Where to stay in Orlando, FL

  • Post last modified:October 11, 2021
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Orlando is since long home to Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. More recently in time, Harry Potter was added to the prominent list of characters that call Orlando their home. But where to stay in Orlando for the best experience?

To stay in Lake Buena Vista gives you the best access to Disney World. Other great places to stay in Orlando are International Drive/Southwest Orlando, Kissimmee and Downtown Orlando.

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Where to stay in Orlando, FL

Lake Buena Vista, FL – The best place to stay in Orlando near Disney

Lake Buena Vista is the formal postal address of Walt Disney World. In the Orlando area you stay just next to where Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Epcot are located.

In Lake Buena Vista you also find Disney Resorts, with the possibility of making the Orlando stay a full Disney experience. But many of the big hotel chains also have hotels in Buena Vista if you look for other lodging options.

To cover the shopping need Disney Springs is located in Lake Buena Vista. And Disney Springs is not just a regular shopping center. It’s a themed shopping, dining and entertainment center, as the name suggest with a beautiful waterfront location.

For more shopping Florida Mall is only just a 20-minute drive away from Orlando hotels in Lake Buena Vista. And Universal Studios is also only about 20 minutes away by car.

All in all, Lake Buena Vista is for the visitor who wants to focus on Disney World and have the Disney experience 24/7. At Orlando hotels in Lake Buena Vista you stay adjacent to Disney’s theme park and even have Disney Springs for shopping and other entertainment right at your doorsteps.

Stay in Lake Buena Vista for: Orlando accommodation at Disney World.

Squirrel in front of Boardwalk Inn where you can stay in Orlando
A squirrel in front of Boardwalk Inn, Lake Buena Vista.

International Drive/Southwest Orlando, FL – Stay with the entertainment scene nearby

International Drive is 11 miles long (18 km) and the street is lined with Orlando hotels, restaurants, shops, nightlife and tourist attractions. The area is a great option for where to stay in Orlando to be close to the city’s wide range of entertainment.

The attractions on International Drive include amusement parks, offbeat museums, wax exhibitions, escape rooms, virtual reality attractions and a huge observation wheel. Orlando’s main tourist strip is so diverse that it has something to offer for anyone.

I-Drive, as it’s also called, is located very strategically between Lake Buena Vista with Walt Disney World and the Universal parks. Therefore it’s very easy to get to the theme parks from Orlando places to stay on International Drive. And for maximum convenience many of the hotels on I-Drive even offer shuttle service to the parks.

In short, on International Drive you base yourself on the biggest tourist street in Orlando. It’s a great choice for where to stay in Orlando to be close to all the diverse attractions that the street offers. The location between Disney and Universal also makes it easy to visit both from International Drive.

Stay on International Drive for: Access to entertainment and theme parks.

Ferris wheel at International Drive
The wheel on I-Drive, Orlando.

Kissimmee, FL – Peaceful Orlando accommodation

Kissimmee is a small city that is located a short distance south of Orlando. In Kissimmee you find a more peaceful atmosphere compared to other places to stay in Orlando.

In Kissimmee you find many villa communities and a more spread out environment. That means that you need to drive to get around if you pick Kissimmee for where to stay in Orlando.

As Kissimmee is located a drive away from theme parks and entertainment it’s often possible to find more affordable hotel rates in the area compared to if you stay closer to the parks. So Kissimmee is also an option for where to stay when visiting Orlando on a budget.

To sum up, Kissimmee is a great choice for where to stay in Orlando if you look for a more spread out living some distance away from all the action. Just be prepared that you will need to drive from your Orlando accommodation in Kissimmee to get to all the theme parks and entertainment.

Stay in Kissimmee for: A peaceful Orlando area.

Kissimmee lighthouse
Sunrise in Kissimmee, FL.

Downtown Orlando, FL – The place to stay in Orlando if you don’t come for the theme parks

I-Drive is the main entertainment strip in Orlando, but it’s in downtown you find the city’s heart and soul. In Downtown Orlando you can catch a break from the otherwise seemingly endless theme park atmosphere in other parts of the city.

Downtown Orlando is the option for where to stay in Orlando that is located furthest away from Disney World. From Downtown Orlando to Lake Buena Vista it’s 18 miles (29 km) and about 30 minutes by car. But the downtown area has much else to offer.

Orlando became a city in 1885 and the original railroad depot still iconicly stands in the center of downtown. In Downtown Orlando you also find local boutiques, Lake Eola Park, top restaurants and a fun nightlife scene for those late nights out.

For a more educational approach, Orlando Science Centre is located just outside downtown. The museum has become an institution for its efforts to bring science to the people.

All in all, the downtown area is not the best place to stay in Orlando if you come for theme parks. But downtown is a great choice for accommodation if you look for a more authentic Orlando stay with other fun things to do.

Stay in Downtown Orlando for: An authentic Orlando stay.

Train tracks in Downtown Orlando
Downtown Orlando.

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Where to stay in Orlando FAQ

Here you find the answers to some frequently asked questions about where to stay in Orlando, Florida.

What is the best area to stay in Orlando?

Lake Buena Vista is the best area to stay in Orlando for Disney World. In contrast Orlando’s entertainment strip International Drive offers a wider range of entertainment. The Kissimmee area is great for a more peaceful and spread out stay. Finally, Downtown is the best area to stay in Orlando for a more authentic visit not focusing on the theme parks.

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