Locating a hotel is critical to planning for any Walt Disney World vacation. The basic question is whether to stay at a hotel located inside Disney World (“on-site”) or not (“off-site”). Today we are looking at Candlewood Suites Lake Buena Vista, an off-site property 4 miles away from all four Walt Disney World parks. Meals are less expensive, and rooming outside the World makes you more receptive to other Orlando-area attractions and eating spots. Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, SeaWorld, and Gatorland are well worth your attention.
Off-site hotels and homes are often better deals for families looking for more space.
The Candlewood Suites Lake Buena Vista offers a gym, an outdoor swimming pool with two grill stations, and a laundry room. In addition, the 163 spacious guest rooms include a bathroom with a bathtub, plenty of electric outlets to charge all your devices, and a flat-screen TV. Now let’s look at the pros and cons of staying at Candlewood Suites Lake Buena Vista:
- Short ride to all four Walt Disney World theme parks and Disney Springs
- Two miles from shopping, dining, and entertainment, such as Twin Peaks, Millers Ale House, El Patron Restaurante Mexicano, U & ME Revolving Hot Pot (Chinese restaurant), Disney Springs, and Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets
- Free shuttle to theme parks; reserve prior to 6 p.m. the day before your theme park visit. Stop by the front desk for the most updated shuttle schedule.
- Free Wi-Fi
- Nice outdoor pool
- The Candlewood Cupboard offers a small array of sundries and beverages.
- The Lending Locker is where guests can find anything from a George Foreman Grill to slow cookers to grill utensils to fire up one of the two grills by the pool.
- Pets are welcome at the hotel. There is a pet deposit per stay of $75. The nonrefundable pet fee of is for one to six nights. A nonrefundable pet fee of $150 is charged for stays of seven nights or more. There is a maximum of two pets (no more than 80 pounds) per room.
- The room and the hotel have a modern and calm feel, something to consider after a long and hectic day in the parks.
- The price is right! A 2 Queen Bed Studio Suite starts at $119 per night, plus tax. A 1 King Bed 1 Bedroom Suite with Sofa Bed in the living room starts at $123 per night, plus tax.
Universal Studios, SeaWorld, Typhoon Lagoon, Blizzard Beach, Discovery Cove, and the ESPN World Wide of Sports Complex are 10 miles away.
Self Parking Fee: $17 per night
Theme Park Shuttle: The shuttle is available to Universal Studios, Sea World, and the Magic Kingdom (TTC). You must transfer to Disney transportation at the TTC. On days of early entry for Walt Disney World on-site guests, you cannot get to the park before opening using the shuttle. All Disney on-site guests are granted early entry daily to all parks 30 minutes prior to the official opening time, which means the parks are already busy before you even get there.
Returns are equally problematic, as the shuttles depart the Magic Kingdom, SeaWorld, Universal Studios, and EPCOT (evening only) long before the evening entertainment starts. You’ll need to make reservations the night before your park visits. Other restrictions to consider are: No scooters are allowed on the shuttle, and only single umbrella-style strollers can go on board. Reservations for manual wheelchairs and electric wheelchairs must be made 24 hours in advance.
I loved staying at the Candlewood Suites Orlando Lake Buena Vista. The hotel has a 24-hour, friendly desk staff and is top-notch clean. The only real downside is the shuttle. If you want to be in the parks an hour before they open and leave at closing, you really have no other option than to use your car (beware, there are parking fees at the parks). I decided to use Uber and felt that this gave me the freedom to come and go whenever I wanted. This is the best option, especially since I flew into Orlando and did not have a car. Saving on the daily parking fees at the hotel and the theme parks made up for the Uber charges. I loved the home-like suites of the hotel. I stayed in a 1 King Bedroom Suite with separate living and working area, which included a sofa bed and a fully equipped kitchen. I had plenty of space and was able to relax after a noisy and crazy day in the park.
Candlewood Suites is an ING Hotel and located at 12341 Winter Garden Vineland, Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32836. Check in time is 4 p.m. and check-out time is 11 a.m.
For all there is to see and do at Walt Disney World, check out The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World and The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids. If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to our YouTube channel and sign up for our newsletter here. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube. #theUGSeries #unofficialguide