There are dozens of theme parks for families to choose to visit in Orlando for their vacations, but there are even more hotels and resorts to pick from. This can be challenging. How do you choose one to stay at? First, select which hotel location works best for your plans – closest to the destinations that you plan to visit. Then, compare hotel amenities/services that work best for your family and locations that are of course kid-friendly. If you’re planning on heading to SeaWorld, definitely add the DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld to your list as it’s conveniently in the center of it all and is great for families with toddlers to tweens.
Spanning 28 lush acres, DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld is an official SeaWorld Partner Hotel that’s conveniently located adjacent to SeaWorld® and Aquatica, SeaWorld’s Waterpark, while just minutes away from Universal Orlando® Resort and Walt Disney World® Resort Theme Parks. The resort offers a day spa, three large, palm tree-lined swimming pools, including a relaxing lagoon pool and two children’s pools. In addition, there is a kids’ lounge and game area, free miniature golf course and putting green, playground, and seven dining options right on the grounds. While all this sounds like a large resort, I was surprised to find that the layout was quite accessible and wasn’t crowded with people or overwhelming with noise and the craziness often found at other Orlando-area hotels. It felt like a not-so hidden family gem.
What Works for Families
During our 3-day weekend stay with our toddler twin boys, we visited both Magic Kingdom and SeaWorld. For Magic Kingdom, we decided to drive and park at the resort, which was just a 15 minute drive away. For SeaWorld though, we simply followed the pathway on foot, which led from the hotel and directly to the main entrance. It was a breeze and it was also great not having to fold and un-fold our double stroller and then get on a bus or tram. Plus, we didn’t have to pay for parking. The best part of being so close with toddlers though was that we were able to go for a few hours in the morning, head back for nap-time and lunch and then simply walk back over for re-entry after for more playtime. Definitely the VIP way to visit SeaWorld.
Amenities for kids and families
With toddlers and especially active boys, I LOVE a hotel that also has a playground. It doesn’t matter how small the play area is, it’s such a great feature for allowing kids to let off steam before or after a road trip. Before our trip, we didn’t see anything online mentioning the playground, so this was a pleasant surprise.
Not only was there a pool area for families to be loud in, there was also a kiddie pool that my boys were able to play in by themselves. There were also balls and toys available on the pool deck for them to temporarily play with. We spent the Sunday morning before our drive back home just hanging at the hotel’s pool, which was so relaxing for us parents, but lots of fun for the kids before being stuck in the car
Bonus, this hotel also has a mini-golf course with free clubs and golf balls for kids to play with. My boys love playing golf at home with their plastic clubs and I’ve wanted to take them to put-put, but I was afraid to hold-up other players and I wasn’t sure how they’d do with the real thing. This little course allowed us to play together as a family in a casual setting. My boys are still too young for a real mini-golf place, so this was perfect. They really enjoyed it. The only problem was getting them to leave for dinner
Also, on most Friday and Saturday nights they air family movies outside by the Lagoon Pool at 8:00 p.m. We watched the first half-hour of Despicable Me, lounging on pool chairs and munching on fresh popped popcorn. This was the perfect way to end our long day and spend even more time together as a family. The boys definitely slept well that night.
Restaurants at the Hotel
After a busy day at the parks, I was dreading having to go out and find food or spend an extravagant amount of $$ for dinner in the park. From sit down to fast fare – DoubleTree Orlando fortunately has lots of options, so that we didn’t even have to leave the resort. It was great to just stay and dine at the hotel, which we did for breakfast and dinners. For breakfast there is a large buffet at Laguna Restaurant and on Sunday’s they offer SeaWorld character dining at no additional cost!! This isn’t publicized on their website, but definitely a great feature for little kids. We also tried their grab-and-go options at The Market, which includes a Starbucks (yay!) and a mini-grocery for the morning when we were in a hurry to just get over to the theme park.
While I wasn’t expecting much from a hotel restaurant outside of the convenience, I was blown away by the amazing cuisine that we feasted on at their chic Laguna Restaurant for diner. I had surf and turf, which was presented stylishly and tasted even better. The meat was cooked just as I ordered and had a great flavor. They also had highchairs available and a kids menu with crayons.
What Doesn’t Work for Families
Given that suites are in its name, I assumed our room would have a mini fridge where we could store the boys’ sippy cups, but no. Even our Junior Suite in The Tower, which provided us with lots of room and was nice and quiet, sadly did not have a fridge. However, I was told by management that they were planning on installing fridges and even microwaves in most staterooms. Some renovations were currently going on during our stay even. We had witnessed the mattresses being replaced in the cottage units along with furnishing upgrades. It will be nice to check back next year to see all these changes in place, which will make this already a great hotel for families even better.
Video Tour of DoubleTree Orlando at SeaWorld
For more visuals of the DoubleTree By Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld property, watch the below video of our stay and room tour:
Have you stayed at a DoubleTree By Hilton hotel before? What did you think?