South of Disney, Orlando Travel Guide
South of Disney Summary
- Large rooms and suites; one-bedroom condo-style units are common
- Plentiful resort activities and features, like on-site golf courses, elaborate pools and water parks, and tennis
- Kids' clubs are common, providing structured all-day activities and evening babysitting.
- Affordable rates, compared to Disney and International Drive properties
- A dozen golf courses within a 20-minute drive
- 15-minute drive (or less) to Walt Disney World
- At least a half-hour from Orlando International Airport, SeaWorld, Universal Orlando, and the Orange County Convention Center; farther than other Orlando neighborhoods
- A car is an absolute necessity.
- Very few off-property nightlife or dining options; few activities and attractions in the immediate area
What It's Like
Unlike much of the rest of Orlando, once you drive south of Disney's theme parks and the city proper, resorts and hotels shy away from mouse ears and thrill rides opting instead for great pools, generally spacious condo-style accommodations, and lots and lots of golf. About 30 minutes from the airport -- and maybe a longer drive when high-season traffic clogs Interstate 4 -- the area sprawls with residential (and often seasonally occupied) housing developments and the aforementioned massive resorts, some of which do a brisk business in meetings and events in addition to leisure travel. For the tourist, there's little to see here, but Disney's parks are at most a 15-minute drive away from such suburban towns as Reunion, Four Corners, ChampionsGate, and Loughman.
Where to Stay
Given the heavy competition and lots of rooms to sell in this part of Central Florida, even luxury-level properties like the Reunion Resort and Omni ChampionsGate are going for very reasonable rates. In addition, the resorts in this area tend to have bigger guest rooms than you'll find elsewhere, with 400, 600, and even 700 square feet being the starting size for units. Time-shares are a major part of the lodging landscape, and extra space and features -- like in-room washing machines, balconies, and full kitchens -- are common.