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June 25, 2024

Where Every Family Matters

Something to Do in Orlando That Isn’t Disney

Seven pools, a waterpark, a spa and so much more at Westgate Lakes in Orlando.

Going to Orlando can be scary for parents who count their pennies. There’s just so many things to do, and so many things to spend money on.

I recently had the opportunity to stay at Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa in Orlando. With seven pools, a 161,000-gallon pirate-themed waterpark and a spa, this massive lakeside resort might be what you and your family are looking for. Mainly, it gives you the option to chill out and relax while the kids splash around.

This resort makes good use of its lakeside location, with activities that include fishing, boating and kayaking (rental fees apply). For those guests who prefer to stay on land, the property offers mini-golf, tennis, basketball, volleyball and bicycle rentals. Other kid-friendly amenities include a playground and a game room, in addition to several dining options — one of which has a miniature bowling alley. As Orlando accommodations go, Westgate’s tough to beat.

Studios are the most basic option. They can fit up to four and feature kitchenettes with mini-fridges, microwaves and pullout sofas. Upgrading to a one-bedroom villa means the addition of a full refrigerator, as well as a stovetop and cooking utensils, washer/dryers and separate dining areas.

At first glance, Westgate seems a bit secluded from Orlando’s major attractions. But Westgate’s Orlando hotels are actually less than a 10-minute drive from the Orange County Convention Center, Sea World, Universal Orlando, Disney World and numerous restaurants and shops, thanks to its location just off of International Drive. The hotel provides a free shuttle to most of these spots, though reservations are required. Also, the resort is a 20-minute drive from the Orlando airport.

Pro tip: If you do decide to go to Disney, Universal or Sea World and your little one wants a stuffed animal or souvenir, save your money and buy it at a local Wal-Mart, where they have a whole section selling the same stuff for a quarter of the price.

Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa packages start at $159 per night. Visit   



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