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: $137.09
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: $99.02
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.