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.





Category — q. Reviews

Amenities and Dining at the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista, Disney Springs Resort Area

You enter the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista in the Disney Springs Resort Area–an entirely different hotel than the nearby similarly named Hilton Buena Vista Palace–at its front, where you can either valet your car or, if self-parking, leave it until you have completed check in.

All amenities except the pool are just inside on the first floor, including the check-in area.

Dining and other amenities are mostly along the long corridors on either side of the lobby.

On one side you’ll find a Disney gift shop.

More from inside the Disney shop.

Next to it is a more traditional resort-wear shop.

On the other side of the check-in desk is yet a third shop–shopping is better at the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista than any other Disney Springs Resort area hotel–that focus on coffee, pastries, other snacks, cold drinks, and grab and go items.

More from this shop.

Further down the lobby hall you’ll find this business center–note the Fedex services in the back…

…both nicely convenient to a nearby bar.

There’s two sets of elevators in the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista. Beyond one set you’ll find this gym…

…and beyond the other is the stop for theme park buses (and for Disney Springs in the late afternoon and evening).

While none of the Disney Springs Resort Area hotels does a bad job communicating about its buses, the Hilton does the best.

The Hilton is distinct among the Disney Springs Resort Area hotels in having three table service restaurants.

Covington Mill is the most family-friendly, and the only one open for breakfast and lunch.

The Covington Mills lunch and dinner menu.

Character breakfasts occur here on Sundays.

The breakfast menu.

Andiamo is a bit more upscale.

The Andiamo menu.

Benihana rounds out the table service options.

The Benihana menu.

Including its pool complex, the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista in the Disney Springs Resort Area has as complete and extensive a set of amenities as any other Disney Springs Resort Area hotel. For adults, who will perhaps appreciate the most offerings such as Benihana and the traditional resort gift shop– it probably has the best amenities.

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January 17, 2019   No Comments

Amenities and Dining at the Doubletree Suites by Hilton Orlando, Disney Springs Resort Area

You enter the Doubletree Suites by Hilton Orlando in the Disney Springs Resort Area through its port cochere, where you can park for check-in or turn your car over to the valet.

Also near here is the stop for theme park buses (and for Disney Springs in the late afternoon and evening).

Most other amenities other than the pool are just inside.  Here you will find check-in and bell services…

…a rental car desk…

…and a Disney gift shop.

More from the Disney shop.

Another shop focuses more on snacks and drinks.

Not large, it is quite stuffed with stuff.

Outside by the pool you’ll find this gym…

…and also a barbecue grill (in the back center).

Your other dining option at the Doubletree Suites by Hilton Orlando is the Evergreen Cafe, off the lobby. (A bar at the pool may serve food, but it was closed when I stayed here.)

A bar is also here.

The Evergreen Cafe menu. I did not have a chance to eat here on my visit, so can’t comment other than liking the menu.

That said, dinner in Disney Springs is always going to be the better choice. The Doubletree is tied with the Best Western among the Disney Springs Resort Area hotels for being most distant from Disney Springs, but buses are available running from late afternoon into the evening

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January 17, 2019   No Comments

Amenities, Dining, and the Pool at the Best Western Lake Buena Vista, Disney Springs Resort Area

The Best Western Lake Buena Vista in the Disney Springs Resort Area has been acquired by Drury, and construction is ongoing here.

A new room tower is expected–connecting at each floor to the current tower–and I would hope that more is added to the currently weak pool set-up. During my visit in November, all I saw was site prep…

…but in January work had extended to the front parking lot. Expect more significant construction and daytime noise later.

You enter at the port cochere,but check-in parking may vary depending on what is closed for construction. Just grab a nearby spot.

Before construction, the stop for theme park buses (and for Disney Springs in the late afternoon and evening)  was in front of the port cochere…

…but on my latest visit the bus stop had been moved a bit to the former check-in parking area.

Inside, most amenities are dead ahead on the first floor.

Here you will find the check in area…

…guest services…

…a business center…

…and a small Disney gift shop.

More from the gift shop.

Beyond this area, on the way to the pool, is a small gym.

DINING AT THE BEST WESTERN LAKE BUENA VISTA

Just off the lobby is an area that serves as an additional gift shop centered on snacks, and also for grab and go food.

Offerings on the hot side include pizza and wings.

Between it and the pool area is the Best Western Lake Buena Vista’s table service offering, the Trader’s Grill.

Trader’s Grill is open for a breakfast buffet ($15.99) and also dinner.

The dinner menu.

When I had dinner here, I was greeted by this kinda illiterate sign. I usually test a restaurant such as this with a steak–popular, and easy to source and prepare well, so getting a poor one can be indicative, but “steam broccoli” scared me off a bit, so I went with fajitas–also easy to do well.

My fajitas were terrific, as was the service.  That said, while the Best Western is tied with the Doubletree Suites as the furthest of the Disney Springs Resort Area hotels from Disney Springs, dinner time buses make dinner in Disney Springs easy to manage, and much the better choice.

You’ll find a bar between the restaurant and the pool.

THE POOL AT THE BEST WESTERN LAKE BUENA VISTA

Go past the bar and you’ll find the pool. The bar has an outdoor seating area that’s very convenient to the pool.

There’s not much to the pool–a small swimming area…

…and a good-sized hot tub.

The pool at night.

This pool is adequate, but you will find better options at any other Disney Springs Resort Area hotel, except perhaps the Doubletree Suites, which while better, is not much better.

With the so-so location, dining, and pool, and the prospect for construction noise, I would hold off on booking the Best Western Lake Buena Vista in the Disney Springs Resort Area unless you can find a real deal, at least until the construction here is complete.  And I hope that a part of the construction will include an expanded pool set up with more amenities.

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January 17, 2019   No Comments

Photo Tour of Pool View Room at the Holiday Inn Orlando, Disney Springs Resort Area

The Holiday Inn Orlando in the Disney Springs Resort Area has two accommodations buildings.

One is a mid rise tower where you will find regular rooms.  I have a photo tour of a tower room at the Holiday Inn Orlando here.

The other is a six story building where most rooms have pool views. and are sold as such.  This photo tour is of a pool view room at the Holiday Inn Orlando.

Two queen bed pool view rooms are very similar to tower rooms–I got most dimensions within a couple of inches–with a couple of exceptions.

First is that these rooms are renovated, and fresher than the tower room I stayed in in April. (Tower rooms may have been renovated too–that’s what I was told.  I so, I will update this after my mid-January stay in one of them.)

Second, there’s an angle to the bath wall that makes the space feel a bit more open.  This may also be duplicated in renovated tower rooms.

As you enter the room, the closet, mini fridge, and coffee service are one side, and the bath on the other.

The undivided bath has the basics.

The toiletries provided.

The tub/shower combo.

Across the hall is the closet and other stuff.

Inside the closet. Note the safe,

I did not measure the safe, but my book is 6″ by 9″, so it’s plenty big.

Next to the closet is the mini fridge, microwave, and coffee service.

Inside the mini-fridge. Note the absence of a freezer compartment, which makes the microwave less useful.

Beyond this area you’ll find two queen beds on one side of the room.

The bed side from the back of the room.

A closer view of one of the beds…

…and of the towel animal, rare these days.

Between the beds is this bedside table with a drawer and a storage cubby below.

The other side of the room has a dresser with a TV above and a desk.

The TV side of the room from the back.

I got the TV as having a 48 inch diagonal.

The three large dresser drawers are likely enough storage for the four people this room will hold.

Deeper in the room you will find this small desk.

It includes a small drawer.

Beyond it is the entrance to the balcony.

Pool view rooms–especially lower in this six story building–are close to the pool deck and its noise, but I did not find this an issue during my cool December stay here.  If you’ve stayed in one of these rooms when the pool has been quite active, let me know how house was for you using the comment form below!

I got this Holiday Inn Orlando pool view room as being about 360 square feet, slightly larger than a tower room here and comparable to the smallest of Disney’s deluxe hotels, but with a larger bed/living area and a smaller bath area.

The microwave and balcony are nice touches, and rare among the Disney Springs Resort Area hotels, but the absence of a divided bath and of an easy chair or other seating beyond the desk chair (although I suppose you could drag in the balcony chairs) makes it less family friendly than other possible choices.

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January 5, 2019   No Comments

Photo Tour of an Island Building Room at the Hilton Buena Vista Palace, Disney Springs Resort Area

The Hilton Buena Vista Palace in the Disney Springs Resort Area has two groups of accommodations buildings.

One is a connected set of mid and high rise towers, where you will find “Tower rooms.” I have a photo tour of a Tower room at the Hilton Buena Vista Palace here.

Island Building from Above

The other is a connected set of three mid-rise buildings, each with an atrium, collectively known as the Island Building.

The Island building offers rooms with either two queen beds or one king bed, and a bunch of suites.  The combination of design and structural choices made means that some layouts are unusual. The image shows a floor of one of the three buildings.  The spaces marked with a blue dot are king rooms, the green dots are queen rooms (although the one at bottom center is drawn incorrectly–I know because it’s the room I stayed in), and the unmarked spaces are suites.

Because the building dimensions create a space too short for a standard bath layout and two queens as well, many–perhaps all–Island two queen rooms have the bath offset into the next-door suite space, and the closet turned 90 degrees from what you will typically find in a hotel room.  My room was one of these.

As you enter the room, the bath is on one side, the closet around the corner on the other, and the beds and living area dead ahead.

The divided bath has an outer space with a sink on one side…

…and a table with a coffee service and some open storage on the other.

A closer view of the coffee service.

Beyond these is a full bath in its own space…

…with another sink on one side…

…and the tub/shower combo and toilet on the other. The harper eyed among you will note the shower curtain is missing. A quick call to housekeeping resolved this issue.  Odd things happen in hotels…

Back out to the hall, and then into the room and around the corner, the closet is in an unusual spot…

…but is otherwise unremarkable.

The closet is at the side of one of the beds, as you can see from this shot taken from the back of the bed side of the room. There’s plenty of clearance, but the lightest of sleepers might be annoyed by its placement if they are in the closer bed compared to having the closet more isolated in the entry of the bath space, as is more common. Although I suppose if one is that light a sleeper then one would have been already awakened before the closet even came into play…

Anyway, here’s the bed side from the entry part of the room.

A closer view of one of the queen beds.

A bedside table is between the two beds, with a shelf you could use for stuff.

Further on this side of the room, in a fun angled section, you’ll find this easy chair. The top comes off of the small round table on the right, and what remains then functions as an ottoman–a clever touch.

The other side of the room has a dresser, mini fridge, desk, and a small bench.

The TV side from the back of the room.

The dresser has a large TV above.

The three drawers are deep, and probably have enough space for the four people this room will hold.

Next to them is a cabinet with a safe above and mini-fridge below.

I did not measure the safe, but my book is 6″ by 9″, so you can see it is large.

The mini fridge.

Next to the dresser is this desk.  It’s main component is a rolling table that can be repositioned in the room for other uses–for dining, or to play games.

Beyond the desk is this small bench.

The balcony is accessed from a door in the triangular part of the room…

…and is itself triangular.

Island building room views vary.  Mine was a lovely view of the pool–but led to a fair amount of pool noise leaking into my room.

Pool view rooms are also near the elevators in these buildings, and there was also a lot of noise that leaked through the entry door to my room–not just from the elevator, but from folks on all  floors of the building, with their noise echoing up through the atrium. I can’t recommend a pool view room in the Island building for those who can’t tolerate a fair degree of noise.

Otherwise, these are pretty good rooms.  The Palace is the only one of the Disney Springs Resort Area hotels whose standard rooms have both balconies and divided baths, making them the most livable rooms for families. At ~385 square feet, this room is as big as or bigger than most Disney Deluxe rooms.

Island rooms at the Hilton Buena Vista Palace are (generally) closer to the pools and to Disney Springs than tower rooms here, but are further from the rest of the amenities at the hotel.  They seem to sell at a bit of a discount compared to tower rooms, but be prepared to deal with some noise.

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January 3, 2019   No Comments

Photo Tour of a Garden Room at the Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista, Disney Springs Resort Area

The Wyndham Lake Buena Vista in the Disney Springs Resort Area has two different accommodations buildings, which are marketed, kinda, as two different hotels.  (Both share the same check in desk and all other amenities.)

  • The 232 “Wyndham” rooms are two queen (or one king) offerings accessed from interior corridors in the main mid-rise tower.
  • The 394 “Wyndham Garden” offerings–about two thirds of the total– are two full bed (or one king) rooms in five story buildings, with rooms accessed from exterior corridors.

I have a photo tour of a tower room at the Wyndham here. The photo tour on this page is of a Wyndham Garden room.

Wyndham Garden rooms are in many ways comparable to Disney’s value resort rooms, with exterior access, no balconies, full beds, and a single sink in the bath. However, their bedroom space is appreciably larger than that in Disney’s value resort rooms, and they have some other amenities uncommon in the value resorts, so they end up being more livable than those.

One side of the Wyndham Garden room has a table and two chairs, and two full-sized beds.

A closer view of the table and chairs.

The bed side from the back of the room.

A closer view of one of the full beds.

There’s a bedside table between the beds with an open cubby below…

…and a storage drawer above.

The other side of the room is dominated by a dresser and a mini fridge.

The TV side from the back of the room.

The dresser has a small-ish 38 inch TV above.

Its four large drawers provide plenty of storage for the four people this room will hold.

Above the drawers on one side is a cubby, and on the other is this safe. I did not measure it, but my book is 6″ by 9″, so you can tell that the safe is quite large.

Next to the dresser is an enclosure with a mini fridge inside…

…and a coffee service above.

The divided bath is at the back of the room, and is separated from the rest of the space by a sliding door.

The first part of the bath has a sink…

…with these toiletries.

Next to the sink is a closet.

Inside the closet.

In their own room on the other side of the sink you’ll find the tub/shower and toilet.

These Wyndham Garden rooms are not as nice as the Wyndham’s tower rooms, and some will miss the queens in those rooms in particular.  But unlike those rooms, they have a divided bath, making them more family friendly, and they can be quite a bit less expensive.

At ~290 square feet, these rooms are larger than Disney’s value resorts, but smaller than its moderate resorts.  Bath sizes are comparable to those at the values, and the living area is about 30 square feet larger than the values, and 15 square feet smaller than the moderates.

All in–excepting the full beds, which are being replaced with queens at the values (Pop Century is done, and All-Star Movies about half done)–these rooms are more livable than Disney’s value resorts, and roughly comparable to its moderates.

The long-time travel agent partner of this site, Kelly, can book you into either Wyndham offering, or any other Disney World accommodations. Contact her using the form below!

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January 2, 2019   No Comments