by Jackie Perrin
Conveniently situated directly across from SeaWorld Orlando and within splashing distance of Aquatica and Discovery Cove parks, Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld offers luxurious quarters for a marine-themed Orlando getaway, along with a sea of kid-friendly amenities and exclusive SeaWorld Orlando privileges.
Renovated in 2006 and again in 2011, the property features a stunning atrium along with five dining venues and a full-service spa. An expansive resort-style pool complex stars R Aqua Zone, one of the newest and most entertaining water play areas in Orlando. In addition to periscope guns, a water windmill, and a gyroscope spinner, the interactive water playground offers multiple water slides, shooting water jets, a rain tree, and a dedicated area for ‘tweens and teens as well as for toddlers.
The property’s 781 guestrooms, including 65 suites, are situated in a 10-story tower. Lodging options range from standard oversized rooms with marble baths and nightly turndown service to a lavish Presidential Suite, complete with a wet bar, a garden tub and a view fit for royalty.
Besides water-based fun at the pool complex and treatments for kids and adults at Neu Lotus spa, families can enjoy a game room, an activities lawn and, during summer and holiday periods, planned events, from “Breakfast with Shamu” and cookie decorating sessions to dive-in movies.
As one of seven official SeaWorld Orlando Partner hotels, the property offers guests a number of exclusive privileges, which alone make an overnight stay worthwhile. In addition to all-day front-of-the-line Quick Queue passes for SeaWorld Orlando, perks include early entry to SeaWorld Orlando and Aquatica waterpark on specific days during peak periods and complimentary transportation to SeaWorld Orlando parks and Universal Orlando.
To learn more about Renaissance, please visit Renaissance.
Our Editor Loves
- Spacious rooms close to SeaWorld Orlando parks
- R Aqua Zone mini-waterpark
- Exclusive SeaWorld Orlando privileges
- Theme Park
- Water Parks
- Game Room
- Kids' Pool
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
Renovated in 2006, 716 over-sized guestrooms are located in a ten-story tower. Rooms feature linens and furniture in neutral tones, with accent pieces and carpet in contrasting shades of blues and greens. Framed shell prints and curtains with a pattern suggesting ocean waves add an aquatic flair. In addition to a 32-inch flat-screen TV, amenities include luxurious bedding, a desk with a chair, a coffeemaker, a mini-refrigerator and signature Chocolate micro-fiber bathrobes. Choose from two queen beds or a king bed. King Rooms feature a sleeper sofa, and Queen Rooms include a comfortable sitting area with chairs and an ottoman.
Marble bathrooms feature double vanities, luxurious rain-style showerheads and a range of Aveda products. Kids will be thrilled to discover a sweet Shamu squirt toy, which serves double-duty as a bath companion and a take-home souvenir.
In 2011, the property's 65 suites received a makeover, adding modern decor to the already family-friendly configurations. Suite options (six total) range from spacious Corner King Suites featuring large windows and a connecting room option to a lavish Presidential Suite, offering a wet bar, a garden tub and a spacious balcony with a view fit for royalty.
With regard to location, upper floor rooms with an interior balcony offer scenic views of the stunning hotel atrium. Balcony door locks are situated well above a toddler's reach, providing peace of mind for parents. For an opportunity to view the nightly fireworks at SeaWorld, request a park-facing accommodation. Some SeaWorld-facing accommodations contain balconies.
Pack 'n Plays and bed rails are complimentary upon request. Rollaway beds and wireless Internet service are available for a daily fee. Connecting rooms are available.
My wife and I arrived at the hotel around 12:30 a.m. We were warmly greeted by the wonderful lady at the desk. Check-is was quick. The room was one of the best accommodations I have ever experienced. The pool area is like being in a resort paradise in the middle of a big city. The lady at the concierge desk went above and beyond to make our stay enjoyable. You do not have to leave the grounds to enjoy a great vacation. There is also a well equipped fitness center. However, International Drive is conveniently close to explore. The only negative is the restaurant choices at the hotel and the cost for parking. Most of the food is overpriced and I only had two good meals there. The Southern Fried Chicken sandwich at the poolside restaurant was delicious as was the lunch served at the closing session of the conference I attended. I would recommend a stay here though.
I recently stayed at this hotel for a conference. There were two conferences occurring at the same time, so it was very busy during my time there. The rooms were large, comfortable and clean. Housekeeping did a wonderful job cleaning the room each day. There is a mini fridge and coffee maker in each room and nice large closets. The food at both the conference and in the restaurants was very good. Spoke to our waitress one night in the hotel restaurant and they did not have what we wanted for dinner, made a request and we were able to dine on what we wished. Rarely have I had such good conference food. The only con I had during our stay was there are really no grab and go options, a few items in the hotel gift shop and at the Starbucks. The staff could not have been nicer or more helpful. This is one of the best Renaissance hotels I have stayed at and would recommend others to do the same. Great location half way between Universal and Disney, near I drive but off the busy section. I look forward to another conference at this hotel in the future.
R Aqua Zone
Opened in 2011, and adjacent to the main pool, this fun-filled mini water park includes an area for toddlers as well as one for 'tweens and teens. Colorful features include periscope guns and a gyroscope spinner. Water slides (three total) include two flume slides (88' and 122' - must be 42" tall to ride) designed specifically for older kids and a pint-sized slide just for little ones. Lounge chairs are plentiful and covered patio tables are available for dining. A sun sail shade covers a portion of the surrounding area. Hours are 9 a.m. to dusk.
Situated next to R Aqua Zone, the lushly landscaped resort-style pool complex features multiple hot tubs along with luxurious loungers, many in a private cabana setting. Pool depth ranges from 3' to 6'. Nearby, guests will find ping-pong tables, and on certain nights, dive-in movies are offered. Check the activities guide for a current schedule. Hours are 6 a.m. to midnight, weather permitting.
In both swim areas, lifeguards are on duty and swim diapers are required for non-potty-trained children. Along with limited baby and toddler supplies, diapers can be purchased in the gift shop. Towels are complimentary at a poolside kiosk.
Hair Braids, Wraps and Temporary Tattoos
At a kiosk on the pool deck, kids can get hair wraps, braids or temporary tattoos. Hours are 12 to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, weather permitting.
Next to the pool, a fire pit is the site for regular S'mores making. Check the activities schedule for details.
Between the pool deck and the hotel lobby, this marine-themed arcade offers a sampling of modern games, along with air hockey.
Summer and Holiday Activities
On holidays and during the summer months, (Memorial Day to early September) the property offers an expanded array of activities for children and families. Options range from pool parties, cookie decorating and Breakfast with Shamu to special story times and holiday elf visits.
neu lotus Spa
Children ages 10 and under can enjoy a "La Petite" manicure or pedicure at this attractive 8,500-square-foot spa, located on the second floor. Special mommy-to-be massages and relaxing treatments for mom and dad are also available. Hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Boardwalk Sports Bar
This mainly adult-oriented venue offers a children's menu along with game broadcasts in a casual pub environment. Hours are 2:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. Monday to Friday and 2 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Food service is available until 11 p.m.
Mist Sushi and Spirits
At this hip sushi bar, families can hang out and play chess while watching marine scenes projected on a giant media screen. A kids' menu is not offered, but there are several comfortable seating areas suitable for families with children. Hours are 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Sushi is served from 5 to 10 p.m.
Palms Pool Bar & Grill
At this poolside grill, kids' meals come with a choice of fresh fruit cup or seasoned waffle fries. Kids Menu choices include a cheeseburger, chicken tenders, a grilled chicken breast (no bun), a grilled cheese sandwich and an organic turkey sandwich on wheat bread. If your kids shy away from sandwiches that are toast-y, ask for a plain or "lightly grilled" bun. Fresh fruit smoothies are also available. Covered seating is provided next to the bar, as well as in the water park area. A water cooling station is located at the end of the bar. Hours are 11:30.a.m. to dusk.
Get your caffeine fix, and enjoy smoothies and pastries at this lobby level coffee shop. An indoor seating area with free Wi-fi is available. Hours are 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Serving breakfast lunch and dinner, this popular spot for families offers creative twists on familiar fare, along with locally sourced and organic ingredients. Children's menu options range from pancakes, French toast or a scrambled egg with bacon and toast for breakfast to macaroni and cheese, a cheeseburger, chicken tenders, a grilled cheese sandwich or a grilled chicken breast for lunch and dinner. A breakfast buffet is also available. Regular hours are 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Closing time may fluctuate by season. During summer months, families can have breakfast with Shamu. At breakfast, kids' meals come with a fresh fruit cup. Lunch and dinner options include a choice of fruit, fries or veggies. The breakfast buffet is especially popular, and at peak times, there may be a wait. Arrive early for swift seating.
Treat the kids to milk and cookies (the chocolate chip cookies are especially delicious) for a bedtime snack, or get an early start on a day at the SeaWorld parks with favorites like mini waffles, French toast or assorted cereal. Lunch and dinner choices for kids include hamburger or cheeseburger sliders and a hot dog, along with the regular items available at other hotel dining venues, including macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese and chicken tenders. For adult appetites, a range of items, from "Organic Chicken and Dumpling Soup" to "Maine Lobster Truffled Mac & Cheese", is available. For a real treat, finish with a "Mini Dessert Sampler." The sweet preview includes house favorites like turtle cheesecake, key lime pie, carrot cake and chocolate hazelnut (banana mouse with chocolate ganache). In-room dining is available from 6 a.m. to midnight Monday to Thursday, and until 1 a.m. Friday to Sunday.
Planning & Tips
The Art of Smart Timing
The property is a popular convention destination, so occupancy may swell anytime there's a major business event onsite or at nearby Orange County Convention Center. Note that the property is a host hotel during January college bowl games. Times when you'll see lots of family companions include summer and school holidays. During these periods, the property expands its array of family-friendly activities.
All About the Extras
For families visiting Orlando, Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld offers a number of time and money-saving perks which add up to a terrific value. In addition to all-day front-of-the-line Quick Queue passes for SeaWorld Orlando, guests are eligible for complimentary theme park transportation (SeaWorld Orlando and Universal Orlando parks), early entry to SeaWorld and Aquatica on specific peak days and the exclusive opportunity to book the SeaWorld Rescue Tour, a 20-minute behind-the-scenes tour available on early entry days.
Additional perks families will appreciate include complimentary citrus and cucumber-infused water and free Wi-fi in the lobby, free champagne at check-in, complimentary Shamu bath toys, and nightly turn-down service with chocolates. During holidays and summer months (Memorial Day to early September), the property offers an expanded array of kid-friendly activities, including cookie decorating, face painting, pancake making, dive-in movies, "Breakfast with Shamu" and special holiday elf visits.
Thanks to serene marine-themed decor and lushly landscaped grounds, the property offers a pleasing "getaway" atmosphere. Along with a multitude of seating arrangements, from clam shell loveseats to luxe loungers, guests will enjoy a sky-lit atrium with rushing waterfalls along with aquatic artwork, mosaics and changing oceanic scenes. The latter are displayed on a giant screen, which is visible from interior corridors, balconies and glass elevators.
Quick Queue Unlimited Passes
Available at the Expedia Guest Services desk in the main lobby, Quick Queue Unlimited passes (all-day front-of-the-line passes for SeaWorld Orlando) are offered to registered guests in person on a first-come, first-served basis, based on daily allotment. Participating attractions include Manta, Kraken, Journey to Atlantis and Wild Arctic (Polar Express from mid-November to early January). Expedia desk hours are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. For best results, present your request the day prior to your planned SeaWorld Orlando visit. The Expedia representative will present you with a coded printout. At a kiosk outside the front SeaWorld gate, scan the printout and receive Quick Queue Unlimited tickets for members of your party. At the first participating attraction, tickets are traded for wristbands, which can be used throughout the day at eligible attractions.
Theme Park Transportation
Shuttles to and from Aquatica and SeaWorld Orlando (with a connection to Discovery Cove) run on a regular basis. Alternatively, the park is a five-minute walk across the street and through the SeaWorld parking lot, making it easy to take a mid-day break back at the hotel, regardless of shuttle schedules. Shuttles to Universal Orlando (reservations required) are less regular -- with one departure offered in the morning and one return trip scheduled for the evening.
Show your benefits card (available at the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld Expedia Desk) for a 10 percent discount on merchandise and food at select shops, including food at Sharks Underwater Grill and all-day dining passes for SeaWorld Orlando and Aquatica.
Accessible 24-hours with a valid room key, a 2,600-square-foot fitness center offers an impressive range of LifeFitness and floor exercise equipment.
At the lobby gift shop, you'll find a nice selection of swim gear, resort wear, souvenirs and travel toys along with a limited selection of snacks, beverages and sundries. Baby and toddler essentials (including diapers and swim diapers) are available, but expect to pay resort prices for these items. Swim toys are also sold at a poolside kiosk.
All About Kids, an outside agency, provides in-room babysitting. A minimum and transportation/parking fees apply.
Water bottles, baby food and snack-sized items are permitted at SeaWorld Orlando parks. Stock up on essentials for your room and theme park visits (think non-melting snacks like pieces of fruit, pretzels and granola bars) at CVS or Publix.
Theme Park Visit Timing
One of the biggest perks of staying so close to SeaWorld Orlando is the ability to return to the property within minutes. A great way to break up the day is to return mid-afternoon and enjoy a swim, than have an early dinner at Palms Pool Bar & Grill (be sure to check the closing time in advance and place your order accordingly). Rested and re-fueled, you'll be in fine form to re-visit SeaWorld Orlando in the evening, when you can enjoy nighttime shows and rides sans some of the mid-day crowds.
Getting There and Getting Around
The hotel is approximately 11 miles from Orlando International Airport (MCO). To reach the property by car, take Highway 528 (Beachline Expressway) West to I-4. Take exit #1 -- International Drive. Turn left at the light of International Drive. At the second light, turn right onto Sea Harbor Drive and follow one-quarter mile. The hotel will be on your right.
There is a fee for self and valet parking. For guests seeking airport transportation and transportation to Walt Disney World Resort, taxis are available at the front entrance. A Hertz car rental desk is onsite.
Free shuttles depart regularly for Aquatica and SeaWorld Orlando (with a connection to Discovery Cove). Be sure to check return times in advance; Ask a guest service representative for a current schedule. The Universal Orlando shuttle (reservations required) departs once in the morning, with a single return trip in the evening.
The I-Ride Trolley offers two hotel stops and operates daily in the International Drive Resort area from 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., with stops at area shopping and dining as well as at Universal Orlando parks. Fare is a reasonable and kids 12 and under ride free with a paying adult. Exact change is required.
For Mom and Dad
Chill out in a cabana at the pool. Alternatively, enjoy a treatment at neu lotus spa. Try the "Journey of Discovery for Two," which includes a candle-lit champagne toast, a relaxing tub soak and a signature massage.