Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Disney World

Luxury Disney World

So the most anticipated hotel in family travel for 2014 was easily the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World. (Check your dates for rates.) As parents thought about their treks to the Disney parks, every one of them wondered what the meeting of two iconic brands would look like at the Four Seasons Orlando. I’ll tell you. It looks really, really gorgeous.

After all of the elements of the property opened, I planned a surprise trip for my daughter’s birthday. Note to parents: don’t wait until your kids are too old and too cool to be excited by the 5AM wakeup call of “Surprise! You’re going to Disney World.” She responded with the hazy confusion of a college freshman who had just pulled an all-nighter.

PB&G and the Four Seasons Orlando pools

Our crack-of-dawn flight got us to the Four Seasons a few minutes before 11AM, so it was a perfect time for an early lunch of shrimp salad and strong iced coffee at PB&G, situated by the lake and massive pool area. The first thing I noticed was how my daughter was the only child in sight.  Most families had just attended the Saturday character breakfast with Goofy and friends in the main restaurant. We shared our alfresco meal with a baby boomer power broker and his flawlessly maintained trophy wife who were vocal about their enjoyment of the brunch cocktails.  “Jesus!” The wife screamed at one point, and I turned expecting to see a live animal cross her path or a Bloody Mary dripping down the front of her jeweled tunic, but she was pointing at the sky. And there he was— if in name only, Jesus.

We went to scope out the pool area that was still relatively empty on a breezy December day. In the Four Seasons’ custom of expectation-exceeding service, Steve, one of the pool staff, gave us an hour-long tour of Explorer’s Island while we waited for our guest room. This 5-acre water paradise is the resort’s most distinguished feature, and it is thoughtfully planned for parents with children of any age to spend a relaxing day poolside.


Psst! We wrote about the Four Seasons Orlando again more recently.
Check out our best photos!

The zero-entry pool is ideal for the swim diaper crowd that includes the most subtly inclined water slide you have ever seen. The full service cabanas—that close for shade and naps— face the resort lake. Next along the path is the kids club, Kids For All Seasons, which is free for little guests aged 4-12, a playground, and a recreation area with pool tables, ping-pong, and lots of shaded lounge seating. Beyond that is the wonderful splash pool and light show and two water slides.

And finally the tween-teen club is at the outermost edge of Explorer’s Island. Pubescent guests are spoiled with their own pool flanked by George Lucas inspired pod lounges, direct access to the lazy river, a club filled with computers, arcade games, and an ice cream shop. Ironically, the teen pool— the most remote— is where we found several napping babies.

Four Seasons Orlando Rooms

Our room was beautiful and worth a wait that seemed like an eternity on so few hours sleep. There is no other property in Orlando that can touch just how pretty the Four Seasons is.  Our Park View King was a refreshing combo of pink, coral, and orange. Built-in cabinets hid a safe and mini fridge, and the closet was a large walk-in dressing area outside of the bathroom. The hotel welcomed my daughter with a robe, water bottle, and an issue of National Geographic for Kids, and I welcomed myself to a beautiful trio of lemon tarts and a nonalcoholic limoncello.

Here’s the thing. The park view rooms are worth the extra cost. The pools and lakes adorn the grounds below, and you can see Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Magic Kingdom, amidst lots and lots of trees; it is very soothing. Because the building faces West, you have a perfect view of the sunset; it feels like the Four Seasons served those especially for you, too.

Drinking coffee on the balcony in the morning was a great way to start each day, and I had arranged for Disney Floral & Gifts to deliver my daughter some Mickey ears and a park backpack on her birthday. For an extra $25 fee, they will schedule the delivery to the hour, and it was a nice way to enjoy an in-room birthday breakfast, both scheduled for 9AM. The kids room service menu had many options, as well.

Adult-Only Fun at the Four Seasons Orlando

This Four Seasons resort isn’t just for families, though. Travelers without kids will be equally enamored by their choices of fun and play. The Oasis is an adults-only pool surrounded by staff ready to serve you a cocktail the second your hand goes up. Golf and tennis are available, and guests can take Kripalu yoga twice a week or exercise in the sun-filled fitness center, which won’t be empty. The moms I saw around the pool were no strangers to self-care. In fact, I have never seen so many nannies pushing strollers at a resort before.

And speaking of self care, the spa was another impressive design display. My daughter got a special birthday mani-pedi, while I passed this trip. Though not a spa treatment, I called the front desk to ask a question and apologized because I was losing my voice and couldn’t be heard easily. Within minutes, there was a knock at the door and room service surprised me with a pot of chamomile tea, lemon, and honey.

Capa at the Four Seasons Orlando

Capa was a standout experience in food and atmosphere. The Spanish master painter Goya used lots of black and left a legacy for French and American artists like Manet and Sargent and, now, Capa’s interior designer. I loved its ceiling fixture of wavy red ruffles like a flamenco dress. I was half expecting to see a giant mural of Sargent’s El Jaleo above the bar. What’s impressive is that it can work so well for diners with kids while retaining a really sexy, adult vibe. Capa was the no-brainer choice for a date night on my upcoming trip. The escargot and pork belly were standouts from the tapas menu, and the churros with dulce de leche dipping sauce were also memorable. In warmer months where one can eat outside late at night, a dinner on the penthouse terrace during the fireworks hours would be a memorable event.

 

The boutiques at the resort are worth mentioning because their selections for kids and adults were so fun. I found myself browsing every time I passed them. The children’s boutique and general store had an excellent assortment of kids’ resort wear, swimming accessories, toys, and Disney gear. The adult’s boutique had a selection of well-known brands like Missoni and Trina Turk mixed with the lesser known jewels like the Frank & Eileen crinkled linen shirts I wanted in every color.

Disney Benefits at the Four Seasons Orlando

There is a Disney World desk in the lobby of the hotel, staffed by some of the most knowledgable  Disney employees I have encountered. I usually stump information agents with my questions, but not these experts. We used the Four Seasons motor coaches to attend the Very Mickey Christmas party and found the park transfers smooth and easy.


Psst! We wrote about the Four Seasons Orlando again more recently.
Check out our best photos!

Another wonderful feature of the property is a departure lounge with dedicated spa locker rooms for changing after a few more hours in the water. This is incredibly convenient for travelers whose flights depart at night back to Europe or the Middle East or guests who arrive before their room is ready. I loved the special touch among the reading material, there were children’s books included, too.

The Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World lived up to its hype. For those who insist on five-star luxury, it is the definitive option when staying at Walt Disney World.

Check your dates for rates at the Orlando Four Seasons. And join the Luxury Disney World Facebook group if we can answer your questions when planning your next Disney vacation.

 

Check out another Four Seasons Orlando review from Solo Mom Takes Flight!

6 Responses
  • Lillie
    January 21, 2015

    This place looks phenomenal, and your photos are out of this world! I’ll put the Four Seasons Orlando on my list for future Florida travel! I have my eye on the lemon tarts…

  • Cathleen
    January 21, 2015

    OK, maybe this place will finally get me to Disney World. Great photos!

  • Lynn
    January 21, 2015

    What a gorgeous and informative post. A great combination of Disney and luxury…loved the special attention to teens and tweeners.

  • Ashley
    January 21, 2015

    This amazing hotel and all around experience would definitely improve MY trip to Disney. I love The Four Seasons properties and to be able to enjoy Disney and luxury together would make this ideal. I love yor photos. Great post!

  • Tonya
    April 27, 2015

    I want to stay at the Four Seasons simply to check out those pod lounges! It looks like this is an incredible property- one that will be on my radar for my next visit to Orlando.

    • Robin
      April 29, 2015

      The pods are great, and even better, they are meant to be entered after a running jump!

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