PDA

View Full Version : Windsor Hills to Magic Kingdom


Beemitchcowski
03-16-2011, 03:17 PM
For those that have stayed in Windsor Hills during a primarily Disney Vacation:

Did you feel like you missed out on the Disney Magic 24/7?

Was driving to the parks (especially MK) a hassel?

Was being able to sprawl out (kids have their own room) worth not being "onsite"?

We are trying to plan a trip for October...we have a son with special needs (high functioning Autism) he gets overstimulated very easily..there will be 3 adults and two kids in our party so we are thinking that Windor Hills is the way to go...otherwise we would have to stay in the Fort Wildnerness cabins and have no car rental and no golf cart rental to fit within our budget.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Zeebs
03-16-2011, 03:45 PM
We stayed at Windsor Hills in a condo.

It was our first and so far only trip to WDW, we have booked for a trip in May and have chosen to stay offsite again and the only reason we haven't gone back to Windsor Hills is because we are renting a house off friends.

We had a 2.5 year old and 11 month old when we went.

Things we loved - space for everyone, coming home at the end of a long day and putting kids to bed and just relaxing a bit. (we try to stick to the kids normal routine as much as possible as if they get tired they get cranky and I will then get cranky and be one of those people yelling at them about spoiling my "magic") We are not ready for bed the same time as them.

We didn't find the driving any where difficult or a chore, the best bit about driving was reaching the car, getting a guaranteed seat, turning the air con on and just sitting in silence (mainly because kids when straight to sleep) The only issue we had the whole time was the night hubby and I decided to go to the MK and tried to leave when everyone else was. We had a wait for the boat and it was crushed, but then there were many many people waiting for the bus in a crush and they didn't get their seat like we did when we got to the car.

Windsor Hills seems so close to everything and from what others have said you can get to most places faster than you can if you take a bus from your resort.

We didn't feel like we were missing any of the magic, we were on holiday visiting WDW there was magic a plenty for us.

Being able to throw a load of washing in the machine and then in the dryer was great as it meant we didn't need to pack so much (which reduces the stress on us at the airport - all part of the magical trip)

We still ate at Disney restuarants but chose only a few must do's so we didn't blow our food budget (to be fair because we are from the UK we get quite excited about a trip to the supermarket and trying new stuff we can get there, this probably doesn't apply to you :))

Would I recommend staying offsite, yep. One day I would like to stay onsite to see the difference but only (can't see it happening unless I win the lottery) if we can stay in a two bed villa because for us it is not magical what ever the outside of the resort is, to stay in one bedroom with 3 small children.

I hope this helps you a bit

Kirsten

crusoe2
03-16-2011, 03:47 PM
I have always loved the onsite resorts but now that we've done 2 trips staying at Windsor Hills, I'm pretty much hooked on offsite condos and townhouses. There are a couple things I miss about onsite but it's so easy to get over it when you are that comfortable and saving that much money. We were originally planning to stay onsite and take advantage of free dining but gave it up for a 3 br townhouse at WH. The cost of the townhouse is a smidge over a fourth the price of the onsite room we originally booked. Even with the onsite room discount avail for our week, the townhouse is half the price of the onsite room. That's a huge savings. Makes me more relaxed about paying for extras like BBB and character meals.

At World's End
03-16-2011, 05:14 PM
Our last trip we stayed at Crestwynd Bay, which is right next to Windsor Hills. We had a 3br/3ba townhouse. It was great. It took 5 min. to drive to AK, 15 to the TTC, then the ferry/monorail ride to MK. We knew that once we got in the car at the end of the day, we would be in our house within 15 min. max. From what I've read, some of the Disney resorts are so sprawling that you could be walking for 10 min. to get from the bus stop to the room. No thanks!

I think that most people who stay offsite (especially with kids) realize that the space and convenience that comes with a condo/townhouse outweighs the "magic" of staying onsite. If you still want to have the Disney feel, there are tons of condos/townhomes/houses at WH (and elsewhere) that are decorated way more Disney inside than the onsite rooms.

Having a car available to make grocery runs and get better food offsite is a big plus.

Beemitchcowski
03-16-2011, 05:24 PM
I've looked at many rentals at Windsor hills... O would love to get one that is decorated all "disneyish" but I don't know who I can trust...I've heRd good and bad about "story time". The one that I feel "good about" has no Disney theming and with the pool heat and cleaning fee comes to about $135 a night.

deniseallen411
03-16-2011, 10:50 PM
Hi! Im Denise, We are renting the 5bdrm Mickey Club House thru Windsor and it is decked out w/ Disney charm. The owners are actually from Jersey as I am too and I love the personal communication you establish via email...Jennifer is awesome here is one of their 4 condos/homes you can rent from www.mickey@mickeyscondo.com.. Tell Jennifer
Denise Allen referred you..anything else pls feel free to ask:)

Mickey2013
03-17-2011, 07:09 AM
We stayed @ FW Cabins in April 2010 w/ 2 adults, 3 kids. My husband and I loved using Disney transportation. BUT I am a clean freak and the cabins needed some refurb. And having 2 sleeping areas still wasn't enough for youngest who needed some isolation.

I have since looked at Windsor Hills for when we do another trip - some day.... Hubby doesn't want to worry about driving to the parks, but I am willing after reading so many people's experiences. Apparently Sherberth Rd is the route to take to be quick. Check out vrbo.com They have listings for rentals all over the country. And you can find many houses for WDW. There are 3 houses at mickeyscondo.com all by the same owner w/ good reviews.

Good Luck!

GingerJay
03-17-2011, 08:57 AM
If you are considering staying offsite, I would say to definitely do it. The homes in Windsor Hills are beautiful, and the drive is almost so easy its not even worth mentioning. Even if you don't take the Sherberth Rd route, its still no problem. Of course, we didn't have much traffic the last time we went, either. That may change depending on the traffic.

A lot of the homes are going to be nice and well stocked- we stayed at one of the Storytime townhomes and were overly impressed- they had strollers, baby supplies, plenty of kitchen supplies, blankets, etc. Everything you need. Being able to drive right up to your house and climb right into bed was much more magical than trapsing through a resort for us.

I would say give it a try- especially if the numbers crunch out in your favor; if you don't like it, you can always go back to onsite next time :)

4forMe
03-17-2011, 10:06 AM
For those that have stayed in Windsor Hills during a primarily Disney Vacation:

Did you feel like you missed out on the Disney Magic 24/7?

Was driving to the parks (especially MK) a hassel?

Was being able to sprawl out (kids have their own room) worth not being "onsite"?

We are trying to plan a trip for October...we have a son with special needs (high functioning Autism) he gets overstimulated very easily..there will be 3 adults and two kids in our party so we are thinking that Windor Hills is the way to go...otherwise we would have to stay in the Fort Wildnerness cabins and have no car rental and no golf cart rental to fit within our budget.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Three of our last four trips have been off-site. Our last off site trip was at a 4 BR home in Windsor Hills. Our last trip was a 2 BR villa at Bay Lake Towers onsite.

After doing both, we are returning to the same 4 BR house in Windsor Hills for our upcoming Spring Break trip. The only advantage we had by staying onsite was being able to walk to and from the Magic Kingdom - I did love that. However, was it worth all that extra money? Absolutely not. Also, my 4 kids all sharing one bedroom ended being a complete nightmare. Everyone will have their own bed at the Windsor Hills house and go to sleep at their own times (my youngest goes to bed earlier than everyone else). My boys also LOVED the game room at our house which had an air hockey table, pool table and Playstation system.

We do not miss the "Disney magic" by being off-site since we get that by spending time in the parks. You can find many homes that have some sort of Disney theme if that is important to you.

In terms of driving to the Disney parks, it really is easy (especially from Windsor Hills). You exit the subdivision, turn right (onto 192 I think), and the exit ramp for Disney (which is clearly marked!) is about one mile away. Once you take the exit, you just follow the signs for which park you want to go to. I thought it was super easy to get to the parks from Windsor Hills.

I would not even consider the Fort Wildnerness cabins for our family as we need at least two bathrooms! I think you will be very happy in Windsor Hills. Just make sure you book through a reputable management company or a private owner who is very highly rated.

Good luck with your search and enjoy your trip! :goodvibes

Beemitchcowski
03-17-2011, 10:48 AM
Thank you for the feedback! It's what I've been wanting to hear!;)...so far I'm looking at either the "storytime" or there is an owner that goes by "letsgoseemickey.com...the storytime ate Disney themed..the other is not...however they have child locks on all outside doors...have baby monitors...and FULLY supply the units with paper products and garbage bags....

Funwith4kids
03-17-2011, 10:56 AM
Stayed offsite 5 years and have never looked back at staying onsite. The value for the space on Disney property is not worth it to us (but it is to alot of folks). Plus, lots of good restaurants off site to visit! We rent a house that has its own private pool / hot tub that is priceless to relax in after a long day at the parks (remember, this is a vacation ;))

GingerJay
03-20-2011, 08:33 AM
Thank you for the feedback! It's what I've been wanting to hear!;)...so far I'm looking at either the "storytime" or there is an owner that goes by "letsgoseemickey.com...the storytime ate Disney themed..the other is not...however they have child locks on all outside doors...have baby monitors...and FULLY supply the units with paper products and garbage bags....

We stayed at Storytime on our last visit and loved it- but it sounds like the extras at the other house are wonderful :) Both of their townhomes are lovely- I would say give it a try. Have fun planning :)

Beemitchcowski
03-22-2011, 02:50 PM
We still haven't booked anything yet but I believe we are going to go the Windsor Hills route...DH REALLY wants the private splash pool...otherwise Bonnett Creek looks inviting..but I hate that its a timeshare and I like being able to park right outside the house rather than having to hunt down a parking spot.

dtum
03-22-2011, 02:54 PM
Going to WH this trip, but considering BC next time purely on the transportation issue because the prices seem pretty comparable. They have a shuttle that goes to the parks and SIN doesn't want to drive to the parks. This trip going to US and IOA so DH and I will drive and squeeze everyone in our truck.

megthewonderful
03-23-2011, 01:48 PM
I can not say enough good things about our stays at both the Windsor Palms and the Windsor Hills. In fact, we just booked our next trip and we are staying at a townhouse at the Windsor Hills. After having stayed on site at a variety of hotels, we are now off-site converts. We don't mind missing out on the Extra Magic Hours and we are so happy not to use Disney transportation.

Good luck with your planning!
:wizard:

princessmommy3
03-23-2011, 07:33 PM
We are staying at Windsor Hills in October. Does anyone have any advice on location?? I am looking at Mickeys Magical Escape which is and end unit that opens up to a grassy area and close to the club house vs another ( Le Xanadu) that is not an end unit and has a wall behind it...but the town home itself looks a hair nicer online (granite countertops ect.)

It is so hard to narrow it down- any advice is appreciated!

Brian Noble
03-24-2011, 09:24 AM
Did you feel like you missed out on the Disney Magic 24/7?
Not really, no. About half of my stays are onsite, and about half are off. It is nice to have the onsite transportation if you want to split up or have a second margarita in World Showcase, but otherwise we don't find our onsite and offsite trips to be all that much different. It's a little nicer not to have to drive under the "See You Real Soon!" signs, but we find that a very minor thing.

Other people will feel more strongly about it, but for us it just isn't that big of a deal.

Was driving to the parks (especially MK) a hassel?

As they say, "there is no pixie dust in Transportation." Driving has its advantages---they are easy to remember when you have been waiting longer than 30 minutes for a bus (happened to me twice at OKW), or you are standing on a full bus for your trip back to your resort. On the other hand, the bus also has its advantages. But, both have their fair share of inconveniences, they are just different.

Was being able to sprawl out (kids have their own room) worth not being "onsite"?
To me? Absolutely. We do not consider it "vacation" if we have to cram all four of us in a single hotel room.

You can get more spacious onsite lodging---one of the Family Value suites, a Ft. Wilderness Cabin, or a DVC villa. But in most cases, that will be significantly more expensive than doing so at a place like Windsor Hills. At market rates, we can secure an offsite condo, town home or pool home; pay for theme park tickets; get the rental car; and pay for all of our food for the week for what it would cost us to rent a 2BR DVC unit by itself.

It's up to you to decide if that price differential is worth it for the onsite experience.

BlueEyes78
03-24-2011, 12:12 PM
For our first family trip we stayed at the FW cabins. It was nice, better than a hotel room for sure, and we don't really require more than 1 bathroom. The main "pro" was being eligible for the Dining Plan (which we didn't purchase because our kids were little and we didn't think it worth the cost), and the pool areas are nice, but a bus ride away still. We heard that the transportation at the campground was a bit of a hassel, especially if you have strollers and bags (which we did). So we took our own car and drove ourselves to the parks, so in that case, it was similar to staying off-site.
This past November we went with a larger group and booked Romancing the Mouse at Windsor Palms (they also have a few properties in WH). I can't say enough good things about it. While my boys loved the cabin, they loved the condo more. We had our own pool and hot tub, 3 bathrooms, a fully-stocked house (much more stuff than the resorts will give you) and it only took 10-15 minutes to get to the Disney resorts - similar to when we drove ourselves from FW. I'm all about the savings, and when you realize that it was about HALF the cost to do 7 days in the Condo vs. 5 days at FW (and that was a promo price!) it's no contest. Even if we go back just the 4 of us again, we'll probably do off-site. MUCH more space for the kids, laundry facilities (that don't cost $2 per load!), a pool right out the back door - THAT is a vacation!

dtum
03-24-2011, 12:14 PM
For our first family trip we stayed at the FW cabins. It was nice, better than a hotel room for sure, and we don't really require more than 1 bathroom. The main "pro" was being eligible for the Dining Plan (which we didn't purchase because our kids were little and we didn't think it worth the cost), and the pool areas are nice, but a bus ride away still. We heard that the transportation at the campground was a bit of a hassel, especially if you have strollers and bags (which we did). So we took our own car and drove ourselves to the parks, so in that case, it was similar to staying off-site.
This past November we went with a larger group and booked Romancing the Mouse at Windsor Palms (they also have a few properties in WH). I can't say enough good things about it. While my boys loved the cabin, they loved the condo more. We had our own pool and hot tub, 3 bathrooms, a fully-stocked house (much more stuff than the resorts will give you) and it only took 10-15 minutes to get to the Disney resorts - similar to when we drove ourselves from FW. I'm all about the savings, and when you realize that it was about HALF the cost to do 7 days in the Condo vs. 5 days at FW (and that was a promo price!) it's no contest. Even if we go back just the 4 of us again, we'll probably do off-site. MUCH more space for the kids, laundry facilities (that don't cost $2 per load!), a pool right out the back door - THAT is a vacation!

Glad to hear someone used Romancing the Mouse. We are staying at WH in June, booked through them. We have the 4-bed/4-bath house and can't wait.

BlueEyes78
03-24-2011, 12:21 PM
Glad to hear someone used Romancing the Mouse. We are staying at WH in June, booked through them. We have the 4-bed/4-bath house and can't wait.

I recommend RtM to anyone looking to go off-site. Being family-owned, the personal touches are just wonderful. If you need anything they show up to help out (like when our pool temp needed adjusting), and the homemade muffins, cookies, and chocolate-covered strawberries were such nice gestures! Enjoy!!

dtum
03-24-2011, 12:24 PM
I recommend RtM to anyone looking to go off-site. Being family-owned, the personal touches are just wonderful. If you need anything they show up to help out (like when our pool temp needed adjusting), and the homemade muffins, cookies, and chocolate-covered strawberries were such nice gestures! Enjoy!!

Thanks, we can't wait. I looked at other places that "appeared" cheaper, but their price includes everything so I didn't need to worry about adding in this or that and so far they have been very responsive to my "worry" questions. Can't wait and GS is going to love the Indiana Jones themed bedroom. :thumbsup2

I'mWong
03-24-2011, 03:58 PM
Is there a difference between the Windsor Hills Resort and the Windsor Hills rental homes/condos? It looks like when you google there is also a one building resort with a huge swimming pool, water park like slide, etc.

Anyone know the difference?

Thanks!

dtum
03-25-2011, 07:30 AM
Is there a difference between the Windsor Hills Resort and the Windsor Hills rental homes/condos? It looks like when you google there is also a one building resort with a huge swimming pool, water park like slide, etc.

Anyone know the difference?

Thanks!

I think they are the same thing. WH has a big area with clubhouse, pool, etc. that is shared by everyone. The houses/condos, etc are all in that area, but are rented through various companies/people. At least that's what i think.

Brian Noble
03-25-2011, 09:17 AM
I believe that's correct. Windsor Hills has three different types of lodging: condos (2-3BR), town homes (3BR with a private "plunge pool"), and pool homes (4-6BR detached homes with private pools, many with hot tubs.) All of these are privately owned, and the development is zoned for short-term rental. The "main pool" is available to all owners and their registered guests. It is the only pool available to those in the condos, and the only "real" pool available to those in the town homes, though for many purposes the plunge pool is fine.

Iluvpooh&mickey
03-26-2011, 03:35 PM
Hi! Im Denise, We are renting the 5bdrm Mickey Club House thru Windsor and it is decked out w/ Disney charm. The owners are actually from Jersey as I am too and I love the personal communication you establish via email...Jennifer is awesome here is one of their 4 condos/homes you can rent from www.mickey@mickeyscondo.com..

In 2006, I stayed at a 3br/2bath condo owned by the same owner, Jennifer. Everything was great and we are going back this summer and staying at the same unit. If I ever go to Disney with a large group I would definitely book their 5br home.

We have 3 kids and my DH and I actually like the break from Disney and enjoyed the extra bedrooms, full kitchen and in-unit laundry. I don't think I will ever stay onsite traveling as a family because the price is too high for our budget especially since there are 5 of us and we don't "fit" into 1 regular room.

I think the drive to the Disney parks took about 15 min with AK being only about 5 minutes away.

Good luck with your search!

fordisneydreams
03-26-2011, 11:47 PM
We have stayed twice at Windsor hills townhomes after being longtime on site fans. We just loved Windsor Hills. Can't beat the price, location, and amenities. Can't speak highly enough about Mickey's Magical Escape-


mickeyismagical.com

This place was amazing and our favorite from the location inside Windsor Hills to everything it provided, right down to the Disney themed rooms. The kids room is amazing! Everything in this home is first class, furniture linens etc and very well taken care of. The owner was great to work with and was so responsive. The first town home we stayed in was nice but Mickey's Magical Escape could not be beat. It had everything. The splash pool backed to open space so it was very private also. Anything we could think of was supplied and we found that this home had premium paper and soap products that lasted through our stay. I would say it is not your typical vacation rental home.

Jim Ford

BuzznBelle'smom
03-27-2011, 07:09 AM
Hey! We fondly refer to the 4BR/4BA Romancing the Mouse house as "our" house! We'll be back for 2 weeks this summer! We have also foudn the house to be lovely, and really enjoy working with Mark and Holly--they are so friendly and helpful.

The only reason I wouldn't rush to recommend them to the OP is, their houses aren't super themed--the themed rooms are more subtle. This works wellf or us, as we have 2 teens, but there are rentals that have super high-level theming (princesses, Mickey, Pooh, etc.) that littler kids might enjoy. Our gang finds it much more relaxing to be in the house, with low-level theming, but that's a matter of personal taste.

Condos--these are in taller buildings, several stories high. Generally 2-3BR, they have laundry facilities but no private pool. They are very close to the clubhouse, which has a large pool, game room, movie theater, etc.

Townhouses--therse are built in clusters, again typically 2-3BR. Most have private splash pools (10'x10'). They have ground-level entrances and are further from the clubhouse.

Private homes--these are on individual lots, and range from 3-7BR. Can be 1- or 2-story. All have private pools of different sizes.

All residences have landry facilities and allow access to community facilities. There are rentals at every price point, too.

Our gang loves the room to spread out. Hands down, the pool is the favorite feature, but we also love the free movie and videogame rentals (the home has a PS2--other homes may have different things). The kids love having simple meals and snacks at the house. DD15 loves the hot tub and free wifi. Also, DD15 has to train for the cross country season when we're there in summer--since this is a gated community, I feel totally safe in letting her go running.

We never had issues with driving or transportation--this is kind of a personal thing, some people hate driving on vacation. We don't really mind. I find everything to be close--not just the parks, but also a gazillion restaurants, Super Target, Publix, etc. It's just so easy to buy snacks, replace flip-flops, pick up that forgotten Tylenol, whatever.

Sorry for the book. Offsite has a lot to recommend it. I hope you find something that works great for your family.

dtum
03-27-2011, 07:26 AM
Hey! We fondly refer to the 4BR/4BA Romancing the Mouse house as "our" house! We'll be back for 2 weeks this summer! We have also foudn the house to be lovely, and really enjoy working with Mark and Holly--they are so friendly and helpful.

The only reason I wouldn't rush to recommend them to the OP is, their houses aren't super themed--the themed rooms are more subtle. This works wellf or us, as we have 2 teens, but there are rentals that have super high-level theming (princesses, Mickey, Pooh, etc.) that littler kids might enjoy. Our gang finds it much more relaxing to be in the house, with low-level theming, but that's a matter of personal taste.

Condos--these are in taller buildings, several stories high. Generally 2-3BR, they have laundry facilities but no private pool. They are very close to the clubhouse, which has a large pool, game room, movie theater, etc.

Townhouses--therse are built in clusters, again typically 2-3BR. Most have private splash pools (10'x10'). They have ground-level entrances and are further from the clubhouse.

Private homes--these are on individual lots, and range from 3-7BR. Can be 1- or 2-story. All have private pools of different sizes.

All residences have landry facilities and allow access to community facilities. There are rentals at every price point, too.

Our gang loves the room to spread out. Hands down, the pool is the favorite feature, but we also love the free movie and videogame rentals (the home has a PS2--other homes may have different things). The kids love having simple meals and snacks at the house. DD15 loves the hot tub and free wifi. Also, DD15 has to train for the cross country season when we're there in summer--since this is a gated community, I feel totally safe in letting her go running.

We never had issues with driving or transportation--this is kind of a personal thing, some people hate driving on vacation. We don't really mind. I find everything to be close--not just the parks, but also a gazillion restaurants, Super Target, Publix, etc. It's just so easy to buy snacks, replace flip-flops, pick up that forgotten Tylenol, whatever.

Sorry for the book. Offsite has a lot to recommend it. I hope you find something that works great for your family.

We're renting from Romancing the Mouse in June. Can't wait. GS (12) loves Indiana Jones so will be really happy with his room (we didn't tell him yet). Everyone is happy to be getting their own rooms (4-bed/4-bath house :) ) Everyone is looking forward to the private pool. I actually think it's going to be hard to pull them out of the house to go to US/IOA! I've heard really good things about this property, like that they have no "hidden" fees everything is spelled out in the price and the owners stay right on site if you need anything so can't wait.

TnTWalter
03-27-2011, 08:02 AM
loved onsite and love offsite.

Loved Windsor Hills. Very close to everything. My husband really enjoys not having to drive on vacation so he was hesitant. But it was so easy. And it took less time to get places than waiting for buses, etc.

We are doing Bonnet Creek next week and I'm excited to compare. It is on WDW property but not owned by WDW.

The space, convenience for breakfasts, etc. hard to beat...plus you save some $$$.
Trish

angelat
03-27-2011, 01:46 PM
For those that have stayed in Windsor Hills during a primarily Disney Vacation:

Did you feel like you missed out on the Disney Magic 24/7?

Was driving to the parks (especially MK) a hassel?

Was being able to sprawl out (kids have their own room) worth not being "onsite"?

We are trying to plan a trip for October...we have a son with special needs (high functioning Autism) he gets overstimulated very easily..there will be 3 adults and two kids in our party so we are thinking that Windor Hills is the way to go...otherwise we would have to stay in the Fort Wildnerness cabins and have no car rental and no golf cart rental to fit within our budget.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Hi there! We stayed at Windsor Hills in 2008 for our first family Disney/US/SW vacation. We are staying there again this August and will again either next year or in 2013.
We LOVED it there! We booked through www.vacationcentralflorida.com and had a great experience with them. The whole condo had Disney theming, but not over the top...it was very tasteful. They have townhouses too (October they are $545 for Sat-Sat week)
We don't feel like we missed out on the Magic at all. We spent most of our time at the parks, but the time we spent at the resort, was magical in it's own way since it was spacious, clean and Disney themed too! We didn't find driving to be a hassle at all either. Everything was so close. We made it to Disney parks in 5-10 minutes each day.
I would highly recommend Windsor Hills to anyone. And if you haven't decided yet, make sure you check out the link above. If you want more info on them, you can PM me and I'd be happy to give you info and my opinion.

Good luck with your planning and have a wonderful trip!!! :cool1:
Angela