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Old 09-16-2011, 09:44 PM   #31
luke6t6
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Another Windsor Hills "fan".... We recently stayed in a 3BR unit and rented directly from the owners. The unit was in a great location and the owners were very easy and helpful to deal with. They own two homes in W.H., which can be found at:

letsgoseemickey.com

I was hesitant at first, but was very glad that we made this choice. We stayed 8/19 to 8/27 and our total invoice was $880.

Good Luck.

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Old 09-17-2011, 11:22 PM   #32
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50/50

We have stayed on and off site. In recent years we have preferred to stayed off site; rooms/suites much bigger, in room fridge/kettle, cheaper eating options, walking around at night and closer to universal too. However downsides are cost of car parking daily, no early opening, no mickey waffles,no refill mugs ( miss the resort hot chocolate) and swimming pools are fab on site.
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Old 09-18-2011, 03:05 AM   #33
ruadisneyfan2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diswix View Post
We have stayed on and off site. In recent years we have preferred to stayed off site; rooms/suites much bigger, in room fridge/kettle, cheaper eating options, walking around at night and closer to universal too. However downsides are cost of car parking daily, no early opening, no mickey waffles,no refill mugs ( miss the resort hot chocolate) and swimming pools are fab on site.
Visiting Universal is another story. They offer some real perks for staying onsite. You simply show your room key to bypass the regular lines. It's like having an unlimited fast pass for your whole stay.
We were instantly spoiled and will never visit Universal without an onsite room key! That, makes it worth cramming into a tiny room with 1 bath.
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Old 09-21-2011, 01:53 PM   #34
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Check out amazingdisneyhomes.com. We are staying in lion kings. Frank is very professional and I have only heard good reviews on him. We are paying $119/nt for a 3 bedroom home. He rents from $99-$119 per night.
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Old 09-21-2011, 08:41 PM   #35
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Have you considered renting a townhome? You could get one at Windsor Hills (with a kitchen, 3 bedrooms and a splash pool) for significantly less than $200/night. You won't have maid service or continental breakfast, but you'd have lots more space.
This is a good idea for family travel planning.
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Old 09-21-2011, 09:44 PM   #36
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Davey,
For us, the timeshare villas are the best. We tried one for the first time 10 years ago and we'll never go back to a hotel. They offer:
huge rooms, everyone has more then they need
seperate bedrooms
full kitchens
washer and dryer
your own deck/patio
Beautiful resorts
Great pools
Lots of activities for all ages
Gated security
And
we save tons of money by hitting the Publix and covering breakfast, lunch, and snacks/drinks out of our resort.

Stay with a name brand to ensure high quality (Marriott, Hilton, Sheraton)

You may never go back onsite again. We haven't since, totally spoiled.
I'm still learning about the differences between timeshare rental and vacation home rental? If I book say "Sheraton Vistana" or "Floridays"...I would be renting direct from the resort? not an owner?
What are the major differences from booking a regular hotel like "Staybridge"?
Is it just less housekeeping? I don't think I quite get it.

For example...the "Bluegreen Fountains" look absolutely amazing 2BR, 2BTH, huge, huge pool...and it's only $116 per night? How can it be so reasonable?
Is it mandatory to attend these sales seminars when you just rent?
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Old 09-21-2011, 09:56 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by Davey-D-99 View Post
I'm still learning about the differences between timeshare rental and vacation home rental? If I book say "Sheraton Vistana" or "Floridays"...I would be renting direct from the resort? not an owner?
What are the major differences from booking a regular hotel like "Staybridge"?
Is it just less housekeeping? I don't think I quite get it.

For example...the "Bluegreen Fountains" look absolutely amazing 2BR, 2BTH, huge, huge pool...and it's only $116 per night? How can it be so reasonable?
Is it mandatory to attend these sales seminars when you just rent?
The main difference is the amount of space. For some people the housekeeping/towel/trash/room service is a big part of their vacation, for others it's no big deal to toss a load of towels in midweek. Easy when the washer/dryer is right in the condo.

You're usually not obligated to tour a timeshare property unless you're there on some kind of promotional offer. Most timeshare resorts offer rentals for vacant condos. We LOVED the Hilton Grand Vacation Club International Drive (not to be confused with their sister resort near Sea World which was nice but not nearly as nice as the Int. Dr) But I digress. When stayed at HGVC Int Dr booked through their website and got AAA rate for about $100/nt. Very off peak time, and it was only a 1BR but huge space. We didn't have our kids with us; that was just long weekend but for a family I would stick with 2BR minimum depending on #.

DVC allows non-members to book stays there too but it's astronomical. We'll be renting DVC points from owners for 1st time in Nov. I'm a little nervous but so far, it's all good.

Sooo many options. It's all a matter of preference.
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Old 09-21-2011, 10:06 PM   #38
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Sooo many options. It's all a matter of preference.
Boy...I'll say!!!

Thanks for helping clear things up.

I'm starting to narrow it all down I think
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Old 09-24-2011, 07:47 PM   #39
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You're usually not obligated to tour a timeshare property unless you're there on some kind of promotional offer. Most timeshare resorts offer rentals for vacant condos.
So...if I rent a room from Sheraton Vistana, Hilton Grand, Floridays, Bluegreen...etc, I would be renting direct from the resort correct?

These are condos that the resort owns and sets aside strictly for rental?

If I am under no obligation to attend a TS tour and it's strictly a matter of washing the towels ourselves then I think this is the route I will take.

Now I just have to decide on a resort... I love the look of "Fountains" but I have time yet before I have to book.

Last edited by Davey-D-99; 09-29-2011 at 01:03 AM.
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Old 09-24-2011, 08:15 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by Davey-D-99 View Post
So...if I rent a room from Sheraton Vistana, Hilton Grand, Floridays, Bluegreen...etc, I would be renting direct from the resort correct?
Basically. From the corporation or the developer might be more accurate -- dunno about Floridays, but Bluegreen, Hilton, and Sheraton are all chains of one sort or another.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Davey-D-99 View Post
These are condos that the resort owns and sets aside strictly for rental?
I don't know if it's that the resort specifically holds some back for rental or if it's that they haven't sold them or they have the use of them because the owner isn't paying their dues or what, but most Timeshare point systems have some that are owned by the Corporation that rent out like hotel rooms, and some that are part of the points "pool" that points owners can pull from.

You think $116 a night for the Fountains is "reasonable," but I can stay there for less -- from a Timeshare perspective, $116 a night is pricey. It's all in how you look at it. Orlando is overbuilt, meaning you can find some great deals there. And Timeshares are often cheaper than hotel or motel rooms because you do your own laundry (usually there's a once-a-week linen exchange and cleaning if you stay a full week or more), and take out your own trash, and no one cleans your room for you everyday unless you pay extra.

I can tell you one downside to the huge pool at the Fountains with the big slides and the zero entry and all -- it's isn't heated. Which doesn't matter in the summer, and really isn't a big deal off season, either, because the indoor-outdoor pool (also quite large, but not so fancy) is heated, so you do always have the option of a heated pool if that matters to you. But if you're staying there in January, and decide to go swimming in the big pool, odds are you'll have it all to yourself.

The only way you're under obligation to do a tour is if you agree to it beforehand. They'll try to sign you up when you go to get your parking pass, offer you discounted tickets or a gift card or something: just say no. If you don't agree to the free offer, you don't have to talk to a salesperson.

Last edited by shalom; 09-24-2011 at 08:23 PM.
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Old 09-24-2011, 08:29 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by Davey-D-99 View Post
So...if I rent a room from Sheraton Vistana, Hilton Grand, Floridays, Bluegreen...etc, I would be renting direct from the resort correct?

These are condos that the resort owns and sets aside strictly for rental?

If I am under no obligation to attend a TS tour and it's strictly a matter of washing the towels ourselves then I think this is the route I will take.

No I just have to decide on a resort... I love the look of "Fountains" but I have time yet before I have to book.
It's not that they have specific units labeled as rentals. It's more like they already know they will not be at 100% occupancy so why have them sit empty? Timeshare owners don't always own the same exact unit. Some do, but not all. Some float. Even then, owners own 1 week, the other 51 weeks are for other owners or up for rent.
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Old 09-25-2011, 01:16 AM   #42
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You think $116 a night for the Fountains is "reasonable," but I can stay there for less -- from a Timeshare perspective, $116 a night is pricey.
How do you find out about lower prices than that?

Quote:
I can tell you one downside to the huge pool at the Fountains with the big slides and the zero entry and all -- it's isn't heated.
Thanks for the heads-up! How cool do you think it will be in late April/Early May?
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Old 09-25-2011, 09:07 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by Davey-D-99 View Post
How do you find out about lower prices than that?
As a Timeshare owner, I can trade my TS for another TS and often get a better deal than renting from the corporation (although I can't do that to get into the Fountains anymore). I also have an RCI membership through my TS, which gets me better cash deals than BG's prices. And I know a lot of other TS owners who'll rent points to me cheaply -- lower risk than renting from a stranger. Or at least it feels that way.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Davey-D-99 View Post
Thanks for the heads-up! How cool do you think it will be in late April/Early May?
We were there at that exact time! However, it was 2010; right after that unusually cold winter where birds were falling out of the trees and whatnot. The kids did go swimming in the big pool and enjoyed the slide and all, but middle daughter thought it was way too cold as did hubby, so it was only the one time. The boys didn't seem to mind the cold but we were in the older buildings so much closer to the indoor/outdoor pool anyhow. Every time we went by the big pool there were a few people happily swimming in it, but most people were sticking with the heated one.

It had been unusually cold right up to around the time we got there, or at least I was told by a couple of CMs toward the middle of the week that they were glad the temps were finally getting back to normal. I preferred the cooler weather when we first go there, myself. Anyhow, I would guess in a "normal" year, the big pool in early May would be fine for people who don't mind unheated pools in general. If it's been cold recently, not so much.
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Old 09-25-2011, 10:10 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by shalom View Post
As a Timeshare owner, I can trade my TS for another TS and often get a better deal than renting from the corporation (although I can't do that to get into the Fountains anymore). I also have an RCI membership through my TS, which gets me better cash deals than BG's prices. And I know a lot of other TS owners who'll rent points to me cheaply -- lower risk than renting from a stranger. Or at least it feels that way.

I don't know of anyone to rent from but I do belong to RCI and their Extra Vacations can be awesome deals, especially during off peak times. At least they used to be. (Lately most vacations have been cruises, not TSs.)
In 2006 we got a 2BR at Hilton Grand Vac Club Sea World for $404 for the week! Our kids had a 4 day weekend that Sept for Jewish holidays so we couldn't stay the full 7 nts but even 4 or 5 nts it's still a bargain.




We were there at that exact time! However, it was 2010; right after that unusually cold winter where birds were falling out of the trees and whatnot. The kids did go swimming in the big pool and enjoyed the slide and all, but middle daughter thought it was way too cold as did hubby, so it was only the one time. The boys didn't seem to mind the cold but we were in the older buildings so much closer to the indoor/outdoor pool anyhow. Every time we went by the big pool there were a few people happily swimming in it, but most people were sticking with the heated one.

It had been unusually cold right up to around the time we got there, or at least I was told by a couple of CMs toward the middle of the week that they were glad the temps were finally getting back to normal. I preferred the cooler weather when we first go there, myself. Anyhow, I would guess in a "normal" year, the big pool in early May would be fine for people who don't mind unheated pools in general. If it's been cold recently, not so much.
We have been both times of year and I would DEFINITELY vote for early May! In late Apr they have "Grad Week" where lots of HS senior trips are in the parks and on Grad night and the MK stays open to the HS kids all night. Our kids were still in strollers at the time and it seemed like way too many wild, unsupervised kids. Nothing really awful but one was running and didn't see our kids in the double stroller and almost stepped on them. Luckily he did a quick leap over the whole stroller and kept going but nothing resembling an apology or even an "oops, excuse me". Just a lot of minor annoyancess that kids probably wouldn't be doing if their parents were there. (spitting, cursing, etc.)
OTOH, early May was BEAU-TI-FUL!! Kids all over the country are still in school so it's not crowded. It's warm but not yet hot & muggy. Plenty warm enough for water parks. If I could go anytime of year, the week ending on Mother's Day would be it. Now that my kids are past the elementary school age, they can't miss a week of school without major damage so that week is out for us.
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Old 09-25-2011, 11:51 AM   #45
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Originally Posted by Davey-D-99 View Post
I'm still learning about the differences between timeshare rental and vacation home rental? If I book say "Sheraton Vistana" or "Floridays"...I would be renting direct from the resort? not an owner?
What are the major differences from booking a regular hotel like "Staybridge"?
Is it just less housekeeping? I don't think I quite get it.

For example...the "Bluegreen Fountains" look absolutely amazing 2BR, 2BTH, huge, huge pool...and it's only $116 per night? How can it be so reasonable?
Is it mandatory to attend these sales seminars when you just rent?
The biggest difference between a Timeshare Rental and Vacation Home Rental is from the owners point of view. As a timeshare owner, I own a 1/52 interest in a specific unit at a specific resort. I pay a maintenance fee to a management company to maintain the unit, provide housekeeping, security, and common amenities. A Vacation Home has a single owner for the entire property who (usually) pays a management company to look after renting the unit and maintenance, and pays condo or association fees for any common elements and security.

From the renters view, with timeshare resorts the developer/management company often holds a stock of unsold inventory that they are allowed to rent to the general public. Many (like Sheraton) run this like a hotel operation. If you rent from Sheraton directly for Vistana for example, you can get daily housekeeping and free shuttles (or pay less for the standard mid-week housekeeping/towel refresh) which makes it very close to a hotel stay, but with a lot more space, bathrooms, cooking and laundry facilities than you will find in a suite hotel.

One thing though is to watch the fine print on very cheap "special packages" from a developer; they may require a timeshare presentation. Not that that is a necessarily a bad thing; if you are willing to give up a half day of your vacation for a really good rate, you can consider it, but steel yourself for the presentation. Just don't EVER hand over any money, and remember that if the salesman's lips are moving, he/she is lying. All timeshares are available for considerably less than developer cost in the resale market; and there is no real difference between new and used - this is not like a car; even their "new" units are pre-enjoyed by others...

There are ways to rent timeshares directly from owners as well; check classifieds at http://www.tug2.net/ or http://www.redweek.com/ for a good source of owner timeshare rentals. These are usually (but not always) less expensive than direct from the developer. Owners usually are happy to recover their annual maintenance fees (generally $800-$1000 per week for a nice resort), so $100-$150 a night is normal. If it's less than $100, the owner is probably in a net negative situation, so be nice Note that owners do generally get pretty mad at our management companies when they start renting for less than we pay in MF's.

Vacation homes in the Orlando area are often in gated communities like Windsor Hills that were purpose build for the vacation industry. They have a lot of amenities but (arguably) not as many as good resort, and usually have the advantage of a private pool. There are a lot more sizes available too, TS resorts generally top out a 3BR, but there 7+ bedroom homes available if you need that much space. A couple of negatives that I have heard; many charge extra if you want to heat the pool, and many require you to do a bit of your own housework, expecting the renter to do a certain amount of housekeeping themselves on departure.

So between the two it really comes down to a balance of how much freedom you want, how many amenities you want, how much space you want, and what you want to pay for it all.
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