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What are Orlando's best theme park hotels?

Robert Niles

By Robert Niles
Published: July 28, 2014 at 10:01 AM

Monday Top 10: Orlando's theme park hotels offer plenty of perks for visitors who choose to stay on-site. From free transportation to the parks, extended park hours for hotel guests, to extra benefits such as free parking at Disney and the ultimate theme park perk — unlimited front-of-line access at Universal Orlando — many theme park fans consider staying-on site a value worth what's often an additional cost over similar hotel rooms in the area.

These are the top 10 on-site theme park hotels in the Orlando-area market, as rated by you, our Theme Park Insider readers. Anyone can rate the on-site hotels we've listed on the site, and registered site members can review the hotels and submit photos, too. (Registration is free, and takes only a moment.) We kick off the list with a newcomer that just opened this year, and wrap it up with our 2014 Theme Park Insider Award winner for the world's best theme park hotel.

10. Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort
Universal Orlando Resort

Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort

9. Loews Royal Pacific Resort
Universal Orlando Resort

Loews Royal Pacific Resort

8. Disney's Contemporary Resort
Walt Disney World Resort

Disney's Contemporary Resort

7. Disney's Grand Floridian Resort
Walt Disney World Resort

Disney's Grand Floridian Resort

6. Disney's Boardwalk Inn Resort
Walt Disney World Resort

Disney's Boardwalk Inn Resort

5. Disney's Beach Club Resort
Walt Disney World Resort

Disney's Beach Club Resort

4. Hard Rock Hotel
Universal Orlando Resort

Hard Rock Hotel

3. Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge
Walt Disney World Resort

Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

2. Disney's Wilderness Lodge
Walt Disney World Resort

Disney's Wilderness Lodge

1. Loews Portofino Bay Hotel
Universal Orlando Resort

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel

What's your favorite theme park hotel in the Orlando area? What makes that hotel your favorite?

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King Kong is coming back to theaters, as it comes back to Universal Orlando

Robert Niles

By Robert Niles
Published: July 27, 2014 at 9:26 PM

One of the many announcements at this weekend's Comic-Con in San Diego confirmed Universal's release of a new King Kong movie for 2016, Skull Island.

Skull Island
Promotion image courtesy Legendary Entertainment

How much more interesting that announcement becomes when one remembers that Universal Orlando is now building a (not yet announced) King Kong attraction at Islands of Adventure?

Could we have a rare case of movie/theme park synergy happening here, with King Kong returning to theaters and to Universal Orlando both in 2016? While we typically think of movie-themed attractions lagging the films that inspired them by many years, that's not always been the case. Disney debuted "It's Tough to Be a Bug" at Disney's Animal Kingdom seven months before the Pixar film A Bug's Life hit theaters. And the "Beauty and the Beast: Live on Stage" show at what's now Disney's Hollywood Studios bowed on the same day as the now-classic Disney animated film.

Skull Island, to be produced by new Universal partner Legendary Entertainment, is slated for a November 4, 2016 release, meaning that the new attraction could beat the movie to opening if Universal Orlando completes construction within the next two years. Universal is building its new project between Toon Lagoon and Jurassic Park, creating an interesting thematic transition on the Jurassic Park side, as Skull Island is home to dinosaurs as well as Kong.

If you noted that we wrote about Kong "returning" to Universal Orlando earlier in this post, the "Kongfrontation" attraction ran from the opening of Universal Studios Florida in 1990 until 2002, when it closed to make way for Revenge of the Mummy. A dark ride with an animatronic Kong, the ride was based on the original King Kong Encounter at Universal Studios Hollywood, which featured a 30-foot-tall animatronic Kong designed by Disney Legend Bob Gurr. After Hollywood's Kong encounter burned during the 2008 backlot fire, the Hollywood park replaced it with the current King Kong 360/3-D on its Studio Tour attraction.

Now much will Universal Orlando's new ride draw from its classic Kong attractions, and how much will it draw from the new Skull Island? We will let you know the details when we learn the answer.

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The Week Ahead: Disney and Universal schedules for July 28-August 3, 2014

Robert Niles

By Robert Niles
Published: July 27, 2014 at 2:37 PM

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Insider's Update: Setting sail from Pirate Island.. and a new freebie at Universal Orlando

Robert Niles

By Robert Niles
Published: July 26, 2014 at 10:18 AM

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Vote of the Week: Should theme parks make certain attractions available by reservation only?

Robert Niles

By Robert Niles
Published: July 25, 2014 at 9:02 AM

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Holiday World announces Thunderbird, America's first launched wing coaster

Robert Niles

By Robert Niles
Published: July 24, 2014 at 7:47 PM

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Halloween News: What's been announced so far

Jacob Sundstrom

By Jacob Sundstrom
Published: July 24, 2014 at 10:09 AM

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Paper ride-reservations tickets return to the Magic Kingdom, for the Anna and Elsa meet-and-greet

Robert Niles

By Robert Niles
Published: July 23, 2014 at 11:24 AM

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Beyond CaliFlorida: Taking a leap of faith here

Jeff Elliott

By Jeff Elliott
Published: July 23, 2014 at 10:50 AM

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Looking back at a colossal history for Magic Mountain's Colossus

Jacob Sundstrom

By Jacob Sundstrom
Published: July 22, 2014 at 10:24 AM

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Get more from Theme Park Insider:


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Working at Disney World

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