Florida resorts put out the welcome mat for family reunions
An ostrich outside Kidani Village at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, on Tuesday, May 10, 2011. (Ricardo Ramirez Buxeda, Orlando Sentinel / May 10, 2011)
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Here are some Florida resorts to consider for your next family getaway vacation or reunion. Go to each resort's website for best rates available.
Cocoa Beach, International Palms Resort (internationalpalmscocoabeach.com): On 13 acres along the beach, with rooms, two-story lofts, suites and one-bedroom villas. "Family Fun Rooms" have one king-size bed and partitioned area with two bunk beds and two televisions.
Amenities: Pirate-ship-themed 150,000-gallon kids' water park, whirlpool and outdoor pool, dining, beach volleyball, surfboard and boogie board rental, arcade, tennis court, shuffleboard, corn hole court and half basketball court.
Nearby: Kennedy Space Center, Cocoa Beach Pier, Ron Jon Surf Shop, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Brevard Zoo and other Space Coast attractions including manatee watches.
Kissimmee, Gaylord Palms Resort (gaylordpalms.com): This resort with a glass atrium, sections themed to parts of Florida and four-and-a-half acres of gardens, has 1,406 rooms including 106 suites and nine presidential suites.
Amenities: swimming pool; water park; spa and fitness center; six restaurants and lounges; live entertainment; ShrekFeast; alligator, baby grunt and fish feedings; in-room child care services; shuttle to Disney World parks.
Nearby: Disney World, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld and other Central Florida attractions.
Lake Buena Vista, Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge & Villas (disneyworld.com): African-lodge-style resort with hotel rooms and studios with kitchenettes, and multi-bedroom villas with kitchens and washers/dryers.
Amenities: A 38-acre savannah with giraffes, zebras and other exotic animals; babysitting; supervised activities for children; massage and fitness center; pool with slide; restaurants; playground; animal programs; and arcade. Free bus to Disney parks.
Nearby: Four Disney theme parks, two Disney water parks, entertainment/dining/shopping districts at Disney World and other Orlando parks and attractions.
Orlando, Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort (swandolphin.com): This duo of hotels, designed by architect Michael Graves, sit on Crescent Lake at Walt Disney World. There are 2,265 rooms and suites in a variety of categories.
Amenities: White sand beach, five swimming pools, playground, Mandara Spa, two health clubs, tennis, basketball, volleyball, game rooms, Camp Dolphin for kids, 17 restaurants and lounges, character dining, Disney benefits including Extra Magic Hour and complimentary transportation to Disney parks.
Nearby: Disney World parks and water parks (walking distance to Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios) and other Orlando theme parks and attractions.
Palm Beach, The Breakers (thebreakers.com): An Italian Renaissance inspired resort on 140 acres by the Atlantic Ocean, The Breakers completed a five-year, $80 million renovation in 2011. It features rooms and suites.
Amenities: Gardens and courtyards, one-half mile of private beach, five oceanfront pools, four whirlpool spas, beach club, 25 luxury beach bungalows including personal concierge, spa, fitness centers, fitness classes, nine restaurants, five bars, 36 holes championship golf, golf instruction, tennis, family entertainment center and Coconut Crew Kids Camp.
What's Nearby: The boutiques of Worth Avenue, the Henry Flagler Museum, Lion Country Safari, Palm Beach Zoo, Norton Museum of Art, Kravis Center for Performing Arts, South Florida Science Museum, Aquarium and Planetarium and other attractions in Palm Beach County.
Sanibel, Casa Ybel Resort (casaybelresort.com): A 23-acre beachfront landscaped resort on the quaint island of Sanibel in Southwest Florida, Casa Ybel has 114 one- and two-bedroom suites with beachfront views, screened lanai or balcony, kitchens, and separate living area with sleeper sofa.
Amenities: Olympic-size beachfront swimming pool, tennis, beach volleyball and basketball, croquet, horseshoes and shuffleboard, Casa Kid's Club and children's pool.
What's Nearby: Shelling on 14 miles of Sanibel beaches, The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum, J.N. "Ding" Darling Natural Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island Lighthouse and other attractions on Sanibel and neighboring Captiva Island.