After a long day at your favorite theme park, a good way to cool off is a dip in the water – but why settle for a simple swim in the pool when you can wind your way down a world-class water slide located just steps from your room?
Since the invention of the waterslide in 1971 and the first full-scale water park (Wet ‘n Wild) in 1977, millions of people have slid and floated their worries away in aquatic adventure parks all over the world. In recent years, a small but growing number of Orlando area resorts have taken the water park model and combined it with a traditional hotel to come up with the brand-new concept of the water resort. At these amazing properties, you can quench both your need to cool down and to have fun at the same time.
Let’s count down the top five Orlando water resorts.
#5 – Liki Tiki Village
The Hawaiian theme is fairly common in the Orlando area; visitors have long been able to enjoy the grandeur of Disney’s Polynesian Resort, and fans of Universal Orlando can find their own slice of Polynesian paradise at Royal Pacific Resort.
However, if you’re looking for a centrally-located hotel that offers a variety of amenities – including a water park – for the whole family, then you might be interested in enjoying the tropical splendor that is Liki Tiki Village Resort. The 658-room resort is located only seven miles from Walt Disney World, SeaWorld Orlando, and Universal Orlando.
A highlight of the 64-acre property is the Liki Tiki Lagoon, a 1.5-acre, 220,000-gallon water playscape that combines the atmosphere of a resort swimming pool and the excitement of a water activity park. The lagoon features a gently rolling wave pool, five water slides, an erupting water volcano, a waterfall, a toddler’s area, spouting Tiki heads, and a dancing fountain.
Want even more? Parents can enjoy their favorite books while the children play pirates, mermaids, or whatever their imaginations conceive. Around the lagoon are lounging areas and a children’s playground. And for a treat or full meal, there’s Shipwreck Sally’s Bar and Grill
#4 – Cypress Springs Family Fun Water Park at Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center
In 2012, what could arguably be the top destination resort in Kissimmee, Gaylord Palms, partnered with Aquatic Development Group to open the Cypress Springs Family Fun Water Park. Although the baby alligator and sting-ray feeding areas already brought a unique touch to Gaylord Palms, nothing shouts vacation fun like sliding down and splashing into cool waters.
The Cypress Springs zero-entry play area was designed to be engaging for both children and adults. Featuring a multi-level water playground “tree-house” with plenty of spray guns and waterfalls, the 12,000-gallon tipping water tank adds more watery goodness into the mix about every five minutes. Four waterslides, water basketball, a plunge pool, warm water spas, and a dedicated toddler pool provides hours of fun in the Florida sunshine.
In addition to these splash-tastic amenities, the hotel expanded the boundaries of a typical water park by including a movie theater and never-ending party atmosphere. “Dive-in” movie screens show children’s flicks during the day, and also provide an ideal location for evening events. The “Crack-A-Lackin” pool party boasts dance music, party games with prizes, and, even, cameo appearances by beloved DreamWorks characters.
For the adult audience, Aquatic Development Group created the South Beach Pool, an adult-only swimming pool that was designed to complement the Gaylord Palms tropical oasis theme. Swaying palms and lush greenery create a relaxed atmosphere for either the dining area or the stocked poolside cabanas.
#3 – Flamingo Waterpark Hotel and Resort
If you’ve ever gotten off the turnpike at US 192 in Kissimmee, you’ve probably noticed the Flamingo Waterpark Resort. The property, which is located just minutes south of Orlando, is a full-service hotel and resort that is decked out in tropical theme decor, fun, and adventure, with a state-of-the-art water park that delights kids and adults alike.
The resort covers more than 50,000 total square feet and features three main slides and six kiddy slides – which add up to 500 feet of sliding action – and two pool areas, which hold 120,000 gallons of water combined.
It is a bit out of the way, but it allows visitors to avoid the International Drive traffic and is still convenient to all the major theme parks, shopping, and attractions in the area.
#2 – Nickelodeon Suites Resort
The Nickelodeon Suites Resort (http://www.nickhotel.com/) can best be described as wild, wacky, and fun all mixed into one amazing hotel! With a focus on family-friendly entertainment that can be found around every corner, the resort provides a wide variety of entertainment, dining, and water park features that might make you think twice about even traveling to the theme parks.
Where else can you start your day at our Character Breakfast, featuring SpongeBob SquarePants and friends, learn ninja moves from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, visit a 4-D Experience Theater offering thrilling experiences and extra-dimensional adventures including wind, water, bubbles, scents, snow and SLIME, and splash, swim and slide your way around two water parks, all in one day?
The nighttime is the right time at the Neckelodeon Suites Resort, as the party continues at Studio Nick, headlined by Double Dare LIVE! If mom and dad need a break, send the kiddoe off to Nick After Dark, where kids can play while their parents are away.
The resort also offers convenient scheduled bus transportation to the four Disney theme parks, Universal Studios, Wet ‘n’ Wild, and SeaWorld.
The Nick Hotel offers almost everything you might need for an amazing Orlando area vacation, and of course, you can even get SLIMED!
#1 – Coco Key Hotel and Water Resort
Bright colors and large waterslides which are visible from I-4 are just a sign of what is to come once you enter the grounds of the 391 room Coco Key Water Resort. The well appointed hotel rooms feature a king bed, sleeper sofa, and easy chair, as well as a dining nook, small desk, dresser, and flat screen television. The resort also features double queen rooms, which have similar features to the king rooms, minus the sofa. Every room also includes an in room refrigerator.
The dining options on site are definately family friendly, featuring Pizza Hut Express, Callaloo Grill food court, and the Tradewinds Restaurant, which features buffet style dining. They also offer a large room service menu that should suit nearly every appetite.
Their 54,000 sq. ft. water park offers 14 water slides, a minnow lagoon toddler pool, a teen pool, the Parrot’s Perch play area, with the pools, minnow lagoon, and a few slides located under a canopy covered section, which makes it better for everyone who wants to be outside, but not directly under the Florida sun.
As far as water parks go, this one is definatley above average. Open from 11:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m., there are slides to fit every level of thrill seeker, from mild to wild, with most of them fitting somewhere in the middle of the scale. It is a great way to spend a few hours, an entire day, or to cool down after your crazy day at the parks. Plus, the conveniently located Gator’s Grab and Go convenience store is fully stocked with all your vacation needs, including water cameras and extra sunscreen!
The water park is no Wet ‘n Wild, but with day passes starting at only $17.95, it’s a price that is well worth the money.
They also offer deals for family reunions, corporate getaways, scouting groups, student organizations, and summer camps. Coco Key is conveniently located to all the major and minor attractions, and offers scheduled transportation to Universal, SeaWorld, Aquatica, and Wet and Wild. By staying in the resort, you also receive discounts at SeaWorld and Universal, as well as local golf courses. The property is a jewel in the jungle that the Orlando sometimes appears to be, and should be on everyone’s list to visit at least once!
Honorable Mention – The Florida Water Park at Reunion Resort
Located 30 minutes from the Orlando International Airport and six miles from Walt Disney World, Reunion Resort is an exclusive 2,300-acre community provides the space, amenities and accommodations to bring together families, golfing buddies, social events and meetings. The immense property has something for everyone, including 6 on-site restaurants, numerous rental homes, as well as more traditional resort accommodations.
It also features it’s own Reunion® Resort Water Park, where visitors can float down the lazy river, ride the twisting water slides, and take a stroll on the wooden boardwalk. Pair that with poolside food and beverage service, colorful tropical landscaping, sunny or shaded lounge areas, and you have something to please kids and adults of all ages. They also have tons of great activities scheduled Tuesday through Saturday at Kids Crew, adjacent to the Water Park.
These resorts, and others like them, are yet another sign that the imagination that made the Orlando area the world’s top vacation spot is still alive and well. If you have another favorite water resort that didn’t make it onto this list, be sure to list it in the comments section below.
Remember to have fun, stay cool, and take advantage of the many amazing and exciting adventures that can be found in Central Florida!