Choosing the Right Disney Springs Resort for Your Family

 

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The hotel pool seems to entice all the kids while on vacation.

Over the last year, I’ve stayed at numerous Walt Disney World properties and they’re not all the same. From the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, the flagship property at Walt Disney World, to the Pop Century Resort, a value option, I found the Walt Disney World properties came at a premium. Though the Magical Express, the complimentary Orlando airport transfer, and the option of reserving Fast Passes 60 days before your trip are nice perks.

This trip I wanted to explore the Disney Springs area since it offers numerous dining and shopping options that don’t exist when staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel. I spent one night at the Best Western Lake Buena Vista Resort, steps away from Disney Springs. I am a member of the Best Western loyalty program that rewards its members with free rooms and I redeemed some points for a room for my last Walt Disney World trip.

What I Loved at Best Western Lake Buena Vista:

  • The location is convenient. You can walk or take the complimentary bus to Disney Springs.
  • Getting to the Walt Disney World parks couldn’t be easier either, the complimentary bus dropped me off at the Transportation and Ticketing Center.
  • The trip back to the Best Western Lake Buena Vista Resort from Magic Kingdom took about an hour after the Magic Kingdom Electrical Parade–gate to my door.

What I wanted at Best Western Lake Buena Vista:

  • It 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 $14 per night resort fee rolled into the nightly room rate.
  • The amenities and facilities are not as nice as some of the other hotel properties on the same street.

Best Western Lake Buena Vista Resort:

Best Western Lake Buena Vista Resort ($-$$) offers 325 rooms, steps away from Disney Springs. Located at 2000 Hotel Plaza Boulevard along with seven other hotel properties, like the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista.

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The view from my balcony can’t be beat, the Best Western Lake Buena Vista Resort is the only hotel property that has balconies in Disney Springs.

Though the Best Western Lake Buena Vista Resort is consistent with other Best Western’s across the country. I felt it lacked the amenities and services that other hotel properties offer in the Disney Springs area, like a true resort pool, character breakfasts and kids activities. Guests have come to expect these in a hotel that caters to Walt Disney World vacationers.

The lobby was small though I found the staff helpful. I found a concierge desk where guests could buy last minute tickets. An official Disney souvenir shop along with a sundry shop are located in the lobby area.

Planning a vacation to Walt Disney World? Disney Springs offers lots of shopping and dining after a day in the parks. Is the Best Western Lake Buena Vista Resort right for your family?
The Best Western Lake Buena Vista is steps away for all the shopping and dining in Disney Springs.

The common area featured Marketplace, a grab-and-go section to pick up some snacks or drinks for your room. The restaurant, Trader’s Island Grill, featured a full breakfast with Mickey Waffles along with dinner in the evening.

The pool area was nice but lacked the resort pool experience that family vacationers have come to expect in Orlando. Kids will like the game room with a selection of arcade games.

For Moms, guest laundry is available if you need it. To self-park, it’s $8 a day and for valet it’s $12 a day.

My Room at Best Western Lake Buena Vista:

During my visit, I stayed in a double queen room on the eleventh floor. I entered my room from an interior corridor, a nice feature than my room at the Caribbean Beach Resort ($$) lacked.

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My room at the Best Western Lake Buena Vista Resort offered standard hotel room amenities with a tad more space than I used get from a Walt Disney World hotel.

Inside my room, I found it compared to other Walt Disney World hotel properties and it featured a private balcony. The Best Western Lake Buena Vista Resort is the only Disney Springs property to offer balconies with chairs.

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My room featured a small table for games or late-night snacks and I found a mini-refrigerator in the credenza along with a balcony.

The beds featured updated white linens with pumpkin coverlets that matched the furnishings in the room. My room didn’t have a work station though had a small table with two chairs for games or late night snacks.

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The bathroom featured granite countertops and a shower and tub combination.

The credenza holds the flat-screen TV and the mini-refrigerator that’s a must-have for traveling families. I found a charging station on the credenza, my favorite feature in hotel rooms since my family charges a device or two per person.

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Outside of the bathroom, I found a vanity with a hairdryer and the in-room coffee–perfect for families.

Outside of the standard hotel bathroom, I found a vanity area outfitted with a hair dryer, mirror and in-room coffee. A nice feature when traveling with kids since I know this Mom never has time to put on make-up before one of my kids needs to use the bathroom.

Dining at the Best Western Lake Buena Vista:

The Best Western Lake Buena Vista Resort offers several dining options to fit a family’s needs, like the Trader’s Island Grill, Pizza Hut Express and Marketplace for grab-and-go snacks and drinks.

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Need your Mickey Waffle fix? The breakfast buffet has them along with lots of fruit and an omelette station.

Trader’s Island Grill offers a hot breakfast including the must-have Disney breakfast item, Mickey Waffles. Though most Best Western’s include a complimentary breakfast, the Best Western Lake Buena Vista features an expanded breakfast buffet. For adults, it’s $15.99 and for kids 10 and under it’s $8.99. Kids can even make omelets as a junior omelet chef.

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Disney Springs offers lots of dining options, like House of Blues that hosts a Gospel Brunch on the weekend.

During my stay, I opted to get to Magic Kingdom as early as possible and skipped a hot breakfast and bought some yogurt at the Marketplace to eat while I waited for the bus.

Activities at the Best Western Lake Buena Vista:

The Best Western Lake Buena Vista Resort has an arcade for the kids. The pool is nice and features a kid pool for the littlest guests. I found a gazebo in the pool area as well.

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The complimentary bus transportation to Disney Springs as well as the Walt Disney World parks is a nice perk at the Best Western Lake Buena Vista Resort.

Walt Disney World tickets can be purchased in the lobby and complimentary transportation is right outside the lobby. The bus picks up every 30 minutes.

Disney Springs:

I visited Disney Springs last April. While it was promising, I still saw a lot of construction. I was floored by the transformation over the summer.

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Looking for desert, I suggest Sprinkles, especially for the kids.

The kids loved the integrated splash pads, carousel and mini train. Even the boat transportation across the Lake Buena Vista gets the kids excited.

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 their peak periods.

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Want to bowl during your vacation to Walt Disney World? Splitsville is the place for you with sliders, pizza and sushi along with a full bar.

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.

Looking for resorts and more information?

I’ve stayed at the Pop Century Resort, the Art of Animation Resort, the Caribbean Beach Resort, the Coronado Springs Resort and the Grand Floridan Resort and Spa.

If looking for off-property resorts, I’ve stayed at the Wyndham’s Lake Buena Vista and the Mystic Dunes Resort and Golf Club.

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.

Know before you go:

  • The Best Western Lake Buena Vista Resort has a $13.99 per night resort fee.
  • Parking is $8 a day for self-park and $12 a day for valet.
  • The complimentary bus is shared with several hotel properties and take a picture of the stop when you get to the park, just in case.
  • There’s a separate bus for Magic Kingdom and Epcot. Ask the bus driver for additional park stops.
  • Research airport shuttles before getting to Orlando. Cabs and Uber can cost $60 to $70.

 

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