For many parents taking their kids to Walt Disney World seems like a distance dream. Park tickets are costly and lodging at Disney resorts could easily break the budget. But there is an affordable way to enjoy Orlando vacations – Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista, also known as Wyndham Garden Disney Springs.
I discovered Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista while attending a travel writers retreat in Orlando. I found meeting facilities to be inviting, well equipped, and well planned.
During my stay, I realized that events were only a small part of what this Wyndham Resorts property was about. Its main focus is serving families visiting Walt Disney parks. It was a pleasure to watch kids and adults alike having a great time at the resort and enjoying their Orlando vacations.
Also, I can easily picture the resort as a fun place to enjoy a girlfriend getaway at Disney.
What works for families at Wyndham Lake Buena Vista
Two room choices
Wyndham Disney Springs offers rooms at two price points. The Wyndham Garden offers a comfortable, no frills room. Rooms at the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista, meanwhile, are slightly bigger with a few more frills.
Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Rooms
Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista Rooms
Parking is an affordable $12 per day (in fall 2016). And, since the hotel is a short walk away from Disney Springs, once you arrive and park your car, you can take advantage of the free Disney transportation system to get around the parks.
Affordable (and yummy) breakfast buffet
Breakfast at Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista met all my expectations. I enjoyed a variety of items and their freshness and presentation. The only problem I had with breakfast: I kept overeating!
You can find less expensive accommodations in Orlando than Wyndham Lake Buena Vista, but that most likely would come with the feel of a cheap hotel. At Wyndham, you get a feel of a higher end hotel without inflated rates. I loved the lobby – airy and inviting!
Theme park transportation
One of many benefits of staying at Wyndham Garden and Wyndham Lake Buena Vista is the shuttle service included in the $18/day resort fee. (Parking at Disney Parks is $20/day.) Buses run continuously every 30 minutes to all four Walt Disney World theme parks. Buses are also available to Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park and Typhoon Lagoon Water Park.
Oasis Aquatic Pool Area
Pool area is designed for families to have fun. It is an inviting place to relax after a long day at the parks. Small children enjoy the aquatic playground while adults sip their favorite drinks available at Oasis Bar. Tasty food is also available so need to leave the pool if you get hungry.
Disney Character Breakfast with Goofy and Pluto
At the Parks, the lines to meet, greet and get a photo with a Disney character can be long. At the Wyndham, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings feature a character breakfast at the Lakeview Restaurant. It costs $26.95 for adults and $12.95 children. I got to meet both Goofy and Pluto. They were both funny, friendly, and took their time interacting with kids and adults alike. Even better–there were no crowds on the Saturday morning I was there. We arrived early and had the characters almost to ourselves in the first hour.
Activities for children
Wyndham Lake Buena Vista puts a lot of effort into accommodating young visitors. It offers activities for children all ages throughout the year. There’s even a Director of Fun who runs crafts and activities for kids.
On-site Disney gift store
At the store, you can purchase your Disney tickets and souvenirs.
Every member of the hotel’s staff I met was very polite and accommodating. All of my questions or concerns were answered with courtesy and on the spot.
Family atmosphere through the hotel
The public area in the lobby of the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista and Wyndham Garden is spacious but not overwhelming . It feels cozy and inviting. You will quickly learn its layout and feel comfortable walking around. Older children can navigate it by themselves. There a lot of gathering spaces for children and adults alike, including a little room designated for small children to play.
Lighted tennis courts, sand volleyball court, basketball court, and a gym are available, although I didn’t have time during the conference to make use of any of them.
At the end of a long day at the Parks, there’s an inviting bar in the main lobby where we adults can relax with a drink.
Sundial coffee shop/mini market is open 24/7. Other services include guest services desk, valet parking, bellman services and a car rental desk. Check in luggage service for your flight home is available at cost.
Walking Distance to Disney Springs
Wyndham Garden and Wyndham Lake Buena Vista is a short walk away from vibrant Disney Springs. There, you can find great shopping, dining, and entertainment. My favorite spots at Disney Springs are Splitsville Luxury Lanes for an outstanding food, House of Blues for live music and Sunday gospel branch, STK Orlando steakhouse for its sophisticated food, Sprinkles for their famous cupcakes, and Earl of Sandwitch for very tasty but inexpensive sandwiches.
What does not work for families at Wyndham Lake Buena Vista
No directions from the parking lot to the rooms or the lobby
I arrived at the hotel late at night. I parked my car, took my suitcase out and then realized that I did not know where to go next. The building facing the parking lot was under renovation, I assume. There were no visible room numbers. There were no signs directing me to the lobby or any room numbers. Arriving guests should be able to see immediately which way to go. It took me while to find my room. It was not a good first impression.
Not enough parking spots
I did not have a problem with finding a parking spot but I heard other guests complain that they had trouble finding a spot in the self-serve lot. Hotel officials know they need more parking spots. It’s why they offer valet parking for the same price as self-park (although you need to tip the valet). Like lots of people, I prefer to park my own car.
Wyndham Garden rooms need improvement
Rooms need a face lift
I stayed at the Wyndham Garden room. I liked the bathroom, it was nice and modern. The room had everything I needed but the overall feel was a little dark and dated. New carpets and furniture would make the room more inviting.
No designated office space
As a travel writer, I am always looking for a comfortable office space to place my laptop and plug in my various electronics, all in one convenient place. I had to use different outlets throughout the room. It made it very easy to leave some chargers behind.
The walkway outside the rooms is concrete. I’m a light sleeper, so I was awakened too early in the morning by the sound of suitcases being rolled along the walkway. When someone used the hotel’s luggage cart, it sounded like an airplane.
The AC unit also made a lot of noise when it cycled on and off. For a light sleeper, it could be quite disturbing.
How to make the most out of your stay at Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista
Wyndham Rewards Loyalty Program
Join Wyndham Rewards and your stay at Lake Buena Vista can get you closer to a free night at any of 7800 Wyndham hotels around the world including Days Inn, Dolce, Super 8, Baymont, Tryp, Wyndham Grand hotels and resorts, Microtel, Ramada and Travelodge.
With every qualified stay, you can earn 10 points per dollar you spend or 1,000 points, whichever is greater. With 15,000 points you will receive a free hotel night. You can also use a combination of cash and points, starting with just 3,000 points.
TravelingMom Tip: make sure to open all emails coming from Wyndham Rewards. They usually include great offers.
Wyndham Rewards Credit Cards
Credit cards are the best form of payment (see why). If you use them right, you can create free travel (see how). As with many other hotel groups, Wyndham offers its own two credit cards which could significantly accelerate earning points toward free hotel nights.
If you pay for your stay at Lake Buena Vista with your Wyndham credit card, you will receive 3 to 5 additional points per dollar, depending on the card, on the top of loyalty points. Worth noting: both Wyndham credit cards offer opening bonus points good for one to three free hotel nights, again depending on the card.
Additionally, you can use your card for everyday purchases and to pay your bills to get 2 points per dollar. That is one of the best earnings on the market. You will be surprised how quickly you will be able to generate free Wyndham nights.