Tucked away in a lush landscape with beautiful flowers and tall palms that make you feel like you’re on a Caribbean getaway, The Grove Resort & Water Park Orlando is in a world of its own. With 878 two- and three-bedroom vacation residences that are perfect for families, the property blends the comforts of home with the luxury of a full-service resort. All units are equipped with full kitchens, full-sized washers and dryers, multiple bathrooms, and screened balconies. We loved that we could make breakfast in the room and head out without waiting in the restaurant. 

Whether you’re returning from a fun-filled day at Disney World or a thrilling adventure at Universal Orlando, the resort’s sprawling grounds feel like a retreat away from the hustle and bustle of busy areas. We loved the mesh barrier around the patio to keep the critters away, which made sitting on the patio and taking in the sunrise or sunset extra special.

The Grove Resort & Water Park
The Grove Resort & Water Park

The entire resort is set on Lake Austin amid some of Central Florida’s conservation grounds. The Springs Pools, Surfari Water Park, Flip Flop’s Family Fun Center, and Lake Austin are all focal points of The Grove experience. Guests can also enjoy a selection of natural adventures at the resort’s Lake Austin Pier, a 24-hour fitness center if you still feel like a workout after a day at the theme parks, a children’s activity center, and four dining options available onsite.

What We Loved about the Grove Resort & Water Park

The Grove Resort & Water Park
The Grove Resort & Water Park| Claire Zlobin

The Grove is not just about comfortable lodging; it offers many activities that promise to keep the whole family entertained. The Surfari Water Park, a highlight of the resort, features a flowing lazy river, two towering water slides, and a sprawling zero-entry pool that is perfect for younger guests. For a more tranquil experience, adults can indulge in The Springs Pools, a quieter environment for relaxation and unwinding. There are two areas: one with a splash pad area for families with little ones and an area with deeper pools. 

Cabana Rental
Renting a cabana is convenient if you plan to spend the whole day at the waterpark. You don’t have to go extra early to save a spot and have protection from the sun all day. The best feature of the cabana rental is that the servers come directly to you for your drinks and meals. There is cold water and a safe to store your belongings while enjoying the water activities.

FlowRider Double surf simulator
Get the adrenaline going, especially if you are traveling with adventurous teens and tweens, though this activity is a thrill for the big kids at heart, too. You can book a private 30-minute session for your family or join a group. While we were there, there were only a few drop-in spots available, so if you want to take advantage of this, it’s a good idea to reserve ahead of time.

Shuttle service to the parks
Planning a visit to nearby attractions is made effortless with the resort’s shuttle services to Disney World and Universal Studios. These quick and convenient transport options ensure that guests can enjoy their day without the hassle of driving and parking. After a day of excitement and exploration at Disney’s Magic Kingdom or Universal’s Islands of Adventure, returning to The Grove is like returning to a peaceful sanctuary.

Theme Parks Optional
If you have no plans to go to the theme parks, you’ll still have a fantastic time here; the Grove Resort & Water Park offers a full menu of onsite activities.

The Grove Resort & Water Park
The Grove Resort & Water Park |Claire Zlobin

 The Flip Flop Family Fun Center is a 7,000-square-foot state-of-the-art arcade with glow-in-the-dark mini golf. It is a hit with kids and teens. The center features arcade games, a glow-in-the-dark mini golf course, and a gaming station. 

Explore Lake Austin

The Grove Resort & Water Park
The Grove Resort & Water Park

Guests can rent fishing poles or paddle boats to explore serene Lake Austin or play basketball or tennis on the courts. Seeing the alligators in the water is surreal, especially with water activities. We didn’t catch any fish when we tried; maybe the alligators already had them for breakfast. 

Where to eat at The Grove Resort & Water Park

For dining, The Grove Resort Orlando offers various options that cater to all tastes—from the casual Longboard Bar & Grill at the water park, offering bites and drinks poolside, to the more refined atmosphere of Valencia restaurant, where guests can enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner overlooking the resort’s scenic Lake Austin. The resort also boasts the Alfresco Market, a convenient spot for grabbing groceries, quick snacks, and Starbucks coffee, perfect for those on-the-go mornings before hitting the parks. Check the calendar for events like family karaoke nights that often happen near the Valencia restaurant on weekends.

Tips for making the most out of your stay at The Grove Resort & Water Park

The resort is huge, though it doesn’t feel like it since there are separate buildings; it only feels like it if you make a wrong turn and wind up on the other side of the resort. Orient yourself and your kids in the water park or lobby on the first day, especially if you will have the kids coming and going from the room on their own.

Even though it’s only 6 miles to the theme parks, traffic in Orlando is horrid, and it will take a while to get there, so keep this in mind and plan for this extra time on the shuttle according to your child’s temperament. 

The waterpark’s line starts about 30 minutes before opening. If you have littles who will be fussy waiting in line, a good idea is to send one adult to secure your seats if you want to sit in a particular place and then join once they are in. You can pay for premium poolside seating to avoid waiting in line altogether. There is no shortage of pool chairs and seating, so if you don’t want to wake up and wait in line, you definitely don’t have to. 

With multiple shuttle times to the theme parks, you can book your shuttle ahead of time through the Florida Bus Service; this is a free service. If you are going during peak seasons, such as spring break, we suggest you book the shuttle as soon as you book the trip. 

Things to Do nearby The Grove Resort & Water Park

The Grove Resort & Water Park
Dennys Zlobin

Walt Disney World Orlando
Walt Disney World in Orlando is famous for its theme parks, such as Magic Kingdom and Epcot, numerous resorts, water parks, and many dining and shopping experiences. It’s a premier destination for family fun and magical experiences in the heart of Florida. The park hopper is the best option if you plan to do multiple parks in one day. We suggest starting at Magic Kingdom and ending at Epcot, as Magic Kingdom is the busiest. We found Epcot’s international food and drink area, relaxing gardens, and kids’ playgrounds a great way to end a busy day.

Universal Orlando
Universal Orlando Resort is a thrilling destination for families, featuring dynamic theme parks, including Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and the water-themed Volcano Bay. It offers immersive experiences with favorite characters, exhilarating rides, and interactive shows, making it an ideal spot for adventure and entertainment.

The rollercoasters are very popular, and we found wait times to be over one hour for the VelociCoaster even with the express pass, and we did not go during the peak season like Spring Break. If it’s in your budget, we think the express pass is a good investment to avoid spending hours in line (one of the Harry Potter lines was a 4-hour line)

ICON Park in Orlando is an entertainment complex offering a mix of attractions, restaurants, and shops. Highlights include The Wheel, a 400-foot observation wheel providing panoramic views of the city, plus museums, an aquarium, and live entertainment.

If it fits your schedule, we recommend doing the wheel near sunset so you can experience the sunset from 400 feet. It’s a great experience and beautiful views.  

Crayola Experience
Crayola Experience in Orlando is an interactive and colorful attraction where children can explore creativity through hands-on activities. It features over 25 artistic stations, from creating custom crayons to digital art adventures, making it a fun and educational destination for young artists and their families. Crayola is a good fit for younger children who love to create art. It’s a good way for parents to get a break while the kids are engaged in their creations.

Airboat rides
If you are feeling adventurous, airboat rides in Orlando offer an exhilarating way to explore Florida’s wetlands. These high-speed boat tours glide over marshes and swamps, providing up-close encounters with wildlife like alligators and exotic birds. It is a thrilling adventure for nature enthusiasts and families looking to experience Florida’s natural beauty.

Editor’s note: This trip was paid for by The Grove Resort Orlando but all opinions belong to the writer. 

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