By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2019, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

Available on Amazon here.





Review: The Best Western Lake Buena Vista in the Disney Springs Resort Area



By Dave Shute

THE BEST WESTERN LAKE BUENA VISTA

Guests at the Best Western Lake Buena Vista, like those at the other six hotels in the Disney Springs Resort Area, became eligible for FastPass+ at 60 days and Extra Magic Hours—the two most valued Disney World perks—in 2018, eligibility that will extend at least until 12/31/2019.

The extension of these perks to these hotels, owned by third parties but located on the far southeast corner of Disney property, made them much more interesting options for Disney World visitors.

The Best Western Lake Buena Vista offer rooms in its curving tower with a king bed, two queens, or two queens and a sleeper sofa.

The best features of the Best Western are its spacious rooms with balconies–balconies are rare among the Disney Springs Resort Area hotels–and its low prices, commonly the lowest among these seven hotels.

Weaknesses include un-divided baths, and so-so hotel amenities–all the basic amenities are here, but none is special, with the pool particularly weak. The Best Western Lake Buena Vista shares with the Doubletree Suites the greatest distance from Disney Springs itself, and with all the Disney Springs Resort Area hotels weak transportation.

Moreover, the Best Western Lake Buena Vista was recently bought by Drury, and is undergoing a building program including an added bed tower that currently adds visual blight and will soon add daytime construction noise.

I stayed here in November after guests at these hotels gained eligibility for FastPass+ at 60 days and EMH, and my full review has three pages:

ACCOMMODATIONS AT THE BEST WESTERN LAKE BUENA VISTA

Standard rooms at the Best Western offer one king bed, two queen beds, or, in “deluxe queen” rooms, two queen beds and a sleeper sofa.

The floor plan is of a deluxe queen room–standard rooms lose the couch, and the bump-out that allows it to fit.

Note the balcony–among the Disney Springs Resort Area hotels, only the Best Western, the Holiday Inn and Hilton Buena Vista Palace offer balconies in the vast majority of their rooms.

The undivided bath opens from the main entry hall. A divided bath would make this space much more livable–especially for families filling a deluxe queen room.  There’s space here for a second sink, on the counter that is currently largely wasted with the coffee service.  Here’s hoping that such a sink is added as part of Drury’s renovation work here.

More on accommodations at the Best Western is here.

DINING AT THE BEST WESTERN LAKE BUENA VISTA

The principal dining venue at the Best Western Lake Buena Vista is the Trader’s Grill, serving a breakfast buffet, and also dinner, and which also has an attached bar.

For lunch or all-day needs, snacks, drinks, pizza, wings, and grab and go items are available in a shop near the lobby.

There’s also a tiny but well-stocked Disney gift shop offering souvenirs, park tickets and such off the lobby.

There’s more on dining and the other amenities at the Best Western here.

THE POOL AT THE BEST WESTERN LAKE BUENA VISTA

The pool at the Best Western Lake Buena Vistas has the basics–a pool and a hot tub–but nothing else–at least not that I noticed.

It is adequate, but in the bottom rank of the pools at the Disney Springs Resort Area hotels, and will certainly be too small after the new room tower here opens. A better, more interesting, and more fun pool would be welcome as part of the rebuild of this property.

For more on the pool at the Best Western, see the bottom of this.

THEME PARK TRANSPORTATION AT THE BEST WESTERN LAKE BUENA VISTA

The Best Western Lake Buena Vista participates in a transportation program sponsored by all the Disney Springs Resort Area hotels. One group of buses serves the Best Western, the Wyndham, and the Palace, and another group serves the four hotels on the other side of Hotel Plaza Boulevard.

Buses run about every thirty minutes, each serving two parks–so, for example, to get to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you may have travel to the Magic Kingdom first.  Moreover, unlike the buses from Disney-owned resorts, Magic Kingdom buses drop off at the Transportation and Ticket Center, not the park itself, necessitating another transit, via monorail or ferry, to get to that park.

In addition to the theme park buses, buses to and from Disney Springs run through the evening.

On the important dimensions–frequency, and the time it takes to get to and return from the parks–the transportation system at the Disney Springs Resort Area is much worse than that at the Disney-owned resorts, but better than that at most off-site hotels.

Having your own car or a rental is a much better option. Self-parking at the Best Western Lake Buena Vista is $8/night and valet parking is $12/night. These are, by far, the lowest parking rates among the Disney Springs Resort Area hotels. Parking at the theme parks is $25/day.

For more on transportation at the Disney Springs Resort Area hotels, see this.

PRICING AT THE BEST WESTERN LAKE BUENA VISTA

Pricing at the Disney Springs Resort Hotels is much less visible than that at the Disney-owned resorts, and multiple prices for the same room e.g. for non-refundable stays, stays by folk with AAA, etc. are common.  Discounts and deals are also common, especially for the hotels like the Best Western Lake Buena Vista without significant convention business, and these hotels commonly show up on the various hotel deal sites. Look for more deals at the Best Western Lake Buena Vista as construction ramps up.

Pricing for most of them is also obscured by mandatory “resort fees.”  Resort fees are a mandatory extra cost added every night of your stay, whether you like or not. I personally find mandatory resort fees a misleading and unethical practice.  A fee that is mandatory, and charged each night, should simply be rolled into the nightly room price.

The Best Western Lake Buena Vista resort fee is (after tax) $19.24 per night–second lowest among the Disney Springs Resort Area hotels. Only the Doubletree Suites–which has the integrity to not charge a resort fee at all–is lower.

Prices at the Best Western Lake Buena Vista (before any discounts you might find) including resort fees and taxes are generally at or near the lowest among the seven Disney Springs Resort Area hotels, and are typically comparable to those for a Disney-owned value resort,

For some families on a tight budget, the opportunity to get queen beds (rare at the Disney values except at Pop Century and refurbed rooms at All-Star Movies), a balcony, and a spacious room may trump the absence of a divided bath, so-so amenities (especially the pool), and weak transportation.

Frankly though, I would avoid the Best Western Lake Buena Vista until it gets through its construction period.

Kelly, the long-time travel agent partner of this site, can book your Disney World vacation at the Best Western–or at any other Disney World hotel.  Contact here using the form below.

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PHOTO TOUR OF A ROOM AT THE BEST WESTERN LAKE BUENA VISTA

This review continues here.

MORE ON THE BEST WESTERN LAKE BUENA VISTA

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