Welcome Katie Lara: Review and Video Tour of Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort
*Disclaimer* I received a discounted room rate for three nights for purposes of my blog review, however, we paid for the other nights of our trip (5 nights total). My disclosures are always honest and up front, just like my opinions.
I am a Disney nerd, what can I say. You may be able to tell that from the plethora of Luxury Disney World articles that I have written on my blog and Luxury Disney World articles at Forbes. I have been dying to come down and stay at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort ever since I came years ago for the hard-hat construction tour when they were first breaking ground. I also recently published an edition of my Concierge Confidential about Luxury Travel tips from the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort’s concierge.
Okay, okay, you get it. I’m into Disney World and luxury travel! So let’s get to it!
The Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort is officially my favorite hotel to stay at for families in Disney World and even couples visiting Disney World without kids. It’s such an incredible property and resort. They have thought about everything and make your every dream come true–and for families, that is a true luxury. They have thought about everything before you could even dream of it.
I’m going to get into everything in this review–what we love, what Disney perks you can still take advantage of even though it isn’t a Disney hotel (though it is on the Disney property) and especially why we love it for families.
I have written up a review and also did a short video tour during my stay at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort. In a nutshell, I loved it and am planning my next trip back already. There is no other way to see Disney World once you have stayed here in my opinion. It would be like going from First Class back to Coach!
Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort is located within Golden Oak, a luxury community of single-family homes (cough, mansions) in Walt Disney World Resort. When you pull up to Golden Oak, you will be asked for the name on the reservation before you’re permitted to pass. Once you do, you’ll have a gorgeous ride through the picturesque community, which is sprinkled with gorgeous fountains, ponds and Disney statues.
The community is surrounded by an Everglades sanctuary so there is tons of wildlife and natural beauty.
It took us about 45 minutes from Orlando International Airport (MCO) by private car.
When you pull up to the hotel, you’ll be greeted in the typical, hospitable Four Seasons fashion. Your bags will be collected (and our car seat, which they offer to keep near the valet for easy access).
When you step foot in the hotel you’re greeted with the most gorgeous chandeliers that look like fireworks! Such a magical welcome.
Check-in was easy and friendly as you might expect. They are unsurprisingly quite practiced at entertaining little ones.
Welcome Amenity? They offered our daughter fun goodies like some small toys and a Four Seasons backpack, which she gladly snatched up.
The public areas are grand and remind us of the magic Disney is famous for but also the luxury Four Seasons has come to be known for. There are so many details that have been tended to. The decor is contemporary and modern while the architecture is Spanish Revival, featuring terracotta-tiled rooftops, arched windows and colonnades. I love the whole vibe. It’s Central Florida’s only AAA Five Diamond resort.
The Resort itself is lakeside and features gardens, pools, its own water park, kids’ adventure zone and Tom Fazio-designed championship golf course (Audubon-certified).
The Hideout is for kids that are a little older (or adults that are young at heart). You can come play some beach volleyball, basketball, table tennis, billiards or life-size chess. They also have a video game room featuring interactive touch-screen tables and virtual reality.
Perhaps the best part of the Four Seasons resorts (at least for parents) is the Kids for All Seasons program, a complimentary (I swear!), supervised kids club for kids age four and up. Yea most hotels that have programs like charge A LOT of money. So this is a real luxury–especially considering the facilities, which are a kids dream. If your kids are too young to come by themselves, you can still come and use the facilities, a parent just has to be present.
Throughout Explorer Island, there is attentive poolside service. They pass around little treats, bring you ice water and you can also order food from a full-service menu. We ordered a feast for ourselves and everything was delicious–from the french fries to the veggie burger. We got the fish tacos too, though admittedly those were just okay.
The Resort also offers a great gym featuring state-of-the-art equipment and complimentary yoga classes. I love that if you left your workout clothes at home, you can borrow complimentary gear from the gym.
There’s also a Tom Fazio-designed golf course that was just host to the LPGA Tour’s 2019 Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions. There’s also a practice facility if you don’t have time to play an entire 18 holes.
The Spa here in my opinion is one of the most gorgeous spots and most special features of the hotel–especially rare in Disney World. The relaxation room is gorgeous, there are oversized chairs, fireplaces and cozy blankets. They also have crystal-infused water (so New Age) that they swear has healing properties. There’s also a solarium,
I had a heavenly massage when I was here, which if you’ve been to Disney, you know is absolutely necessary after walking eight miles a day and carrying everything you own in a backpack all day.
Even if you don’t get a treatment, resort guests are entitled to use its spa facilities anytime. You can come enjoy a cup of tea and read a book or use the jacuzzi, steam room, sauna or experience shower featuring LED lights, sound effects and aromas.
The Resort’s salon also offers a plethora of beauty services–including those for the tiniest VIPS. Magical Moment makeovers transform your little one into a princess or prince. You can book packages like the Royal Treatment and your little princess will experience professional makeup application, an express manicure, a hairstyle of her choice as well as the chance to choose a designer princess dress, tiara, bracelet and wand. And the whole family can get in on the action—there are packages for your little prince (Shining Knight) and also for a “Mommy & Me” experience (Princess & Queen). Our 2.5 year-old loved this so much–but not as much as me! I watched tearfully as she enjoyed every single moment.
Our park-view suite features a separate bedroom, living area, private terrace and two full-size bathrooms. For larger families, you can connect other rooms and make even larger suites.
Guest rooms are appointed with every modern luxury. Electronic switches with easy access from your bed to everything.
Room with a view indeed! We stayed in a Park View Suite, which offers expansive views of the theme parks, the lake, the golf course and even the fireworks show at the Magic Kingdom. We could also see fireworks at Epcot though not quite as well. These views are worth the splurge! Especially when you have young kids who go to sleep early. Each night we watched the fireworks with our little one before bedtime, which we would have likely missed otherwise. We tried to stay out later in the parks but she was really ready to go so this was perfect. One night she passed out before they started and my husband and I ordered room service and had a romantic al-fresco meal.
My only complaint is that I wish they somehow had the theme parks music to enjoy with the fireworks haha. But that is asking alot. I told you I’m a Disney nerd!
Kid Stuff: The hotel will deliver a crib to the room for small children and it comes with bathroom amenities like shampoo, conditioner and bubble bath–perfect for little ones with sensitive skin. They also brought us a diaper genie, which is crucial for keeping the room smelling as the Four Seasons intended! They also send a bib and a small stuffed animal so kids will feel at home.
The hotel doesn’t offer rollaway beds (cots) but the sofas pull out into queen beds, which are usually big enough for two kids.
Closet/Dresser Details? There were two spacious closets, tons of dresser space and everything was clean, clean, clean.
Charging Situation? There were plenty of places to plug chargers including next to the bed and desks.
Turn-Down Service: Yes. But I love the Four Seasons because it’s really twice daily full housekeeping service. And they don’t just come in and make the bed, they really organize your stuff for you. Every day we came back to find our room in superb condition, toiletries neatly organized on towels and even my daughters clothes were neatly folded in piles.
Bottled Water? Complimentary.
Coffee maker? Espresso machine/Tea.
Reading Material in the Room. Yes, FS Magazine as expected.
White Glove Inspection: Couldn’t find a thing to complain about. And you know we lift the mattresses up and strip the bed. As New Yorkers, we’ve learned you can’t be too careful. The room had A LOT of white, too and I couldn’t find a single spot.
Standout amenity? Our favorite new amenity is the on-demand, in-room wine by the glass system, Plum. Guests can pick from two varieties that are selected by the Resorts’ sommeliers, and use the interactive touchscreen to choose your size and selection. Then the device pours a glass on demand! This is amazing for exhausted parents who neither want to open an entire bottle or wait for room service. True wine connoisseurs can have the concierge personalize Plum with specialty wines in advance of your stay. (Note, Plum Wine units are only in Park View rooms and suites).
The bathroom is a stunner, what can I say? Oh and something I feel is important that no one ever mentions is that you can fit the full-size cribe in the Master Bathroom. We then put our daughter to sleep at night and were able to access and enjoy the rest of our room.
The Piece de resistance is either the deep-soaking tub or the television that’s inside the bathroom vanity mirror.
Makeup Mirror? Yes.
Hairdryer? Yes, decent quality.
Towel quality? Excellent. And Robes. Even for little ones! You just have to request these. They’re the cutest!
The Food & Drink
One of the best perks of staying at the Four Seasons is the food. Such a gigantic upgrade from every Disney hotel I have ever stayed in. And we ate our way through this resort–from in-room dining to the Spanish-themed steakhouse on the rooftop! Oh and kids under five eat free! And they eat like kings and queens, let me tell you!
We loved Lickety Split, they had a nice selection of grab-and-go food and drinks. They also have amazing housemade gelato. Our waiter at the pool actually gave my daughter a coin for a free treat here (ahem, my husband lost it–because, well…husbands haha). But rest assure, she still ate plenty of frozen treats during our stay.
We had an excellent dinner at Ravello, the Italian restaurant.
The Good Morning Breakfast with Goofy and His Pals (note: his pals are Mickey and Minnie) features an incredible buffet and includes soft drinks, coffee and tea. A professional photographer will capture all the fun, and complimentary digital downloads of the photos are included in the experience. If you’ve been to the parks before, you know that these photos are usually very expensive so this is a big perk!
I also highly recommend taking advantage of room service one day. The menu has something for everyone but everything arrives piping hot and is plated as nicely as it would be in a sit-down restaurant. You can also enjoy it on your table outside on the balcony.
It was too cold for us unfortunately but we had the best indoor picnic! The bacon was crispy and the french toast was fluffy! Yum! This allowed us to get out the door quickly so we saved time and were ready to head to the parks!
The Disney Magic
Although the Resort is not technically a Disney hotel, it IS located on Disney property. Guests enjoy many of the same perks offered at Disney hotels including complimentary transportation to the theme parks, same-day merchandise delivery, 60-Day advance DISNEY FASTPASS+ selections (many hotels only have 30-day advance) and the EXTRA MAGIC HOURS benefit.
The shuttle buses are very luxe and rarely crowded. However, they only run about every hour so if you’re with kids and you miss one, you’re kind of SOL. Also worth noting, for the Magic Kingdom, the bus does not drop you at the front entrance to the Park. Instead, you are dropped at the Transportation and Ticket center. From there you can take a very easy boat or monorail over. However, this is an extra step and with little ones who have short windows, it can prove difficult. For this reason, we often took Minnie Vans instead. These are vehicles through Lyft when you’re on the Disney property. They have a Disney cast member who is educated in car seat safety and brings their own seat along. It’s really a wonderful service that allows families to swiftly and safely go throughout the property. Typically a Lyft from the park to the resort was about $25 although I have heard that during peak season that it’s more difficult to get one and prices may be higher. When we were there in January, we never waited longer than 7-10 minutes. If you don’t need a carseat you can take a taxi or a black car. They aren’t cheap of course but time is money baby!
There is also a Disney Planning Center in the hotel lobby at the Four Seasons where a Disney cast member can assist with anything from theme park tickets to dining reservations, including a character breakfast on the Resort property.
Disney Cast Members at lobby’s Disney Planning Center can also advise on Disney’s Private VIP Tours—our favorite way to see the theme parks. Be sure to check out my review of Disney’s VIP Tour Services. You’ll enjoy door-to-door transportation in a private vehicle, a customized itinerary as well as your own personal escort to guide you efficiently and help you make the most of your day. Take advantage of expedited lines to minimize wait times, VIP seating for parades, shows and nighttime spectaculars.
The Little Things
The Late Checkout Lounge: If you have a late flight, you are still welcome to enjoy the facilities at the property all day. You can leave your luggage with the hotel and use the facilities here to shower and dress after a full day spent at the pool!
Did I feel truly welcome by the staff? Yes, every person on the property was so sweet it hurt. Just how it should be 🙂
Wi-Fi? Yes, included.
Kitchen? There was no mini-bar, which I actually like. You can fill the fridge with things that you need. Especially with a child. There is a nice spacious refrigerator that you can fill yourself. The hotel can fill it for you but now you can actually use Amazon Prime Now and order yourself–for free. We ordered wine to have in the room so we had to be there to sign but otherwise they will bring it to the room for you and put the groceries away. We ordered bananas and nuts and clementines–good, healthy snacks for the park.
Shopping: I loved the boutiques on site at the hotel. They sell such a beautiful selection of expertly curated options. Such cool stuff! One of my favorite items that I didn’t have the courage to splurge on were the exclusive Missoni Minnie Ears (they were like $150 but one day I will do it!)
I would recommend this hotel to anyone who can afford it. It’s absolutely incredible and worth the splurge for a special vacation. I love everything about it here, especially that even though it’s very luxe, the vibe is still very laid back. We felt extremely comfortable everywhere we went–even in the rooftop steakhouse CAPA on a Saturday night at 8pm with a 2.5 year-old.
It’s also worth mentioning that although the cost ain’t cheap, there are no hidden costs, fees or surcharges like many other luxury resorts. There is no resort fee here. The water park is included, cabanas at the pool are included, the kids club is totally included, the game room is included–sense a theme? And it is worth noting that the Four Seasons is one of few hotels to operate like this–and we think that creates some serious customer loyalty–at least it has here.
Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort
I hope you found this review of Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort helpful.
For more information, check out Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort website.
*Disclaimer* As I said above, I was given a discount for purposes of this review, but we paid for our room still and did not receive the discount for 2/5 nights. You can’t buy the love here, people! Just ask my husband!