If the swimming hole at your apartment complex is overflowing with undesirables (eyes up here, Apartment 2B) or you're just yearning for a lazy day where you can feel pampered and posh without spending a mint, you're in luck. Those touristy hotels and high-rises you usually complain about are about to become your favorite staycation spot. Here, dive into some Orlando resorts that welcome non-guests to make like a tourist in their pools and float, lounge and doggy-paddle for a meager price (or totally gratis).
The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes 4012 Central Florida Parkway, 407-206-2400; ritzcarlton.com/orlando Rent a cabana, dive into the 4,000-square-foot lap pool or go to the gun show in the fitness center, then order a blackened grouper sandwich from the poolside café. Requirements: Purchase a spa treatment to get access to the pool area. A $50 pedi might just be worth it to get to hobnob with the swanky set for the day; you wouldn't want unsightly toenails out there anyway.
Hilton Orlando 6001 Destination Parkway, 407-313-4300; thehiltonorlando.com Water slides, a zero-entry pool (walk right into the water like you're at the beach) and a palm-lined lazy river are just a few of the amenities at the I-Drive hotel's resort area. Stay on for s'mores at the two poolside fire pits. Requirements: Book a spa treatment and get access to the bars and slides outside, or splash out on a cabana package and lunch is included – along with HD flat-screen TV, a mini-fridge and Wi-Fi. UPDATE 8/4/16: Protocol on property has been changed and outside visitors are no longer permitted to use the pool. (Boo.)
Coco Key Water Resort 7400 International Drive, 407-351-2626; cocokeyorlando.com Sure, it's gaudy and flashy and geared toward kids and families (small price to pay), but for a pittance you can wade in the shallow end, splash in mushroom fountains, jet down a slide or just park yourself on a lounger and people-watch. Florida residents get in for just under $22; friends from out of town will pay $30.
Reunion Resort & Club 7593 Gathering Drive, Kissimmee, 407-662-1000; reunionresort.com Here's where making strategic friends can really come in handy – Reunion Resort & Club's water park includes adult-sized slides and an eternally relaxing lazy river. The poolside grill boasts a full liquor bar (and food as well but, you know, liquid lunch), so you can sip Mai Tais like you're in Oahu. Requirements: If you're a member, you're in. If you're friends with a member (see above) you're also in.
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