Orlando has a million ways to part you from your money, from rose-gold Mickey ears to unspeakably perfect desserts (I'm looking at you Amorette's!) It is also home to some of the best water parks in the country, that rival their theme park cousins for immersive experiences. However, the region also boasts many hotels with water play areas that you can enjoy for the day without having to spend anything other than your (already required) resort fee. Here are some of my favourites: 

 

With countless hot tubs, a faux-grotto, and waterslides it's easy to see why this resort stands out. They also have a wonderful, zero-entry kid's splash zone complete with a "baby" slide and shade umbrellas so even the youngest guests can enjoy a day in the sun. Parents, be aware the huge main pool is actually very deep so be sure to grab your kids a life vest and stay within arms reach. The pool area also includes space for corn hole and is frequently host to guest performances including visits from Gatorland so be sure to bring your camera to the pool.

 

 

Sheraton Vistiana Villages Resorts

The centrepiece of this resort's pool area is its pirate ship. The stuff kid dreams are made of, it has slides, can be climbed, and even features cannons! The pool is zero entry and only small sections are very deep, making it more accessible to younger children. If you have friends travelling with you who prefer a quieter pool experience, there are many loungers around the other non-themed pools as well.

 

 

Disney's Beach Club Resort

This Epcot-area resort is the benchmark for all other resort waterparks in the Orlando area. It has everything you could possibly want, from an incredible slide, to a lazy river, to a sand-bottomed zero-entry pool. Of course, you can expect to pay a large premium for this complex and as a result lifeguards monitor access very closely. The amenities at Beach Club Resort might just make it worthwhile for your family though, especially if you are visiting during Disney's Food and Wine festival and want to be able to get back to the pool quickly. 

 

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Universal's Cabana Bay Resort

This budget-friendly resort has a remarkably good water area. The large central pool has a fun slide, a fully-fenced in water playground for smaller children, and a separate pool zone with a lazy river. Both pool areas have large shaded seating areas with loungers for guests to kick back in, and the pool bars offer many happy hour specials. If your crew is truly into water play, the resort also has a direct entrance to Universal's new Volcano Bay Park where you can experience Orlando's only water roller coaster.