Orlando Hotels
“Before choosing an off-property hotel, give some thought to which services are most important.”
Orlando is known as The Theme Park Capital of the World for good reason. Home to Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, and many smaller parks, Orlando is one of the most visited cities in the U.S. It takes a massive hospitality industry to accommodate 51 million tourists per year, so travelers looking for cheap hotels have lots of options, from national brands like La Quinta Inn & Suites Orlando UCF to local properties like The Floridian Hotel and Suites. By doing your research and shopping smart, you'll find great hotel deals so you can save your money for park hopping.
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Stay Off-Property to Avoid Premium Prices

The major Orlando theme park resorts have multiple hotels on-site, and often offer vacation packages filled with discounts and extras for visitors willing to take the one-stop-shopping approach and book every aspect of their trip through the resort. However, it's important to remember that these packages can hide steep premiums for staying in resort-branded hotels, and nearby properties often offer many of the same conveniences for a lot less.

If you're looking for a hotel near Disney World, for example, the Hampton Inn Orlando/Lake Buena Vista offers free parking and free shuttle service to the resort. You'll also enjoy a free daily hot and cold breakfast buffet, so while you won't mingle with a certain mouse while you eat, the savings might just be worth it. Similarly, the Fairfield Inn & Suites Orlando Universal Studios has a free shuttle to the resort, and boasts guest laundry services, which come in handy after a day of drippy ice cream comes and dropped hot dogs.

Before choosing an off-property hotel, give some thought to which services are most important to you. If you're traveling with children, you may want to call ahead and ask about cribs and sleeper sofas. Planning on renting a car? Keep an eye out for hotels that offer guests free parking. If you want to build in a few days of downtime rather than spending all of your time and money at the parks, look for properties with a pool, playground, game room, or other ways to entertain the family close to home.

Eliminate the Guesswork with a Preferred Hotel

The major resorts recognize that many of their guests choose not to stay on-site, but still want a high-quality hotel that meets the exacting standards set by more expensive resort hotels. To meet this need, they created programs like Walt Disney World Good Neighbor Hotels, Universal Partner Hotels, and SeaWorld Orlando Hotel Partners to help guests find budget-friendly off-site accommodations that meet the same strict quality standards applied to resort hotels. By using these programs to pare down your choices, you'll eliminate a lot of guesswork and narrow the field to a selection of trustworthy choices.

Many of these preferred properties offer services and amenities not offered by other hotels in the same area, like free shuttle service to the resort, early park entry, discounts on dining and merchandise, and the option to skip the long lines at the park and purchase your tickets right at the hotel. You're also likely to find special perks like free full breakfast, evening receptions, and larger rooms than are offered by other hotels in the same price range.

In order for a hotel to be eligible for the Disney program, for example, the property must be AAA Approved, must provide services like transportation to and from the resort, and must be periodically inspected to ensure quality. It's in each hotel's interest to maintain a good relationship with nearby resorts, so why not reap the rewards? Partnership programs are a great way to get the feeling of having purchased a pricey resort vacation package without paying the sky-high price tag.

You won't have to give up variety when looking for hotels in these programs. Disney's Good Neighbor Hotels include everything from the 148-room Holiday Inn Express & Suites Lake Buena Vista East to the sprawling, 1,682-room Sheraton Vistana Resort Villas, which also features four swimming pools, a market and deli, and tennis, volleyball, and basketball courts. Universal's program allows guests to choose how much they want to spend, dividing hotels into luxury, moderate, and value categories. The value category features two- and three-star brand names like Country Inn and Suites and Wingate by Wyndham, so you can save money without sacrificing quality.

Pros and Cons of Orlando Vacation Rentals

Orlando's popularity as a tourist destination means big business for the vacation real estate market. With so many condos and apartments owned by people who visit for just a few weeks a year, room sharing sites like Airbnb can be a fantastic resource for travelers looking for an affordable alternative to traditional hotels. For example, you can find a four-bedroom, three-bath condo in a three-Diamond complex in Disney-adjacent Kissimmee that sleeps six and costs ju