If you’re looking to save money or get more bang for your buck with better luxury accommodations, this list of the best third party hotels at and around Walt Disney World is for you. There are many great resorts in Orlando that are near the parks, including several that are on-site and closer than Disney-owned properties. (Updated July 20, 2021.)
What we do not cover here is whether you should stay off-site to begin with–this post assumes that you’ve already made that decision. In Off-Site v. On-Site at Walt Disney World, we cover the pros and cons of staying off-site. One thing we will note here is that most on-site perks have been eliminated in the last year.
Moreover, Walt Disney World will be launching Early Theme Park Entry and Extended Evening Hours in October 2021. Many of the third party hotels covered here will actually be eligible for one or both perks. See our List of Early Theme Park Entry Eligible Hotels at Walt Disney World for more info.
With some 330+ hotels in Orlando, it would literally take an entire year of testing to come up with a comprehensive list. Rather, I want to rank our favorite hotels near Walt Disney World at which we’ve stayed, prioritizing those that are on-site or barely off-site. Consider this a work-in-progress, though. As we continue stay in more off-site/non-Disney/third party hotels, we’ll update and re-rank this list.
With those caveats out of the way, let’s take a look at which hotels made the cut. Click on any of the hotel names to see more photos and read a full review…
10. Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace – Given the divisive response to my review and mixed reviews on TripAdvisor, I sort of feel bad about including this. Not bad enough to leave it off, as this is my opinion, not crowd-sourced malarky. Besides, what does the general public know? You people are the ones who make every Transformers film a huge box office success. I’ll trust my own experience. 😉
Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace has an impressive slate of amenities, is an easy walk to Disney Springs, and has some of the best rooms at Walt Disney World. Then there’s Recreation Island (the pool), lush landscaping, and nicely done interior design. All of that, plus great bang for buck.
9. B Resort & Spa – I know a hotel is cool if it makes me feel out of place. B Resort isn’t quite that hip, but it’s without a doubt a chic boutique hotel. With trendy atmosphere and nice rough-around-the-edges style, it’s unlike anything else at Walt Disney World and feels more like something you’d find in Miami.
This alone differentiates it from most other options. While I wouldn’t say it’s nearly as posh as something like the Waldorf Astoria, it brings to the table a totally different aesthetic and vibe. Prices are very competitive considering its quality and on-site location at Walt Disney World, too. It’s definitely not for everyone, namely, families with small children. Conventioneers or honeymooners looking to go out after the parks close and have a good time at Disney Springs will enjoy it.
8. Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista – Like many of the best off-site hotels, the Hilton Orlando LBV is a great value for money option offering an exceptional location within walking distance of Disney Springs and solid amenities at a reasonable price. One of the biggest selling points here is the bedding.
Everything has been recently upgraded: Pacific Coast Touch of Down pillows, European 250 thread count linens, and Hilton Serenity Beds with pillow-top mattresses that will have you screaming SERENITY NOW! There are also something like 7 restaurants in the hotel, which overall features a sleek, modern style.
7. Floridays Resort Orlando – There are two villa-style properties on this list, with Floridays being the cheaper option of the two. Floridays makes the list solely because of its value proposition, which offers some incredibly nice villa accommodations for shockingly low prices.
Rooms that are far nicer than they have any business being at this price point. To be sure, it’s not a hotel that’s going to be featured on any Travel Channel specials covering the ritziest hotels in the world, but the value here is too good to ignore, especially given the solid quality.
6. Wyndham Grand Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort – One of the more well-rounded hotels on this list in terms of balancing price point, room quality, amenities quality, and location, the Wyndham Bonnet Creek snuck up on this list higher than I originally expected it would.
It checks off every box that it should, and at the end of the day, there is a lot to be said for reliable, upscale accommodations. However, due its relatively bland style and lack of a wow-factor, it can’t climb above #6.
5. JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa – This is the newest on-site hotel at Walt Disney World, and between that and this brand’s reputation, it’s slightly disappointing that the JW Marriott at Bonnet Creek doesn’t rank higher. We love its smart styling and modern design. Both the guest rooms and common areas are incredibly nice–and to our tastes. It’s luxurious and offers a formidable slate of amenities that should make it appealing to couples or solo travelers looking for a more adult option with convenient access to (or even isolation from) the parks.
However, the JW Marriott is not for everyone. In particular, we have a more difficult time recommending it to families. It’s not that the hotel isn’t kid-friendly–to the contrary, it’s laid back and not even remotely stuffy or unapproachable. It’s more that other resorts cater to families better. In particular, the pool area is relatively pedestrian, with no waterslide, lazy river, or other fun features you might find at many hotels in Orlando.
4. Swan & Dolphin Resorts – The most “Disney” of the third party options (besides maybe Shades of Green, which doesn’t make the list because it’s not open to the public), Swan & Dolphin is the best compromise between Disney and non-Disney hotels. The rooms are nice, dining is solid, and amenities–especially the pool areas–are top notch.
Essentially one in the same, the Swan & Dolphin are great options if you’re looking for a luxury experience or walking-distance proximity to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios at a considerably lower price point. The resort fees here do bug me, but the fact remains that prices at the Swan & Dolphin are significantly better than comparable Disney-owned hotels even with added costs factored in, and the amenities give virtually every Disney-owned hotel a run for its money.
3. Waldorf Astoria Orlando – Now that Statler & Waldorf have opened a hotel in the name of synergy, I’d say it paves the way for Rizzo the Rat to open a pizza parlor. Arguably one of the most iconic hotel labels in the world, the Waldorf Astoria offers exceptional quality at prices that won’t make you sell a kidney to afford a stay here.
The hotel is superior to a Deluxe Resort at Walt Disney World in nearly every regard aside from theming, making those prices not at all unreasonable. One of the most luxurious hotels in all of Central Florida, the Waldorf Astoria is arguably the best overall option on this list. I just happen to prefer the top 2 options here.
2. Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress – I have to admit that I’m a total sucker for Hyatt. If there’s such a thing as a “Hyatt Fanboy” (I doubt there is), you could call me one. I think it’s an exceptionally well-managed chain that strives to offer exceptional service, accommodations, and unique style. This is especially true in its Regency, Grand, and Park lines.
The Hyatt at Grand Cypress is no exception, with the most robust slate of activities and amenities at any hotel at which we’ve stayed in Orlando. The pool and water play areas even give the Yacht & Beach Club a run for their money. Chic style, top-notch service, exquisite dining, and great rooms–this Hyatt has a lot to offer. The price is certainly higher than other off-site options, but as far as luxury resort hotels go, it’s by no means bad.
1. Four Seasons Resort Orlando – Another hotel that’s on-site at Walt Disney World, this sprawling complex is inside the private Golden Oaks community and behind Fort Wilderness. It’s surrounded by natural beauty, including an Everglades sanctuary, and it feels like tropical paradise meets a country club. Of course, the rooms are luxurious and well-appointed, the dining is phenomenal, and there’s an array of amenities you’d expect from the Four Seasons.
Outside, the grounds of the Four Seasons Orlando are a veritable oasis. The pool areas are brilliantly suited to both kids and adults, with an area called Explorer Island, delightful lazy river, and secluded areas for lounge chairs amidst a lush environment and canopy of palm trees. It’s simultaneously exciting for kids and relaxing for adults. Orlando has a lot of hotels with ambitious pool complexes, but few (if any) others manage to strike this balance. This is far and away the nicest hotel in Orlando, Disney-owned or otherwise. And it’s usually less expensive than the Grand Floridian and other Deluxe Resorts at Walt Disney World.
That’s a look at this work-in-progress list, thus far. Each of these hotels has a lot to offer, and the value proposition is definitely better than staying on-site. If you determine a third party hotel is right for you, these are great options!
With that in mind, there are many worthy candidates this list snubs, including but not limited to the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes, Four Seasons Resort Orlando, Marriott’s Cypress Harbour, Gaylord Palms, Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes, and more. Some of these are too far from the parks, while others we simply haven’t done yet. (Additionally, there are several hotels at Universal Orlando Resort that we love, but those are a bit too far from Walt Disney World to warrant inclusion.) We will keep this list updated as we try out more hotels around Walt Disney World!
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
Do you have a favorite non-Disney hotel in Orlando? Thoughts on any of the hotels on our list if you’ve stayed at them? Considering one of these or a different off-site hotel? Do you agree or disagree with our list? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!