What’s a vacation in Orlando without some quality time at your hotel’s pool? Perhaps you’d like to save money by choosing a budget-friendly hotel, but wished the pool had more features? There’s a tool out there called ResortPass that allows you to purchase access to a participating resort’s pool for the day. I decided to book a ResortPass on a whim at a hotel just outside the Walt Disney World border. During my exploration of the tool I learned there are lots of Orlando area resorts that offer this option. Here’s what it is like to book and use ResortPass at Meliá Orlando Celebration.
Booking a ResortPass
I booked my ResortPass on the website, as opposed to the app, because goodness knows the last thing I need on my phone is another app (besides the Lines app of course). Before selecting the Meliá Orlando Celebration, I browsed the available options. I was looking for something within the next few days so my options were limited. The website listed the available hotels first followed by unavailable options. Also before selecting the Meliá Orlando Celebration, I clicked into the listing of each hotel to see what was included.
Some hotels include self parking, others do not include it. You will definitely want to factor this in. If you’re already paying for a hotel room then paying for a ResortPass (which averages $20 – $30 per person), and then parking on top of it, the value tends to get washed away. So read closely before you book.
I selected Meliá Orlando Celebration because it is close to Walt Disney World, and the pass was $20 which included a $20 food voucher to use at the restaurant right next to the pool, plus self parking is included. The down side to Meliá Celebration is the pool isn’t as fancy as other resort options, but as I soon found, it is still a great spot for relaxing.
My ResortPass Experience at Meliá Orlando Celebration
Arriving to Melia Orlando Celebration doesn’t give a striking impression. It is located just off Highway 192 at the entrance to the town of Celebration. Disney’s office buildings in Celebration are its closest neighbors, and a vacant lot is next to it ready for development any day now. Putting that aside, once I had parked and began walking up to the hotel itself, a feeling of cheerfulness and relaxation began to seep in.
I had driven by this hotel so many times and it was exciting to finally set foot inside. Melia is a brand of hotels that is more well known internationally than here in the United States. As I walked into the lobby, I got the impression that the service would be very nice and the amenities would be comfortable.
I told the front desk agent that I had booked a ResortPass. She asked for my photo identification (which was indicated as a requirement in the confirmation email). She checked in her system and then began welcoming me to the hotel. It took a few minutes for her to complete the process, but it was worth it in the end when she not only handed me the $20 food voucher that I knew was included, but another voucher for a welcome beer or wine too. Let’s get this daycation started!
360 American Bistro is the hotel’s only restaurant operating at the moment. It has a bar in the middle with seating inside and outside. There are poolside servers, but I decided to order at the bar straight way since my stomach was already growling. The menu impressed me with lots of healthful choices with some indulgent, hearty options too. The menu was also bilingual, and lots of my surrounding patrons spoke Spanish. The European feel of this hotel felt a little like I had journeyed outside of Orlando.
With my food order placed and my cold beer in hand, I used the restrooms in the pool area to change. There aren’t any formal changing rooms, but the restrooms worked well enough. Towels are available at a dispensing machine, and I was issued a key card for access to the towels, but I had brought my own. I selected a lounge chair with shade and a dining table nearby too. There were plenty of lounge chairs and tables from which to choose. The six feet of distancing that I am used to seeing at Disney pools was absent here, but thankfully the pool area wasn’t overly crowded.
I ordered a Prosciutto and Goat Cheese Flatbread as well as an Heirloom Tomatoes and Barata Salad. The Flatbread was $15.00 and large enough to serve me as an entree on its own, but would have also worked as an appetizer to share. There is a large wood-fire over near the bar, a nice touch and it gave the flatbread great flavor. I appreciated that the Proscuitto wasn’t overly salty or chewy.
I adored the salad. The greens were so fresh! The heirloom tomatoes were colorful, and huge. I could not get enough of the barrata and roasted sweet peppers. And it all is dressed with wild honey, with a few bits of honeycombs, and some mustard grains too. I devoured it shamelessly.
As I dined I noticed the servers were actively paying attention to all the pool guests. Frosty margaritas and pina coladas continuously passed by on trays being delivered to happy vacationers. I loved the music. A combination of American hits, a little country, a little reggae, it all blended into great poolside soundtrack.
I only had time to take a quick dip at the pool. I was actually working the day of my visit and ended up only spending about two hours there. The pool itself is just a circle, with a little island in the middle with lounge chairs in a circle. There is a hot tub and a shallow wading pool for tiny tykes.
Overall, as a local, I loved my quick little daycation here. For those here on an Orlando vacation, it is a nice option if you’re looking to explore, but you definitely need to tally the total cost to make sure it is worth it for your unique situation.
More Information About ResortPass
I received an email the night before I was set to use my ResortPass confirming my booking information and reminding me to check-in at the front desk for my pool access and voucher. The cancellation policy was to cancel by 10:00 a.m. on the day of your booking for either a full refund or ResortPass credit. This applies to rainy day situations too. There are destinations all over the country that offer ResortPass, not just the Orlando area.
If you’re looking to explore resorts near Walt Disney World or Universal Orlando, ResortPass is a fun way to get out on a little adventure. If you’re staying at a hotel with a pool you wish had a little more to it, then ResortPass is a good option too. The popular resorts like Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin and Hilton Bonnet Creek do sell out of ResortPass pretty early so be sure to plan ahead.
Have you ever used the ResortPass service? Would you like to have access to an Orlando resort’s pool for the day? Let us know in the comments!