Disney Information Station Logo

Go Back   The DIS Discussion Forums - DISboards.com > Disney Trip Planning Forums > Orlando Hotels and Attractions
Find Hotel Specials & DIScounts
 
facebooktwitterpinterestgoogle plusyoutubeDIS Updates
Register Chat FAQ Tickers Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 04-29-2013, 11:54 AM   #1
Minnies Boy Toy
Keeping an eye out for Mickey....
 
Minnies Boy Toy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Two hours from the place you're thinking about...
Posts: 53

Mystic Dunes Weekend getaway review 4/13

We stayed at Mystic Dunes for a quick weekend getaway for my girlfriend's birthday. We had reserved a 1 bedroom "deluxe" and booked it straight from the resort (Diamond Resorts international) for $90/night. We could have gotten a 1 bedroom for significant less on some of the discount sites, but none could guarantee us a deluxe room, which was important to us as the 1-bedroom standard does not include a king bed or the balcony/patio, and we very much enjoy sitting outside in the mornings and evenings to relax. As a preface - we consider ourselves to be typical in terms of what we expect from a resort. We knew we were not booking at the Ritz Carlton and we are not overly picky or finicky - that said, we do insist that we be treated like guests instead of intruders, and we would hope that there was some attention paid to our comfort by the place where we choose to spend our money.

We arrived at 3 p.m. on Friday - Mystic Dunes is in a relatively easy-access location, especially if you are arriving from the east (Tampa). It is in what looks like a rural area, so if you insist on being in the middle of the madness as part of your vacation I would suggest looking elsewhere. The property is very spread out, with an upscale golf course meandering through the resort as part of the amenities. It is beautifully landscaped and for someone who lives elsewhere in flat Florida I was pleasantly surprised that there is actually a little contour to the topography. "Hills" might be stretching it a bit, but there's definitely some elevation change, and it adds to the attractiveness of the greenscape as a whole. This is not a resort where you would want to be without a car, or at least a bicycle. There is quite a distance between some of the buildings and the pools, golf course, and other features.

We passed through the gate and made our way to the check-in building, which also houses their timeshare sales unit. Coincidence? I think not. LOL In any case, we were pleased to see a relatively short line for check in, and they offered cookies and drinks and there is a little comfortable waiting area nearby so families with kids can have a place to relax while the parents check in. The registration process seemed very smooth and without incident, although we did not care to have our way blocked at the door by a stern woman advising us that we had better visit the concierge desk that instant to receive our free gift, or else. Well, she didnt quite put it that way, but she was visibly miffed when we brushed our way past her with a quick no thank you. That, my friends, is how to avoid being herded into the hardcore timeshare sales loop, from which, if you are a polite person, you may never find your way out. Luckily, I am not that polite.

We were given a 2nd floor unit near the main pool area, and here we made a very foolish mistake. Instead of checking the unit first, we grabbed as much of our luggage as we could (we were travelling light but if you are coming for a week with lots of bags and luggage, they do have luggage carts and elevators). We swiped the key to our room and immediately noticed an overpowering disinfectant odor. I suppose that was better than smoke or something worse, but even so I do not consider myself as having a sensitive nose, and even I was a bit dizzy after only a few minutes of it. Upon entering the unit, I was very disappointed. This was obviously an older building in serious need of being remodeled. It was much smaller than I expected and I soon noticed one reason why -- there was no balcony or patio. Just a sliding door opening to a railing outside. There was also a bunch of dirty towels on the floor, and a moment later a cheerful maid barged in with apologies to let us know she was almost finished cleaning... So I knew then that this would ultimately end up with us having to traipse all the way back to the registration desk to get another room. And thats what happened. I called the desk directly from the room, was put on hold for far too long, and then told that we had been given the wrong room and to come back to get another set of keys for a different unit.

Back at the registration desk, a woman at the counter treated us as if we had done something wrong. First, she attempted to tell us that the room we were in was indeed a deluxe. I almost had to log on to the resort's website with my smartphone to show her the difference between a regular 1-bedroom and a deluxe before she would relent. Then she asked if we had used any of the amenities in the room. This is not an outrageous request, but the way it was delivered caused my girlfriend to walk away from the discussion before she would say something she might regret. There was no apology for giving us the wrong category of room, or for attempting to argue with me about what it consisted of. And the question about whether we had used any of the features in the room was delivered in an accusatory tone just short of insolence. I bit my lip, said no, and we were soon given another room, further away from the pool and on the first floor.

So, now about 90 minutes after we had arrived on the property, we finally were able to open the door to what we had reserved, and this is where all our initial dissatisfaction with Mystic Dunes disappeared for the rest of the weekend. For the record, we were put into Room 105 in Building 17, and it had obviously just been remodeled. In fact, I suspect we might have been the first guests to use this room after remodeling because even the cords on the appliances had not yet been unwrapped. The entire unit was tiled - there was a large living room with leather sofa and loveseat, a huge 42 inch flatscreen with DVD, fridge, washer/dryer, dishwasher, coffee maker (with complimentary tea/coffee setup), toaster, and all the dishes and flatware one would need. The kingsize bed in the bedroom was plush and comfortable, there were two toilets and vanity/sinks in different areas, and a two person jet-tub in the bedroom (which we used both nights and it was fantastic.) If we had to make a critical comment about the furnishings it would just be that there is literally nothing in the living room except for the sofa and loveseat and entertainment center. A tasteful faux potted plant or side table might make it seem a little more inviting.

There was also a large patio fronting the fairway of one of the holes on the golf course, and we enjoyed watching the golfers come by and play their second shots on what looked like a formidable uphill par-5. Through the course of the weekend there were sandhill cranes squawking and looking for handouts, and Saturday night a family of raccoons made their way past our screen. All in all the extra $15 or so for the deluxe is well-worth it. Our room was fairly quiet a little bit of noise from next-door and upstairs, but nothing unreasonable or unexpected.

Late Friday p.m. we decided to relax a bit at the main pool area, which is very nice. The pool has a waterfall and slide feature, and there are loungechairs and big fluffy towels available for the guests. There are cabanas for rent and a little tikibar where you can get frozen drinks. The only caveat is that if you have sensitive feet or small children make sure they are wearing some kind of footwear if you arrive on a hot sunny day, because the pool deck is a darker color and it gets very hot against your bare feet if you have to walk for any distance. There are other pools in the area too if you prefer something a little quieter and less crowded. We went out Friday night for dinner and some entertainment. The bustle of I-92 with all of its restaurants and kitschy tourist shops is only a few minutes away, as is WDW itself.

Saturday morning we decided to have breakfast on-site so we got in the car and drove to where the main bar and restaurant (Kenzies) are located as part of the golf club complex. It is a relatively ordinary clubhouse area comfortable but nothing remarkable. Breakfast was good - we both had a breakfast sandwich on a croissant and the prices are what you would expect from a vacation resort.

After a great day at EPCOT (about a 15 minute drive - Mystic Dunes has a free shuttle too but there are only a few round trips and we wanted to stay mobile) we returned in the evening and ordered room service just in time (They deliver to rooms between 11:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.). We had eaten at EPCOT during the day but wanted a small snack before bed so we ordered spaghetti with meatballs and the garlic bread and split it. It was quite tasty and I was pleasantly surprised that the noodles were not too overcooked. Not al dente by any means, but not soggy either.

As in most timeshare resorts where room cleanup is so extensive, checkout at Mystic Dunes is at a relatively early 10:00 a.m. so we requested a later checkout and were given an extra hour, which made all the difference. I can say that once we checked in to this upgraded room our stay was almost perfect. Everything worked, everything was clean, and the service was proficient and friendly. We would definitely go back, as long as we could guarantee ourselves a unit in an upgraded building. That would make all the difference.

One last note: I have read several other reviews complaining about the cell-phone reception here. Perhaps it has been upgraded, because my carrier is TMobile with its notoriously spotty cell reception, and I had no problem at any time during the weekend making phone calls or accessing 4G service. I chose not to use the resort wi-fi because it is a per-day charge of $10.00, which I think is ridiculous. Wi-fi should be a free amenity at a resort where many if not most of the guests are there for a week.

Last edited by Minnies Boy Toy; 04-29-2013 at 04:58 PM.
Minnies Boy Toy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-29-2013, 10:04 PM   #2
goofyfigment
DIS Veteran
 
goofyfigment's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 1,171

I am looking at staying here in june as a trade thru II, how do you know if its a deluxe or standard one bedroom, is the only difference whether or not you have a balcony/patio?

I am doing a last minute trip and there is not much availability for the week I can go so I am trying to avoid Westgate at all costs and it leaves me with Star Island, Oak Plantation and Mystic Dunes.

Thanks for any help you can provide me.
__________________
1984 First Visit Off Site 1987 Off Site 1996 All Star Sports 1997 Howard Johnson Enchantedland 1998 The Spas @ Resort World 2001 Westgate Towers and HRH 2007 Sheraton Vistana Villages and HRH 2008 Parkway International and RPR 2009 All Star Sports 2010 Westgate Vacation Villas 2011 Club Seville 2011 All Star Sports 2012 Sheraton Vistana Resort and Windsor Hills 2012 Westgate Leisure Resort and POP 2013 Westgate Vacation Villas 2013 Birthday trip Royal Pacific 2013 Portofino Bay 2013 POP 2013 All Star Movies 2014 Wilderness Lodge Villas 2014 Vacation Villas At Fantasyworld2014 Boardwalk Villas2014 Vacation Villas At Fantasyworld2014 Bay Lake Towers2014 Wilderness Lodge Villas2014 Saratoga Springs2014 Fantasy World Vacation Villas2014 Disney All Star Sports2014Royal Pacific Resort
goofyfigment is offline   Reply With Quote
|
The DIS
Register to remove

Join Date: 1997
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 1,000,000
Old 04-29-2013, 10:29 PM   #3
spiceycat
Own at BWV, VWL and BLT
It happens every night on the Bay Lake side
 
spiceycat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: birmingham, Al
Posts: 36,927

boy though they treated their paying guests vs timeshare owners - much, much better.

glad in the end - well few hours it worked for you.


forgot - thanks for the great review - you are good with details!
__________________
Pat J

spiceycat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-29-2013, 10:31 PM   #4
spiceycat
Own at BWV, VWL and BLT
It happens every night on the Bay Lake side
 
spiceycat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: birmingham, Al
Posts: 36,927

Quote:
Originally Posted by goofyfigment View Post

I am doing a last minute trip and there is not much availability for the week I can go so I am trying to avoid Westgate at all costs and it leaves me with Star Island, Oak Plantation and Mystic Dunes.

Thanks for any help you can provide me.
would go with Westgate - and when they ask for your income just check off the less amount.
__________________
Pat J

spiceycat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2013, 08:58 AM   #5
Minnies Boy Toy
Keeping an eye out for Mickey....
 
Minnies Boy Toy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Two hours from the place you're thinking about...
Posts: 53

Quote:
Originally Posted by goofyfigment View Post
I am looking at staying here in june as a trade thru II, how do you know if its a deluxe or standard one bedroom, is the only difference whether or not you have a balcony/patio?

I am doing a last minute trip and there is not much availability for the week I can go so I am trying to avoid Westgate at all costs and it leaves me with Star Island, Oak Plantation and Mystic Dunes.

Thanks for any help you can provide me.
The main differences between the standard Mystic Dunes 1 bedroom and deluxe are three things - 1) much bigger unit for the deluxe - 400 additional square feet, and believe me after being in one of the smaller units for 15 minutes, it makes a big difference. 2) Patio or balcony with the deluxe 3) King bed in the deluxe bedroom vs. a queen in the standard.

Hope that helps. (I can't compare to the other resorts as I have not stayed in any of them. The only other Orlando timeshares that I very familiar with are Marriott's Grande Vista and Sheraton's Vistana.)
Minnies Boy Toy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2013, 10:08 AM   #6
goofyfigment
DIS Veteran
 
goofyfigment's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 1,171

Thanks! I think we will just take the chance. We have stayed at a lot of the timeshares but not this one. I normally Dont wait this long to plan a trip, so all the good resorts are gone.
__________________
1984 First Visit Off Site 1987 Off Site 1996 All Star Sports 1997 Howard Johnson Enchantedland 1998 The Spas @ Resort World 2001 Westgate Towers and HRH 2007 Sheraton Vistana Villages and HRH 2008 Parkway International and RPR 2009 All Star Sports 2010 Westgate Vacation Villas 2011 Club Seville 2011 All Star Sports 2012 Sheraton Vistana Resort and Windsor Hills 2012 Westgate Leisure Resort and POP 2013 Westgate Vacation Villas 2013 Birthday trip Royal Pacific 2013 Portofino Bay 2013 POP 2013 All Star Movies 2014 Wilderness Lodge Villas 2014 Vacation Villas At Fantasyworld2014 Boardwalk Villas2014 Vacation Villas At Fantasyworld2014 Bay Lake Towers2014 Wilderness Lodge Villas2014 Saratoga Springs2014 Fantasy World Vacation Villas2014 Disney All Star Sports2014Royal Pacific Resort
goofyfigment is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2013, 11:47 AM   #7
Minnies Boy Toy
Keeping an eye out for Mickey....
 
Minnies Boy Toy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Two hours from the place you're thinking about...
Posts: 53

Quote:
Originally Posted by goofyfigment View Post
Thanks! I think we will just take the chance. We have stayed at a lot of the timeshares but not this one. I normally Dont wait this long to plan a trip, so all the good resorts are gone.
There are definitely more glitzy properties out there, but I don't think you will be disappointed with Mystic Dunes. As I said, beg, scream, stamp your feet, whatever you need to do: I highly recommend you insist on a refurbished building and a deluxe room. We were in Building 17 and I think they have all been recently re-done. Good luck and I hope you have a great vacation....
Minnies Boy Toy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2013, 07:53 PM   #8
doclegler
DIS Veteran
 
doclegler's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Sadly...the midwest
Posts: 734

Thanks for the for the great review. We have enjoyed staying at MD in the past too (and have avoided the timeshare situation). We like all the space and outdoor activities.
doclegler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-02-2013, 05:03 PM   #9
cheerky
Mouseketeer
 
cheerky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 433

We just returned from another five night stay at Mystic Dunes. My daughter and I decided last minute to go down as spectators for the World Cheerleading Championships at Epcot and WWoS. I booked our room on Hotwire for $46/nt. I did the same in January and was not happy with the one bedroom suite at all. But, traveling alone with my 12 year old I wanted a safe, familiar place to stay, close to the event venues. At check-in, I shared my disappointment in our room during our last stay. The woman at the desk upgraded us at no charge to a two bedroom unit in bldg 28 near the main pool. Our unit had not yet been remodeled but it was huge, clean and had everything we needed. Again , there were luggage carts which is super convenient and not typical at timeshare properties! I think Mystic Dunes is a great place to stay near parks, restaurants, grocery stores and i4. Excellent value for a budget trip! We will definitely stay again!
cheerky is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply



Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

facebooktwitterpinterestgoogle plusyoutubeDIS Updates
GET OUR DIS UPDATES DELIVERED BY EMAIL



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:55 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Copyright © 1997-2014, Werner Technologies, LLC. All Rights Reserved.