We just returned from our budget-friendly Disney vacation, and I’m excited to share our honest review of Wyndham Gardens Lake Buena Vista at Disney Springs, a Disney Good Neighbour Hotel.
Wyndham Gardens Review
My family loves going to DisneyWorld – as often as possible!
We’ve been enough times now that we know where we need to spend money and where we can save, so our vacations have gotten less and less expensive with each visit – but that doesn’t mean that we are going to settle for a less magical vacation!
Recently, Disney announced 25 Good Neighbour Hotels – hotels that are specifically selected by Disney for their amenities, customer service reputation and proximity to WDW. These hotels have many of the same perks as staying at a Walt Disney-owned resort but often come at a fraction of the price.
So for our latest Disney vacation, I decided to give one of these locations a try! After some research, I decided on the Wyndham Gardens at Disney Springs.
Disney Springs Area Hotel
My favorite thing about this hotel was it’s proximity to Disney Springs. You can see in our video – it took me less than 5 minutes to walk out of the hotel, down the sidewalk (and through the raised crosswalk) to Disney Springs.
All of Disney’s Value Resorts (and even most of it’s Moderate Resorts) are pretty out of the way and removed from the Disney action, so this was a huge advantage!
We didn’t have to wait for buses or pay for taxis or Ubers, and once my daughter started to get a bit tired at Disney Springs, we could be back at the hotel in a matter of minutes – no whiny, tired kids at bus stops or carrying sleeping bodies on and off Disney transportation.
Not only are you close to lots of Disney Springs entertainment (dance parties, concerts, street performers, bowling alley, theatre, etc), being within walking distance expands your meal options. (Our favorite places are Wolfgang Puck’s Express, D-Luxe Burgers, Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ and Morimoto Asia.)
This location for the price is unheard of for Disney – and honestly, you could spend twice the amount and still not half as great of a location. Combined with the Good Neighbour Hotel perks, this hotel was an insane value for us.
Disney Good Neighbour Hotel
Just in case you’re not super familiar with the Disney Good Neighbour Hotel perks, I’m just going to go over them quickly:
- all hotels are vetted by Disney – AAA-certified, close to WDW property, all amenities and the same customer service that you would expect from a Disney hotel
- Disney Guest Services Desk on property
- Guests get to enjoy Disney Magic Hours (extra opening hours at each of the parks that was previously only open to WDW Resort Guests)
- 60 day booking window for Fast Passes (the same window that Disney hotel guests receive; off property stays usually only allow for 21 days)
- Complimentary MagicBands
Keep in mind that in order to receive these perks, you currently need to book your vacation package (hotel and tickets) through Disney.
Wyndham Gardens Lake Buena Vista Amenities
Honestly, this hotel could just offer the above two perks and be a complete steal – but there’s more!
Ella’s favorite feature was the pools: there were two pools – a quieter “lane” pool and a zero-entry pool with a waterfall feature and built-in jungle gym, which were set to a warm temperature and had more than adequate seating around them, along with a hot tub and gazebos for rent.
They also had a pool-area restaurant which had phenomenal food and a decent bar selection, which made spending the day by the pool a welcome treat for both of us.
We had the chicken club sandwich and cheese pizza. (And I enjoyed the pineapple cider.)
I loved that they had an on-property character breakfast (offered three mornings a week) at a fraction of the price of most other character breakfasts on property – and of course, it had Mickey Waffles! (At the time of writing it was $26.95 for adults and $12.95 for kids – the cheapest Disney-run buffet character breakfast is $35, and some are up to $60!)
We never felt rushed and my daughter was thrilled to get to interact with Goofy and Pluto twice during the breakfast – typically, characters will only visit a table once, but this character breakfast was a lot less busy so they had the freedom to really spend a decent amount of time with each family.
They also have a Director of Fun on staff (what a cool job title, right?) Jill arranges scavenger hunts and other fun weekly activities for kids, birthday surprises (on request), does pin trading, and helps each child add a special painted tile to the Memory Wall.
She was super accommodating, adding an additional tile painting time slot to fit our travel schedule. (And she’s easy to spot – she’ll probably be the only staff member you’ll see wearing Mickey Ears!)
There are also laundry services, a Disney store, a Jeffrey’s Coffeeshop, Sundries shop (with microwave available to use), tennis courts, room service, fitness room, valet and self-parking, and a lounge area. (It also has all conference and wedding services – if that’s something you’re looking for.)
Ella also got a kick out of the in-lobby Domino’s ordering kiosk; they are the only pizza company that the hotel allows to deliver to the hotel rooms. (Which didn’t stop us from ordering Giordano’s later on in the vacation and meeting them in the lobby, though. You know how I feel about Chicago deep dish!)
Garden View Room
There are two room types available – the garden view rooms, which are lower and offer scenic views of the pool, gardens, and lake; and the tower rooms, which have birds’ eye views of Disney Springs and Orlando. The tower rooms were recently updated and the Garden rooms are scheduled for updating soon, but I still found them bright, clean and with no visible signs of wear.
We stayed in a garden room, which was peaceful – and had the built-in perk of being able to check the Florida Spring weather every morning before deciding on our outfits (by peeking out to the outdoor hallway).
The room had a mini-fridge and two-cup coffee maker, along with a decent-sized table for us to eat or work at.
The only negative I experienced at the resort was at the Wyndham Corporate booth, which guests are referred to after check-in to pick up a coupon book. They will try to get you to sign up for a “one hour breakfast” which will be a time share presentation… Let’s just say, that my experience and the information I received by talking to staff was that the breakfast is never just an hour, the “breakfast” is muffins, bagels and juice, and the tactics employed by the sales agents are less than honest.
However, I do want to clarify – this is completely separate from the hotel (the breakfast is not even held on property) and when I voiced concerns to the Wyndham Gardens staff they were mortified and made it clear that they were taking my concerns seriously. They were so awesome that I actually feel a bit bad mentioning it here, but I wouldn’t want any of you to unknowingly sign up for the presentation!
We had an amazing stay at the hotel – the value (average $105/night), the Disney Springs location, the Disney Good Neighbour perks, AND the family-friendly amenities all combined to make this hotel one of our top recommendations for a Disney vacation!
Not to mention, the proximity to Disney Springs, the pool area, character breakfast and Director of Fun activities help make those non-park days special (and budget-friendly).
I would 100% recommend this hotel over a Disney Value hotel stay, and I would even say that the location and price give it a significant advantage over most Disney Moderate hotels – and it really is just as nice.
I cannot wait to return to Wyndham Gardens and take a picture of Ella in front of her tile in the Memory Wall (and stuff my face at the Oasis Bar & Lounge). We’ll build at least two full pool and Disney Springs days into our trip, in addition to our arrival and departure days.
Do you have any questions about Wyndham Gardens at Disney Springs? Leave them below and I’ll do my best to answer them!
We loved our visit at Wyndham Gardens Lake Buena Vista and highly recommend it as a family-friendly and budget-savvy Disney vacation hotel.
For more Disney vacation planning posts, check out our Bibbidi Boppidi Boutique review or our Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge review.