Looking for a new Orlando theme park? Try The Orange Lake Resort, a Holiday Inn Club Vacations golf getaway in Kissimmee, Florida
KISSIMMEE, Fla. - I was playing golf this morning at The Legends, the signature Arnold Palmer course at Orange Lake Resort, when I heard a distinct noise. It was one I immediately recognized.
It was the distinct “whooo-whooot” from the Expedition Everest train at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I would know. I survived a three-year run visiting the park with young children a few years ago.
That’s when the irony struck me: Orange Lake Resort is so close to Walt Disney World you can practically hear its fireworks and train whistles, and yet its relaxed vibe is so opposite the wild and crazy theme-park experience.
Orange Lake is an oasis of calm among all that Disney drama. Orange Lake is a Holiday Inn Vacations Club property that has blossomed in the shadow of the Mouse. Since its opening in 1982, this time-share community has grown and expanded into four unique villages. Guests can do it all - shop, dine, play golf, exercise, zone out, swim - and never leave the 1,450 acres inside the gates.
The creature comforts of Orange Lake are impressive. Our two-bedroom villa inside a condo tower in the newer East Village was big enough to sleep eight people. Inside the living area was a huge sectional couch, a dining table, a pull-up bar and full kitchen. It would have been perfect for a week or longer. It’s too bad we only spent less than 48 hours here.
In that time, my family did manage to get a great taste of the resort life. While I was playing golf at the Reserve, the other 18-hole course at Orange Lake Resort pictured above, my wife and two children splashed at the rocky River Island pool complex and lazy river (pictured below), played mini-golf, invaded the arcade room and slid down the massive HIPPO waterslide. Last night all four of us played night golf at a lighted, nine-hole executive course called Legends Walk, a great grow-the-game, family-golf experience.
With seven pools, three arcades, two mini-golf courses, another nine-hole semi-executive golf course I didn’t get to see called Crane’s Bend and nine restaurants and bars, there’s always more to explore at Orange Lake Resort. It’s a theme park of fun all by itself.
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