Attention, Disney lovers: Paradise has arrived on Disney property, a few miles from the Magic Kingdom.
And once you experience the new Four Seasons Orlando, you may never want to leave to go to the theme parks again.
It’s a self-contained wonderland of nature, glamour, great food — and even a signature blond ale crafted especially for the resort from Due South brewery in Boynton Beach.
With 443 rooms — the most spacious in Orlando — and 26.5 acres of gardens, a lake, nature areas and a golf course, the Four Seasons now challenges Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, the Ritz-Carlton in Grande Lakes and the Waldorf Astoria as this area’s top resort.
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Here are seven sensations at the new Four Seasons Orlando:
▪ Rooftop bar: The Four Seasons has several dining venues, and you don’t have to be a guest to enjoy them. The 17th-floor contemporary Spanish steakhouse Capa with outdoor dining terrace offers majestic views of all of Walt’s kingdom.
▪ Explorer Island: For Tom Sawyers of all ages, the 5-acre fun zone features a lazy river, climbing wall and water slides, a gaming center, outdoor pool tables, huge family pool and beach.
▪ The brisket, the blond ale and the moon pie! Due South Brewery in Boynton Beach crafted the Four Seasons’ signature PB&G Blond Ale ($7), which we enjoyed at the delicious pool-side Southern-style restaurant, PB&G. I’d make the drive just to have another beef brisket sandwich with spicy BBQ sauce and sauerkraut cole slaw on top ($22) and the moon pie ($6) for dessert.
▪ Shades of old Florida: The canopy of trees leading from the pool area to the lobby harkens back to early 20th-century Palm Beach, when a tree-lined walkway led guests from Henry Flagler’s Royal Poinciana Hotel on the Intracoastal to The Breakers hotel on the beach.
▪ Enough magic, not too much madness: I love Disney parks and resorts and go several times a year. But now that I’ve seen the Four Seasons Orlando, I would happily cheat on Walt. This is a destination resort within the residential community of Golden Oak at Walt Disney World Resort. It’s a quiet community — you have to be looking for the Four Seasons to find it. Here there’s just enough “Disney” — there’s a Disney desk where you can get tickets, motor coaches to the theme parks and two character-dining experiences a week.
But Mickey doesn’t matter when luxury is as magical as this.
▪ Four Seasons Orlando, 10100 Dream Tree Blvd.; 407-313-7777; www.fourseasons.com/orlando; rooms from $399.