On a recent trip to Disney World in Orlando with my kiddo, I was on the hunt for an inexpensive, but close hotel to the Disney World parks. Since the trip was only going to include my daughter and myself, I didn’t want to get caught up with too long of travel or catching a bus and folding up our belongings too much, so I wanted to stay offsite and park at the parks using our annual passes which include free parking. I learned a few things about tacking Disney World alone with my toddler along the way. I just happened to stumble on a crazy deal at Clarion Suites Maingate Orlando, which was just a few minutes from the parks. I was not compensated in any way for providing this review of the hotel.
I arrived at the hotel in the dark, but, from what I could see, the hotel exterior appeared well-maintained. The lobby was clean and inviting and there was a spectacular Christmas tree in the center as the area was preparing for Christmas.
|We had just arrived in our room.|
Our room was quite pleasant. Though there appeared to be stains on the carpet in our room, I was pleasantly surprised by just about everything else in the room. The bathroom was in better shape (and larger) than most hotel rooms we’ve stayed at for quite some time.
|Bathroom: counter wraps around to the right with coffee maker and glass mugs|
We were about 10 – 15 minutes from Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. The location was on a main road with plenty of other hotels, stores, and restaurants. The area was fairly quiet in the evening as well.
I cannot speak to most of the amenities at this hotel as we did not need to use anything, other than the restaurant at breakfast.
Restaurant – check out my review of the food in the next section.
Store – small, but themed for the Disney World area as to be expected.
Our hotel room included breakfast buffet for two in Jumbo’s restaurant. I couldn’t get a response from the hotel management about Gluten Free dining options ahead of time, but at the rate we paid, even skipping our breakfast wouldn’t have been a big deal so we took the chance.
My daughter and I woke up a little early to head down to breakfast before our half-day adventure at Animal Kingdom. When I inquired about what they offered for those needing gluten free options, the girl at the counter handed me an individual portion of gluten free honey chex and then, in hard to understand English, told me I could “look” at the items in the buffet. That said, they are not gluten free friendly.
They must be affiliated with a time share or vacation club of sorts. I will forewarn you that after checking in at the front desk, you will be pushed across the room to pick up your parking pass (which is required) and you will get a sales pitch to check out breakfast at their other site down the road for a short presentation and some nights of stay for free for going to the presentation.
The person I encountered was rather pleasant and really wasn’t too pushy. Thankfully, my daughter was in the lobby complaining of being tired since it was pretty well past bedtime, so I think he spared us. If we hadn’t been on a more strict time restraint for the following day, I actually would have liked to attend the breakfast presentation to receive some free nights. If you’ve been roped into it, let me know how it went … I can’t remember how many free nights you get for participating and I’m wondering if it would have been worth it!
Summary and overall thoughts
The “suites” were relatively clean and quite spacious. At approximately $120/night with the inclusion of 2 free breakfasts per night of stay, I feel this is a good value. If you’re avoiding gluten, you’re not going to get a good idea of what is “safe” at your free breakfast, so I would opt to have breakfast elsewhere (which may mean the $120/night isn’t as good a value). If you can find a better deal on a room, I would still recommend this hotel for your family. It’s within a few minutes of the Disney parks so you could easily take their transportation or drive your own. Plus, it’s on a main strip around other restaurants and shopping.
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