Orlando Lodging

An Orlando Bedtime Story

Sunday, November 7, 2004

When it comes to Orlando area hotels, it's not such a small world after all.

Tourists heading for Central Florida's theme park metroplex can choose from a whopping 114,000 hotel rooms. That amounts to separate digs for every man, woman and child of, say, Ann Arbor, Mich. And with a price point for every checkbook, picking a place to stay can be as difficult as deciding whether to spend your day-off-from-Disney at Sea World or Universal Studios. You'll find every option available, from bargain-basement Orlando to mid-range Orlando to, forgive us, tony Orlando.

Want a campsite within a lion's whisker of Animal Kingdom? A place to park the RV not too far from Interstate 4? A B&B with a hot tub? Where can you find breakfast with Snow White? A decent poolside rum drink? A rental home of your own? Consider this: At Disney World alone, there are more than two dozen hotels from which to choose.

So how do you select the right accommodations for you -- and your budget?

With the holiday season approaching like a speeding monorail and kitchen tables already littered with brochures for 2005 spring and summer planning, we dispatched a team of researchers to make sense of Orlando's motel madness. Three Travel staffers roamed the area's vast lodging scene, bedding down in econo-hotels (their budget picks are marked by stars in the above graphic), reconnoitering Disney resorts and test-bouncing mattresses in rooms that ranged from dive to deluxe. (And, in one case, napping on an Epcot park bench.)

© 2004 The Washington Post Company