• Jenny Penland

Four Seasons ‣ Orlando



The Resort:

Located within Walt Disney World Resort, the Four Seasons Orlando is an AAA Five Diamond property, boasting twenty-six acres of family-friendly luxury, with a dash of pixie dust at every corner.


The hotel itself is nestled within the neighborhood of Golden Oak; a picturesque residential community comprised of multi-million dollar mansions, designed and maintained by Walt Disney Imagineering.


When guests enter through the main lobby, they are greeted by a score of crystal chandeliers, designed to emulate the nightly firework show, which may be viewed from many of the park view balconies, as well as Capa, each evening.



The Pools:

Setting it apart from most of its sister properties, the Four Seasons Orlando resort features a water park. Yes, a literal water park. And it is, hands down, the best aquatic centre of any property in Orlando.

If you're trying to stack it up against one of the eight Disney Deluxe Resorts, the facilities at Yacht and Beach Club are most comparable. So, when making a decision about where to stay - consider this: Y&BC has roughly 1200 rooms; whereas the Four Seasons Orlando has just over 400. The pool grounds at Y&BC encompass three acres --- whereas FS Orlando's Explorer Island is five acres. Y&BC has two slides, FS has three...

And on top of all this, Four Seasons Orlando also has an adults-only pool, a giant splash pad, and a 700 foot lazy river.

It's also worth noting that only overnight guests can utilize the FS Orlando facilities, so you'll be getting double the size with half the crowd. I.E. Better service, more space, and no need to place a separate flip flop on each lounge chair to reserve your family's spot at the start of the day.


The Restaurants:

1.Capa:

Attire: Business Casual | Cuisine: Spanish Influenced Steakhouse and Tapas Bar | Operating Hours: Dinner Daily 5:00 pm–10:00 pm

Located seventeen floors up on the rooftop of the hotel, Capa is a moody and romantic Michelin-starred venue, with an open kitchen, full service bar, and panoramic views. Kennedy's eaten there with me a handful of times, and because the Four Seasons caters to Disney families, it does have a kids menu, but in my opinion, this is the place for date night. Its dimly lit and boasts an extensive wine list, a raw bar, and some of the highest quality steak cuts in all of Central Florida. But, when traveling with littles, for (at least) one night of the trip, we always head back to the Four Seasons before the parks close and have desert at Capa, seated outdoors. You still get to watch the fireworks (from the sky!), but with churros and lava cake (and champagne!) Plus, you avoid the rush back to the transportation center (and sitting on a Main Street curb for an hour) - meaning your kids get to bed much sooner, much easier -- leaving everyone much more refreshed for the next day of Disney magic.



2.Ravello:

Attire: Business Casual | Cuisine: Spanish Influenced Steakhouse and Tapas Bar | Operating Hours: Dinner Daily 5:00 pm–10:00 pm

You can definitely tell from those dimensional highlights that we've been staycationing at the Four Seasons (and enjoying character dining at Ravello) since the property first opened in 2014! But when I stumbled across these throwbacks, I knew I had to include them 'cause Kennedy's wide-eyed grin tells you all you need to know about the venue. Ravello offers traditional Italian cuisine for dinner, as well as a breakfast buffet each day. On select mornings, they also have character dining with Goofy and friends! (Usually Mickey and Minnie).


I've always been a huge fan of character dining, because I'd much rather spend the money to have the characters come to us than waste hours, waiting in line. But the problem with many of park venues is that the food is mostly served family style and isn't all that great for the price. Four Seasons' Ravello totally absolves this. The buffet is bountiful - bottomless mimomas, fresh juices, omelette station, dessert table, the whole nine. Plus, you tend to get way more face time with the characters at Ravello than you do at other restaurants.



3. Plancha:

Attire: Casual | Cuisine: Cuban American Fusion | Operating Hours: Weekday Times Vary, Sunday Brunch: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Located away from the main building at the Tranquilo Golf Course, Plancha can be a little out-of-sight/out-of-mind, and because of this, it doesn't get the hype it deserves. I think because it operates as the course's de facto clubhouse, there's something a little less hurried about the venue and waitstaff; they want you to stay awhile - enjoy a couple of rounds, and maybe a couple more after that. Which makes it a great place to enjoy brunch. Plus, its situated lakeside - right on the green, so the ambience is hard to beat. Definitely try it out - and definitely order (a few) blackberry margaritas.



4. PB&G:

Attire: Casual/Pool Wear | Cuisine: American | Operating Hours: 11:00 am - 6:00 pm

PB&G offers casual, waterside sit down dining and a full service bar, under a lake front pagoda. It's a great place to walk up for a quick bite after the pool, and offers a ton of crowd favorites with a flavorful twist. My go-to's: spicy tuna poke, tacos al pastor, and the escarole and pear salad with strip steak.


5. The Lobby Bar:

Attire: Casual | Cuisine: American | Operating Hours: 5:00 pm - 11:00 pm, Happy Hour: M-F5:00 pm - 7:00 pm, Live Music: M/T 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm

While it does offer *two* hours of Happy Hour, Monday through Friday, the Lobby Bar is not just a lobby bar. They serve everything from flounder, to burgers; cheese plates, to sushi --- and my favorite of all the FS Orlando signature cocktails - the Cucumber Fields (which you can get at most any of the venues on site if you ask nicely... ask me how I know.)



6. The Lickity Split:

Attire: Casual | Cuisine: All Day Dining, Coffee, Deserts, and Grab and Go | Operating Hours: 6:30 am - 9:00 pm

Lobby cafe offering all day dining, a variety of grab and go options, artisanal coffees, gelato and handcrafted milkshakes. Oh, and macaroons. Kennedy will not let me forget the macaroons.



The Rooms:

Each of the guest rooms are at least 500 square feet in size, offer plush furnishings, and a full marble bath. While some have obstructed views, the majority overlook the park, the lake, or Golden Oak. There is 24 hour room service available, in-room iPads for convenient concierge access, and in select suites, Plum, on-demand wine. Also, for a cool five-hundred thousand dollars, you can ring in the 50th Anniversary with a top floor buy out. Sure that's $100,000 per night for the five night stay, but it serves up to fifty guests - making it.... still insane. (But if you do this, I will happily pitch in 1/50th to experience it).



The Amenities:

The spa is open each day from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm and offers unique services, such as V Vitamin therapies and Somadome meditation pods, in addition to more customary treatment experiences, such as their signature service - La Floridian. Resort guests have complementary access to the relaxation areas, which includes a coed Tranquility Lounge, the post treatment Solarium Lounge, al fresco whirlpool terrace, and Experience Shower.


The property also offers an abundance of complimentary services, like the dive-in movies and s'mores and more events; as well as other amenities at a reduced rate, such as their par three short course for just $25.00.


Experience the Magic:

For most of us, the whole point of staying at the Four Seasons Orlando is to have an elevated Disney experience; and it won't take much time at all for any Disney vet to recognize that their offerings are truly unparalleled. Not only does FS Orlando provide shuttle transportation to the parks, you also can book a private driver to and from. During our most recent stay, we booked the private car service directly through the Four Seasons app (as we were leaving Magic Kingdom!) AND were able to have room service waiting for us when we got back.


Another invaluable complimentary feature is their extra magic time. For the duration of the Walt Disney World® 50th Anniversary, guests of the Four Seasons can go in to any theme park thirty minutes early each day (be sure to book your advance park reservation and bring a valid Resort ID), giving families time to knock out a few of the more popular rides before the crowds pour in.


And beyond the Goofy and His Pals Character Breakfast, there's so much more fun waiting for your littles when you get back to the hotel! The Kids For All Seasons program is open daily from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon and 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm, and is complementary for resort guests aged 4-12. Then, there's also unique experiences such as the Explorer Island Taker, Magic Moments at the Spa (their version of Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique) and in-room celebrations, for an additional cost.




Traveling to/from the Resort:

For those driving into Orlando, on-site valet is available (no self-parking). As mentioned, there is a robust Four Seasons App and each room includes an iPad, so you can request your car be brought around at the push of a button. For those flying into MCO, it's a roughly thirty minute drive to the Four Seasons, and you can either Uber for about thirty-five dollars each way, or private transfer can be arranged through the concierge. Complimentary, scheduled transportation is available to the four major Disney Theme Parks, running roughly once per hour. Note that there is no bus to Disney Springs, but direct service is available for a fee - as well as to Universal Studios, Sea World, and Restaurant Row.


Personally, I do not think the shuttle runs frequently enough, and think it would be better if they offered the major shuttle during opening and close, then just had a valet transport complimentary in perhaps a sprinter van, when requested by guests - but once you're to a park or Disney Springs, you then have the ability to take the Disney buses, monorail, ferry, or skyline to hop between the properties. For this reason, it's my preference to Uber or use the FS Orlando private transfer to our first stop, use Disney transit throughout the day, and then catch the resort shuttle back to the property at the end of the night.


Suggested Minimum Length of Stay: Two nights


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