My husband was invited to a HCL conference in Orlando and we took a couple of days to enjoy Florida before the conference. We stayed at the Dolphin Resort http://swandolphin.com/
It was convenient because you are right in the heart of Disney so you can take the water taxi from the hotel to the boardwalk, Epcot, Hollywood Studios or The Magic Kingdom and the ride is free so that’s nice. The Hotel is pretty nice but nothing to write home about. It is a bit run down, and it has screaming kids on every corner. We made our reservations months in advance yet they could only give us a room with two double beds instead of a King. They said they “upgraded” our room for our troubles but our room still only had two double beds and it was a corner room that looked out over concrete. There was no turn down service, the sheets were so hard and smelled so much like bleach it was hard to sleep. BUT the beds were really nice. The rooms were clean and the hotel did have some nice restaurants like Shulas steakhouse where we ate one evening and enjoyed exceptional food and service. http://www.donshula.com/locations.php?l=1&restid=10
THE MAGIC KINGDOM: Well this was my first time ever here so I was not sure what to expect but it was pretty much what I thought it would be, kids, kids and more kids! There are all kinds of rides and the property is HUGE! If the lines are long go for the Fast Pass that way you can walk around, get lunch etc. and then come back to the ride and get right in with your fast pass ticket. (NOTE: You CANNOT get more than one fast pass for the rides, for example you can’t go around getting a fast pass for multiple rides hoping to time them, you can only have one fast pass for a ride at a time) But its the way to go if a line is say 2 or 3 hours long.
Space mountain was SUPER fun, a rollercoaster basically in the dark! Of course the Log Ride is one of my favorites. We rode the Haunted Mansion kind of slow but kids will like it, also Pirates of the Caribbean a pretty slow ride, good for small kids, The Runaway train was fast and super fun… there is lots to do for the whole family.
The food inside Disney World is nothing but CRAP! Its fried and fatty and everything is bad for you. I did see lots of families bringing in their own foods, like fruits, water, sandwiches etc. If you are watching your food intake, or on a diet, or just eat better than most people, bringing in your own food is the best way to go.
It is hot and there is lots to see so keep yourself hydrated or you will be miserable. Wear a hat on hot days and a cool long sleeve shirt and wear GOOD walking shoes! I can’t tell you how many times I preach the importance of NOT wearing heals, or flip-flops or sandles for places like this. You need good tennis shoes, or Merrells or something that is good for walking or hiking and good socks, socks that wont cause blisters. There is a lot of walking and its hot be PROPERLY prepared!
EPCOT CENTER: I see the concept of this and I understand that for many people this is a way to experience different parts of the world. The property is very lovely and clean but since we travel so much it was not as good of an experience for us as it may be for others. There are several different countries represented like China, Norway, etc. You can see a small town, watch a movie about the history and shop for things that may or may not represent or come from those countries. I am not sure that I would have chosen it again for myself but you might enjoy it and enjoy seeing different countries represented. And if nothing else its a good slow pace, not many kids there, beautiful to walk in the sunshine and spend time with your companions.