So today’s the first day of the family vacation, and your house is all a-bustle. You're making mental check marks to make sure the family is all set. Bags packed? Check. Disney tickets? Check. Hotel booked? Check.
Frantic, the kids make their way to the car with their mouse ears. (Don't like, you have have yours too, embroidered and all!) Your wife sets up the GPS as you load in little Benji to drop him off at the in-laws. Now he's wagging his tail and seems so excited to be joining the family on the trip. Yet that we all know once we drop Benji off, his ears will droop down and his excitement will dissipate. He'll feel left out, the children will ask why can't he come and your heart will sink.
Isn't Benji part of the family too? There's not any friendly pet places in Orlando anyway...
A few years ago you would have been right about most places when travel. Today, you’ll find out that Orlando is far more pet-friendly than you think...
When you think of Orlando, you think about theme parks, hotels, restaurants, and gift shops as far as the eye can see. If we broaden our view of Orlando we’ll find that it’s not only pet friendly, but sometimes even pet encouraging.
So what if we did bring little Benji along?
We can’t keep him at the Hilton hotel all day. (We can, actually, but we’ll get to that later...) He’s too energetic, but guess what? Orlando has a fantastic selection of dog parks!
Orlando Dark Parks
Barber Park, Downey Park and Summerport Dog Park have sections for dogs to roam leash-free. They have ramps and tunnels to play with, along with simple toys. Other amenities include a water fountains for both human and dog, and waste station. There's even a washing stations should your pooch decide today’s a good day to start digging.
Lake Baldwin Park is an exception to the norm. This 23-acre family park also allows dogs to roam unleashed on the entirety of the property. It does lack the ramps and tunnels of the other parks mentioned above. Likewise, Lake Eola Park, while by definition isn’t a dog park, is still very dog friendly. It's known to host many dog-centric activities and events. Your dog can visit any time as long as they remain leashed and well-behaved.
Hotels That Allow Dogs
Now that you've visited a few parks and Benji's made some new friends, it's time to check-in to the hotel. But wait... Did you pick the right hotel? Will little Benji be okay in the room while you’re gone to the amusement parks?
There’s a plethora of hotels in Orlando and a lot of them are pet friendly. Some of them go above and beyond. Ranging from $75 to $100, some hotels will provide accommodation for two pets, such as dishes and treat. If your dog behaves well, you can leave them in the room unattended. Here are a few hotels to check out:
- Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando
- DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Orlando
- Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando
All these hotels mentioned have specific areas for walking your dogs, as well. Yet, the treatment your pets will receive at the Disney World Resorts of Orlando is in a league of it's own!
The Best Friends Pet Care at Walt Disney World treat your pet not as a furry liability but as an honored guest. With over 45 caretakers on staff, your pet will have the time of their life while your family enjoys the parks. They even accommodate for cats and smaller pets.
If for whatever reason your dog has to stay overnight or longer, they get their own hotel rooms! The VIP suite for the dogs come with a flat-screen TV and web-cam to keep an eye on them. Play groups, potty walks and a bath are also included in their stay.
Wow! These dogs get treated better than I do, I swear.
Walt Disney World Resort offers the services mentioned above and Pluto’s Welcome Kit. This dog kit contain items such as food bowls, puppy pads and even a map for dog walks. You have to experience it to believe it!
Dog Friendly Places to Eat
The dogs and the kids have had their fun, and now it’s time to grab some grub. Drop off the pup and bring him back some leftovers, right? Wrong again! Since Orlando is a pet friendly place, so are the restaurants (to an extent).
Dexter's of Thornton Park will allow furry friends on the patio area, but not inside. They will even provide water for them while you browse their menu. It's Contemporary American Cuisine at it's finest! Teak's Bar and Grill offers the same comforts, while touting an impressive list of burgers that don’t seem to end.
Other dog friendly restaurants include:
- The Hammered Lamb
- Bloodhound Brew (super hip name btw)
- Graffiti Junktion
- Cafe Tu Tu Tango (my personal favorite--take The Tour)
We are haven't scratched the surface of dog friendly places! The list goes on and on and on!
Heard About Boozehounds? It's Coming Soon!
The one I’m most excited for hasn’t even opened yet, as of writing. The Boozehounds Dog Bar, is not only a bar and grill, and is not only dog friendly, it is a dog park too. Yes! You’ve heard me right. You can crack open a cold one, and watch the game with your friends, all while your pup goes out and makes new friends. There is a membership cost for the dogs. The fee goes toward maintaining and keeping the park clean. Instead of picking up after your dog, you'll be busy yelling at the TV about that last flag on the play, C’mon Ref!
A Vacation Friendly Place For Dogs
There you have it: a short summary of the pet friendly places in Orlando. Next time you plan to get away to The City Beautiful, remember to bring your furry friend along for the trip. They're part of the family too and Orlando will be quite accommodating for your family and pooch!
Written By: Andrew Brigman