View Full Version : off-site trip advice needed

02-20-2012, 09:27 AM
we are planning a vacation to orlando in late march/early april. the last two times, we stayed right @ disney (port orleans). we want to rent a condo for a week this time instead. we are looking for a really nice place for four of us that is cenral to everything. i was wondering if anyone had some advice on this?, as it is new to us.

also, we have usually gone in early march and the weather was beautiful, is it much different in early april?

a few more small questions too......

we want to rent a car at the orlando airport, what is the most reliable and easiest company to deal with there?

and, on our last night as we have to fly out early in the morning, we want to stay right in the orlando airport at a hotel. are there options available there? or will we be spending a lot of money for an average stay?

sorry for so many questions, thanks in advance for any comment on any of this....

02-20-2012, 11:06 AM
we are looking for a really nice place for four of us that is cenral to everything.

If by "central to everything" you mean close to WDW and Sea World and Universal, I'd recommend the area right at that bend on International Drive by Premium Outlets, which is a bit south of what most guidebooks call "the I-Drive area." It's a nice area, about halfway between WDW and SeaWorld, so closer to WDW than Universal.

Hilton Grand Vacations on International Drive, The Fountains, Floridays, and Sheraton Vistana Villages are all right there. I would pick the Fountains first, because it has activities on Lake Eve, but they all get pretty good reviews. HGVC is the snazzy-dazzy one I've heard the people go on and on about, and I think it's probably a step above the other three, but it also costs more I suspect (I go through RCI so really don't know, but the last time I checked, the Fountains and Floridays were around $100/night off season). Those all offer 2 BRs, the Fountains doesn't offer 1 BRs but I think some of the others do.

Right in that area, but one I do NOT recommend, is the Lake Eve resort, which was originally built as regular condos, and doesn't have the resort "feel" for a lot of people (there are no grounds to speak of, although the one building there is a big "U" that faces Lake Eve -- however, no lake access or activities).

Right by SeaWorld, and thus much closer to Universal as well, is Hilton Grand Vacations Sea World, which is on par with the HGVC International Drive -- nice, but pricier. Across I-4 from Universal, and thus far from WDW (SeaWorld is kind of in between and to the east), are the Orlando Sunshine resort and Orlando International Resort, both a block or so off I-Drive. I don't know anything about Orlando International, except that it's a touch larger than the Sunshine, but I think they're both pretty small resorts compared to the ones down by Premium Outlets.

The units at Orlando Sunshine (all 2 BR) are pretty nice, just finished a major refurbishment, and while the resort is smaller, the units are larger. Also, the ones down by Premium Outlets are all gated communities (I think), while the ones by Universal aren't (although the Sunshine, at least, is patrolled by a guard). Sunshine and Orlando International are very "close to the action" of International Drive -- Sunshine is right next to "The Fun Spot" -- and to tons of shopping (Festival Bay Mall, Premium Outlets, tons of little shopping center), but far enough off I-Drive that they aren't noisy and there's little traffic right there.

They're also considerably closer to downtown Orlando or Winter Park. But they're the furthest options I know of from WDW, and not the closest to Sea World, either, so unless you're spending most of your time at Universal or doing non-themepark stuff, probably not your best choice.

02-20-2012, 01:23 PM
kozmo99 We will be trying Floridays this week (2nts),we will review this this when we return in March. We stayed at SVV two years ago it was very nice,(St. Augustine brand new unit)but limited to what the kids can do.This may of been because of the cold weather that week. Last year and again this week we will be staying at SVR about ten min.away on Vineland, last visit it was perfect for our family(5),updated units, very clean will lots of security, every day there were lots of things to do on site.This is the nicest place in my opinion in our years of visiting. We have not stayed at Fountains(next to Floridays),but have friends that stayed last year and they told us that this resort was very noisy both day and late at night,(this most likely depends on were your placed)and would not return for this reason.Family own at HGV.and unless you are an owner chances are slim you will get a two bdrm. this time of year, its very nice.We visit here often.You may also want to try try Marriott Grande Vista we have friends that choose to stay here and there has been upgrades going on,although we have not been able to visit because of the week they are there,they love it.I have learned the hard way to avoid owner rental condos in this area,stick to those that are affiliated with a reputable hotel chain,unless you know the owner! We fly into Sanford because of the air line we use ,we always us Thrifty and get great rates,new cars.My sister always finds great rates for Orlando airport threw expedia.If you are staying in the International Dr.area it might be better to stay the extra night at the resort were as Orlando airport is only min.away by I4 to 528 toll. Good luck.

02-20-2012, 04:00 PM
thanks for all the valuable, unbias advice. we will probably book either floridays or sheraton vistana villages, going by what we have read.

we plan on renting a car and visiting downtown disney, universal, gaterland zoo and a trip to cocoa beach as well as cape canaveral. so we figured that staying at one place rather than 3 or 4 hotels over the course of a week will be easier for us.

again, thanks for the advice. any more comments are most welcomed.