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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available – Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card, Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Credit Card from American Express
You’d think the adrenaline of Orlando’s many theme parks would be enough to satisfy your kids’ relentless thirst for fun, and it might be. But to mix things up a bit and have fun at the hotel without spending money at theme parks every single day, you can send them off to these fabulous and free on-site hotel waterparks to keep the thrills going until bedtime.
The Grove Resort & Spa Orlando
There are many things for families to love at this condo-style resort located on a quiet lake less than 12 miles from the Magic Kingdom. But for the kids, it’s going to be all about The Grove’s killer Surfari Water Park and twisting waterslides. For the youngest in your entourage, most of the time will be spent at the zero-entry pool and dedicated splash zone just for them.
The hotel’s 695-foot-long lazy river provides fun for all ages, with colorful inner tubes at the ready and a winding route that passes under waterfalls and includes a gentle ambush by water cannons along the way. And for your pre-teen and teenage thrill-seekers (the height requirement is 48 inches to ride), two twisting waterslides accessed by steps are likely to be where they spend the bulk of their play. The slides dump straight into the lazy river launch point, too, so continuous laps of both are always an option. And while the waterpark is free for guests, there’s an extra fee to give the waterpark’s on-site FlowRider surf simulator a whirl (nonstop laughs are guaranteed whether you’re watching the action or attempting to hang 10, yourself).
Orlando World Center Marriott
Just 2 miles from Disney World, this Marriott property with more than 2,000 rooms doesn’t do anything on a small scale — and that includes the over-the-top on-site pool and waterpark. The Falls Pool Oasis is the resort’s glittering centerpiece and has been ranked among the coolest hotel pools in the world.
For thrill-seekers, the twin 200-foot-long twisting waterslides, accessed by stairs, are the highlight. There’s a cool mini-waterslide for smaller kids, too, at the dedicated splash area off the main pool. Another nice place to hang out as a family is the main lagoon pool, a sprawling waterscape where you’ll find waterfalls, tucked away nooks and multiple hot tubs for soaking your theme park-weary bones. Use your Category 5 free night certificate here or spend 35,000 Marriott Rewards points per night — that you earned from the Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card — for a free room. And don’t forget that you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to your Marriott Rewards account.
Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek
Families in search of hotel waterpark fun in Orlando can cash in Hilton Honors points at this posh property that’s directly connected to the Waldorf Astoria Orlando and about 2 miles from Epcot (guests at both properties have free access to the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek’s waterpark). A 3-acre lazy river pool is at the heart of the on-site waterpark fun, and there’s also a curving waterslide that kids 40-inches and taller can cruise down. Two zero-entry pools that spring off the lazy river are a great place to wade in with your smaller kids, and there are three additional outdoor swimming pools on-site here, too. Standard Room Rewards are 50,000 Hilton Honors points per night. Find out which Hilton credit card is best for families that are looking to amass points in order to stay at this hotel.
Holiday Inn Resort Orlando Suites — Waterpark
For many reasons — among them free breakfast and dinner for kids 11 and under and the hotel’s extra-roomy family suites — this Holiday Inn near the entrance to Walt Disney World is an Orlando family favorite. And if a free on-site waterpark is your main booking incentive, then you’ll score here, too. Twisting waterslides are the highlight at the property’s centerpiece multistory waterpark. And the enormous lagoon-style pool has cozy cabanas, water features and a convenient poolside bar and grill for casual meals (burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, salads and the like) while you take turns splashing. Book a room with 35,000 IHG Rewards Club points per night but, before you do, check the paid rates. Depending on the season, rooms can be less than $100/night. Earn points with the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card which also gives you the fourth award night free.
JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes
When true luxury and a cool waterpark are among your vacation essentials, look no further than the class-act JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes, set on 500 verdant acres within easy striking distance of theme parks (but oh-so-pleasantly removed from the chaos). Of course, there’s nothing to stop your kids from going wild at the hotel’s fabulous waterpark, complete with a lazy river that’s heated year-round and five pools. For adults with teens old enough to swim and play unsupervised, it’s worth finding time to escape to the hotel’s adults-only pool for true down time. This is a Category 6 that will cost you 50,000 points per night or a 50k certificate available annually with the Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card.
Condos, suites and villas are among your many options for bedding down with the gang at this sprawling resort in Kissimmee, where all guests have complimentary access to 10 community pools and a top-notch on-site waterpark. And the best thing about the latter is that it truly has something for splash-happy kids of all ages. Will you spend your hours soaking up the Florida sun as you make laps around the 1,000-foot-long lazy river with your 8-year-old or will you head to the multi-level water playground, a delightful zone made safe with netting but full of adventures. We know where your teens and pre-teens will be, of course, and that’s all over the waterpark’s twisting waterslides. Your only challenge will be to pull everybody away for dinner at day’s end.
Even if you don’t plan to hit the theme parks during your Orlando vacation, there’s plenty to keep your family busy — especially if they are partial to lazy rivers, waterslides and themed pools. What’s your favorite hotel waterpark in the Orlando area?
Featured image courtesy of The Grove Resort & Spa
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