July 22, 2024

Disney World Hotel Review: Fairfield Inn & Suites Orlando at Flamingo Crossings

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Fairfield Inn & Suites Orlando at Flamingo Crossings Town Center is a hotel by Marriott located at the western entrance of Walt Disney World. This resort review features room photos, thoughts on amenities, and pros

Fairfield Inn & Suites Orlando at Flamingo Crossings Town Center is a hotel by Marriott located at the western entrance of Walt Disney World. This resort review features room photos, thoughts on amenities, and pros & cons of booking here as compared to its counterparts on-site and off-site near the parks.

As with the rest of Flamingo Crossings, whether the Fairfield Inn is an on-site or off-site hotel is a matter of perspective. Located off Western Way and State Road 429 near Animal Kingdom, the Fairfield Inn is within what’s called the Reedy Creek Improvement District (for now) and is part of Flamingo Crossings, which is being developed by Walt Disney World.

With that said, Flamingo Crossings is just outside the WDW gateway that greets visitors and typically demarcates “off-site” and the Disney bubble. For those who are unfamiliar with Flamingo Crossings, it’s a ‘town center’ that’s populated by tourists and college students due to its eclectic mixture of hotels, Disney College Program housing, restaurants, and retail. If you’re curious about this area, read more in our Guide to Flamingo Crossings at Walt Disney World.

If you don’t want to read that, there are a few need-to-know details about the hotels at Flamingo Crossings Town Center. First, they’re all about a 12 minute drive to Animal Kingdom or Hollywood Studios, and around 15 minutes to Epcot or Magic Kingdom. (They are closest to Coronado Springs, which is a great option for dinners after a late night in the parks!)

Second, Fairfield Inn & Suites Orlando is located in the center of the hotels at the Flamingo Crossings Town Center. The hotel is away from the interstate while still being a short walk from Target, Five Guys, Starbucks, and everywhere else. This all makes it an conveniently-located option if you want a place to buy groceries or sundries–or late night burgers.

Transportation is available from most of these Flamingo Crossings hotels, but comes with several huge asterisks. The bus is paid, must be scheduled in advance, has limited departure & return times, and is shared among the Flamingo Crossings Town Center hotels to the Walt Disney World Transportation and Ticket Center.

No one who values their limited vacation time should use this bus transportation. If you’re staying at any of the Flamingo Crossings hotels, either have your own vehicle or use a rideshare service. An Uber or Lyft will cost you around $10 to $20 depending on the park you’re visiting and demand.

Finally, none of the Flamingo Crossings hotels are eligible for Early Entry or Extended Evening Hours. For the most part, only Deluxe Resorts offer Extended Evening Hours, so that’s no surprise. However, all of the Disney Springs Area Resorts and other third party options are eligible for Early Entry, so that’s more noteworthy. That half-hour headstart can be huge, especially at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and EPCOT.

Included transportation and bonus time in the parks are the two most compelling reasons to stay on-site at one of the Disney-owned and operated resorts. For a full breakdown of the benefits and drawbacks of each style of accommodations, see Off-site v. On-site Hotels at Walt Disney World.

Let’s turn from the generalized Flamingo Crossings Town Center hotel info to the specifics about the Fairfield Inn Orlando. All of these hotels on this side of the road were built around the same time and in the same style, and it shows. The downstairs lobby is modern, complete with an abundance of seating, inviting lounges, fireplaces, and large common areas for breakfast. None of this is trendy or exciting, but it’s also not dull and boring either.

The Fairfield Inn Orlando at Flamingo Crossings looks different than its counterparts in the area, but it’s clearly following the same formula. The amenities are pretty consistent across the board, with the biggest selling point being the free hot breakfast.

Of the Flamingo Crossings hotels at which we’ve stayed, this was one of the better breakfasts. At night when I took these photos, the huge seating area and lineup of six (6) self-service Mickey waffle stations might seem like overkill. Not so much during the breakfast rush, when this place was so jam-packed that I couldn’t even get photos.

The breakfast options were standard-but-good. Hot items during our stay included bacon, sausage, potatoes, and eggs; also available were staples like bagels, bread, muffins, cereal, yogurt, and so forth. I make a point of eating my day’s serving of fruit; it’s overpriced in the parks and doesn’t taste any better or worse than what you’ll find at the hotel, making it an easy opportunity to save money without compromising on the food fun at Walt Disney World.

Other amenities include a 24-hour fitness center, self-service laundry room, lobby convenience store, and bar/lounge. As you’d likely expect with a brand new hotel, the fitness center here is nice and offers plenty of modern equipment.

Speaking of recreation, there are a number of great options outdoors. These include a soccer field, basketball court, and batting cages. Youth sporting events are big business for Walt Disney World, and I can only assume that the Fairfield Inn is trying to siphon some budget-conscious schools away from the All-Stars.

I never saw anyone using these facilities, but I assume it’s a ‘feast/famine’ scenario with them either being totally dead or really busy depending upon whether the hotel is hosting teams. (Having stayed at the All Stars when they’re hosting youth events, I’m honestly inclined to view these facilities as more of a liability than an asset…)

The pool area at the Fairfield Inn is spacious; the pool itself is zero entry and is surrounded by plenty of lounge chairs. Some hotels in this style have undersized pools and seating areas, but not the Fairfield. During our stay, there was always sufficient space to meet demand.

Not only does this pool have plenty of seating and a good size, but there are also splash pads and even outdoor dining. If you want to hang out here at night or in the morning before the crowd arrives, fountains provide soothing sounds, and there’s vegetation behind the pool that provides a sense of seclusion. With that said, this pool still doesn’t compare to the Disney-owned properties or the older hotels around Orlando that have their own grottos, lazy rivers, etc. It’s all relative.

For our stay at the Fairfield Inn, we booked the standard king room. As the hotel’s name suggests, it offers regular rooms and suites.

This is actually one of the big distinctions between the Fairfield Inn and some of the other hotels at Flamingo Crossings Town Center. The Fairfield is not what I’d classify as a modern extended stay hotel; its suites are just larger rooms with a bit more sitting space. The suites at the Fairfield Inn at Flamingo Crossings offer a separate sitting area with an additional television, but these two areas are only broken up by partial walls (no doors).

The largest room type at the Fairfield Inn & Suites at Flamingo Crossing is the 2 Queen Suite, which features those two dedicated beds, plus a sofa bed in a separate living area, mini fridge, microwave, and coffee maker. This room type is 480 square feet, as compared to the 390 square feet King Suite.

To put those numbers into perspective, standard rooms range from 280 to 320 square feet at the Fairfield Inn. Over at the nearby Residence Inn–a proper extended stay hotel–the studio suites start at 440 square feet, while the 1-bedroom units begin at 600 square feet.

More significant than the size is that none of the Fairfield Inn & Suites at Flamingo Crossings rooms have proper or even partial kitchens. The best you get is a mini fridge and coffee maker, whereas some of the alternatives have stoves, full size fridges, dishwashers, and more.

In my view, the full kitchen and proper multi-room units is the main selling point of booking a third party hotel like this. The Target at Flamingo Crossings that’s about a 5-10 minute walk from here has decent selection in groceries, making it easy to prepare meals in-room. That isn’t possible at the Fairfield Inn, but it’s also possible that you may not want that.

As for the standard room at the Fairfield Inn at Flamingo Crossings, it’s nicely designed and feels generically modern thanks to the lighting, artwork, and other detail touches. The carpet really does the heavy lifting in terms of style, making an otherwise bland room feel a bit fresh and energetic. But let’s not get carried away–it’s a fairly ordinary room. I guess they don’t call it the Fairfield Inn for nothing!

Bedding and pillows are perfectly plush, and will get the job done after a long day in the parks. It’s nothing exceptional, but pretty comparable to most non-luxury hotels both on-site and off-site. There really isn’t a huge range in bedding quality among hotels at or near Walt Disney World. Most of the newer, reasonably nice ones are very comparable to one another.

The bathrooms at the Fairfield Inn are perfectly serviceable, and in the same upgraded style as others around Flamingo Crossings. Nice sink, counter top, and highly effective lighting.

My one quibble is that nothing is separated by a second door, making it difficult for multiple people to get ready simultaneously. Then again, this is only a 280 sq. ft. room, so I’m guessing solo travelers or couples are the main demo for it.

On a more positive note, we appreciated the shower at the Fairfield Inn. It’s a walk-in, which is to be expected from pretty much any new hotel being built today. More notably, there’s a decent amount of shelf-space in the shower, which is less common.

For us, the standard rooms at the Fairfield Inn rank low relative the competition at Flamingo Crossings. These are the most “basic” of any rooms we’ve done at Flamingo Crossings. However, that comes with the caveat that we booked a regular room, which isn’t even a category at some of the extended stay-style hotels. An even more important caveat: we specifically booked the Fairfield Inn because it was the cheapest hotel at Flamingo Crossings at the time.

That’d be an important caveat if the Fairfield Inn was consistently the cheapest hotel at Flamingo Crossings, but it’s not. Prices obviously vary by date and booking category, but only on occasion is the Fairfield Inn & Suites Orlando the cheapest hotel in Flamingo Crossings Town Center.

In my random searches for rates this coming summer, I found the standard rooms at the Fairfield Inn & Suites to be less expensive than the nearby Residence Inn, Home2 Suites, or Homewood Suites for many dates. However, all four were the exact same price on other dates. In light of what the Fairfield Inn does not offer relative to the competition, I’d only book this hotel if it’s at least $20 cheaper per night than the alternatives.

The majority of the time, we’ve found that the TownePlace Suites and SpringHill Suites across the street are cheaper than any of the alternatives, including the Fairfield Inn. Those two hotels are a few years older than everything else on this side of the Town Center, but they don’t show their age and are every bit as convenient. I wouldn’t hesitate to book them over the Fairfield Inn if the price is right.

Sadly, all of the Marriott hotels at Flamingo Crossings have started charging for parking, with a $10 nightly rate. This was not the case until recently, and is a curious decision right as Walt Disney World eliminated its self-parking fee.

Overall, the Fairfield Inn & Suites Orlando at Flamingo Crossings Town Center is fine. It’s a good option if you’re visiting during peak tourist season and the Fairfield offers considerable savings as compared to other nearby or on-site hotels at Walt Disney World. In any other circumstances, I have a difficult time recommending this hotel, as it doesn’t really have a unique selling point.

From my perspective, the big advantages of Flamingo Crossings are being in a quiet area with walking access to restaurants and retail, as well as a type of spacious accommodations that would cost a fortune on-site at Walt Disney World. To its credit, the Fairfield Inn does offer the first upside…just like every other hotel in this area. However, the relatively standard nature of the guest rooms is difficult for me to justify in light of the alternatives at Flamingo Crossings.

Beyond that, we did almost back-to-back stays here and at All Star Sports (pictured above) and, frankly, we far preferred that. The pricing premium to stay on-site only ended up costing about $25 per night; that included transportation and Early Entry, which we value tremendously. And I know it’s taste-specific, but I really like the fold-down second bed in the All Star rooms that converts to a dining room table when not in use.

Of course, everyone’s needs and preferences will vary. Some of you will have a vehicle and be splitting time between Walt Disney World and a range of other Central Florida points of interest; others will be reliant upon rideshare and only doing Disney. Regardless,  when it comes to rankings for Flamingo Crossings hotels, the Residence Inn remains our #1 pick. The Fairfield Inn is near or at the bottom of the pack; that doesn’t mean it’s a bad option–all of the hotels at Flamingo Crossings are modern and fresh–just that it does nothing to separate itself from the pack.

Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!

YOUR THOUGHTS

Have you stayed at the Fairfield Inn & Suites Orlando at Flamingo Crossings Town Center? What did you think of the room layout and quality? Think we’re making too much of the room style lacking proper separation between the living area and bedroom, or the lack of a full kitchen option? Did you enjoy your stay at this hotel? Thoughts on the breakfast? Considering the Fairfield Inn? Hearing your feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts or questions below in the comments!

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