It’s not often when super luxury comes with a hefty dose of child-friendliness. We wouldn’t have given it a thought (other than maybe the bank manager) to book a five star hotel pre kids, but now we are more mindful – will there be the facilities there to accommodate our children, will there be comments and frowns from other guests, will our children feel comfortable?
Fortunately, when you travel to Orlando in Florida, it’s a pretty safe bet that there will be plenty of other children around and I actually rejoiced at seeing the Four Seasons at Walt Disney World as an option when we were debating where to stay.
The American hospitality is generally above average, but the staff here raise things to a whole new level anticipating your needs before even I had thought them through. It’s fair to say that any visit to Orlando is going to keep you pretty busy so the Four Seasons concierge app on your phone keeps you connected and lets you chat direct to the hotel on the off chance you need anything while at the parks such as booking a restaurant for that evening.
Our room, a Golden Oak, was absolutely stunning and we were reliably informed that the standard rooms are the largest in Orlando. The contemporary chic rooms are everything and more you expect from the prestigious brand with a plethora of extras that you come to appreciate from five star luxury – iPads, evening turndown service with treats, Bose surround system, Nespresso coffee maker. Views out to the most magical place on earth – Magic Kingdom – complete with nightly Disney firework display just about topped off the opulence of our abode.
The facilities at the Four Seasons are amazing. Explorer Island is most definitely the highlight for the kids…and me! The five-acre pool area is a water park in itself with family pool, amazing splash zone and a long lazy river that wraps around a ruined mansion.
The Kids Club, ‘Kids for all Seasons’ is complimentary between 9am and 5pm for children aged four to 12 years of age. It was never my intention to leave the children but turned out to be the first pit stop for my daughter as she begged to stay after we popped in to take a look. A daily schedule or well-organised activities and events makes it a lot more than a childcare service, and is really enjoyable for the kids.
There are plenty of dining options at the hotel – Lickety Split was our daily morning go-to for coffees, scrumptious pastries and the odd gelato; while we found ourselves visiting Ravello several times for the fresh pizzas and homemade pastas from the Italian-styled open kitchen. We popped up to the fancy steak restaurant, Capa, on the 17thfloor, and while it looked and smelt amazing, it was purely to lurk on the terrace and watch the fireworks from the best seat in the house.
While this isn’t an official Disney hotel per se, it has some exclusive offerings that make it a strong contender for those that rely on the on site perks. One of the best-kept secrets is the character breakfast with Goofy and Pals – the only place outside of Disney that provides an official character dining option away from the Disney mania where the constant scheduling and crowding can become a little tiresome. Compared to my experience with the onsite Disney character meals, this easily boasted the best quality food and experience. Better still, while billed as ‘Goofy and Pals’ we were delighted to see that the ‘Pals’ were only the main stars of the show – Mickey and Minnie!
The Four Seasons at Walt Disney World is not just a hotel, but ultimately a fantastic resort. The negative side to this is that we felt torn between a day at the hotel and the Disney parks and our schedule went a little off, but in hindsight this assisted us in better pacing ourselves as a family with three young children.
Valet parking is a little on the steep side at $30/night so we made the initial decision to ditch the hire car and take advantage of the complimentary coach that regularly runs to all the Disney parks a short distance away.
Having stayed at the Four Seasons at Walt Disney World, I have to concur that I am not sure there’s any other way to ‘do’ Disney. I don’t want to overly gush, however let’s be honest – Disney is the holiday of a lifetime, what dreams are made of, and having such a premium base that meets the every need for a family enhanced that experience and cemented memories that will truly last forever.
Rooms start from $443 per night. For more details and information, visit www.fourseasons.com/orlando