Review: The Waldorf Astoria Orlando

Here’s a little-known Disney World tip I share with my friends: You can see three fireworks extravaganzas from certain rooms at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando. Barring actually being in one of Disney’s parks, I’d wager that these are the best seats in Orlando.

Corner suites have this stunning view with Disney’s Swan and Dolphin hotels in the distance. Epcot is to the right and Magic Kingdom to the left. ANDREA ROTONDO/THE POINTS GUY

From “fireworks view” room balconies, you can sit comfortably and watch the lasers light up the sky and fireworks reach the heavens each night as part of Epcot’s “Luminous: The Symphony of Us” and the Magic Kingdom’s “Happily Ever After” shows. You can even see Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ “Fantasmic!” show from here.

This intimate VIP seat for three of the world’s most spectacular nighttime shows is just one reason why TPG loves the Waldorf Astoria Orlando.

Getting there

The resort’s entrance is quite elegant. ANDREA ROTONDO/THE POINTS GUY

Waldorf Astoria Orlando is on Bonnet Creek Resort Lane, a thoroughfare that leads to other popular Orlando hotels such as Signia by Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa and Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek.

If you plan to rent a car ($150 to $300 per week) at Orlando International Airport (MCO), it’s about a 25-minute drive. It’s 30 minutes from Orlando Executive Airport (ORL). If you’re an Allegiant flyer, you can head to Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB), about an hour from the hotel.

Valet parking with in/out privileges is available at the Waldorf for $54 per day plus tax, while self-parking is $38 per day plus tax.

Without a rental car, you can hail an Uber for around $40 plus tip, but watch out for surge pricing, which can push the trip closer to $100 on peak dates at peak times. Mears Transportation can get you there for about $125 for one to three people. You can also hire a private car service, which may be a better option if you need a guaranteed car seat for a little one. Expect to pay $75 to $150 one-way, depending on vehicle type booked.

Once you’re at the resort, you can rely on the hotel’s complimentary bus shuttle to and from all four Disney theme parks as well as Disney Springs. (More on that in the Amenities section below.)

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Booking details

In December 2023, the Waldorf Astoria Orlando emerged from an extensive property-wide renovation. While the hotel hosted me, here’s how I’ll book it when I return on my own.

Rooms start at 90,000 Hilton Honors points per night. Per TPG’s June valuations, Hilton points are valued at $0.6 each. It may not make sense to use points during off-peak dates when room rates are less than $540. (I’ve seen rates as low as $320 for certain off-peak dates.)

If you have Gold or Diamond status, you receive a daily $25 food and beverage credit if you’re traveling solo, or a $50 credit if two people are booked in the room. The credits do not accumulate; it’s use it or lose it on a day-by-day basis.

Hilton Gold elite status is a benefit of holding any of these cards:

Or, go with the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card for automatic Diamond status.

The information for the Amex Aspire credit card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

*Enrollment required for select benefits

If you don’t have Hilton Honors status — either earned or via a card benefit — consider reserving your Waldorf room via the American Express Fine Hotels + Resorts program, which is a benefit of holding The Platinum Card® from American Express or The Business Platinum Card® from American Express. It includes benefits such as a property credit and room upgrades when available.

Note that the hotel, like so many others these days, charges a hefty resort fee of $50 per day (plus tax). That includes:

  • Wi-Fi for up to two devices
  • Two bottles of water daily
  • Shuttle service to the Disney parks and Disney Springs
  • 15% off retail at the Waldorf Astoria Spa
  • Access to the Golf Club practice facilities
  • Free golf club rentals after 2 p.m.
  • Fitness center access
  • Four tubes at Signia’s lazy river next door at Signia by Hilton
  • Kids 12 and under dinner included at La Luce at Signia by Hilton with adult entree purchase

Standout features

  • 30-minute early entry to all four Disney theme parks plus complimentary transportation via motorcoach
  • Fantastic pool deck with cabanas and access to next door’s lazy river complex at Signia by Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek
  • Amenities including an 18-hole golf course, spa, fitness center and Kids Club

Related: The best Waldorf Astoria hotels and resorts in the world


  • No grab-and-go snack shop (though you can walk over to the one at the nearby Signia by Hilton).
  • It’s a convention hotel and popular for weddings, so you may see lots of groups during your stay.
  • Bull & Bear and afternoon tea are popular with locals. Dining reservations are recommended.

The vibe

Accessible luxury is how I describe the vibe at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando. Anticipation builds as you approach the hotel from Bonnet Creek Resort Lane. As the resort comes into view, you’re greeted by soaring palms lining the entrance and the very friendly and efficient valet staff.

Gorgeous double-height wrought iron and dappled glass doors open to reveal the refreshed lobby area.

Soaring doors make a statement as you enter the Waldorf Astoria Orlando’s lobby. ANDREA ROTONDO/THE POINTS GUY

It’s here that you’ll find the brand’s signature clock tower at its center. This is also where you’ll get acquainted with the resort’s brand-new style. Parker-Torres Design was at the forefront of the “floor-to-ceiling transformation,” which heavily borrowed from the colors and textures of the 482-acre Bonnet Creek Preserve in which the hotel is situated. Soothing colors from nature, such as white, earthy beige and brown, are accented with brighter greens, oranges, yellows and pinks.

The signature Waldorf Astoria clock holds pride of place in the lobby. ANDREA ROTONDO/THE POINTS GUY

The lobby’s color palette now focuses on white, cream, light gray and gold. The high ceiling, white marble arches and signature Waldorf Astoria clock make a statement. The design and decor have an updated art deco feel.

The front desk, with a new focal art piece behind it, is on the right. You’ll find the concierge desk and entrance to Peacock Alley, the resort’s lobby lounge, on the left.

Marble arched corridors leading away from the lobby. ANDREA ROTONDO/THE POINTS GUY

Artwork and seating areas are directly across from the grand entrance, with panoramic windows overlooking the expansive grounds and pool area.

Comfy seating in the lobby. ANDREA ROTONDO/THE POINTS GUY

Intriguing art, lighting and woodwork will catch your eye as you explore the corridors leading to the spa, Bull & Bear restaurant and meeting rooms. Once outside, you’ll immediately understand that the Waldorf Astoria Orlando employs a top-notch gardening team. The grounds are artfully designed, with beautiful shrubs, trees and flowers at every turn. Two pools, cabanas and day beds, a hot tub and some outdoor game areas beckon guests to linger. The 18-hole golf course and promenade round out the resort.

All of the employees you meet — including the valets, bellmen, front desk staff, housekeepers and restaurant servers — are friendly and seem truly excited to introduce you to the property. It’s clear the staff is proud of the renovation and enjoys working in these reimagined spaces.

The room


This is a large hotel with 502 rooms and a whopping 171 suites, but it honestly never felt crowded during my stay. As part of the Waldorf’s renovation, all guest quarters were not only freshened but also redesigned. Parker-Torres took the lead on the project. The colors are a reprise from the lobby, with the addition of neutral greens and “sunset tones” of pink and orange. The idea was to bring a little bit of that Florida wilderness inside.

The hotel assigned us a 1,780-square-foot one-bedroom, one-and-a-half-bath corner Waldorf Suite on the 12th floor. We’ve actually stayed in that very suite twice before. The renovation greatly improved the comfort and usability of these accommodations.

The design team removed a countertop island and reimagined the space with a roomy dining table and four very pretty and comfortable gray dining chairs.


The bar area is still along the wall with a sink, minibar, separate minifridge, Nespresso coffee machine, glasses and coffee/tea cups, ice bucket and storage areas.


This is an excellent option for a family since the bedroom — with a very soundproof door — offers a king bed, while the living room sofa converts to a memory foam queen bed. There is plenty of space for a pack-and-play as well.

Plenty of room in the suite. ANDREA ROTONDO/THE POINTS GUY

Between the sofa, sitting chairs and dining chairs, there’s plenty of seating for all and a super comfortable place to watch TV or movies after a day in the parks or enjoying the resort pool or lazy river at next door’s Signia by Hilton hotel.


We always prefer a room with a balcony.


We enjoyed sitting outside each morning and evening. It offered views of the golf course, pool, convention center and Epcot, the Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in the distance.


The bed was extremely comfortable, and the rooms were pin-drop quiet. The AC didn’t make a lot of noise, and I never heard sounds coming from nearby rooms or the hallway — even when housekeeping was making its rounds. (Housekeepers are available 24 hours a day, and our suite was serviced twice per day.)

King bed in Waldorf Suite. ANDREA ROTONDO/THE POINTS GUY

The design is modern and elegant but supremely comfortable. Amenities across room types include bathrobes and slippers, Frette bed linens, 55-inch high-definition LCD TVs, Oliver Hemming alarm clock, electronic safe for laptops, plenty of USB and USB-C outlets, blackout curtains, Aesop toiletries and a Nespresso coffee machine plus an electric kettle.

Bathrooms are spacious and accented with Italian marble, glass-door shower and separate bathtub. The master bath is huge. The only downside is that there is no door between the rest of the room and the toilet.

I appreciated the Aesop toiletries, which include full-size hand wash, body balm, shampoo, conditioner and body cleanser, plus a small bottle of mouthwash. Additional amenities are from Gilchrist & Soames and include a shower cap and shave kit. The master bath has a lighted makeup mirror.


Both the master and half bath have soft night-lights under the cabinets that kick on when someone walks in.

The only drawback of this suite is that both the master bathroom and half bath are inside the bedroom. There’s no way for anyone to access the half bath from the living room or entryway.


Food and drink

The quality of the food offerings is one of the major reasons we return to the Waldorf Astoria Orlando again and again. (This was our third visit.)


Oscar’s has both indoor and outdoor dining areas. ANDREA ROTONDO/THE POINTS GUY

On the ground floor, Oscar’s has a lovely indoor dining room as well as tables in an outdoor courtyard setting that faces the pool. There’s a small a la carte menu with entrees such as the classic Waldorf Astoria eggs Benedict for $27 or a version with lump crab for $35. Pancakes or French toast will run about $25, omelets are $27 and steak and eggs cost $39.

However, most people seem to go with the $40-per-person buffet. That’s what we did, and it was enjoyable. There was a little bit of everything, from smoked salmon to fresh-cut fruit to oatmeal, Southern-style biscuits and gravy, bread pudding, pancakes, waffles, sauteed vegetables, crisp bacon, pork sausage, cheese and charcuterie as well as pastry and juice bars. You can also order a made-to-order omelet.

You can also visit the Croissant Bar from 6 a.m. to noon to get a pastry and coffee to go.


Outdoor seating at Aquamarine pool bar/restaurant. RICHARD KERR/THE POINTS GUY

Let me say this: The staff at Aquamarine are absolutely lovely, and they frequently check on guests at the pool (including those who’ve booked a cabana). Open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., you can order food to enjoy in your pool cabana, at your lounger or at the restaurant’s shaded tables.

The menu is a mix of “picky” items, such as chips and salsa ($12.75), hummus ($16.50) and chicken wings ($22), salads ranging from $17 to $21 and wraps and sandwiches ($18 to $28). The Waldorf chicken salad wrap is $21. You can also order Mediterranean kebabs (marsala beef tenderloin, grilled shrimp and tandoori chicken) for $28.

And, of course, you can also order all sorts of cocktails, mocktails, wine, beer and Red Bull energy drinks.


Comfy seating and fire pits are situated between the pool and the restaurant. You can get a s’mores kit from Aquamarine.

The Clubhouse Grille

Clubhouse Grille dining room is adjacent to the golf shop at the 19th hole. ANDREA ROTONDO/THE POINTS GUY

Exit the hotel through the lobby and to the right of the entrance and at the golf course’s 19th hole is The Clubhouse Grille, the restaurant that’s mainly frequented by golfers who tackle the resort’s course. However, it’s worth a stop for families, as the meals are huge and well-priced.

We stopped by since executive sous chef Jeremy Gibboney had told us that Bull & Bear actually prepares a handful of signature items for The Clubhouse Grille: house-smoked pulled pork sliders with homemade barbecue sauce and southern slaw on a brioche bun ($16), onion dip with homemade Kennebec chips ($14), a smoked bacon barbecue burger ($20) and smoked brisket with fried onions and house-made pickles on Texas toast ($24).


Other menu items include a beer-battered grouper sandwich ($28), chicken club ($18), Caesar salad ($16), beef hot dog ($16) and more.

Lunch is served 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., with the bar remaining open until 6 p.m.

Bull & Bear

If you love fine dining and excellent service, do yourself a favor and make a reservation for Bull & Bear — even if you aren’t staying at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando. It’s that good. It’s considered a destination restaurant in Orlando, so make reservations. Lots of special occasions, from birthdays to anniversaries, were celebrated on the evening we were there.

You can dine in the bar area of Bull & Bear. ANDREA ROTONDO/THE POINTS GUY

We’re foodies, and we regularly drive all over Florida in search of the state’s best restaurants. Helmed by executive sous chef Jeremy Gibboney, chef de cuisine Juan Suarez and pastry chef Franck Riffaud, Bull & Bear is one of our favorites. The menu is a mix of classic steakhouse fare plus some options that are a bit further afield.

Bull & Bear’s Spanish Iberico chop, 18-ounce Allen Brothers prime 28-day dry-aged Delmonico, frites and the $100 Baked Potato that includes Jamon Iberico de Bellota, sour cream, Petrossian osetra caviar and gold leaf. Exquisite. ANDREA ROTONDO/THE POINTS GUY

Service is old-school: polished and friendly, and everyone who approaches your table has an encyclopedic knowledge of the menu and wine list.

We always start with the colossal chilled Gulf shrimp ($21). They never disappoint, but one of these days, we need to try the Caesar salad for two ($39), which is made tableside.


Since we were hotel guests, they also brought a few extra dishes for us to try, including the Pasta Explosion of Pata Negra de Bellota with Parmigiano-Reggiano. It was delicious — the type of dish where you are literally scraping every last drop of sauce off the plate.


Other popular appetizers include lobster bisque ($24), oysters Rockefeller ($24) and dry-aged yellowtail crudo ($24). Or, if you’re with a group, order the Grand Seafood Tower ($160 for two or $320 for four). The tray arrives on your table piled high with oysters, jumbo shrimp, Alaskan king crab, crab cocktail and Maine lobster. You can add some Petrossian osetra caviar for $75.

There are plenty of steaks as main dishes, as well as an upscale version of fried chicken ($50), Dover sole ($78), seafood paella ($95), veal Oscar ($74) and more.

I ordered the double-cut Iberico pork chop ($58), and it was delectable. I would definitely make the three-hour drive to have the opportunity to order this again — flavorful meat cooked to exactly the right temperature. My husband opted for the 18-ounce Allen Brothers prime 28-day dry-aged Delmonico ($128).


The chef also brought the $100 Baked Potato out to us. This delicious extravaganza was expertly prepared tableside. This was a high-quality spud, and it was huge. It was dressed with sour cream, Iberico ham, Petrossian osetra caviar and gold leaf.

We also tried two desserts: the Ring of Yuzu ($25) combines yuzu mousse with a buttery sable Breton and strawberry whipped ganache on a basil sponge cloud — yummy! — and La Fraise, which is a take on strawberry shortcake with ice cream made tableside.

Ice cream made tableside. ANDREA ROTONDO/THE POINTS GUY

Peacock Alley

Peacock Alley lounge also got a refresh. ANDREA ROTONDO/THE POINTS GUY

This comfortable lounge was freshened, and it’s all for the better. The space retains its art deco vibe but feels more open with the addition of plants that liven things up.

The piano is still here, and there’s lively music in the evenings. There’s a full bar setup, and a light menu is served. Lunch is from noon to 5 p.m., with dinner following until 11 p.m. Guests can dine on the outdoor patio when the weather cooperates.

It’s the cocktails that people seek out, though. Favorites include:

  • The Waldorf Cocktail (Bulleit rye, Carpano Antica, Cardamaro, St. George absinthe verte; $20)
  • Peruvian Spritz (spiced purple corn cordial, lemon, prosecco and bitter lemon soda; $17)
  • Forbidden Fruit (chili-infused Komos Reposado Rosa tequila, Grand Mariner Cuvee du Centenaire, prickly pear and black lava salt; $50)

There’s also a full list of wines, spirits, beer and nonalcoholic beverages.

Afternoon tea

Don’t get your hopes up for afternoon tea unless you’ve booked way in advance. When we visited in early June, afternoon tea designed by pastry chef Franck Riffaud was already sold out for the entire summer. It costs $75 per adult and $40 for children. Bull & Bear’s dining room is commandeered for this experience.

In-room dining

Awesome breakfast via in-room dining. ANDREA ROTONDO/THE POINTS GUY

When done right, room service is such a luxury. What’s better than someone bringing you all your favorite foods exactly when you want them? We tried room service for breakfast on the morning of our departure. We preordered and requested 9 a.m. delivery. There was a knock on the door at 9:01.

This was one of our favorite meals at the resort. It was beautiful and delicious. We tried a pastry board (OMG! It was worth every evil carbohydrate — so delicious), granola-yogurt parfait and steak and eggs.

Dining options at Signia by Hilton Bonnet Creek

You can also walk over to nearby Signia by Hilton Bonnet Creek to try any of its restaurants. We enjoyed a nice Italian dinner at La Luce.

Amenities and service

This is one of Orlando’s most luxurious properties, and it offers more amenities and a higher level of service than most standard hotels in the area.

Park transportation

Bus transportation to the Disney theme parks and Disney Springs. WALDORF ASTORIA ORLANDO

Transportation to the four Disney theme parks plus Disney Springs is a coveted perk guests appreciate. Buses depart from the hotel’s porte cochere roughly 20 times per day for the Magic Kingdom. From about 8 a.m. until 11:30 a.m., the shuttle runs every 30 minutes. Then just once an hour until later in the afternoon (around 3 p.m.) when service resumes every 30 minutes.

Departures to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios are once hourly from 7:35 a.m. until 11:35 a.m. and then less frequently through 8:35 p.m. Get up early if you’re headed to Animal Kingdom, as the first motorcoach departs the hotel at 6:35 a.m. Then it’s once hourly for the rest of the morning.

The bus to Disney Springs starts operating around noon, with the last bus headed to this entertainment complex a little after 9 p.m. The last return bus to the Waldorf departs Disney Springs at 11:20 p.m.

Check specific departure/arrival times when you arrive at the hotel.

Pool and private cabanas/daybeds

The resort has two accessible pools and one hot tub. The larger of the two pools is zero-entry at one end, so you can simply walk in or use the stairs to access it from several other locations. Chair lifts make it easy to access the smaller pool and hot tub.


If you want to lock in on pool seating, you have two options: shaded daybeds or a cabana.

Private cabanas line the smaller of the two pools at the resort. ANDREA ROTONDO/THE POINTS GUY

Daybeds are for two people from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and include a pitcher of fruit-infused water and a dedicated server. The cost is $75 per day plus a $30 gratuity.

Daybeds available for daily rental. ANDREA ROTONDO/THE POINTS GUY

Cabanas accommodate six people and offer a sofa and a chair, plus two loungers in front of the cabana, cable TV and a minifridge.

Pool cabanas have two loungers plus a chair and sofa. ANDREA ROTONDO/THE POINTS GUY

We enjoyed the fruit platter, bottled water, soft drinks, and fruit-infused water that came with the package.


Book in advance at the hotel’s website ($350 per day plus a $30 gratuity).

Lazy river at Signia by Hilton and the on-site Kids Club

If you’ve got kids — and even if you don’t! — walk next door to the Signia by Hilton at Bonnet Creek. It’s got a meandering lazy river. It’s supremely relaxing to float along the river in an inner tube. The Waldorf’s Kids Club also has plenty to keep little ones happy for hours.




This 18-hole golf course, lined by cypress trees, got a lot of use while we were at the resort.

Our balcony overlooked the course, and we saw many groups playing a round. Golf course architect Rees Jones designed the thoroughfare that balances beauty with challenging play.


There is also a practice range, putting green and golf club with a restaurant, bar and shop. You can book private lessons through the Golf Academy on-site.



Book a spa treatment to escape the hustle of the theme parks. ANDREA ROTONDO/THE POINTS GUY

While I couldn’t squeeze in a spa treatment, I toured the 4,000-square-foot facility, and it just oozed tranquility. It’s open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. It’s best to make an appointment as soon as you know when you’d like to visit.

The beautiful sitting rooms set the stage for guests waiting for treatments that range from massages to facials (starting at $250) to Himalayan salt therapies (starting at $160) to Normatec leg recovery (starting at $75).

The salt rooms combine a massage with an inhalation experience.

These relaxation loungers are also very popular at the spa.


If you aren’t in the mood for a spa treatment, the salon offers a wide variety of options so you can get your hair or nails done on-site.


Fitness center

The gym, inside the Waldorf Astoria Spa, is open 24 hours a day and features a free weight station, Precor workout equipment such as treadmills and elliptical machines, as well as brand-new Peloton bikes.

Out and about

The list of what you can do and see in Orlando is seemingly never-ending. TPG has extensive guides to visiting both Universal and Walt Disney World. Refer to these stories for more information.

Walt Disney World

Universal Orlando


There are many types of accessible rooms and suites at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando. It’s best to search for them on Hilton’s website, since the options are more clearly called out there, instead of on the Waldorf’s site. Just click the “Accessible Rooms” checkbox and your options will appear. Choices include hearing accessible, mobility accessible, mobility and hearing accessible plus some suites with a roll-in shower. Mobility-accessible rooms have grab bars in the bathroom.

Both pools and the hot tub are accessible. The larger of the two pools is zero-entry at one end so you can simply walk in. There are also chair lifts to easily access the smaller pool and the hot tub.

Chair lift for access to the hot tub. (The smaller pool has one as well.) ANDREA ROTONDO/THE POINTS GUY

Checking out

I love this hotel for a quick, rejuvenating staycation, and I recommend it for couples or families visiting Orlando — whether they plan to use it as a home base to visit the theme parks or simply to enjoy the pools, hot tub, lazy river, golf course, spa and dining outlets. The Waldorf Astoria Orlando is a fantastic value using cash on off-peak dates and points during peak season. We’ll definitely be back soon.

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