The most popular vacation resort area in the United States is undoubtedly Orlando. Thrust into prominence when Disney chose nearby Kissimmee as the location for Walt Disney World, Orlando found itself with one major attraction after another. Disney World, Universal Studios, Sea World and more. Now, none of these major attractions will allow you to bring your dog inside unless it is a service or assistance dog. So Orlando has a mixed reputation as a dog-friendly destination. However, downtown Orlando, with Lake Eola, and Winter Park are quite pet-friendly. So you can have a dog-friendly vacation in the area if you are comfortable with your dog at a nice, air conditioned and monitored day kennel while you take in the major theme parks.
Orlando's Lake Eola Park
Your dog may not be able to go with you into Disney World, but they can join you at some top of the line resort hotels. Universal's Hard Rock, Loews Portofino Bay Hotel and the Sheraton Lake Buena Vista Resort are three top of the line dog-friendly choices. There are others for various price ranges including a number of pet-friendly La Quinta Hotels throughout the area, Comfort Inn International, a number of Best Westerns and Red Roof Inns. The Loews Portofino Bay Hotel offers a VIP Pet Program for canine visitors. This includes a gourmet room service menu for Fido, bedding, a toy, treats and more. A similar program exists at the Hard Rock as well. For those of you seeking more space for you and your pup, there are many extended stay hotels in the area where you can get studio, one and two bedroom suites. There are Candlewood Suites, Extended Stay America, Residence Inn and others. These hotels typically have a larger one time pet fee so consider them for longer stays and not for shorter ones.
The area is home to many, many vacation rentals. For people who like to stay in a home away from home there are many pet-friendly Orlando area vacation rentals. Near Disney World is the Idyll Mouse with a fenced in dog yard. Also in Kissimmee are Indian Wells Villas, offering 2 and 3 bedroom homes, Caribbean Villas, a House at Disney and many other vacation rentals in Kissimmee and throughout the Orlando region.
Many people travel to Orlando in a Motor Home of Travel Trailer. You and your dog can stay in Disney World's Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. There is an off-leash dog park on the premises. Dogs are only allowed to stay in RVs and not in tents at Fort Wilderness. There are three area KOA campgrounds, the Themeworld RV Resort and the Tropical Palms Resort as well. For tent camping there is the Wekiwa Springs State Park, Turkey Lake Park and Blue Spring State Park.
For years, visitors to Disney World had a day kennel to leave their pets at right on the premises. This has now been replaced by Best Friends Pet Care at Disney's Port Orleans Resort at 2510 Bonnet Creek Parkway. This huge 17,000 square foot doggie day care facility also has a secure 25,000 square foot outside dog park. Of course it is air-conditioned and supervised at all times. Sea World and Universal also have their own air conditioned and supervised day kennels as well.
When you are not at the Theme Parks we suggest that you take your dog to some of the more welcoming areas in Orlando for them. Winter Park is a very dog-friendly neighborhood. For dog-friendly shopping this is a great stop. There is also a large off-leash dog park here known as Fleet Peeples Park. It is fenced with a pond for swimming. Downtown Orlando hosts Lake Eola Park with a one mile walking or jogging trail circling the lake. The Disney created town of Celebration is also dog-friendly with shops, patio dining and many annual events to take your dog to.
There are a number of other things to do while in the Orlando area with your dogs. Historic Sanford is a nice area to walk and has an off-leash park. There are also other off-leash parks throughout the region. For hiking, camping and exploration of Florida State Parks try the Wekiwa Springs State Park and the Blue Spring State Park. The Kissimmee Air Museum may allow your well-behaved dog to view the air exhibits. For indoor dog swimming as well as aquatic therapy for dogs there is the Hip Dog Canine Aquatic Rehab and Fitness Center. There are one hour swim times available for visiting dogs. Small dogs that can be carried can ride the LYNX Orlando buses.
Orlando can be said to be the center of the Florida "doggy dining" revolution. When Florida health inspectors began blocking restaurants here from allowing dogs at patio seating legislation was passed and signed by the governor permitting Florida dogs at patio restaurants when approved locally. It has been approved locally in most of Florida now. Orlando has many outdoor restaurants where you can take your dog. A partial guide is located in the DogFriendly.com directory. You can find dog-friendly restaurants in Kissimmee, Winter Park, Orlando and Sanford.
Nearby dog-friendly trips from Orlando include the very pet-friendly St Augustine, Tampa, St Pete, the Space Coast and Daytona.