A family trip to Orlando doesn’t need to be tiring – here’s how.

If your family is anything like mine, going to Orlando, Florida, doesn’t always spell “relaxing.”  It’s normally days of non-stop, sunrise to past sunset, go go go to Disney, Universal, and all the numerous family attractions.  And although it’s fun, and filled with a memory-making opportunities, well… it’s a whirlwind that sometimes leaves me more tired than when we arrived.  So, when I decided to take my 9-year-old son to Orlando recently, I vowed this time we’d figure out how to combine the relaxation I was craving with the fun he was dreaming of.  

If you’re looking to find a little ahhhh in your Orlando vacation, pick a resort that has something for everyone.  We found The Marriott Orlando World Center, the world’s largest Marriott. Pulling up to the sprawling property, located close to the parks, my son exclaimed, “Is this Disney?”  

The impressive towers, huge pool area with three water slides and waterfalls and perfectly landscaped areas looked like a fairytale setting.

Our perfect vacation had some negotiating involved:  days 1 and 2 would be “Mommy Days” and days 3 and 4 “Kid Days.” We’d hang at the resort so I could get my relaxation on, then we would hit Disney and Universal Studios so he could get his thrill on. Finding somewhere that had kid’s activities throughout the day was a game changer, as I was able to take advantage of the gorgeous and relaxing spa. I literally had one of the best massages of my life experiencing each technique of Swedish, deep tissue, warm stones, and aromatherapy.  My son may spell heaven in Orlando as M-I-C-K-E-Y but I now spell it S-P-A at the Marriott Orlando World Center.  

After my son filled his day with hula-hoop contests, kid activities, as well as non-stop waterslides and waterfall swimming, and I had filled mine with a massage and sitting on the perfect lounger right next to the Falls Pool Bar and Grill (hello fruity drink!), we were glad to have many top-notch restaurants and a market pantry on the property.  Tip: be sure to try Hawks Landing steakhouse. Usually we just eat “whatever” (a.k.a. park food), or fight to get a reservation, so this was perfection.  We also wanted to catch the Marriott Orlando’s renown nighttime laser show poolside we’d heard about from friends.  From our poolside balcony, not only did we see the famous laser show, but also saw several parks fireworks shooting up above.  Lights, music, dancing – it seriously was one of the coolest and most magical things we have EVER witnessed at a hotel.

As I entered Day 2 well-rested (shocker!), with my son wanting more pool-time while hanging at their tech-style lounge (aka video games), we couldn’t believe we were in Orlando.  And, while I noted golfers on the Marriott’s 18-hole championship course, tennis players heading to the courts, and runners enjoying the paths, I was happy to simply shift my lounge chair to stay under the oversized umbrella.  After another incredible day and dinner at my son’s favorite, Mikado Japanese hibachi steakhouse, we caught the laser show again this time poolside. It was as if my son had almost forgotten about the nearby parks (well almost…).

The next day we were up bright and early to catch the free shuttle to his choice, Epcot.  We loved the close proximity of the hotel as well as our magical mouse day.  That afternoon when I asked my son if he wanted to eat at Disney, he replied “Mommy I’d rather eat at The Marriott.”  A vacation miracle!  We dined at The Marriott’s amazing farm-to-table Italian restaurant.

Then the real miracle happened.  On day 4 my son said instead of picking another park, he’d rather just swim and play on the water slides all day and jump into the pool-side kids activities at The Marriott.  We had actually achieved the vacation we had both been wanting in Orlando – my son’s action-packed, filled with fun, and mine relaxing, all while combining a little park adventure.  And I might even go so far as saying we came home relaxed, thanks to an amazing stay.