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Orlando + Disney World hotels

Walt Disney World operates 19 hotels on its 27,000-acre campus, and while closer to the action, they all charge significantly more than comparable properties in the area. Anyone who has stayed at a true luxury hotel will never confuse the Mouse's tricked-up pillow mills for plush digs; the quality is fine, but you choose a Disney property for convenience and location, not pampering. The resort's three most expensive choices, the Grand Floridian, the Polynesian, and the Contemporary, start at around $350 a night in peak season and are situated on a monorail system that links them to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot in minutes. The Yacht and Beach Clubs, a half-step down, are just a five-minute stroll from the side entrance of Epcot's World Showcase area and connected to the other parks by road. Disney's cheapest rooms, which it terms "Value," start at $82 a night for motel-style digs quite a ways farther. Even if you go with a Disney property that is on the monorail system, make sure you have your own car: Only two of the four theme parks are connected by monorail and the free bus shuttles can be infuriatingly slow. For people who don't need to orbit endlessly in Mouseland for their entire vacation, less expensive and more richly serviced hotels can be found in Orlando proper and in the International Drive area a few miles northeast of the parks, where conventioneers demand good value.

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Courtyard at Lake Lucerne, Orlando

This is as close as Orlando gets to boutique. An unexpected oasis of authenticity in a plastic landscape, these four neighboring historic buildings (the...more

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Editors' Pick
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Eõ Inn & Spa, Orlando

The antithesis of a theme park hotel, the Eõ Inn & Spa in downtown Orlando is low on frills. The former hostel was reborn as a hotel in 1999, but the...more

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Editors' Pick
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Celebration Hotel, Celebration

This waterfront charmer with just 115 rooms—practically a B&B by Orlando's bloated standards—is a successful evocation of the Old Florida vibe, down...more

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Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, Lake Buena Vista

By far the most interesting Disney-run hotel—and the best choice for guests who aren't enamored of the company's mythology—the 1,307-room property,...more

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Grand Bohemian Hotel, Orlando

At this 250-room property, urban sophistication and high art come to a city better known for animal mascots and scampering children. The decor is moody and...more

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Editors' Pick
The Waldorf Astoria Orlando, Orlando

Much as at the nearby theme parks, once you arrive at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando (opened in 2009), the experience is all-consuming. The towering structure...more

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JW Marriott Grande Lakes Orlando, Orlando

The seeming isolation of the location of this 1,064-room luxury tower, about two miles east of SeaWorld alongside swampland that will never be developed, lends...more

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Nickelodeon Family Suites by Holiday Inn, Orlando

Universal's onslaught against the Disney monolith took another step forward in the summer of 2005, when a once-middling Holiday Inn completed a $20 million...more

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Portofino Bay Hotel, Orlando

Re-creating the legendary Italian fishing village amid a buffer of lush vegetation a short stroll from Universal Studios, the luxe Portofino, which is run by...more

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Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Lake Buena Vista

The ne plus ultra of Walt Disney World hotels, the lakeside Grand Floridian cribs directly from the palatial Victorian look of San Diego's Hotel del Coronado,...more

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Editors' Pick
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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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