Getting the most out of your vacation usually starts with finding the right place to stay. In Orlando there are plenty of great choices for every style and budget. As part of our "Inside Orlando" series, Consumer Advocate, Christopher Elliott knows how to plan hassle free travel and he has tried-and-true insider tips for you.
Elliott is a consumer advocate, journalist and co-founder of the advocacy group Travelers United. He not only knows how to clear the way through consumer product and travel matters, he also knows how to navigate Orlando's hotels and resorts. "What I love about Orlando is that you really do have it all. You can select from a wide variety of upscale accommodations to budget accommodations."
"The hotel experience becomes something magical in Orlando," according to Elliott. "You can be transported to an African savannah at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge or to the Italian seaside at Loews Portofino Bay Resort at Universal Orlando. Everything has a theme, everything has a story to tell."
Elliott says, "Some of Orlando's best affordable options include the new Cabana Bay Beach Resort at Universal Orlando or Disney's Art of Animation Resort." He also states that there are also a variety of affordable options that are great for families along International Drive, "where you can be close to all of the electricity and family fun that makes up the I-Drive experience."
One of Elliott's best tips is that many resort hotels offer free transportation to and from the major theme parks. "If you're stating at a Walt Disney World hotel or on property at Universal Orlando, resort transportation is included with your stay. So you can save money on booking your own transportation."
There are also ways to maximize your time in Orlando's world famous theme parks by choosing the right place to stay. "Another benefit of staying on property at Universal or Disney is the opportunity for early entry into their theme parks," according to Elliott.
Some of the hotels have become destinations unto themselves, according to Elliott. "So you have CoCo Key Hotel and Water Resort, with these enormous water parks next to your hotel room. Then you have Nickelodeon Suites, with their family suites, variety of Nick themed entertainment and you can get ‘slimed' in their own water park.
"International drive is undergoing a renaissance right now. It's now the place where you can get great nightlife, dining and entertainment." Elliott explains that the best benefit of staying on International Drive is that located between Orlando's main theme parks including SeaWorld Orlando.
"It used to be that Orlando's luxury options were pretty limited but that's now changed with The Ritz Carlton Orlando - Grande Lakes, the Waldorf Astoria Orlando and the opening of the new Four Seasons Resort Orlando," states Elliott. "People come to Orlando expecting luxury and they're going to get it."
With more than 400 hotels in Orlando, you're sure to find plenty of great accommodations for every style and budget. From luxury golf resorts to themed hotels, Orlando's hotel collection is as diverse as the destination itself. See our easy-to-browse hotel insider guide to help you find the perfect place to stay for your Orlando vacation.