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We’re huge Marriott fans here at FMA. The popular travel brand offers thousands of properties around the globe, from budget-friendly hotels for your next road trip to stunning resorts for luxury family vacations, Marriott covers the gamut.
Earlier this fall, I had the pleasure of an extended stay at Orlando World Center Marriott for FinCon. I planned extra days on the front end of my trip to explore Walt Disney World before the conference, so I ended up staying eight nights at this impressive hotel property.
This was my first stay at World Center, although we’ve enjoyed pool access in the past through stays at Marriott’s Royal Palms, a sister property located next door.
Orlando World Center Marriott is one of the premier hotel properties within minutes of the WDW parks and Disney Springs. It’s also a great option for families seeking a retreat from the long park lines. Keep reading to learn more about my stay, including features and amenities available on the property.
About Orlando World Center Marriott
Orlando World Center Marriott is located in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, less than 10 minutes from Walt Disney World. It’s one of the largest resorts in the Orlando area, which you notice immediately when you arrive on the property. A good portion of the property is a convention center that hosts hundreds of events annually. Even without the convention center, it’s still considerably larger than other hotels in the area.
With over 2,000 rooms, there are plenty of options for your stay, from standard Marriott guest rooms to suites and rooms with stellar views of the surrounding area. The Falls pool area is an outdoor oasis with cabanas, a grotto, and a poolside bar and grill. In 2022, Orlando World Center Marriott opened River Falls Water Park on the property. The resort also features an 18-hole golf course, spa, fitness center, and other amenities your family will surely enjoy.
Orlando World Center Marriott has more than 2,000 rooms and suites. The property recently underwent renovations to its guest rooms. I’m unsure how they looked before, but I thoroughly enjoyed my room. I was traveling solo, so I opted for a standard king room. I didn’t give much thought to the view, but the property offers several great options, including ones that overlook the pool area, water park, and Orlando area. I ended up with a room on the 21st floor. The view didn’t seem like much at first since it overlooked a roof area of another part of the hotel. At night, though, It gave me a decent view of the fireworks show at EPCOT (I believe).
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The bathroom and the walk-in shower were spacious. It was just me, but it would’ve been fine if the whole family was along too. A coffee maker and mini fridge are almost non-negotiables for me when I travel, especially for extended stays like this. You can save considerable money ordering groceries or at least some essential snacks and beverages instead of relying on the hotel gift shop, vending machines, restaurants, and Door Dash.
Orlando is like Vegas for families. Resorts compete by offering in-house entertainment, bigger and better amenities, modern conveniences, and more to vie for your wallet. As one of the largest properties in Orlando, World Center Marriott offers several unique features you won’t find at other area hotels and resorts.
Laser Light Show
How many hotels have you stayed at that offer their own laser light show? The answer for me is one. This one. I almost forgot about it until one evening when I was sitting in the lobby and noticed these crazy neon lights through the resort windows. The laser light show features popular music and lasts approximately 10 minutes each night. Depending on your room location, you may have a nice view of the light show from your room.
I’m not much of a golfer unless the word mini is in front of it. If I was a golfer, though, I’m sure I would love Hawk’s Landing golf club at the resort. It’s one of the area’s premier 18- hole golf courses. I didn’t have a chance to check it out during my stay, but it looks pretty impressive from a distance.
I also didn’t have time to check out the spa during my visit, but I wish I had. I perused the list of services available, which is reasonably long. The spa offers plenty of opportunities for relaxation, rejuvenation, and self-care.
Orlando World Center Marriott also features a sizable fitness center. There’s a 1.5-mile track, free weights and machines, cardio equipment, lockers, and more. Some features require an additional fee, but most services are free to guests.
Falls Pool Oasis
We’ll get to the water park in a minute, but don’t sleep on the Orlando World Center Marriott pool.
The Falls Pool Oasis is huge! I posted a video on social media for fellow Finconners since I was there a few days early. I received tons of comments on how amazing the lagoon-style pool area looked.
Reservable poolside cabanas are available for a fee, but the pool area provides plenty of lounge chairs and other seating for relaxing and catching some Florida rays.
My visit was in September. There were tons of bugs flying around as I lounged poolside. I’m unsure if this is normal or specific to the fall season. It was a bit of a pain as they kept landing on me and my chair. They didn’t bite, but I still didn’t care for them.
The pool area also features a few water slides (for bigger kids and adults) and a splash zone for younger children. Our teens would’ve loved hanging out all day at the Falls Pool Oasis.
The hotel is also home to a huge conference center (450k square feet) that probably accounts for half of the property space. FinCon was located at the conference center’s far end, furthest from the guest rooms. It was. Bit of a hike to get to conference events and sessions.
Two huge conferences took place during my stay, making some areas of the resort a bit crowded at times, especially the lobby bar and Starbucks.
River Falls Water Park
In addition to one of the nicest pool setups in the Orlando area, Orlando World Center recently added the River Falls Water Park to the property. It’s a huge hit with families, and for a good reason.
The water park features a huge lazy river, several inner tube slides, and an awesome water playground that kids will enjoy for hours. There are plenty of lounging areas for adults, including more rentable cabanas. It’s not the biggest water park in the area, with Walt Disney World and Universal Studios close by, but it’s pretty impressive for a resort.
Another staple of Orlando World Center is its array of dining options. The resort features several restaurants and other culinary delights. Hours vary between restaurants, so check before heading down to eat. Restaurants on the property include:
- Siro Urban Italian Kitchen
- Falls Pool Bar & Grill
- High Velocity
- Latitude & Longitude
- The Lobby Lounge
- Mikado Japanese Steak House
- Central Pantry
Many of my meals during my stay came from Central Pantry since I was looking for quick bites between FinCon sessions. I also relied on hotel room service several times. High Velocity is a sports bar and was a welcome option when meeting others for meals.
I have started bringing my Aeropress for coffee during my travels, but I still hit up Starbucks and Central Pantry several times for coffee during my stay.
Other Details You Need To Know
Orlando World Center Marriott seems like the perfect place to get away with the family. There are some potential drawbacks to mention before you book your next vacation.
Orlando World Center charges a $42 daily resort fee (per room per night) on top of the room rate and
Paying another fee kind of sucks, but it’s not without its value. With the resort fee, guests receive:
- Daily admission to River Falls Water Park (up to 4 guests)
- Complimentary bag of balls and clubs for driving range use (up to 4 guests)
- Daily scheduled shuttle service to Disney Parks (up to 4 guests)
- Enhanced in-room wireless internet
- Nightly scheduled shuttle service to Disney Springs (up to 4 guests)
If you’re bringing a car, on-site self-parking costs $24 per day. Valet parking is available for $40 per day. There are also electric car charging stations available at the resort.
I arrived a few days before my conference, right as another conference was wrapping up. With large conferences come larger crowds of people who rarely leave the property. That could mean waiting in long lines to check in, at Starbucks, and at restaurants on the property. During lunchtime, several food trucks parked outside the conference center area. I absolutely loved that they did this, but the lines got long very quickly. Plan accordingly.
If you’re planning a stay at Orlando World Center or another Marriott property, don’t book your trip without first joining Marriott Bonvoy, the hotel brand’s loyalty program. We’re long-time Bonvoy members from before it was called Bonvoy, although we’ve never really built up our status until more recently. Before my trip, I applied for (and received) the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® credit card, my first Marriott credit card ever. I don’t know what took me so long.
Marriott Bonvoy has several status tiers, each offering benefits and perks. I’m currently Gold Elite, which gives me access to perks like a 25% points bonus on eligible hotel purchases, late checkout, and enhanced room upgrades (based on availability). Members also have access to lower member rates and complimentary internet access during their stays.
Is Orlando World Center Marriott Worth It?
I walked away from my stay at Orlando World Center Marriott wishing my family was with me to enjoy all of the amenities and the gorgeous property. I prefer to travel with them anyways, but especially when it’s somewhere I know they will love.
World Center isn’t the cheapest place to stay in Orlando. There are other Marriott properties or other hotels to choose from if you’re looking for somewhere to stay within a budget. Families traveling to the Orlando area are often there to visit Walt Disney World, Universal Studios Orlando, Sea World, Legoland or other theme parks in the area. If you plan to spend most of your time in the parks, you may have time to enjoy all of the amenities at Orlando World Center Marriott. If that’s the case, another Marriott hotel or resort in the area may be a better fit.
Orlando World Center Marriott is an excellent option if you are looking for a home base for your next Florida family vacation. It has every you could ever want for family fun, relaxation, and a break from everyday life.
What are your favorite features at Orlando World Center Marriott? Let us know in the comments.
Kevin Payne is the budgeting and family travel enthusiast behind FamilyMoneyAdventure.com. He’s also the host of the Family Money Adventure Show podcast, where he helps families learn to manage their money better so they can afford to do the things they love.
Kevin is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance and travel. He is a regular contributor to USA Today, Forbes Advisor, Bankrate, Fox Business, Credible, and CreditCards.com.