.rosenplaza.com. 800 rooms, 32 suites. In-room: safe, Internet. In-hotel: restaurants, bar, golf course, pool, gym, laundry facilities, business center, parking. Credit cards accepted.

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46 Rosen Shingle Creek
Rosen Shingle Creek
9939 Universal Blvd.
Orlando, FL 32819

It may be close to the Convention Center, but make no mistake: this place has plenty for those seeking fun and relaxation. There's the 13,000-square-foot spa, for instance, and the championship golf course and golf academy. There are also four swimming pools and recreation options that include fishing and nature trails on this 280-acre resort. The architecture recalls the Spanish Revival palaces you find in Palm Beach County, and the history of the area goes back to early Florida pioneers. Pros:

golf course; spa; free shuttle to Universal, SeaWorld, Aquatica; BAGS check-in service; the only four-star-level resort in town with a self-service coin laundry.

Cons:

large grounds mean long walks to on-site amenities; no shuttle to I-Drive or Disney; daily fee for Wi-Fi. www.rosenshinglecreek.com. 1,500 rooms, 109 suites. In-room: safe, Internet, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: restaurants, bar, golf course, pools, tennis courts, gym, spa, laundry facilities, business center, parking. Credit cards accepted.

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47 Waldorf Astoria Orlando
Waldorf Astoria Orlando
14200 Bonnet Creek Resort La.
Orlando, FL 32821

While it doesn't duplicate the famed Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, the Waldorf Astoria Orlando echoes the original with imagination and flair, from the clock under the dome in the center of the circular lobby to tiny, black-and-white accent tiles on the floors of the guest rooms. Rooms are decorated with understated elegance, using black-and-white highlights against rich beige-and-gold neutrals. Beds and linens are as plush and comfy as you'll find anywhere in the world. If you want a butler, one is available. If you want a massage, the Guerlain spa exudes relaxation the minute you walk in the door. If golf is your choice, a vast Rees Jones-designed course fills the view from the lobby, bar, or balcony rooms. The hotel connects to and shares a convention hall and meeting space with the Hilton Bonnet Creek. Pros:

a lavish and luxurious hotel, spa, and golf resort, next to Disney; free transportation to WDW parks; free Wi-fi.

Cons:

if you can bear to leave the cabana you'll need a car to see anything else in the area. www.waldorfastoriaorlando.com. 328 rooms, 169 suites. In-room: safe, Internet. In-hotel: restaurants, bars, golf course, pool, gym, spa, children's programs, business center, parking. Credit cards accepted.

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48 Westin Imagine
Westin Imagine
9501 Universal Blvd.
Orlando, FL 32819

Directly across Universal Boulevard from the mammoth Orange County Convention Center, this 12-story hotel attracts scores of conventioneers, but it's also strategically situated near SeaWorld, Universal Orlando, and I-Drive one block away, and welcomes families. The hotel offers a serene escape from the bustle of conventions, and has inviting amenities, including deluxe linens, work desks with task chairs, a good restaurant, a big lagoon pool and pool-deck area with outdoor hot tubs. Pros:

easy walk to Convention Center, Pointe Orlando, I-Drive; kids' programs.

Cons:

20-25 minutes away from Disney World; fee for parking and internet access. www.westinimagineorlando.com. 315 rooms, 135 suites. In-room: safe, kitchen, Internet. In-hotel: bar, golf course, pool, gym, children's programs, business center, parking. Credit cards accepted.

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49 Wyndham Orlando Resort
Wyndham Orlando Resort
8001 International Dr.
Orlando, FL 32819

Two-story villas, palm trees, turquoise pools, and romantic lagoons evoke a Caribbean getaway in this resort set smack-dab in the middle of all things I-Drive. Just five minutes south of Universal, 10 minutes north of SeaWorld, and handy to I-Drive's shops, restaurants and Convention Center, the resort is also only a short drive to the upscale restaurants and shops of Sand Lake Road's restaurant row. Family suites have bunk beds and a kids' area with TV and game table. A free shuttle whisks you to Universal and SeaWorld, and a Disney shuttle is available for about $16 round-trip. Pros:

relaxed, Key-West tropical atmosphere; family friendly; convenient to Universal, SeaWorld, I-Drive, and outlet malls.

Cons:

daily Internet fee; no free shuttle to Disney, which is about 30 minutes away; daily resort fee. www.orlandowyndhamresort.com. 1,052 rooms, 326 suites. In-room: safe, Internet. In-hotel: restaurants, bars, golf course, pools, gym, spa, laundry facilities, parking, some pets allowed. Credit cards accepted.

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50 Pirate's Cove Adventure Golf
Pirate's Cove Adventure Golf
8501 International Dr.
Orlando, FL 32819

You can play the crème de la crème of miniature golf at the two Pirate's Cove Adventure Golf locations. Each site has two 18-hole courses that wind around artificial mountains, through caves, and into lush foliage. The beginner's course is called Captain Kidd's Adventure; a more difficult game can be played on Blackbeard's Challenge. The courses are opposite Mercado Mediterranean Village and in the Crossroads of Lake Buena Vista shopping plaza. Arrive by 11 pm if you want to play a round before closing. www.piratescove.net. Admission: I-Drive location, $9.95 adults, $8.95 children 4-12; both courses $13.95 adults, $12.50 children; Crossroads location, $9.95 adults, $8.95 children 4-12; both courses $13.95 adults, $12.50 children. Hours: Daily 9am-11:30pm. Other location: 12545 SR 535 Lake Buena Vista, Crossroads Center, I-4 Exit 68, Orlando, FL, 32836, 407/827-1242.

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© 2018 by Fodor's Travel, a division of Random House, Inc.
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2018 Temp. (°F) Dew Point (°F) Humidity (%) Sea Level Press. (in) Visibility (mi) Wind (mph) Precip. (in) Events
Jan high avg low high avg low high avg low high avg low high avg low high avg high sum  
2018/1/1 57 47 37 54 44 30 100 94 75 30.23 30.12 30.00 10 8 2 16 7 26 0.00  
2017 Temp. (°F) Dew Point (°F) Humidity (%) Sea Level Press. (in) Visibility (mi) Wind (mph) Precip. (in) Events
Jan high avg low high avg low high avg low high avg low high avg low high avg high sum  
2017/1/1 80 66 51 72 64 52 100 90 65 30.11 30.07 30.03 10 10 0 13 1 15 0.00  
2016 Temp. (°F) Dew Point (°F) Humidity (%) Sea Level Press. (in) Visibility (mi) Wind (mph) Precip. (in) Events
Jan high avg low high avg low high avg low high avg low high avg low high avg high sum  
2016/1/1 84 76 66 82 72 66 100 99 89 30.04 30.00 29.93 10 6 0 10 2 15 0.00 Fog
2015 Temp. (°F) Dew Point (°F) Humidity (%) Sea Level Press. (in) Visibility (mi) Wind (mph) Precip. (in) Events
Jan high avg low high avg low high avg low high avg low high avg low high avg high sum  
2015/1/1 68 60 53 63 57 52 94 87 73 30.22 30.15 30.08 9 6 2 9 7 14 0.00  
2014 Temp. (°F) Dew Point (°F) Humidity (%) Sea Level Press. (in) Visibility (mi) Wind (mph) Precip. (in) Events
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2014/1/1 62 58 55 61 56 48 100 94 77 30.29 30.22 30.08 10 8 1 10 6 - 0.09 Rain
2013 Temp. (°F) Dew Point (°F) Humidity (%) Sea Level Press. (in) Visibility (mi) Wind (mph) Precip. (in) Events
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2013/1/1 78 64 50 57 55 50 100 78 44 30.24 30.13 30.05 9 5 0 16 2 24 0.00 Fog
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