Full-service spa, gym, and six tennis courts (plus a pro shop)
Free valet parking
Huge compound can be difficult to navigate; intra-resort shuttles necessary from most rooms
Daily resort fee (includes in-room Wi-Fi)
Food gets mixed reviews and can be pricey
Some reports of maintenance issues, like malfunctioning appliances and electronics
Some in-room TVs are older models with analog cable
Some guests have complained of insects in rooms (common in Florida)
Room service operates under limited hours
About 20 minutes south of the Magic Kingdom, the sprawling 411-room Reunion Resort is one of Orlando's priciest condo resorts outside those at Disney. But its one-, two-, and three-bedroom villas with full kitchens; daily kids' activities; huge water park; 54 holes of golf; and on-site restaurants make it well worth the price for many travelers. Another South of Disney hotel worth considering is the all-villa Sheraton Vistana Resort, which has a scaled-down (but still plentiful) list of features and generally lower rates.
Massive 411-room condo-style golf resort that strives to please everyone -- and usually does
A sprawling, meticulously groomed mini-city of a resort with 411 condo-style time-share guest rooms, the Reunion Resort is many things to many people. It's a terrific place for groups -- the Atlanta Braves, Houston Astros, and Detroit Tigers baseball teams stay here during spring training -- and is a popular venue for weddings, golf reunions, corporate retreats, and big families thanks to ample space in the rooms, which start at 700 square feet. A bevy of dining options, a spa, 54 holes of golf, tennis, kids' activities, and multiple pools (including the most elaborate water park south of Orlando) all work to keep guests on the property -- even if the Disney theme parks are just 15 to 20 minutes away by car. Reunion Resort, along with Innisbrook Resort in Tampa and Hammock Beach Resort in Palm Coast, is part of the Grand Golf Resorts of Florida.
About 15 minutes south of Disney; a half-hour from Orlando's airport
Reunion's 2,300 acres are situated just east of Interstate 4, 29 miles southwest of Orlando International Airport and 10 miles south of Disney's Magic Kingdom. As at most Orlando resorts, a car is essential, even if it's just used for driving to nearby strip malls, chain restaurants, or the grocery store.
20- to 25-minute drive to Downtown Disney, a retail and dining complex that also provides park-and-ride service to the Disney theme parks
40- to 45-minute drive to Orlando International Airport (five to 10 minutes farther than most Orlando resorts)
45-minute drive downtown Orlando; Orange Avenue has a notable dining and nightlife scene, and non-theme-park attractions like Harry P. Leu Gardens and Loch Haven Park, home to Orlando Museum of Art, Orlando Shakespeare Theater, and Orlando Science Center, which has an interactive Mars simulation experience and a 70-foot pinewood derby track for racing model cars, are popular with tourists
75- to 90-minute drive to Cape Canaveral and Kennedy Space Center
Huge suites with marble-tiled bathrooms, balconies, and full kitchens are among the best condo units in Orlando
Offering much more than a typical hotel room, the guest rooms range from one-bedroom condo-style units to private, eight-bedroom homes (Reunion Resort units include privately owned homes, rentals, and vacation timeshares). As in most Central Florida resorts, the rooms have a muted color palette, and while the decor varies across units, it's generally more tasteful than what you'll find at other nearby resorts, like the cheaper Mystic Dunes or the often more expensive Boardwalk Villas. Please note, however, that exactly where you stay within the resort is important: Because of the size of the property, trips from your room to the water park, the spa, or the golf course may necessitate using one of the free resort shuttles (they run 24 hours a day). The most convenient rooms are those in the central resort building, the 11-floor Reunion Grande, where the front desk, concierge, golf clubhouse, and most of the restaurants are located. Other units are farther afield, though all are near something -- the Seven Eagles section of Reunion, for example, is just a two-minute walk from the Seven Eagles pool, the fitness center, and the Cove bar and restaurant. If you find a particular amenity important, it's worth requesting a room nearby.
The base-level room type, the One-Bedroom Estate Villa, has 700 square feet of space, split between a master bedroom, one bathroom, a full kitchen, a living and dining room, and a balcony. Elsewhere at the resort, two- and three-bedroom villas are available, as are stand-alone furnished vacation houses with anywhere from three to eight bedrooms. Many of the stand-alone homes feature private pools.
All room types feature full kitchens with a stove, dishwasher, full-size fridge, microwave, toaster, coffeemaker, tea kettle, Henckel knife set, glassware, cooking utensils, place settings for four people, and cleaning supplies, like dish soap, paper towels, and laundry detergent. They all have small balconies (ground-level units have patios), bedrooms with walk-in closets, and spacious bathrooms with stand-up showers, separate tubs, hairdryers with diffusers, and Eartherapy bath products. Most units come with a washer/dryer and a sleeper sofa in the living room. There is a flat-screen TV in the living room and in every bedroom, but some guests have have noted that they're generally older models with picture quality that varies per channel. In-room Wi-Fi is covered by the daily resort fee. Daily housekeeping is free -- something that is not usually provided at the Disney villas and many other time-share resorts.
Some of the biggest and nicest features outside Disney
Reunion's fitness center has a variety of Life Fitness cardio machines (personal TV screens on all of them) and weight machines and free weights. Personal trainers are available by appointment. The tennis pavilion houses six courts, plus a pro shop with gear for sale or rent. The hotel also offers bike rentals (by the hour, day, or week), and a rotating weekly schedule of yoga and other fitness classes. The small spa offers massages, facials, body treatments, hair and nail services, and waxing. There is 25,000 square feet of indoor/outdoor meeting space for conferences, weddings, and other events, plus a business center with three computers and a laser jet printer. The resort operates 24-hour shuttles around the vast property.
Fantastic pools, including a five-acre water park that's on par with the great water features at the Disney Boardwalk Villas and other Disney villas
Reunion Resort has an excellent collection of 11 pools, including a rooftop one and five-acre water park. The lifeguarded water park includes a freeform pool, streaming lazy river pool, multiple waterslides, and kids' play area with jungle gym, plus beach volleyball courts and food and drink service. Plenty of lounging chairs and umbrellas fill the area.
Pools outside of the water park include the mellower, zero-entry Seven Eagles pool, with two hot tubs, and a rooftop pool adjacent to the Eleven restaurant, at the top of the Reunion Grande building. There are eight small and quiet "neighborhood" pools scattered around the property for those staying farther away from the two main pool areas.
Three well-regarded courses: one by Arnold Palmer, one by Jack Nicklaus, and one by Tom Watson
Some of the best golf in Orlando is at Reunion, which features 54 holes designed by golf pros with names that even non-golfers would recognize. The 6,916-yard Legacy Course, designed by Arnold Palmer, has more than 50 feet of elevation change -- a rarity in Florida -- while the 7,244-yard Tradition Course, designed by Jack Nicklaus, is notable for its 18 flat, parkland-style holes. The green fees are steep, but they include the cost of the cost of a cart, and they're in line with what other resorts charge. Callaway rental equipment is charged per 18 holes. There are two on-site golf academies offering lessons and training, plus a clubhouse with a restaurant, bar, and locker rooms.
Excellent family resort; huge rooms and a top-notch water park
For families looking for sports and activities, poolside relaxation, and varied dining -- rather than proximity to Disney's parks, like you'd find at the more expensive Boardwalk Villas -- Reunion is a good value, particularly given its near-luxury level of service and features. (Reunion is a 15- to 20-minute drive from the Walt Disney World theme parks.) The Kids Crew activity center hosts half- and full-day supervised programs (crafts, games, and movies for kids ages four to 12), and the five-acre water park, with waterslides and shallow play areas, has lifeguards on duty. There are tennis and golf programs for kids ages four to 12, and kid-friendly menus at the Clubhouse, Water Park, and Forte restaurants.
Many on-site restaurant options and rooms with full kitchens
There's plenty to eat here: options range from casual burgers and salads at the Clubhouse to New York strip steak at Eleven, the restaurant, bar, and poolside lounge located on the roof of the Reunion Grande building. Forte, an upscale modern Italian restaurant open for dinner only, offers pastas, seafood, steaks and chops, and a great wine list. The Cove, a small bar next to the Seven Eagles pool, serves a light menu of Caribbean-influenced bites like shrimp tacos and jerk pork sliders, along with beer, wine, and cocktails. The Water Park restaurant serves finger foods like chicken wings, sandwiches, and pizzas, as well as umbrella drinks. The Grande Lobby Sushi Bar has fancy cocktails and a small sushi menu. Additionally, all rooms have complete kitchens, so self-catering is an option -- a Publix grocery store is a short drive away -- as is room service.