A trip to Disney is a splurge for most families. I know I have to squeeze every bit of value from my vacation dollars by researching and weighing all my options.
On a recent trip to Walt Disney World, I stayed at the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Resort. It’s the closest resort to Disney Springs and an official Walt Disney World Resort. Offering amenities that families desire, like a resort pool, free bus transportation to the Disney parks, character breakfasts and a Fun Director for the kids.
I found a lot to love about this property, especially the recently renovated interiors that appeal to adults. That means no silly Disney-theming. Instead I found a beachy, contemporarily-styled property that I could relax and enjoy my stay without rolling my eyes.
What I loved about Wyndham Lake Buena Vista:
- The newly renovated property is bright and I love the Florida Getaway feel after the $10 million renovation completed in 2015.
- Character breakfasts are available on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays that offer more individual time with the characters.
- The Oasis pool playground with a zero entry grabs all the kids and the Oasis Poolside Bar and Grill is open for lunch, dinner and poolside drinks. This is the place to spend your afternoon.
- Two budget options, the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Resort Tower and the Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista. Very similar in interior styling, except the Garden has an exterior corridor and Tower has an interior hallway to access your room. Both share the same lobby and facilities.
What I wanted at Wyndham Lake Buena Vista:
- Wyndham Lake Buena Vista might be an official Walt Disney World Resort with easy access to the Walt Disney World parks but you can’t take the Magical Express, the complimentary Orlando Airport Shuttle.
- I would like to see the airport transportation an easier process, made at the time of the hotel reservation.
- I would like to see the $20 per night resort fee rolled into the nightly room rate.
The Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Property:
Wyndham Lake Buena Vista ($-$$$) offers 626 rooms, steps away from Disney Springs. Located at 1850 Hotel Plaza Boulevard along with seven other hotel properties, like the Best Western Lake Buena Vista Resort Hotel.
The property originally opened in 1972 as the Americana Dutch Inn and the third hotel to open on the Walt Disney World property. Over the years, the property has been managed by different brands and undergone several renovations.
My Room at Wyndham Lake Buena Vista:
During my visit, I stayed in a double queen room in the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Tower, a 19-story tower with 232 rooms with elevators right off the registration desk. My room had updated white bedding and contemporary white furnishings.
The work station offered a charging station and task light. Great for those trying to stay up-to-date with the work email. The credenza housed the mini-refrigerator for the kids drinks or left-over desert. When I entered my room the hutch with the cubbies and hooks caught my eye. A super-cute feature and I loved the use of bead board that gave my room a beachy feel.
The bathroom featured a tub and shower combination that was a bit small for families. The granite countertops and lighted vanity mirror added to the luxury feel. I would have liked an additional vanity, though in a pinch, I found a mirror above the work desk.
The Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista, a value option, is located in the same area and has access to all the same amenities and using the same registration desk. The five-story building has two wings and 394 rooms with exterior entrances.
Family Fun at Wyndham Lake Buena Vista:
Wyndham Lake Buena Vista offers lots kids activities starting with the pool, an oasis with two pools and a hot tub. The Poolside Bar and Grill serves snacks and drinks for the whole family.
The game room is a hit with the older kids. And the on-site Fun Director can organize fun crafts just right for the younger kids at an additional cost.
I found a pair of lighted tennis courts along with a half-sized basketball court. If working out is part of your routine, the fitness center is open 24-hours a day.
All the Walt Disney World Parks are a quick bus ride away with complimentary transportation in front of the hotel. At the end of the night after the fireworks and the Magic Kingdom Electrical Parade, I was in my room in an hour—from park gate to my door.
Dining at Wyndham Lake Buena Vista:
Wyndham Lake Buena Vista offers several dining options to fit a family’s needs. The Sundial Café, open 24-hours a day, offers drinks, snacks and small meals ready to take back to your room or eat at the adjacent tables.
The Eclipse Lounge offers a bar and snacks in the evening before heading out. The Poolside Bar and Grill is available by the pool.
The signature dining event at Wyndham Lake Buena Vista is the character breakfast from 7:30 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. At a lower price point than the other Disney Resorts and more time with the characters, I liked this feature the most and it’s open to guests from other properties.
When I visited Disney Springs last April, I saw a lot of construction. The transformation over the summer amazed me.
I found dining options galore, like Earl of Sandwich, Sprinkles for cupcakes, STK Steakhouse or The Boathouse. I tried all and all exceeded my expectations, though be prepared for lines during peak periods.
Need some shopping therapy? Disney Springs offers Mom her shopping while Dad hangs at the pool with the kids. All your mall favorites plus specialized Disney-themed stores are open late for convenient end-of-day shopping. I picked up souvenirs for the family instead at the parks.
Looking for entertainment? I enjoyed the Gospel Brunch at the House of Blues on Sunday morning. A brunch buffet with southern favorites and live gospel music that lifted my spirits for hours.
Fans will enjoy Cirque du Soleil’s La Nouba with aerobatic feats that define gravity. The dedicated venue showcases the performance better than the traveling shows.
Looking for a place to hang out with friends, I suggest Splitsville for bowling and dinner. The sushi is tops along with the several different sliders. I found signature cocktails, wine and brews on the menu. Another choice for adults, Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar.
The kids loved the integrated splash pads, carousel and mini train. Even the complimentary boat transportation across the Lake Buena Vista is fun for kids.
Know before you go:
- If you arrive before your room is ready, leave your luggage with the Bell Services and head to the park or Disney Springs.
- Weight all your transportation options getting to-and-from the airport. It’s expensive.
- Your souvenirs from the Walt Disney World Parks can be delivered to the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista.
Looking for resorts and more information?
I use the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World by Bob Sehlinger and Len Testa for every trip. It provides a comprehensive guide, packed with information. If this is your first visit, don’t try to do everything.
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