We are travelling to Orlando in mid-July - this is our second trip, we stayed in Disney previously. We found we were really tired after a long day in the park so travelling to a restaurant in the evening was pretty laborious.
I'm trying to find a town, within 1 hour of Disney, where we can stay where you can go out in the evening without having to drive.
Any tips gratefully received. We'd prefer self catering rather than a hotel.
I highly suggest downtown Winter Park (Florida) - the main street, Park Avenue is chock full of high-quality restaurants and shops, directly across a beautiful park and train depot. Check out the The Alfond Inn (not cheap, but a great experience).
Downtown Orlando features the Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando, Autograph Collection (complete with excellent restaurant) - $$$. Or for a more budget-friendly experience, the Aloft Orlando Downtown. Again, lots of great restaurant choices to choose from, plus nearby Lake Eola Park and Thornton Park for a nice evening stroll. You can also catch SunRail from Church St. to downtown Winter Park – just not on weekends and not very late into the night (check schedules carefully or be prepared to Uber it back to your hotel).
I'd stay away from International Dr, Kissimmee, and Disney property unless you want to be engulfed in the same crush of tourists you'll find inside the theme parks. Universal Orlando is a bit less obnoxious - there you'll find the Hard Rock Hotel (plus others) and City Walk with nightlife and restaurants. But it's still theme-park-land.
Winter Garden is another charming town – I'm just not aware of any good hotels in the downtown area.
Update: just saw your comment about self-catering. Not really sure what you mean by that unless it's AirBnB or something like that. In any case, I'd still suggest the areas mentioned above.
Mentioned in this answer:
We stayed in the Wyndham Cypress Palms which is a condo with a kitchen and laundry facilities - it is about 6 miles from Disney. We were there as a special deal for armed service members, so I'm not sure what the cost would be. There were a bunch of restaurants fairly close
You should take the bus to Walt Disney World Resort. Outside the disney´s downtown you can take the city buses.
I think you'd love my city. Our downtown has everything within walking distance and we are less than an hour from Disney. There's a historic hotel to: The Edgewater Hotel. http://www.wintergardenpost.com/winter-garden-downtown-business.html