Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista Disney Springs Hotel Review
Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista is a Disney Springs Resort Area Hotel on Walt Disney World property. This review covers our stay at the hotel, featuring room photos, thoughts on the Hilton’s amenities, and how it compares with other hotels in the area.
We’re increasing our coverage of third party hotels near Walt Disney World, both off-site and on-site. As hotel occupancy rates and pricing have both increased for the Disney-owned hotels, these options are going to be more appealing–and more necessary. In this case, Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista is an on-site hotel, and one that offers both Extra Magic Hours and the 60-day FastPass+ booking window. Both potential selling points for Walt Disney World guests.
Also a big selling point is the location of the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista, with the hotel being a 5 minute walk from Disney Springs. That means you’re less than 10 minutes from Earl of Sandwich, and roughly 15 minutes from a ton of great dining options at Disney Springs. We really used this to our advantage, eating at Disney Springs several times during our stay at Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista.
Transportation, on the other hand, is not so good. We covered this in our DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Orlando Review, but the bus system is slow and makes several stops. It’s not something we’d use with regularity. We’d highly recommend using a ride-sharing service for getting to and from the parks. (Read our Tips for Using Lyft & Uber at Walt Disney World post for help with that.)
Because of the weak bus service, we’d often walk over to Disney Springs, grab a meal, and then use their bus service to Boardwalk (for entering International Gateway) or Contemporary (for walking to Magic Kingdom). While this might sound like a cumbersome process, it’s actually not bad, and usually means shorter security lines to enter the parks.
In terms of general amenities, the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista does well. It has a pool, fitness center, laundry, bar, and multiple restaurants.
While the pool isn’t a standout, the 24-hour fitness center is quite nice. You can see a full list of the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista’s amenities here.
The restaurants at Hilton Orlando LBV range from a 24-hour fresh market serving Starbucks coffee to bars to the signature Andiamo Italian Bistro & Grille to even Benihana. Covington Mill even features a Disney character breakfast on Sundays.
Guests looking to dine at their hotel a lot will be well-suited by the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista as there are a range of options. This is arguably the strongest hotel in the Disney Springs Resort Area in terms of dining.
The rooms are the weakest point at the Hilton Orlando LBV. These are quite dated, feeling like they probably had their last top-to-bottom redesign in the 1980s. The bathrooms are compact, the color scheme is drab, and the whole rooms just look dingy and tired.
It does feel like an assortment of upgrades have been made over the years to meet minimum Hilton standards, but it’s really not enough. The bedding was fine, as was the desk and office chair, but the overall look of the room really leaves a lot to be desired.
Style-wise…there really isn’t much style. A lot of dark and neutral tones are used, amounting to a dull look. The unfortunate “centerpiece” of the room, by default as it were since there’s absolutely nothing else of visual interest, is a checkerboard headboard to the beds.
This reminds me of something that belongs on a blog about transforming farmhouses into ‘shabby chic’ styles, and most definitely does not work in what should be a nice Hilton. After the brand just finished an extensive multi-million dollar hotel-wide renovation at the Buena Vista Palace, I’d assume this hotel is next. (To my knowledge, nothing has been announced.)
Base prices at the Hilton Orlando LBV seem to start around $140/night; based on what I saw when pricing out nights, you should probably expect to pay more around $175/night for an average date, with peak pricing eclipsing $200. (Full disclosure: our stay at the Hilton was comped for the purposes of this review.)
This may not sound too bad, but that’s before you factor in the $30/night resort fee and the $18-24/night parking fee. Those fees push this hotel into exorbitant territory, and I’d have a nearly-impossible time justifying paying the total rate here when there are much more compelling options nearby. The hotel just isn’t that nice. (And that’s before you factor in Uber or Lyft to sidestep the weak transportation.)
Overall, it’s very difficult for us to recommend the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista, even if you’re a loyal Hilton Honors Member. We like the location and the amenities, but the nearby Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace does both of those things and rooms better. I guess the one advantage might be in terms of dining, and a better atmosphere for conventions. However, I’m guessing most people reading this aren’t conventioneers. For a family trip, I really see no reason to choose the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista. Perhaps we’d feel differently if they redid the rooms or we were able to score an exceptional deal, but as it stands, we’d suggest looking elsewhere.
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!
Have you stayed at this hotel? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment of the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista? What did you think of the experience? Any other high or low points? Is this a hotel you’d consider during your Walt Disney World vacation? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!
Stayed there 4 times now and the #1 reason is how easy it is to access DS. The walk is easy and bus service from Disney Springs can get me close to most any park, except AK. I enjoyed the rooms, though yes they are slightly boring and dated, they are clean. The staff has always been helpful and parking is free for guests staying at the Hotel. My biggest complaint is the Benihana restaurant. I have eaten at other Benihana’s prior and was shocked how bad it was here. We sat at the Hibachi table with another family and our orders were taken pretty quick. But waiting on the chef/cook to come to his show with the knives….wow. It was obvious there were other tables experiencing the same problem; sipping on our drinks staring at the other guests. One dad was very mad as they messed up his drink order and how long he had been waiting with his family to eat. Finally we had a man who was from Haiti begin his show but when he asked us about our orders no one could understand him because of his thick accent. He did ok with his lack-luster show but worse was the quality of the food. Very disappointing. I could have saved a lot of money by going to a cheaper joint and have a Haitian cut up my food! Hilton can do better!
Well, with Disney adding parking fees to their resorts, the parking fee for this hotel is a non-issue, and I expect that no later than the opening of Star Wars Land, that WDW will next add a resort fee, “to bring their Florida hotels more in line with industry standards.”
So, for now, other than paying for theme park parking (if not opting for the hotel’s shuttle), what reason is there to stay at WDW resort? You get the same 60 Fastpass+ window, Extra Magic hours, and a room for a cheaper rate (about he going rate for a Value Resort…even cheaper than some Values).
I have stayed at this hotel a lot over the year for a few reasons.
I have family of 5 so a lot of hotels can’t sleep 5 so we are limited or have to pay for rollaway if they allow it.
I get their Jr. Suite with 2 double beds and a pull out couch and the room is 1 & 1/2 times a regular room size. I got a deal last time I was there for 149 bucks. Since they usually run around 200 dollars a nite.
We love the world center Marriott but can’t get 5 in a room and with the location across the street we don’t have to touch the car. That’s worth it to me as we normally spent a lot of our down time at Disney springs eating and shopping.
And I can catch a bus from there to any of the resorts in WDW.
I also like having sushi downstairs in the hotel at Benihana.
The resort fee and parking are a consideration but I am platinum Hilton member so with extras I get is well worth it to me.
What’s the difference in walking distance to Disney springs between this and the lake buena vista palace. We are doing one night here before going to boardwalk and want to be as close as possible. Love the site!
We stayed here last December. Totally agree with your review. Very disappointed in the room and bus service. The bus service is very slow with multiple stops. Had a 6:45pm dining reservation at Artist’s Point. Waited at the hotel bus stop from 5:30 until 6:15 for a bus. It was stressful. Next day we walked to DS to catch the WDW bus to Contemporary and walked to the MK for MVMCP. The convenience to DS was nice though.
What does the $30 “resort fee” get you? Seems like you are getting into WDW pricing without transportation to / from the airport and adding an extra stop to get from the hotel to the parks. I’ve considered this because I have a bunch of Hilton Honors points only because I would get a few night free. As my daughter said, cost is one thing but you don’t get the “magic” of staying on property…
It’s interesting that you talk about looking elsewhere because of costs, but then it seems to cost more to stay off property in many of these places than it does to stay at a value (or even a moderate). The typical price is about $175, plus $30 in resort fees, AND you’d have to take an Uber to have reliable transportation to the parks. That’s probably an additional $30-$40/day.
I know people are upset about parking fees at WDW, but for people who stay on property and use Disney transportation, it’s difficult to find a cheaper stay!
Becky, I’m actually one of those people who have been staying on site for the past decade and with all of the big price increases over the past few years it’s actually pretty easy right now for me to find a cheaper stay. I think maybe it depends on your situation. For 2 people it’s certainly less costly when staying on site than for a family that needs to book 2 or more rooms. There are an abundance of rental houses, condos and suite hotels near WDW, many that do not even charge for parking or resort fees. I can get a 3 br condo with 2 bathrooms at a nice resort for $120/night & no parking fees. Even when you add on the cost of renting a car and parking fees at the parks it’s still going to be much cheaper than 2 rooms at the Value resorts where I usually pay an average of $270 per night just for 2 basic tiny rooms. Now I guess add another $13 a night to that if you have a car with you. The cheapest suite I could get on site that might accomodate us all is at art of animation and costs around $380 per night and it really wouldnt be as comfortable. Plus, more savings at a condo rental off site with food – with a kitchen and a car I can save money on not having to pay for 4 or more people to eat out at a restaurant for every meal, every day! That really adds up to a huge cost. It will be easy to pick up groceries and have some or most meals in the condo. And if rumors are true that WDW is going to stop offering the free dining plan promo I wont be able to cut down on food costs on site in that way anymore. For some families a condo rental can be a much cheaper stay and more comfortable and more in line with their vacation budget. Everyone’s situation is different. There are pros and cons to staying on site. I have found that the transportation system does not always work well. A few times last year we took a cab or uber back to our rooms at All Stars because we were so tired of waiting for a bus. I’ve never found the extra magic hours to be very advantageous for us. You can find a cheaper stay off site if you want to. We stayed off site our first few visits when our kids were younger because it was cheaper and there was no way we could afford to stay on site at that time. It was fine. Better to stay off site than to not go at all because you can’t afford on site or to stay on site and spend more than you can really afford (go into debt)! We only started staying on site because our income increased and they started offering the dining promo. Now, although our income has gone up over the years it’s still getting too expensive for us. I love Tom’s reviews and tips for saving money at WDW.
Tom, thanks for your great transportation ideas for this area. Do all of the parks have buses going to Disney Springs? I can’t remember. I always enjoy your tips and reviews and I’m glad to hear that you are expanding your reviews to off site properties. Do you know if you stay on property for a day or two but purchase a 6 day park ticket with your hotel room can you book all 6 days fastpasses 60 days in advance or only for the days you stay at the hotel on site?
We stayed here in early February (my husband had a conference) and were planning to extend our stay until I snagged a great deal on a different hotel (for significantly less money), and only spent one night here as a family. And I’m so glad we stayed elsewhere the rest of the time! The hotel was “fine” but the room was so small! And the pool was fine too, but not great for little ones (our kids are 6,5, and 1). We stayed at the holiday inn resort the rest of our stay and although the hotel isn’t particularly nice, the awesome pool and the space (2 bedroom areas AND a kitchenette/living space) was so convenient to have! Anyway- I’m with you- I wouldn’t recommend it. But if someone offered me a cheap room, I surely wouldn’t turn it down!
My mom and I stayed here this past December (2017) because she had an abundance of Hilton Honors points and we felt similarly about the rooms and transportation. We gave the hotel our feedback and were told that the hotel was scheduled for refurbishment, but they didn’t specify a date.