You can’t choose your family, but you can choose an awesome room.
Once upon a time the family room occupied a unique space in family life. Unlike other rooms, the family room didn’t have a specific, set purpose. It was a place that came with an open invitation for play, imagination, creativity, leisure, laughter and the purest of all family experiences – unconditional fun.
Today’s family rooms typically have more screens and devices. And, because of those, a little less eye contact. As for that unconditional fun thing? The good news is that as long as there are families, there will always be that. And the great news: You’re about to meet several family vacation destinations that have taken the family room concept to a whole new dimension.
Despicable Me Kid’s Suites: Loews Portofino Bay Hotel – Universal Orlando Resort
Let’s start with a bad example. Not the rooms, of course. But the little yellow characters who inspired them. The Minions. What better way to the reward children for being good most of the time than a room themed by creatures who’ve behaved badly since the beginning of time? The Despicable Me Kid’s Suites at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel let kids be kids while parents enjoy every creature comfort in their own adjoining room.
While the kids will have a blast in their Minion-themed suite, with custom-designed missile beds and Minion-inspired bedding complete with Gru’s scarf, an earth-shattering family experience awaits at Universal’s all-new Volcano Bay water theme park. Just a lava rock’s throw from the volcano are fabulous family suite cabanas befitting this tropical paradise. Stocked with plush seating, a refrigerator keeping the water and snacks cool, fluffy towels and concierge service, the cabana might be one of the most popular attractions in the park. The family suite cabana offers privacy and space that accommodates up to 16 people. And several dozen Minions. At Universal, they’re one big, happy family.
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort-Themed Family Suites
The amazing thing about Disney Animation is that it’s so vivid and magical that you sometimes feel you’re living inside the story yourself. Hold that thought, and that feeling. Because at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, your family will be living inside that same wonderful experience, with your favorite characters everywhere you turn. Here a Simba, there a Scar, Ariel, Nemo and a Car.
Family suites are movie-themed: Lion King, Finding Nemo, Little Mermaid and Cars. For treats and eats, Landscape of Flavors features five distinct and delectable food shops. Your family will also love the choice of three incredible pools. The biggest is the Big Blue pool, inspired by Finding Nemo. The Cozy Cone pool is a recreation of Radiator Springs from Cars. And the Flippin Fins pool will have you splashing alongside Ariel herself. Be nice because we hear she likes to splash back.
The Lair Suite at Nickelodeon Hotels and Resorts Riviera Maya
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-themed Lair Suite at the new Nickelodeon Hotels and Resorts Riviera Maya is the perfect place to relax, swim (in an infinity pool that runs the length of the suite), and enjoy a pizza party, of course. This rooftop penthouse suite can accommodate up to five guests. Cowabunga!
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge- Savannah View Room
This family-centric hotel sits across from Disney's Animal Kingdom park in Orlando, Florida, yet it feels like it was plucked from the plains of an African safari. Inspired by a traditional kraal (village) and surrounded by four savannahs, the lodge is home to 30 wildlife species — zebras, giraffes, flamingos, and gazelles — some of which can be spotted wandering past room windows.
Experts are even on-hand to answer questions about the animals, and guests can also book private safaris around the grounds. But the massive, 972-room property is not without a dash of Disney magic in the form of evening campfires with s’mores, outdoor movies, storytelling sessions, restaurants serving African-inspired cuisine, an arcade, and an 11,000-square-foot pool that will delight kids and adults alike.
Pirate Rooms: Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
Why should that Sparrow fellow and Captain Hook keep all the spoils of pirate life to themselves? At Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, you and the kids can do some shivering of the timbers yourselves, in pirate-themed rooms that would be the envy of any buccaneer. Where else on the Seven Seas can you sleep in a pirate ship? Not on, in. Each bed is a pirate ship unto itself with pirate flags, rigging, even cannonballs down below. There are only three words for this bedtime adventure. All together now. Yo ho ho.
When it’s time for some ship to shore action, you and the little pirates can attack the nearby pool and water slide (we hear it’s just off the port bow). Built in the style of a Spanish citadel, this zero-entry pool features two high adventure slides and water cannon. Ascend the spiral staircase to the top of a turret for an 82-foot trip down the big slide. Let the swashbuckling begin!
Jurassic World Kids' Suite at Loews Royal Pacific Resort-Universal Orlando
The Loews Royal Pacific Resort features Jurassic World Kids' Suites with two rooms (one for parents and another for kids) complete with dinosaur prints on the floor and gyrosphere beds designed to make kids feel like they're navigating jungle terrain in search of Velociraptors and Pterodactyls. These suites sleep up to five guests.
Mickey Mouse Penthouse at the Disneyland Hotel-Anaheim California
The ultimate place to overnight at the Disneyland resort in Anaheim is the Mickey Mouse Penthouse at the Disneyland Hotel. This signature suite features floor-to-ceiling windows with stellar views of the parks. It also features unique artwork, including photos of Mickey and Walt Disney rarely seen by the public, and Mickey Mouse motifs like a Mickey Mouse light on the living room ceiling.
The swanky penthouse, featuring an interior design with "Mickey's" signature colors of black, white, red and yellow, occupies an expansive 1,600 square feet and includes an open living room, dining and kitchen area, two bedrooms and two and one-half bathrooms. The suite brings to life all the fun that Mickey Mouse represents.
727 Fuselage Suite-Hotel Costa Verde, Costa Rica
Forget lay-flat seats on a plane-visit Hotel Costa Verde in Costa Rica and sleep inside of an actual airplane! The 727 Fuselage Suite is a refurbished 1965 Boeing 727 airframe that once flew with South Africa Air and Avianca Airlines. The two-bedroom suite sits in the treetops of Costa Rica near Manuel Antonio National Park, as if it just crash landed there. The hand-carved teak furniture makes you feel like you're in a treehouse, despite being inside a plane!
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