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Our 2023 Disney Trip & The JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes

We took Savanna and John to Disney when I was pregnant with Peter and we were excited to finally return! We waited until they could all do almost everything together.  While Chris and I love Disney it is exhausting so we wanted to balance the trip (3 days in the park and 3 days by the pool).  Anyone with kids knows pool days are not “relaxing”, but they are not has exhausting as Disney.  The JW Marriott in Texas spoiled our crew with water slides and being extremely kid oriented.  When we planned this trip we were excited to see that they had one in Orlando that looked equally as amazing.  If you are looking for planning inspiration check out all the details and my review of our our 2023 Disney Trip & The JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes.

The JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes Review

JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes Water Slides - Photo

Pools and Kids Activities 

They have an amazing pool set up with a lazy river, 3 large water slides and an aquacourse (open on the weekend).  Additionally they also provide tubes, which is a nice added bonus.  The hotel is situated on a lake and they offer kayaks and canoes, as well as an eco-tour.

JW Marriott Orlando Aquacourse - photo

Additionally, they have local mountain biking and a sunrise safari (I believe there is an extra charge for all of these).  There is also a game room which my kids enjoyed in the morning and when they needed a break from the sun.  It had video games as well as table top games (pool, fooseball and ping pong). 

JW Marriott Orlando for Kids - photo

The JW Marriott is attached to a Ritz Carlton which was more geared toward someone who wanted a quieter vacation or had younger children as they had a kids club with animals and younger toys (we could visit during the open hours in the morning).  The Ritz had a smaller enclosed playground and baby pool as well. 


My favorite part about the hotel was the food (of course 😉).  In all seriousness it was the best hotel food we have ever had.  Most of the food is fresh and comes from the local farms.  All of the restaurants at the JW Marriott were kid friendly (some at the Ritz were not).  Two of the mornings (non park days) we took advantage of their amazing breakfast buffet.  They have a great mix of very healthy (house made granola, fresh pressed juices, homemade honey, smoothies, made to order omelets…) as well as fun foods for the kids (made to order pancakes, muffins, donuts, eggs, bacon..). 

We ate at all of the restaurants including the lobby bar one night which was perfect when we needed something fast after a long day in the parks.  Both Primo and Whisper Creek Kitchen provide take out which worked really well for us one day after the parks.  We ate at Highball and Harvest in the Ritz one night which was our favorite meal of the entire trip.  It is casual and super kid friendly (they had a great kids menu, 2 pool tables, lives music and a shuffle board table).

JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes Trip - photo  

The poolside food was so great for lunch and so much better than traditional “pool food”.  My kids still enjoyed their tenders but Chris and I were able to get amazing salads and sandwiches.

Disney Parks

The downfall to staying at the JW Marriott was we could not take advantage of the early access to Disney parks (30 minutes).  In Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom the Genie + worked great and we didn’t feel we needed the early access.  In Epcot it may have been helpful as the genie just didn’t work as well.  The other disadvantage is if you want to take a break in the afternoon and go back at night it’s not as easy to do. Overall the positives out weighed the minor negatives and we would definitely stay there again.

Everyone really loved Magic Kingdom still – I think it is always magical and fun no matter the age.  Highlights were space mountain, thunder mountain (we actually rode 3x), and the laugh floor (a great break from the heat).  

Disney World Family Trip - photo

Epcot is a classic for me and I could actually spend more than one day there.  One for rides and one for country exploring.  It holds overall favorite rides – test track, ratatouille and the new gardians of the galaxy ride was truely one of the best rides I have ever been on.  The Disney Pixar short films is a great little heat break too.  

family disney trips - photo The Animal Kingdom Lion King Show - photo

Animal Kingdom holds one of my favorite attractions in all of Disney, The Lion King Show.  The rapids and the Expedition coaster were the other 2 highlights.  John and I really loved Avatar but it made Savanna and Chris a little nauseous.  Peter was just under 44 inches so couldn’t do it.

Great Orlando Hotel - photo

We spent the last day with one an amazing breakfast and some time by the pool before we headed home.  It was a really wonderful trip.  We love to explore different places so not positive when we will be back but we will :).  If you have any questions feel free to reach out! 

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