Family-friendly resort with free transportation to Orlando’s nearby theme parks, onsite dining, and four outdoor pools
Resort at a Glance: Mystic Dunes Resort & Golf Club
Less than 8 miles from Walt Disney World® Theme Parks, a palm-flanked pool with a waterfall represents the day’s last attraction—and this one doesn’t require a wait in line. The pool (one of four) belongs to Mystic Dunes Resort & Golf Club, a family-friendly retreat situated a short shuttle ride from Walt Disney World® Theme Parks, Universal Orlando Resort, and SeaWorld Orlando.
- Where you’ll stay: Furnished with plush couches, coffee tables, and king- or queen-size beds, the resort’s one- and two-bedroom villas feature full kitchens.
- Don’t feel like cooking?: There’s an onsite restaurant, Kenzie’s.
- Take a refreshing dip in one of the property’s quartet of pools, including Dunes Lagoon, which boasts a two-story water slide and poolside tiki bar.
- Practice your putt on the 18-hole miniature golf course.
Celebration, Florida: Easy Access to World-Famous Theme Parks and Major Orlando Attractions
Located on the banks of Lake Tohopekaliga, Celebration sits about 20 miles from downtown Orlando and just 11 miles from the Walt Disney World® Theme Parks. The world’s most-visited entertainment resort spans roughly 30,000 acres, encompassing four theme parks, two water parks, five golf courses, and the Downtown Disney® Area. There’s no shortage of things to do here: begin your day at Magic Kingdom® Park by boarding the Space Mountain® Attraction, a rocket-shaped three-seater that climbs to 180 feet before entering a deep black tunnel and racing past stars, satellites, and constellations. After that, ride past the ghastly goofballs inside The Haunted Mansion. For dinner, head over to Epcot® to sample cuisine from Morocco, Mexico, France, Italy, and several other countries at the World Showcase. As one of the most popular family destinations in the world, sunny Orlando is home to other theme parks including Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld Orlando.
Those hoping to shake up the typical theme-park-dominated itinerary can head into downtown Orlando’s vibrant arts district. The neighborhood boasts venues such as the CityArts Factory, a multifaceted patchwork of gallery spaces, and SAK Comedy Lab, which holds improv shows five nights a week.
About a 10-minute drive north, you’ll find several cultural institutions surrounding Loch Haven Park, including the Orlando Museum of Art; the collection features pieces by Georgia O’Keeffe, Robert Rauschenberg, Ansel Adams, and Andy Warhol. The park is also home to the Orlando Shakespeare Theater and the Orlando Science Center, where you can take a rover across a simulation of Mars or race model cars down a 70-foot pinewood-derby track.