Much of that tourism is driven by the city's status as the "Theme Park Capital of the World." The big four flagship properties are the Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando, and Legoland Florida. With the exception of Legoland, each of these resorts is made up of several individual parks, from water parks and wildlife-themed properties to branded entertainment centers, such as the area's newest addition — Universal's Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Orlando is home to more than 50 theme parks, including many smaller, locally owned properties, attracting visitors from all over the world.
The city's massive tourism industry makes it a haven for visitors, who benefit from a huge selection of travel-related services. However, it also creates an overwhelming array of choices for those planning a vacation here. Start by deciding whether you want a luxury, value, or budget property. Then, think about the amenities that are important you to, such as spa services, dining options, or large family suites. Consider factors like distance from popular attractions and on-site activities, so you can take a break and enjoy a day close to home. Choosing the right hotel is key to planning the perfect Orlando vacation.
When To Visit Orlando, FL
While some people come to Orlando without kids in tow, this destination is most popular with families. As a result, crowd levels and hotel prices tend to be at their highest when school is out. That means peak season runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day, with a spring-break spike from late March to the middle of April, and another from mid-December to the beginning of the new year. If you're planning to visit within those windows, expect to pay a premium for your accommodations.
Visiting in the off-season has several benefits. First and foremost, you'll enjoy lower rates on hotels and related expenses like car rentals. There is also less competition for hotel space, so you'll have a greater selection of properties and room types available to you. Another downside to visiting in summer is that it brings hot, humid, rainy weather to Orlando. Temperatures often hit the 90s, and with humidity levels commonly also in the 90s, it can feel much hotter. Expect frequent thunderstorms, which can lead theme parks to close some attractions for safety. Also keep in mind that June 1 to Nov. 30 is hurricane season.
Below is a chart of the current pricing seasonality of hotels and motels in Orlando, FL:
Orlando by Star Rating
Below are 3 charts demonstrating mean nightly cost trends by star rating class in Orlando, FL. You can use these illustrations to evaluate the least expensive dates to book a room in Orlando for upcoming travels.
Orlando, FL Luxury Hotel Options
4 Star Average Prices: $137.49
On the other side of the hotel spectrum, Orlando has a number of options for those are ready to pay top dollar for an opulent stay. Among the most popular luxury hotels in Orlando is actually a pair of hotels: the Ritz Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes, and the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes. The Ritz Carlton goes the extra mile by giving children toys and treats at check-in, while the Marriott lures visitors to relax next to the huge pool or drift along the lazy river. Many of the properties' amenities are open to guests of both hotels, so while prices are high, you will get twice as much hotel for your money.
Get the white-glove treatment at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. This Victorian-inspired property is positioned on the shore of Walt Disney World's Seven Seas Lagoon, where you can enjoy a cruise and watch the Magic Kingdom's famous fireworks. The monorail stops at the hotel, making it easy to get to and from any of the resort's parks. Dine at the upscale restaurants, and recover from a long day on your feet at the spa or listening to live jazz in the elegant lobby.
Step inside Universal's Lowe's Portofino Bay Hotel and be transported to the Italian Riviera. The rooms are spacious, two of the three pools are reserved for adults, and there are five Italian restaurants to choose from, making this an excellent choice for an adults-only romantic Orlando getaway.
Budget Hotel Options in Orlando, FL
3 Star Average Prices: $103.09
Generally speaking, you will have a hard time finding budget-friendly hotel options on theme-park resort properties. Because these hotels are so convenient to the parks themselves and offer exclusive amenities like early park entry and character experiences, they come at a premium.
To save on your Orlando accommodations, look outside the boundaries of the big resorts. The Hampton Inn Lake Buena Vista - Orlando is just a quick drive from the major parks and offers shuttle service, a pool and hot tub, a generous breakfast, and rooms with mini fridges and microwaves to help cut down on dining costs. Drury Inn & Suites Orlando boasts free breakfast, free shuttle service to nearby parks, an outdoor pool, and even welcomes pets for a small fee. Staybridge Suites Orlando Lake Buena Vista is another good option for travelers with pets. The hotel also offers free shuttle service, a fitness center, outdoor pool, and rooms with full kitchens for visitors who like to cook for themselves.
2 Star Average Prices: $62.13
Which Orlando hotels have real discounts?
No matter what type of property you choose, you can ensure you get the best possible deal by taking advantage of available discounts. Several hotels near the airport offer AAA, senior citizen, and military discounts, including the Wingate by Wyndham Orlando Airport, Quality Inn Orlando Airport, and the Renaissance Orlando Airport Hotel. You can also get these discounts at upscale properties like the Grand Bohemian Hotel and The Alfond Inn.
If you plan to travel with a large group, you may qualify for discounted rates. Disney offers group rates for visitors reserving multiple rooms. In addition, Disney's Villa properties, including Animal Kingdom and BoardWalk Villas, offer two-bedroom villas that can accommodate as many as nine guests. You'll also find group rates available at national chain hotels in Orlando, such as Embassy Suites and Courtyard by Marriott.
Best Value Options in Orlando, FL
Value hotels offer the best combination of affordability, location, and amenities. The Point Orlando Resort boasts large rooms, spacious bathrooms, and fully appointed kitchens for less than you'd pay for a smaller room at some luxury properties, as well as free shuttle service and a pool.
You may also want to check out the value hotels offered by the larger theme park resorts. Disney's Port Orleans Resort French Quarter is a mid-priced option that transports guests to the Mississippi Delta. The large pool complex and romantic setting make it feel luxe, and the central location is perfect for getting to and from the parks quickly. Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort is a great option for families. Mini-kitchens make it easy to prepare a quick and easy breakfast or snack. On-site activities include a pool and lazy river, bowling alley, and fire pits for toasting marshmallows under the stars.
Kids will have the time of their lives at the Nickelodeon Suites Resort. Here, you can play in two water parks, an arcade, a laser maze, and several pools with daily "slimings." Grownups will appreciate that every room has a kitchenette or full kitchen, so you can refuel from all the fun without heading to a restaurant.
Save on Food and Drinks at Orlando, FL Hotels
When you're traveling with family, it's amazing how quickly food and beverage costs add up. Without careful planning, your dining budget can quickly escalate out of control. Fortunately, you can keep those costs down by making smart hotel choices.
The first thing to remember is that you'll pay a premium of at least 25 percent when you dine at a theme park. If possible, plan your days so most of your meals happen before or after your time in the parks. Choose a hotel with a kitchen, and shop for quick breakfast and snack items so you can easily grab a bite before you leave and save the snacking for when you get back to the room. Another way to save on food is to look for hotels that offer "kids eat free" deals, such as Nickelodeon Family Suites and Orlando World Center Marriott Resort.
If you're staying in a theme park hotel, ask about dining plans. These packages can help you save as much as 40 percent off regular prices at resort restaurants, making it easy to eat economically without having to travel far from your hotel.
There are so many things to do in Orlando that one trip will never be enough. If you've never been here, prepare to discover a new favorite destination. And, if you have visited Orlando in the past, you already know there's always something new to discover. Your Orlando hotel will be your home base for your trip, so take the time to think about what you want from your accommodations. No matter what you're looking for, you'll find the right property in this tourist-friendly city. Choosing the right hotel is the first step in planning an unforgettable Orlando vacation.
A visit to Orlando Recapped
Walt Disney, Seaworld, and Universal Studios made the city of Orlando eternally synonymous to theme parks. What was once a subdued farming town is now America's most visited city. Apart from the theme parks that attract millions of tourists per year, Orlando is a host of varying attractions, from the best nightlife to camping at the Magic Kingdom. Your adventure begins as soon as you arrive at the International Airport, as Disney's Magical Express Transportation is offered for free. Some hotels capitalize on the city's surreal aspect, with choices that include Nickelodeon family Suites by Holiday Inn and Renaissance Orlando Resort at Seaworld, but there are plenty of more affordable hotels around Lake Buena Vista. You can choose from exploring the Future World's geodesic dome and see the experimental community of tomorrow, ride the gravity-defying drops at the Twilight Zone, see gazelles in the Kilimanjaro Safari, or try the Universal Studios' Fear Factor Live. The array of phenomenal attractions can make guests go crazy, as the city is also home to Jurassic Park, Marvel Super Hero Island, the Journey Atlantis, and Wet N Wild.
'I hope it is true that a man can die and yet not only live in others but give them life, and not only life, but that great consciousness of life.'
Jack Kerouac, great American author and poet of the Beat Generation of the 1950's and 60's, penned this beautiful quote in Dharma Bums, one of his most acclaimed books. Kerouac was born and raised in Orlando, Florida, and it would be worth understanding the kind of impact that city of life caused him during impressionable years.
Orlando can have that impact even on tourists. It is a city that is, for what it is worth, given wholly to tourism. It has been constructed, designed, maintained and styled to bring more and more of tourists from America, and the rest of the world. It would only be fair to credit the men and women behind this endeavor, a huge success by most standards, as over 20 million tourists visit this fun-filled city every year.
There is a lot to see, do and experience when you are in Orlando. The city loves to call herself 'the city beautiful', a nickname that's apt in any way you can think of. Considering the tall stature of Orlando in American tourism industry, it's well in order for tourists to get to know the accommodation scenes here in Orlando, before actually planning their trips.
The chief purpose behind this instant guide to Orlando hotels is precisely the same.
Cheap Hotels? Orlando Has 'Em All!
Finding cheap hotels is among the top priorities, even concerns, for many tourists. In a city like Orlando that's heavily busy with tourists all year round, this becomes a valid issue. But tourists should stay assured that Orlando, despite being a top tier tourism destination, has got a number of affable, convenient and cheap hotels that will make your stay easy, affordable and pleasant. What tourists need to remember, however, that, with affordability comes some compromise. So long as you are willing to travel a little bit more every day to visit sights that Orlando has on offer, many of these hotel and resort establishments will be the best option for you.
The Floridian Hotel and Suites is a top-choice budget hotel located centrally in the city. It offers the best amenities and choices of rooms to tourists for the price range that it lies in. Rosen Inn and Drury Inn are similar choices, albeit a little shorter on decor. Hampton Inn can also be a suitable choice for you, especially if you are a solo traveler or a backpacker.
Looking for Luxury?
Orlando is an ideal city for tourists who want to lead a lavish and extravagant life for the duration of their stay here. With over 40 five star resorts, you will be sure to find the exact one that clicks with your tastes and your budget.
Disney operates a number of grand resorts in Orlando. The first one, Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, is the more lavish one in comparison, and quite understandably, the more expensive one as well. The other one, Disney's Polynesian Village, is a Polynesian themed resort society that rents villas and suites for tourists who will be staying for longer periods.
Among other luxury hotels in Orlando, Four Seasons Orlando is notable as it brings the familiar brand of comfort and style that Four Seasons is best known for, all across the world.
Alternative Lodging Choices in Orlando
If you are not entirely taken by the idea of staying in a hotel for long duration, you can hope to find many independent and boutique hotel units scattered on the outskirts of Orlando.
The most fashionable among these are summer villas and rental condos. These are usually rented out for a maximum of two weeks, and replicate a home living experience, at a fraction of the cost of luxury resorts.
Disney's Boardwalk Villas is a great representative of this category of hotels in Orlando.
Picking Sights to See in Orlando
Sightseeing in Orlando can get confusing if you do not manage your time in the city well. This primarily happens because, simply, there's too much to see.
Orlando is known as the 'theme park capital of the world', and not without solid reasons. Universal Studios operates many theme parks here, and most of them offer pure, unadulterated fun for families. Special mention should go to Universal's Islands of Adventure that boasts of countless fun rides, shows, food joints and miscellaneous entertainment options. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, another Universal Park, is a great place to get lost in, if the life at Hogwarts is something you have grown up wishing to lead.
Cirque de Soleil is a mesmerizing experience that no trip to Orlando can be complete without. Discovery Cove, in the same manner, offers great entertainment and education for young tourists and children.
Hotels Near Orlando Airport
Orlando Int. Airport is the second busiest among all airports in the state of Florida. It handles over 10 million passengers every year, and there's a good chance that if you are traveling to Orlando, this is where you will be landing.
If you do, then you will be best advised not to waste time looking for a hotel near the airport. The airport is located just outside the city limits, a ride that won't take you more than ten minutes, even in heavy traffic. So, the most sensible thing for you to do would be to travel straight to the city and find the most compatible one among umpteen Orlando hotels.
Weather? Not a Problem
Orlando features a consistent pattern of weather throughout the year. There's no significant fluctuation in temperatures here, with temperatures never dipping below the freezing point.
Your trip to Orlando will be most economical in January to March season, as hotel prices are known to be at their lowest during these month. Unless you are taking your children along, try to avoid summer months as much as possible, for hotel prices skyrocket during that season.