A Stay at Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace: Perspective from a Value Gal

by | Nov 23, 2021 | DVC Destinations, DVC Membership, DVC Points, DVC Resorts, Walt Disney World Resorts, WDW Blog

Is a stay at the Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace a good value? Get the opinions of our loyal Value Resort queen and WDW Magazine CEO, Stephanie Shuster.

I’m a loud and proud, self-proclaimed Value Gal– a HUGE fan of the Value Resorts at Walt Disney World. But In November 2021, I was treated to a one-night stay in a Resort View Tower Room at the Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace.

This is actually one of the six official Disney Springs Resort Area Hotels and it comes with a lot of amenities, an affordable price, and a pretty great location across the street from Disney Springs.

Budget is a big factor for me when selecting a hotel at Walt Disney World. I usually opt to spend those extra dollars on more park days, tasty treats, and lots of souvenirs!

I’ve been eyeing the Disney Springs Resort Area Hotels lately, and the prices certainly set my value-minded heart a-flutter. Plus, I’m a big Hilton fan and the the Hilton Toyko Bay at Tokyo Disney Resort was amazing during my stay there in 2018. But when I come to Walt Disney World I really love being inside that “all Disney, all the time” bubble.

As someone who usually stays at Disney’s Value Resorts, I was really curious to see what the differences were in the room, at the pool, and on the grounds (and what the similarities were too).

A view of the Hilton Buena Vista Palace

Courtesy of Hilton

How much of a price difference is there? Your mileage may vary, but looking at a random Monday night stay in April 2022, the Hilton rooms start at $150 (or $147 if you qualify for a Hilton Honors program rate) for a 400 square foot room with 2 queen beds– you could even get a room here for FREE using Hilton Honors points if you have them.

There is a daily resort charge which covers internet, a shuttle to the Disney parks, float lagoon access and more. So that brings you up to $182/night. Not the cheapest, but… Disney rooms on the same night start at $218 for a 260 square foot, double queen room at the All-Star Music (or $159 for a Fort Wilderness Tent or Pop-Up Campsite).

There’s no resort fee at Disney, and even more of the Deluxe Resort rooms don’t surpass 400 feet unless you’re looking at a suite. So now that we know what apples (or oranges, it’s Florida, after all!) we’re comparing it’s time to ask that big question:

Would this be the resort to convince a Value Gal that she doesn’t need all the Disney bells and whistles to have a magical stay? Let’s find out …

Arrival and Departure from the Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace

The exterior of the Hilton Buena Vista Palace hotel

The main tower building. Photo by Danny Shuster.

I actually started my trip to WDW a few days before, staying at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter. It was a quick Uber ride from there to the Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace (lets just call them Hilton BVP from now on, okay?), and when I stepped out of the car and into the lobby, I knew I wasn’t at “Disney” any more.

I don’t mean that in a bad way at all! It was a familiar homecoming to me as I’ve stayed in several Hilton properties over the years. They’re not identical but they all have a similar vibe, branded signage, and an easy to follow flow of traffic for guests to find their way around.

It looked like a Hilton, smelled like a Hilton, and the service from the staff was professional, friendly, and helpful – like always at the Hilton.  This isn’t a commercial for Hilton, but like Disney they sure have their branding down.

If you’re travelling with a dedicated Hilton Honors member (or even someone desparate to escape the 24/7 Disney bubble), staying here might be just the ticket to a perfect stay.

Check-in was smooth – I didn’t use the Hilton app to check in on this trip, but on past Hilton stays I’ve found it very easy to use and I love the “choose your room” feature.  This time, I simply went up to the front desk and spoke with Jackie who was warm and efficient.

Although it was a little before 1pm and rooms aren’t usually ready till 4pm, she found us a spot on floor 26 with an incredible view of the lake– and we could head up right away!

Directional signage in the Hilton Buena Vista Palace directs guests towards various points of interest

Lots of directional signage made getting around easy. Photo by Danny Shuster.

Departure to the airport was easy peasy too– we just called up an Uber and were on our way in minutes. It took about 25 minutes and cost $30 which is pretty comparable to the new MearsConnect service replacing the complimentary Disney Magical Express Service in 2022.

How did the experience rate out of 10?

  • Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace – 10
  • Value Resorts – 8

I did miss a little Disney magic, but it wasn’t totally absent– there was a fireworks photo op beside the front desk, and Mickey details throughout the resort to promote the on-site ticket sales they can assist guests with.

Based on check-in alone, I was impressed enough to book another stay prior to our Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser stay in the spring. That should tell you something right there.

Around the Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace

Lawn and recreation area outside the Hilton Buena Vista Palace

A spacious lawn near the pool. Photo by Danny Shuster.

The Hilton BVP has a main double-tower with two banks of elevators (some head up the shorter tower, while others go all the way up to floor 27!) and a lower Island building down by the pool. Most amenities are in the tower, but it’s a 1-2 min walk between the two, and the Island building gives a little more quiet and privacy, plus poolside proximity.

There’s a covered walkway between the buildings which is a nice touch to stay out of the Florida sun and rain.

We stayed in the tallest part of the tower and I’m happy to report that the elevators were ultra fast and we never had to wait long to get where we were going – nor did we get lost at any point in our trip. The cafe, pool, fitness facility, walkway to Disney Springs and even the park transportation were easy to find an only a minute or two from our room.

A aerial view of the Hilton Buena Vista Palace

Courtesy of Hilton

That was a welcome change from many Disney Resorts where room buildings are spread out so you’re close to the pool but not the bus or vice versa.

Plus, having Disney Springs at our door step gave us plenty of options for meals, snacks and shopping. It made it very easy to get to World of Disney before opening in order to secure a particular Loungefly, or to pickup some Gideon’s for the flight home.

We timed a slow-paced walk (imaginary kids in tow) from the lobby to Once Upon a Toy in Disney Springs – it was just 9 minutes. My normal walking pace would have had us there in 5-6 minutes.  If you’re in one of the Island buildings detached from the main lobby and across the pool, the walk is even closer.

We sadly didn’t have time to use the pool on this visit, but we walked by and it looked spectacular. One long pool allows for bar-adjacent lounging or even laps, and then there’s the show-stopping float lagoon complete with lazy river and splash area.

Kids will seriously love this pool, and you can’t get anything like it at a Value Resort at WDW. There was a spacious hot-tub and a near-by area for lawn games too.

The hot tub at the Hilton Buena Vista Palace

This hot tub is calling my name. Photo by Danny Shuster.

My husband Danny commented that it is a lovely hotel, but it feels like a business hotel. That’s true, but with the amenities for families no one will feel out of place.

This would be a great spot to stay while one parent is at a conference or convention (business center, meeting facilities and even Fed Ex service for mom or dad) and the rest of the family can enjoy the pool, Disney Springs or even the parks! 

For being a business-y hotel though, there was a lot of bright color, lots of fun little seating nooks to discover and hang out in, and even in the lobby bar we saw both grownups having a drink and families unwinding after a day in the parks. It’s a really nice vibe.

The hotel also backs onto a lake and we had a lovely view of it from our room, but you could see it from the lobby, restaurants and pool area too! Speaking of restaurants, there are several to choose from. Citrus 28 makes fresh coffee and sandwiches (try the turkey croissant!) plus has an extensive grab-and-go section with cereal, beverages, alcohol, snacks, fruit, and more.

Letterpress offers a buffet (including a weekly character breakfast) which is temporarily closed due to Covid. Shades is the pool bar and grill with cocktails and burgers, while Sunnies is the lobby bar. Everything is casual and relaxed, but modern.

How did the experience rate out of 10?

  • Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace – 9
  • Value Resorts – 7

Convenience wins out here, but I had to dock a point because I just miss those over the top Disney vibes so much!

The In-Room Experience

To paraphrase Walt’s comment about building WDW in Florida, the Hilton BVP really does have the blessing of space. As I mentioned before, the rooms here are HUGE, even in the smallest room you’re looking at more space than most rooms at Disney. The difference was obvious.

Packing was a breeze with plenty of space to lay our suitcases out. A comfy chair with a reading lamp was a nice place to scroll Instagram, and the spacious desk with Herman Miller chair made catching up on emails and spreadsheets a breeze (yep, I’m a Disney gal but a business owner too– I never stop working, even at the Most Magical Place on Earth).

The internet was lightning fast, which is something I often struggle with on-property.

Inside on of the rooms at the Hilton Buena Vista Palace

Our room was 400 square feet and very comfy. Photo by Danny Shuster.

The two twin beds were extremely comfy, much better than at my beloved Pop Century (but not quite up there with Grand Floridan), and the in-room Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf coffee was excellent to have with a view over our balcony in the morning. Don’t want to make your own coffee? Citrus 28 on floor one has a full Starbucks lineup to choose from, including everything from lattes to cold brew. 

The bathroom was similar to Disney with a split layout (toilet and tub/shower combo in one room, sink in another). There was plenty of closet and drawer space, plus a sizable minifridge. Plenty of counterspace made getting ready for our media event that night at Cirque du Soleil a breeze. The one thing it was missing? That Disney charm again. Oh, and all those Disney channels – I love watching the Mickey Mouse shorts while I get ready!

How did the experience rate out of 10?

  • Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace – 9.5
  • Value Resorts – 7

No competition, you’re getting a much, much nicer room for the same cost or less at Hilton BVP.

Did This Value Gal Become a Disney Springs Area Resort Devotee?

Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace

Courtesy of Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace

The Hilton BVP really impressed me. I went in with the expectation that we’d have a nice stay but the pool area, Citrus 28, walking proximity to Disney Springs and the extremely spacious room won me over.

If I’m being honest, I do miss being in the Disney bubble, and we didn’t visit the parks during our stay so I’m not sure if that would have been a hassle compared to an on-property hotel (I’ll find out on my next stay!).

But, would I recommend this to conscious visitors, people who want to go to Disney but aren’t “Disney nuts,” or simply those who want predictable amenities in a convenient location? 100% I would!

Will I be back? Yes, and counting down the days. Will it replace all my on-property stays? No way, I gotta have those Mickey waffles and Skyliner access. After all, I am a Value Gal…

Really stepping out of my comfort zone lately, I wonder which resort I should stay at next…

How did the OVERALL experience rate?

  • Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace – 28.5 out of 30
  • Value Resorts – 22 out of 30

The Hilton Orlano Buena Vista Palace was a very good value and a fantastic surprise… but sometimes you just need that “Disney” experience you get at a Value Resort.

Thanks to Disney for hosting us for a night at the Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace and the opening night of Drawn to Life Presented by Cirque du Soleil® & Disney! #DrawnToLife @CirqueduSoleil @DisneySprings

Disney Vacation Club Previews Grand Floridian Villas Updates Coming in 2022

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Posts by Stephanie Shuster

A lifelong Disney fan with a passion for globetrotting, I’m driven by a desire to build a community where people like me can let their Disney flag fly with pride. As CEO and Owner of WDW Magazine, I lead a team that connects thousands of Disney fans to the Most Magical Place on Earth from wherever they are.

Authored by
Stephanie Shuster

A lifelong Disney fan with a passion for globetrotting, I’m driven by a desire to build a community where people like me can let their Disney flag fly with pride. As CEO and Owner of WDW Magazine, I lead a team that connects thousands of Disney fans to the Most Magical Place on Earth from wherever they are.
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