When it comes to tourist-friendly cities in the United States, Orlando, FL has got to be up there. While it's not pedestrian-friendly, owing to how spread out the attractions are (not to mention all the marshland), the Orlando area in central Florida is a veritable mecca for theme park enthusiasts, as it's home to the most popular theme park resorts in the world. And that's not an exaggeration—Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort reign supreme when it comes to worldwide theme park attendance. Orlando (technically, Disney is outside of Orlando) definitely takes the cake when it comes to vacation-worthy theme park trips.
But you already knew that, didn't you? You already want to go. What you're really interested in is finding somewhere to stay in Orlando on your mega family vacation that 1) gives you bang for your buck (resort hotels are expensive!) and 2) is dog-friendly—because your best dog friends deserve a trip, too! Whether you seek the magic of Disney or the thrills at Universal (well, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is pretty magical, too), we've curated a list of pet-friendly vacation rentals in the Orlando area (including Lake Buena Vista and Kissimmee), factoring in price range, travel group size, and resort proximity. Keep in mind that rates may be higher during peak periods like Spring Break and summer.
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Sure, a VRBO getaway isn't as convenient as staying on-site at a luxe Disney World resort, but especially for larger groups with dogs, it can make a lot more sense. In some cases, you'll wind up with way more space and your own private pool area while spending less money overall. Check-in for most vacation home rentals is also faceless and virtual for convenience. Just make sure you have a rental car or plan to use a ride sharing app!
The best for couples/duos on a budget: Disney World Area
Private Cottage 10 Minutes to Disney, $91 avg/night (+ $99 pet fee)
Perfect for couples with a small dog or two, this affordable one-bedroom cottage located in a family-friendly resort area is close to all the action and includes dog-friendly areas. The bed and sofa sleep up to three people, and there's also a full bathroom, a small full kitchen, a two-person eating area, a living room, an in-unit washer and dryer, and a small front porch. Free Wi-Fi, basic cable, air conditioning, and parking are all included.
Up to two cats or non-high-shedding dogs up to 20 pounds each are allowed for a $99 pet fee (there's also a separate $140 cleaning fee). There's a large community pool, sand volleyball, basketball, and miniature golf on the premises, plus a fenced-in area for dogs to play. The cottage is walking distance to Fun Spot and Hometown, a carnival-like shopping and amusement area, and just a 10-minute drive from Walt Disney World, including the thrilling ESPN World of Sports.
The best for mid-sized groups: Disney World Area (#1)
Florida Sun Dream Vacation Home, $140 avg/night (+ $110 pet fee)
Sleeping up to eight people across its four bedrooms, this lovely 2,400-square-foot pool home is a great choice for mid-sized and larger families or groups. It includes two primary bedrooms and four full bathrooms, so it'll also work for two smaller families traveling together. There's also an eat-in kitchen, a dining room, a game room with pool, foosball, and air hockey tables, and a fantastic covered lanai with a swimming pool and hot tub—so you can even swim during the rainy season.
Pets, including dogs, are allowed for a $110 pet fee (there's also a separate $240 cleaning fee). The neighborhood is dog walk-friendly, and the home sits across from an expansive, grassy parkland area that your furry friend can use to run around. The home is less than three miles from Walt Disney World, located especially close to Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park and Disney's Blizzard Beach water park.
Speaking of Disney, one of our favorite things about this affordable rental is the light Disney-themed touches in the children's bedrooms. You'll definitely spot Mickey and Minnie in more than a few places!
The best for mid-sized groups: Disney World Area (#2)
4-Bedroom Villa in Windsor Palms, $183 avg/night (+ $75 pet fee)
Another great and affordable vacation rental for mid- to larger-sized groups, this villa in the gated resort community of Windsor Palms is similar to our previous pick in a number of ways: It sleeps up to eight people across four bedrooms, including two primary bedrooms with en suite bathrooms (plus a third full bath), so it's a great choice for two families vacationing together. It also includes a game room with air hockey and a pool table, boasts a covered lanai with a pool and spa, and features light Disney-themed touches throughout the home, especially in the living area and children's bedrooms.
What's more, this vacation home is located close to the main resort clubhouse, which features a community pool, a children's splash pool, a poolside bar and grill, a sundry shop, a complimentary movie theater, an arcade-style game room, a fitness room, a playground, and outdoor sports courts. It's a fun-packed resort unto itself!
As for pets, up to two dogs less than 50 pounds each are welcome for a $75 pet fee. While the resort clubhouse area isn't dog-friendly, the neighborhood itself is good for pleasant dog walks, and there are communal grassy areas. The vacation home is just three miles from Disney's Animal Kingdom park and roughly four miles from Disney's Hollywood Studios.
The best for close proximity to Disney World
Margaritaville 3-Bedroom Cottage: $234 avg/night (+ $125 pet fee)
While this vacation rental will only work if you have just one small dog, as long as you fit the criteria, it's a great, comfortable place for families with young children to stay. The two-story cottage looks and feels new, with bright color choices, updated countertops and appliances, and tasteful beachy decor. There are three beds (sleeping up to six) and two full bathrooms, plus a powder room. There's also a full kitchen, a living area with a TV, a dining area, and in-unit laundry.
As for the yard, instead of a private backyard, you have a backdoor entrance to a small patio and a huge communal area with walkways, cabanas, benches, and a playground with multiple slides and monkey bars for kids to enjoy. When it comes to pets, one trained, hypoallergenic dog under 20 pounds is allowed for a $125 pet fee.
We know this doesn't apply to everyone, but if that describes your dog and you've got some young kids, this affordable and family-friendly rental is a highly-rated pick. Plus, it's especially close to Disney: It's just 1.2 miles from Disney's Animal Kingdom, two miles from Disney's Blizzard Beach, and less than three miles from Disney's Hollywood Studios.
The ultimate Disney staycation home: Disney World Area
Disney-Themed Estate, $354 avg/night (+ $250 pet fee)
If you want a taste of that Disney resort magic without having to pay upwards of $700 per night for comparable amenities, this Disney-themed vacation home hits all the marks. It features seven bedrooms and 10 beds—sleeping up to a staggering 16 people—making it perfect for family reunions or multiple families vacationing together. There are also four full bathrooms and a powder room, so you don't have to wake up super early just to make sure everyone gets bathroom time. Along with that, there's a full kitchen with a breakfast bar, a large dining area, a living room, and a family room.
The best things, however, are the entertaining spaces and the movie-themed bedrooms and bathrooms. The backyard boasts a large covered lanai with lounge seating and dining, a pool and spa, a ping-pong table, and a small putting green. Back inside, there's a Star Wars-themed home theater/game room with air hockey, and numerous luxuriously-appointed bedrooms and bathrooms themed after Disney characters like Mickey and Minnie Mouse and Snow White, Disney movies like "Beauty and the Beast" and "Frozen," Disney-owned properties like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and even non-Disney properties like Harry Potter (why not?). It's all incredibly inviting and on par with the theming found in a hotel room at Disney and Universal resorts.
The only knock against it is the pet policy: Just one dog under 20 pounds is allowed for a $250 pet fee (be aware of the separate $350 cleaning fee), and all pets must be pre-approved. If you can get around that snag, however, one great thing about this vacation home is that it shares tons of grassy parkland with its neighbors, so there is plenty of space for your dog to run around beyond the home's covered lanai. It's also a short drive to Disney World, located just two-and-a-half miles from Disney's Animal Kingdom and four miles from Disney's Hollywood Studios.
The best multi-theme staycation home: Disney World Area
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, $452 avg/night (+ $120 pet fee)
This themed, pet-friendly vacation home doesn't just stop at Disney, but includes franchises like Harry Potter and DC Comics, as well! It's a dream home by any measure, whether it's the gorgeous modern design, lavish furnishings, fabulous amenities, or fun yet classy theming. There are eight bedrooms and 15 beds total (sleeping up to 20 people), and five full bathrooms, making it perfect for group retreats, family reunions, or multiple Disney-loving families traveling together. Besides the spacious and stylish kitchen, dining, and living areas, there's a covered lanai with a pool and spa, a small waterslide, and outdoor dining.
It's really the fun movie and character theming that stands out, though. There's an enchanting Disney Princess-themed bedroom, a large Mickey Mouse & Friends-themed kids room with four themed bunk beds, a slide, and a play area with kiddie lockers, a Harry Potter-themed bedroom with faux brick walls, and a Superman and Wonder Woman-themed game room with arcade games and a pool table. There are also several luxurious, non-themed bedrooms for those who can have a little too much Disney (but how could you?!).
Dogs are allowed for a $120 pet fee (there's also a separate $305 cleaning fee). The neighborhood is good for dog walks, but the shared Storey Lake Resorts communal areas like the community pool, lazy river, and sports courts may not all be dog-friendly. If that doesn't sound ideal for your dog, it's just a short drive to Shingle Creek Regional Dog Park, which includes shaded walkways, grassy areas, water, and pet cleaning stations. The home is roughly six miles from Disney World and situated the closest to the Disney Springs area and Disney's Typhoon Lagoon water park.
The best for mid-sized groups: Universal Orlando Area (#1)
Remodeled Home Across From Universal, $179 avg/night
It doesn't get much closer to the Universal Orlando Resort than this, without actually being on Universal property! This completely remodeled and updated home is just a 10-minute walk from Universal (which will save you $27 parking per day, per car) and minutes from restaurants, grocery stores, and Walmart for convenience. There are three bedrooms and six beds, sleeping up to nine people (one bedroom with two bunk beds is geared towards children), as well as two full bathrooms, including an updated en suite bathroom in the primary bedroom. There's a living room with a smart TV and LED fireplace, a dining room, and a full kitchen.
There's not much in the way of a yard, but the rental is nevertheless pet-friendly for no additional fee. However, pets must be declared at the time of booking and any unclaimed pet will incur a $300 charge. Guests will receive a welcome kit that includes useful necessities like dish soap and dishwasher pods, laundry detergent, one kitchen sponge, trash bags, and complimentary items like two full rolls of toilet paper and travel-sized toiletries in each bathroom.
For room for dogs to play, the nearest dog park, Dr. Phillips Dog Park, is approximately 10 minutes away by car and offers lots of off-leash grassy space to run around.
The best for mid-sized groups: Universal Orlando Area (#2)
Pool Townhouse Across From Universal, $156 avg/night
Another great and affordable choice for mid-sized to larger groups, this rental (the same host as our previous pick) is a clean and cozy townhouse that's just an 11-minute walk from the Universal Orlando Resort. It's literally across the street from Universal Studios Florida, half a mile from Universal CityWalk, and 0.6 miles from Universal's Islands of Adventure. It's also just four miles from the Orange County Convention Center (the second-largest in the U.S.) and ten miles from shopping, business, and entertainment in downtown Orlando.
The home features three bedrooms and six beds, sleeping up to 10 (one bedroom with two bunk beds is geared towards kids), as well as two full bathrooms, including an en suite bathroom in the primary bedroom. There's a living room with a smart TV, a dining room, and a full kitchen. Nothing's fancy and it's not as new-looking as the previous listing, but it's well-maintained and comfortable. Plus, you won't be spending much time at home, anyway.
One plus, however, is the large pool in the backyard, which is shared with the townhome unit next door. As for pets, the same pet policy as the previous pick applies: Pets (including dogs) are welcome, but must be accounted for when booking, and any unclaimed pets will incur a $300 fee. The host also provides a welcome kit with useful kitchen essentials and bathroom toiletries. While there's a bit more space in the yard for dogs to trot around, to give them some real exercise, consider paying a visit to Dr. Phillips Dog Park about 10 minutes away and let your dogs run free.
The best for large groups: Universal Orlando Area
Oasis Villa 5 Miles to Universal, $454 avg/night (+ $20 pet fee)
Perfect for larger families or group retreats, this Zen-inspired oasis of a home features a beautiful, private backyard with lush scenery and a large freeform swimming pool. The chic and minimalist home includes four bedrooms and nine beds (sleeping as many as 13 people), two updated full bathrooms, a living room, a dining room, a full kitchen, and large, sliding glass doors overlooking the pool. The backyard includes a small grassy area behind the pool, adjacent to a covered grilling and seating area.
Up to four pets of any size are welcome for a small $20 pet fee (there's also a modest $50 cleaning fee). While there's a decent amount of space for dogs to stretch their legs in the yard, the home is roughly equidistant from three dog parks: Dr. Phillips Dog Park, Jubilee Dog Park, and Meadow Woods Dog Park, which all offer off-leash fun. As for the theme parks, the home is located four-and-a-half miles from the Universal Orlando Resort and approximately five miles from the ICON Park entertainment complex, which contains an observation wheel, an aquarium, a wax museum, shops, and restaurants.