Lake Buena Vista or International Drive – Which Is Best?

When planning a trip to Orlando, you’ll find accommodation in Lake Buena Vista and on International Drive. But which is best?

I’ve been to Orlando more than ten times, with and without kids, and I’ve stayed in both locations. As such, I speak from experience when I say that Lake Buena Vista is best if you plan to spend most of your trip at Walt Disney World. 

Meanwhile, International Drive is best if you plan to visit multiple theme parks, don’t have a hire car or are on a budget.

Walt Disney World owns Lake Buena Vista; it has its own police and its own fire station. So when it comes to accommodation, it’s much more limited here. However, all hotels at Lake Buena Vista are either:

  • Walt Disney World Resort Hotel
  • Disney Good Neighbour Hotel

This means all hotels offer a free shuttle to Disney theme parks. Albeit, the Walt Disney World Resort hotel shuttles are much more frequent.

Given that it’s Disney, three- and four-star hotels in Lake Buena Vista cost more than those on International Drive. This premium is worth paying if you plan to spend most of your vacation at Walt Disney World. However, if you don’t or are on a budget, you’ll find cheaper hotels on International Drive.

International Drive (I-Drive) is an 11.1-mile road and Orlando’s ‘main strip’. Here you’ll find a broad range of accommodation, restaurants, stores and entertainment.

Given the length, it can take 20 minutes to drive from one end of International Drive to the other. As such, I recommend putting each hotel on Google Maps to see its location relative to where you plan to go.

Universal is just north of International Drive, and SeaWorld is about in the middle. Meanwhile, Walt Disney World is South East. So, if you plan on visiting multiple theme parks, it’s best to stay around Westwood Blvd.

International Drive is an excellent choice if you don’t plan to hire a car and don’t want to spend your entire vacation at Disney World.

Public transport in this part of Orlando is pretty much non-existent. However, The I-RIDE Trolley is a cheap way of getting around, and selected hotels offer free theme park shuttles. Some hotels on I-Drive are even within walking distance of CVS and budget restaurants.

Orlando Travel Planning Guide

🏥 Should I Buy Travel Insurance for a Trip to Orlando?

If you’re travelling to Orlando for vacation, then travel insurance is recommended. Basic travel insurance coverage with Safety Wing averages between $5 – $10 per day and offers peace of mind.

However, if a trip to Orlando isn’t part of a vacation. For example, you live locally. Then travel insurance isn’t likely to be necessary.

🚘 Do I Need to Rent a Car for a Trip to Orlando?

You don’t need to rent a car for a trip to Orlando (you can use rideshare services instead). However, a hire car will make your trip to Orlando significantly more convenient.

I personally use Discover Cars to find the best car rental deals when visiting Orlando. Discover Cars allows you to compare different companies and cars to find the best prices.

🏨 Where to Stay in Orlando?

Deciding where to stay in Orlando can be incredibly overwhelming. Having visited Orlando several times over the past decade, I’m going to try and make it as simple as possible.

When booking accommodation in Orlando, I use either or However, for large families and groups, VRBO is my number one choice.

🎟️ Where To Buy Orlando Theme Park Tickets?

If you are visiting a theme park in Orlando, then you’ll need to purchase theme park tickets. If you’re based in the US or Canada, I recommend Klook for your Orlando theme park tickets.

Klook consistently has the most competitive prices. There’s also a range of different ticket options to suit all budgets and requirements.

Meanwhile, if you’re based in the United Kingdom. Then I recommend buying your Orlando theme park tickets from AttractionTix.

I personally use AttractionTix when purchasing theme park tickets. That’s because AttractionTix has the most competitive prices and incredible customer service.


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