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Think Disney Has the Market Cornered on Feature Pools? Think Again

Orlando World Center Marriott


Image: Marriott

Marriott knows how to make great pools, and its pool at the Orlando World Center is something to behold. The entire resort is, really — a massive complex that is akin to a theme park all to itself. 

The pool features the standard list of great resort pool amenities, but with some key plusses: a lagoon-style pool that is absolutely enormous, relaxation coves that never get too crowded, and even a massive water slide that would be more at a major water park than a hotel.

With plenty of sun for those who want to tan, but plenty of shade for those who need a break as well, the Orlando World Center has something for everyone, and that is its greatest perk. Plus, if you get bored, you can always explore the rest of the resort — which is so big, it has to be seen to be believed.

Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress


Image: Hyatt

Another Resort Pass hotel, the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress gets some extra credit for being so close to the Walt Disney World Resort. For those staying at the Disney Springs Area hotels, the Grand Cypress is just a few minutes away by car.

For $25, you can even enjoy this pool with a simple Day Pass — which includes access to the pool, beach, rock climbing wall, game room, bike and boat rentals, and even the mini golf course.

However, the pool area is clearly the main feature, and at $25 for a day pass, it’s a no-brainer for guests with suboptimal pools at their own accommodations. In addition to the standard lagoon-style pool and hot tubs, Grand Cypress has tons of small spaces to hide away, far from the hustle and bustle you might expect from such a great deal. There are so many places to explore in the pool area, you can easily spend a whole day getting lost among its relaxation coves, suspension bridges, and water slides. And, if you get bored, you can go and hang out at a real sandy beach just near the pool.

If your resort is lacking for a pool, head to the Grand Cypress — it’s easily the best deal in Orlando.

Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando

 Grand Bohemian Hotel

Image: Grand Bohemian Hotel

There are hotel pools, and then there are hotel pools. The Grand Bohemian Hotel in Downtown ORlando falls squarely into the latter category, offering Orlando’s only true Las Vegas-style rooftop pool experience.

The vibe here is decidedly different: There are no big water slides or lazy rivers. There is no attempt to create a faux-lagoon feel. There are no sandy beaches. Instead, all you’ll find is luxury and glamour like you’d expect in a cosmopolitan city.

The crowd here certainly is more night-out than time-off, but if you’re looking for a more luxe poolside experience, this is it.

Margaritaville Resort Orlando

 Margaritaville Resort

Image: Margaritaville Resort

Opened in 2019, the Maragaritaville Resort Orlando is definitely the new kid on the block. But, with that relative youth and inexperience comes a ground-up rethink of what a resort pool is supposed to be. And, as a result, you have what might be the best new addition to the Central Florida area since Stormalong Bay swam into our hearts at Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club.

Not content to open a moderately well-featured pool, the Margaritaville Resort Orlando also built its own full-sized water park called Island H2O Live. With water slides, wave pools, and a ton of party space, Island H2O Live is every bit a major water park — for a fraction of the cost of Disney’s and Universal’s.

But, if you don’t want to spend that but you’re still willing to stay on property at Margaritaville, you still get a wonderful resort pool. With both a more traditional hotel pool and an expansive lagoon pool, there’s plenty of space to stretch out and explore. Plus, swimming alongside real stretches of Florida waterfront adds to the vacation feel.

In all, Margaritaville is the best of all worlds: An action-packed water park for those who want it and a relaxing resort oasis for those who need it. And, its location just outside Walt Disney World makes it a great spot to head out from.

Yes, Disney and Universal have great hotel pools, but they aren’t the only places in Orlando that boast such amenities. Sometimes, staying off property can have some perks of its own — including those hotel pools.

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