The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes is part of the incredible Marriott Bonvoy portfolio of hotels and resorts and a great base for a family staycation this year. We invited travel blogger and Florida local, Jessica Sanchez and her family (The Jetsetting Family), to visit this June, enjoy the resort and let us in on some favourite things to see and do in Orlando. Everyone had an amazing time and there was even a surprise visit from Jessica's mom so the resort was able to work a little multi-gen magic too.
While many families travel to Orlando to visit the various theme parks throughout the area, the city has a multitude of alternative activities that you should consider as well! If you’re planning to visit and have some open days on your itinerary, here are some recommendations for activities in the area, along with an incredible resort that will not disappoint.
As Marriott Bonvoy members, we appreciate the variety of options across the brand portfolio. For this trip, we stayed at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes because it offered a compelling mix of diverse activities. Aside from lounging by the pool in one of their new cabanas, we spent a full day playing games on the lawn, tasting some delicious cuisine at the Highball & Harvest restaurant, and admiring the natural beauty of the resort’s surroundings.
One thing that Santi and Nora look forward to most when we visit a new resort is the kids program, and the Ritz Carlton did not disappoint! The Ritz Kids experience started with an open house, where we all had a chance to check out the facility and enjoy arts & craft, movies, and games both indoors and outdoors. In the afternoon, there is also a drop-off program for children ages 4-12 with a variety of scheduled activities that our kids really enjoyed! To top it off, we all got to ride on the Grande Lakes Express, which offered a short, but scenic ride around the lake and its surroundings.
The Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes definitely made us feel safe throughout our stay. While fully vaccinated guests were not required to wear face coverings, the staff that we interacted with all wore face coverings. We were also given a welcome kit with hand sanitizer and sanitation wipes that we could use when needed, and there were several sanitizer stations throughout the resort.
Orlando is the theme park capital of the world and has something for every family member to enjoy. The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes is a short drive from Disney World theme parks like Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot, each encompassing the magic of Disney in their unique way. If you are more of a Harry Potter fan, don’t miss all of the wizarding activities at nearby Universal Studios or Islands of Adventure. And there's also SeaWorld and Discovery Cove within minutes of the hotel, if you are interested in marine life.
Commonly known as the “Manatee Capital of the World,” Crystal River Preserve State Park is a beautiful area packed with outdoor fun for families. By far, the most popular activity is swimming or kayaking on the river, where you have an opportunity to observe manatees, since they are drawn to Crystal River's warm waters. There are also hiking trails and fishing areas to round out an active day away from the hustle and bustle of Orlando.
If you’re fortunate enough to visit Orlando at the time of a space launch, you’re in for a treat! Cape Canaveral, the heart of Florida’s Space Coast, is home to the Kennedy Space Center, where you can spend a full day getting a hands-on feel of the history of human spaceflight and seeing rockets and the space shuttle. By the end of the day, I’m confident that you will leave inspired by the power of human ingenuity and resolve!
Marriott Bonvoy membership opens the door to 30 extraordinary hotel brands with over 7600 properties across 133 countries worldwide. A perfect fit for family travelers, Marriott Bonvoy hotels and resorts offer thoughtful solutions like keyless entry, contactless check-in and mobile room service, wherever you travel. And an unparalleled reward structure allows Marriott Bonvoy members to earn and redeem points and access unique benefits whether they’re on a family staycation in the US or taking a vacation almost anywhere else in the world.