Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
A slice of adult calm with the Disney World gates
The Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek is part of a 482-acre complex -- located within the gates of Disney World -- that includes a convention center and the neighboring Waldorf Astoria. Unlike most of the resorts in Disney World, this new Hilton has a distinctly adult vibe. The lobby is pumped with subtle fragrance rather than Alvin and the Chipmunks tracks; muted color schemes don't contain a single nod to the Disney surroundings; and the waffles at the breakfast buffet don't resemble animated characters. Not surprisingly, a lot of the guests are here to attend conferences next door.
That said, this is a full-fledged resort -- and the families of those poor conventioneers are no doubt having a blast at the huge lagoon-style pool with a waterslide and lazy river. Guests also have access to the facilities -- including a spa, golf course, and second set of pools -- at the adjacent Waldorf Astoria Orlando.
Standard rooms are spacious -- 414 square feet -- and comfortable. Set in high towers above quiet Bonnet Creek, these are some of the most peaceful rooms within the Disney gates. (Most other resorts have low-rise buildings with exterior corridors that tend to be far less insulated from noise and surrounding activity.) Perhaps because of the heavy business clientelle, the service is a cut above, and more traditonal than, what you typically get in Orlando.
The hotel's location is certainly convenient for those looking to explore the Disney theme parks. But guests do not get the special perks -- extended-hours access to certain parks on certain nights, among others -- that you get if you stay at an official Disney property.
Small extras like newspaper delivery and a staffed business center put the service above-the-bar at many Orlando resorts; no extra Disney perks like extended hours.
Friendly, accommodating staff offers solid all-around service and also offers the kind of traditional, urban business-class services that you generally don't see in Orlando: 24-hour room service and a full-service staffed business center, for example. Despite its location, this Hilton does not provide the Disney park services that you get at the official Disney resorts: extended park hours, free airport transportation, and room charges at any Disney World facility. (On the other hand, the Hilton Walt Disney World Resort, also in the park, does offer all those perks.)
On the Disney World property, but you still need to drive (or take a shuttle) most everywhere
The Hilton Bonnet Creek is within the gates of Walt Disney World in a relatively quiet and secluded spot off Bonnet Creek Road. It's own convention center on property is where plenty of guests spend their time, but Downtown Disney and Hollywood Studios are about five minutes by car and the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom are both more like 15 minutes away. There's nothing within reasonable walking distance; renting a car is a must if you plan to get off the Disney compound -- or even if you just want to eat outside the property.
Well-appointed rooms are serene, well equipped, and decorated in an understated contemporary style.
Rooms are clean, quiet, and decorated in warm, muted colors -- in other words, dramatically different from the bright primary colors and cartoon-driven decor in most of the surrounding Disney resorts. Rooms are well equipped for business travelers, with up-to-date technology, Wi-Fi, and work desks, but are also spacious enough for small families to be comfortable here.
Extensive business and leisure amenities under a single roof, plus access to additional features at the neighboring Waldorf Astoria
This Hilton is a convenient combination of business hotel and resort: The property contains 51 meeting rooms, a full-service business center, a 24-hour fitness center, and free lobby Wi-Fi, plus leisure features like a massive lagoon-style pool, lazy river waterslide, and pool deck. Additional facilities at the neighboring Waldorf Astoria property, including another small pool, a spa, and a golf club, are free. (All are less than a mile away and accessible by walking through the connected convention center that lies between; but note that the website suggests that they're all at the same hotel.)
Despite being within the Disney gates, this Hilton doesn't provide park-related perks like extended park access hours, room billing throughout Disney World and free airport transfer. These services are normally exclusive to Disney resorts, but the Hilton Walt Disney World Resort does provide those extras.
Family-friendly, minus Disney (or any other) cartoon themes
Though you won't find a shred of cartoon paraphernalia or Rice Krispies treats at every restaurant, the actual rooms, services, amenities and food are all great for kids -- the pools alone are enough to entertain them for at least a few days. On the other hand, the decor and atmosphere is much more adult than you'll find nearly anywhere else on the Disney World property: A lobby bar and subdued decor are clearly designed to make adults feel more at home than in Disney lobbies. But the location makes it possible to get the best of both worlds: a relaxing, adult environment with great proximity to the parks. Drawbacks for families are that it doesn't offer Disney resort perks despite being within Disney World, it's far from many attractions, requiring a rental car for convenience, and the food options are generally overpriced, so added costs can be higher than at a Disney hotel nearby.
Options range from casual to formal; very limited budget options
Food options here range from take-away snacks and lunches to formal Italian-style dining from California's famed restaurant developer Donna Scala. All options are somewhat overpriced, as resort food tends to be, but there are fewer budget options here than at many of the surrounding Disney resorts. There are kid-friendly options on most menus, but there's no distinguished kids' restaurant or specialty foods -- just smaller portions of kid-friendly items like pizza, waffles, and burgers at lower prices.
This 1,000-room Hilton is an oasis of adult calm amid frenetic child-centric Disney World -- literally, as it's actually within the gates of Disney. The ample rooms and facilities are modern, sleek, and in great condition, while features and services cater to both business and leisure needs; plus, guests get free access to all facilities at the neighboring Waldorf Astoria.
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