The Grove Resort Orlando Review - a Disney-Area Family Water Park Resort
This is a 100% honest, 100% authentic The Grove Resort Orlando review. Dadtography was hosted for a complimentary 2-night stay in order to facilitate this review. We were not otherwise compensated in any way for this review.
All images and videos are originals taken by Dadtographer Daniel. Most photos are left unedited. Please don't use our photos without permission.
An introduction to The Grove Resort Orlando & this review.
A family-friendly resort & water park, 8 minutes from the entrance to Walt Disney World Resort
As Orlando residents, it's easy to take for granted all the wonderful hotel and resort options we have here. There are so many options and so many places to stay, how do you choose just one?
It's surprising to me (but it shouldn't be) that there are world-class resorts in the Orlando area that I've never heard of.
One of those resorts is The Grove Resort Orlando.
We stayed at The Grove for a stay-cation weekend - we came for the water park, but we stayed for everything else.
Can you say a 2-bedroom suite? Yes, please!
Let's get started with our full review of The Grove Resort Orlando.
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Yesterday was fun. And exhausting. After breakfast, we went to the water park @thegroveresort for the day. Our fave was definitely the lazy river. It's epic! The water slides are fun too, and FAST! Blog post and video coming soon! After the sun went down, we explored and found a dock out to Lake Austin. We listened to the frogs and the fireworks to cap the day. #Dadtography #visitorlando #familytravel
How are the first impressions of The Grove Resort Orlando?
First impressions really matter - and that is very much the case when it comes to checking in at a resort or hotel on your family vacation.
The drive up to the hotel, the parking, the lobby and check-in experience really sets that tone for your entire stay.
I wasn't sure how the first impression of The Grove was going to be - I mean, it seemed like it was kinda "out there" compared to other resorts in the Disney area.
Our journey to the resort had us on some winding two-lane roads. It wasn't a long drive - we were at Disney and from the western entrance to the front door of The Grove was only about 8 minutes.
From the moment we turned the corner and saw The Grove Resort Orlando's sign, everyone in the car started ooo-ing and ahhh-ing. The driveway into the resort was cool, seeing the water park on our way in was cool and turning into the main round-about driveway was cool.
The Grove made a great first impression on us, to say the least!
How are the suites at The Grove Resort Orlando?
All "rooms" at The Grove Resort Orlando are actually suites, making it an all-suite resort hotel.
What does that really mean?
Well, the typical hotel room in Orlando is around 330 sq. ft. It's a single room with a bed, a dresser or armoire, a television and, if you're lucky, a mini-fridge.
That differs pretty dramatically from what a one-bedroom suite looks like at The Grove.
A one-bedroom suite is 975 sq. ft. of living space with a king bed, separate living room and a master bathroom!
We stayed in a two-bedroom suite, which had nearly 1,400 sq. ft. of space! The 2nd bedroom was almost a second master, with its own private ensuite bathroom and large closet.
The living room was great, with an awesome view of the pools and great morning sunrise. In fact, one morning I awoke to find my two boys out on the private patio balcony chatting about our upcoming day at the water park.
How are The Springs Pools & hot tub at The Grove Resort Orlando?
The Grove Resort is so massive, it actually has three pools and a hot tub in addition to its full water park, so we'll cover them separately in this review.
As mentioned, our room on the 3rd floor had a view overlooking the resorts three pools and very large hot tub, called The Springs Pools by the resort.
Why does a resort need three pools and a water park?
I don't think it needs them, but having them was nice because we found the pools to be quieter and more relaxing where the water park was more fun and exciting.
If we wanted to cut loose and have fun, we went to the water park, but if we wanted a relaxing few hours to rest up, then we found a quiet lounge chair at the pool.
Of the three pools, one is more geared toward children with a beach-style walk-in area as well as large water features like walk-under fountains. This area is really great for parents with kids that want to chill, but the kids still want to play.
The other two pools are quite large and there was plenty of seating available.
In the middle is an absolutely huge hot tub. I don't remember what the actual capacity was listed as, but it was easily 2x or 3x as large as a normal resort hot tub. I'm pretty sure capacity was upwards of 20 people.
And, the water was actually hot (around 103 or 104 degrees)!
How is the Surfari Water Park at The Grove Resort Orlando?
When it comes to Orlando area water parks, I consider myself to be a bit of a connoisseur. When I found out The Grove was a resort with its own water park, I just had to check it out!
The Surfari Water Park at The Grove Resort Orlando may not be quite as large as a dedicated water park, but it's way bigger than I expected it to be.
Key features of the Surfari Water Park:
- 2x Water Slides
- Lazy River
- Zero-Entry (Beach) Pool
- Kids' Pool & Play Area
- Available Private Cabanas
- Longboard Bar & Grill
Surfari Water Park is free for guests staying at The Grove. You can't buy a separate water park pass, which I think is good - it makes the park exclusive to those staying and helps to ensure it doesn't get too busy to enjoy.
Surfari Water Park has a number of large pools, in addition to the resort's pools at The Springs Pools mentioned earlier in the review.
A full-featured water park that comes free with a resort stay is really hard to find. We especially enjoyed the lazy river and spent hours floating and swimming in it.
We also really enjoyed the slide - although the green slide was closed for our stay. The yellow slide is the open slide and it was quite a bit faster than I expected it to be. It was a lot of fun and even with one slide closed, the line (and wait) never got too long.
I can't say enough good things about the Surfari Water Park - it's, hands-down, our new favorite resort water park in Orlando!
How is the location of The Grove Resort Orlando?
When it comes to where you stay, "location, location, location" as the saying goes. Visitors pay a premium for staying in a location that makes it easy to access the theme parks and other popular destinations.
The Grove Resort Orlando is in a really smart location.
It's smart, because while it may not be the best location (the price reflects that a bit, I think), it's in an area that's both secluded as well as close to Disney.
If you want to be right in the center of the Disney World Resort action, then you'll likely want to stay on-property at around 5x or 6x the cost.
If you want to be close, but also have that secluded feel, then The Grove is a perfect choice for your next family trip to Orlando.
Is The Grove Resort Orlando family-friendly? How are the amenities?
It was clear to me on my visit to The Grove Resort Orlando that they went to great lengths to cater to traveling families, like mine!
The Grove does a good job of blending "luxury" with family-friendly, and in my experience, that's quite difficult to get right.
I admit I do love to stay in luxury hotels, but most of my travels are as a family and my boys often find "luxury hotels" to be boring and stuffy. They're probably right.
I found The Grove to be luxurious where it needed to be (like the suites) and family-friendly where it counted. Here are a few of our favorite features and amenities that cater to families:
- The Springs Pool
- Surfari Water Park
- Longboard Bar & Grill (poolside drinks, anyone?)
- Flip Flop's Family Fun Center
- Activities like fishing & boating on Lake Austin
- Hammock Cove
How are the restaurants and food at The Grove Resort?
Last, but not least, we need to cover the food and restaurants at The Grove.
No real resort review is complete without including a review of the food and beverage options found on-property.
These options become especially important when the resort isn't in the middle of the dining action, which is the case with The Grove Resort Orlando.
If you want to eat off-property, you'll have to drive a few minutes to either Highway 192 (south of The Grove) or US HWY 27 (west of The Grove).
On-property dining options include the following:
- Valencia Restaurant (sit-down table service and buffet)
- The Springs Bar & Grill (outside Valencia)
- Longboard Bar & Grill (inside the Surfari Water Park)
- Alfresco Market
In addition to the above eateries, the following food options are also available:
- Surfari pool-side food & beverage service
- Grocery & Prepared Food Delivery Service
- Pizza Delivery from Antonio's
We didn't experience any of the delivery options, but with a full kitchen in each suite, it can make for a great cost-savings option for families to have food for some meals delivered and prepared in your suite.
We visited Valencia Restaurant a number of times for both breakfast and dinner and had a wonderful experience.
Breakfast was somewhat busy on weekend mornings, but dinner was not. The food was wonderful, especially for dinner and I can honestly say it's a place we would return to for dinner.
Our second-favorite dining experience was at Longboard Bar & Grill poolside in the Surfari Water Park. There's just nothing better than enjoying a cocktail or snack while lounging at the pool. That's truly a resort experience and it was fantastic at The Grove!
Is the Grove Resort Orlando the best luxury resort in town?
That's a tough question, mostly because "the best" is so subjective, and with so many options for hotels and resorts in Orlando, naming the best would be almost impossible.
However, The Grove Resort Orlando does a lot of things really well. It's a very nice property with great pools, an awesome water park and a huge appeal to families.
No resort is perfect, though, and The Grove has some areas that it could improve as well.
We noticed a few maintenance issues with the property that needed to be addressed. There were some sections of ceiling drywall that were separating at the corners.
While minor, maintenance issues like this can really detract from the "luxury" feel for some. I thought they were minor, but you may not, depending upon your standard for your definition of a luxury resort.
How was the service at The Grove Resort Orlando?
I wanted to mention the service we had because I had read a few reviews after returning from our stay that really spoke negatively about the service.
It's true, in a resort this size, consistently good service can be challenging. There are so many team members and so many guests, providing a great experience every time is hard.
We personally experienced fantastic experience from everyone on our stay - from check-in to the delivery of our luggage to the room, to pool-side service, the restaurant hostesses and servers, everyone was fantastic in our experience.