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Six Orlando Area Family-Friendly Resorts You Can Get Via Hotel Points

Let’s face it, at some point most families will make their way to Orlando area. As a parent, you may not give a rat’s behind about Disney, but we all know that kids do. Big time. They also like fancy pools, lazy river, slides etc. In fact, mine prefer hanging out at the pool rather than going to a beach. Can you believe it?

However, decent resorts near Disney can cost quite a bit of money, especially during peak season. Miles and points to the rescue! So, in this post I want to list a few options I would personally recommend to a family looking for a  full-service resort. As always, when researching various hotel options,  I recommend you start by going to HotelHustle which will give you a rough idea on what kind of CPP (cents per point) value you’ll be getting.

But these are resorts that IMO represent the best value proposition during peak season. During off-season, you may do better by paying cash or checking sites like SkyAuction. I wouldn’t call any of these places a spectacular bargain and if you just need a place to sleep, you may want to save your points. Keep in mind, food will probably cost you a good bit if you plan to eat on-property.

Without further ado:

1) JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes

This property was recommended by my reader Cheapblackdad and I trust his advice. According to the website: “Situated on 500 meticulously manicured acres, our luxury resort offers shuttle service to Walt Disney World®, SeaWorld® and Universal Orlando®, so you can explore the area without having to worry about expensive rental cars and parking fees.”

The pool area is extensive, and there is a spa for all of you tired moms. Rooms have two queen beds and fit up to 4. If you have 5 in the family, I recommend you always call and see if the hotel will accommodate your needs. This resort gets great reviews, check this TripAdvisor page. The cost is 35,000 points per night, plus resort fee of $30 (though they may waive it if you ask). The rate at the end of March is $270 per night, so it’s a decent redemption.

How you can get the points to stay here:

1) Sign up for Chase Marriott Premier Visa. You’ll get 87,500 points after you spend $3,000 in 3 months and add an authorized user. The annual fee of $85 is not waived. If you have some orphaned Marriott points, you may have enough for three nights at this property once you meet the spending. Keep in mind, at this time, personal Marriott card is subject to Chase 5/24 rule, while business version is not.

Note that it looks like Marriott has changed the offer on its own website. See this link for details Basically, you’ll get 2 free nights at a category 1-5, plus $200 and 7,500 points. Very odd. The old offer is still available via my affiliate link. This resort is  category 7 property, so the new bonus isn’t going to cut it.

2) If you’ve never had Starwood Preferred Guest American Express card, you can consider signing up for either personal or business version. You’ll get 25,000 points after spending $3,000 in 3 months. Keep in mind, Amex may raise the bonus in a near future. SPG points transfer 1:3 to Marriott.

You can read about both cards here  Let’s say you got Marriott Visa as well as SPG card. You would have a total of 174,500 points once you transfer SPG points. That’s almost enough for 6 nights at this property, since you get 5th night free when it comes to award redemptions.

Edit: reader who goes by Twitter handle @I LoveSummers has reached out to me and mentioned Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center It also costs 35,000 points per night.

2) Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Orange Lake Resort

I’ve actually stayed at this resort, but didn’t get a chance to use the pools. My in-laws took the kids there for a weekend, and everyone loved the amenities. There are pools, lazy river and tons of activities for families. But the best part is the fact that for 35,000 points you can get a 2-bedroom/2-bath unit ( fits up to 8). How can you beat that? I have a short post with an overview of the unit, and I may have another one coming that will focus more on amenities.

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Check this TripAdvisor link for reviews. Paid rate in the middle of March is around $260 per night.

How you can get points to stay here:

1) Sign up for Chase IHG Rewards Club Select credit card. See more details on it here  Depending on whether you are targeted for a better offer, you should have enough points for at least 2 nights at this property.

2) Use your annual renewal certificate that comes with Chase IHG credit card.

3) Participate in an IHG promotion, like current Accelerate  Depending on the offer, it might be worth it to do a mattress run

3)  Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek

This place looks like an excellent use of Wyndham points. In fact, it might be the best deal on this list. According to the website: “Located within the Walt Disney World® gates and surrounded by 500 pristine acres of woodlands, our idyllic AAA Four-Diamond-rated resort offers upscale amenities, stellar service, and distinctive dining in a unique lakeside setting. Our 400 spacious guest rooms and suites—some with bunk beds, private balconies, and views of Disney World—are appointed with modern conveniences tailored to both the leisure and business traveler.”

There are several  pools with slides, a hot tub, spa and more. All Wyndham properties cost 15,000 points, and this resort goes for $260 per night during peak months. The rooms come with two queen beds. Be aware, there is a parking fee, and you may have to pay a resort fee, so research it ahead of time. See TripAdvisor reviews here

How you can get points to stay here:

Sign up for old bonus offer on Wyndham credit card before it disappears. Read my post on it here

4) Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek Hotel

According to the website:

  • Nestled in the 482-acre Bonnet Creek Nature Preserve
  • Three-acre lazy river pool with waterslide
  • Complimentary shuttle to Disney Theme Parks and Disney Springs
  • 12 unique restaurant and lounge experiences

The hotel runs at 50,000 points per night during peak season, with paid rates that hover around $285. I personally think it’s a decent redemption. The rooms come with two queen beds. See TripAdvisor reviews here

How you can get points to stay here:

The easiest way is to sign up for one (or two)  Hilton credit cards. The one that makes the most sense is Hilton HHonors Surpass version since you’ll get Gold status on top of points. That means  free breakfast and potential suite upgrade. If both spouses get Surpass, you’ll be able to get 4 nights at this property. Read my post for more on this topic

5) Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

This resort has a lot to offer. According to the website:

  • Spread out in spacious guestrooms with private balconies offering views of the pool and Lake Buena Vista
  • Play 18 holes on our hotel grounds, featuring four championship Jack Nicklaus-designed golf courses
  • Stay active with an array of on-site pursuits, including instruction from our certified tennis pros, an 800,000-gallon lagoon-style pool, hiking, biking and more
  • Soothe your spirit in our Marilyn Monroe Spa, providing an array of therapeutic treatments and services
  • Savor a variety of culinary delights on site, featuring innovative cuisine that’s thoughtfully sourced and carefully served
  • Considered a “Great Neighbor” Disney World hotel thanks to our close proximity to the theme parks and Disney Springs.

The rooms fit up to 4 and come with one king bed and a sleeper sofa. Paid rate in spring runs at $280 per night. Instead, you can redeem 15,000 Hyatt points. See TripAdvisor reviews here

How you can get points to stay here:

1) Sign up for Chase Sapphire Reserve! You all knew it was coming. Other options are Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Ink Plus. You can read more on these offers here  Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer to Hyatt on 1:1 basis.

2) Sign up for Chase Hyatt Signature Visa Ignore those who say you should only use your free night certificates in Maldives or Paris.

3) Redeem your annual  renewal certificates from Hyatt credit card. It’s a category 4 property, so those should be valid here.

6) World Disney World Dolphin

This property costs 10,000 SPG points per night, and the rate in March hovers around $280. Be aware, rooms come with two full beds, so this arrangement won’t work for many families. For us, it’s a deal breaker because my husband and I require a queen bed, and even then it feels cramped. If you are willing to pay between 12,000-16,000 SPG points per night, you may want to try World Disney World Swan where the rooms have two queen beds.

Both resorts have  a lot of family-friendly features, but expect fees galore, not to mention high food prices. You will get 5th night free when you redeem points. See TripAdvisor reviews here

How you can get points to stay here:

See my overview of Marriott resort at the very top. The same principles apply.

Update: reader Erik has mentioned Sheraton Vistana Villages Resort Villas, I-Drive Orlando  as an excellent option for families. See his comment below on why he recommends this resort. I would have to agree! This property runs at 10,000 SPG points per night, and you get 5th night free when redeeming points.

Bottom line

As I’ve mentioned in the beginning of the post, if you plan to burn points, you won’t be getting a bargain of the century with any of these hotels. The write-up is meant for those who are looking to splurge in order to get a nicer, resort-type property. Everyone has different needs/wants. Some just want a basic motel where they can rest at night after visiting Disney parks. Others are looking for a more refined experience. Nothing wrong with either one.

Readers, what resorts would you like to add to the list?

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Author: Leana

Leana is the owner and founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.

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9 thoughts on “Six Orlando Area Family-Friendly Resorts You Can Get Via Hotel Points

  1. No love for Sheraton Vistana Villages resort? http://www.starwoodhotels.com/sheraton/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=5607 We’ve stayed here twice and will return for a third trip within the next year or two. This is technically a timeshare property, but you can book a 1 bedroom villa for 10K SPG points per night. A villa is basically a 1 BDR condo, since it has a separate bedroom, complete kitchen, full bath, very handy washer/dryer, dining area, patio/balcony, and living room (where the kids can sleep on a pull-out sofabed). You might be able to book 2 or 3 BDR villas for higher point amounts if you called SPG. Cash rates, even during busy periods, are also quite reasonable if you book under discounted rates available at mousesavers.com, allears.net, or Costco. The property has 3 big pools, the best for kids are the huge main pool and the St. Augustine pool (which has a zero entry pool, pirate ship, water slide, spray areas, and also a huge nearby fitness center). There are gas grills next to the buildings all around the property if you want to cook some burgers (the grills are cleaned a few times per day by housekeeping). There is at least one playground and a kids club. They have a shuttle that runs to the parks (call to check the schedule to see if it works with your plans). We prefer to drive because it is so close and the fact that we hate being dependent on a shuttle’s schedule for pickup (a negative of any shuttle service). If WDW opens at 8AM, we leave there between 7-7:15AM and that usually puts us on Main Street at Magic Kingdom by 8AM. If you book a villa on points or cash, it is likely that they will invite you to a timeshare presentation. You can politely decline, but they will usually make it worth 2 hours of your time by offering SPG points, resort credit, park-related gifts, etc. (hold out – keep asking if they can do better!). If you choose to attend the timeshare presentation, only do it if you have the willpower to say no – it’s rarely ever a good deal (and if you do go crazy and sign something, by law you can rescind the agreement in writing within 3 days).

    There is a similarly named Sheraton Vistana Resort that is actually 4 miles closer to WDW. It is also a timeshare property that is run like a hotel, same SPG point cost at 10K/night and discounted rates thru the same channels that are sometimes cheaper. We’ve stayed there too and it can be a good choice for the right price. I think it may have been the original Sheraton resort, since the property has a huge number of buildings and there are 7 pools. Our 1 BDR villa was actually more spacious than we expected. We would stay at Vistana Resort again, but we feel that the Vistana Villages is a little bit nicer and our kids prefer the pirate ship/water slide at Vistana Villages (Vistana Resort only has a water slide which is weak sauce in comparison). So, of the two properties, Sheraton Vistana Villages is our preference and you’re only saving maybe 5-8 minutes drive time over Vistana Resort.

    • @Erik My bad! I definitely think this property belongs on the list. That was an oversight on my part. I included Dolphin and Swan, but didn’t bother to research Vistana Villages because I didn’t think the place had a lot of amenities. But it appears I was wrong! The resort looks amazing, and my kids would love that pirate ship you’ve mentioned.

      I’ve seen decent rates at this place during off-season, and may consider booking it at some point. I’ve transferred all of my SPG points to Marriott (a post coming up). But I guess I can always transfer them back and book a night at this place instead. Decisions decisions. Sometimes I drive myself crazy trying to utilize miles and points to their fullest potential.
      I’ll go ahead and add it to the list. Thanks!

  2. This is a great list! I love Orlando, even without Disney.

    My family stayed at the Wyndham Bonnet Creek timeshare, which is on the same property as the Wyndham Grand. It’s a fabulous property with a ton of amenities! We shared a 4-bedroom condo for dirt cheap, and ate breakfast and dinner in the unit. The property had two lazy rivers and a few pools with water slides. Tons of kids activities!

    • @Nancy Thanks! To be honest, I’m not a big fan of Orlando. But there is so much there for families, we end up going anyway. I’m still debating on Disney, but it’s looking likely due to new Frozen ride in Epcot.
      I’ve seen that Wyndham resort listed on Skyauction at dirt cheap prices. Of course, it was during off season. I think points price is high on all of this places, but during peak time or holidays, it’s unlikely that one will find a great deal on cash rate.

  3. I can vouch for the first 3 on your list! Writing this from the Holiday Inn Vacation Club Orange Lake as we speak.

    Like Nancy, I really enjoy the resorts in Orlando. Competition for hospitality dollars in Orlando is very fierce, and I find that many of the properties there bring their best. Massive pools, lazy rivers, timeshare properties boasting separate bedrooms and bathrooms, large properties with amenities like tennis and water sports and multiple on site restaurants. Further, there’s plenty to do for families. Disney Springs itself is a massive improvement over Downtown Disney, and Downtown Disney was great. Orlando is the best family destination in North America, even if you don’t like Disney World.

    Not gonna lie, the Sheraton Vistana thing has always confused me. I think I’ve looked for the Villages but always ended up reading about the Resort property instead and wasn’t really impressed. Wyndham Bonnett Creek is great, though I did find the water related amenities on the smaller side. The Marriott Grand Lakes is incredible, but your best bet is getting the timeshare properties attached to the property as the hotel rooms are teeny. Definitely impressed with the Holiday Inn Vacation Club Orange Lakes, though the rooms are not as nice as at Bonnet Creek and some other properties we’ve stayed in in Orlando.

      • @Cheapblackdad I knew it was you as soon as I started reading the comment. You have an unmistakable flare, my friend! I’ll be curious to see what you think of Orange Lake resort. I’ve seen mixed reviews, mostly about nickel and diming. We just spent a night there, and didn’t use the facilities, but the place looked nice.
        I’m hoping to check out Wyndham at some point. My credit card comes with 15,000 renewal points, good for one night there. Our kids love pools and slides, that’s all they want to do at a hotel. We had to force them to go to the beach last time. How crazy is that?

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