First Offsite Trip...Help

Discussion in 'Orlando Hotels and Attractions' started by Davey-D-99, Sep 7, 2011.

  1. Davey-D-99

    Davey-D-99 DIS Veteran

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    Hey Everyone...Planning a return to Orlando for late April early May, 2012....10 days!!:cool1:
    This will be our first trip outside of the WDW bubble...(2 previous onsite in the last few years)
    We want explore the rest of Orlando and area for the first time, as well as return to WDW parks for a few days.

    Here is what I'm looking for in a hotel...Central enough to Universal and WDW, reasonably priced (less than $200 per night)... would really love kitchen facility and my two kids (boy and girl) each want their own bed this trip. In other words I need three beds.

    A friend of a friend just recommended "Staybridge Suites" but I noticed that there are two different ones...Which one is nicer (newer)? Any thoughts on Staybridge? What are some other good hotel choices to explore?

    also..
    What are the best beaches for a day trip or two from Orlando? Is it better to take a few days away from our Orlando stay and book a resort along a beach? (Family really wants to relax by the beach somewhere this trip)...Gulf coast? Atlantic coast?...so much to decide?
     
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  3. BrerMama

    BrerMama DIS Veteran

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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. www.windsorhillsrent.com
     
  4. leebee

    leebee DIS Veteran

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    Lots of offsite options. YOu could look into Comfort Suites MainGate East. They used to be very good. You get a large room separated into sleeping and living areas. Rooms come with two queen beds and a sofa bed, eating table, counter-height fridge, microwave, coffeepot, comfy sitting chair, free breakfast. It's over near OldTown.

    For $200 a night, you could also get a condo, villa, or pool home. I have rented through vrbo.com several times and always been highly satisfied. I have also had luck at skyauction.com for some sweet deals on timeshare from owners who rent out their weeks.

    Cocoa Beach is about 90 mins east of WDW and is a nice place for a short trip. Many hotels right on the beach... we stayed at Quality Suites which had 1 bedroom suites at the time, so had 2 beds in the br and a sofa bed in the living area. If you stayed out there a night or two, you could do a beach day, go to KEnnedy Space Center, check out the orange groves in the area or the state park (look for manatee crossing areas, cool wildlife, etc.)
     
  5. cammie810

    cammie810 Mouseketeer

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    How about renting a condo at Windsor Hills? For less than $100/night you can have a 3 bedroom condo with kitchen and living room and 2 bathrooms. The pool there is beautiful and they have a little movie theatre that is free of charge as well as an arcade and a workout room. Few minutes drive to WDW and probably about 15 minutes to Universal and Sea World. Tons of restaurants nearby as well. We rent there all of the time and love it. It is nice for everybody to have their own space. Plus, the kitchen is a big bonus. I dont do a ton of cooking but we have breakfast there and usually get fried chicken and sides from Publix for dinner one night (which is delicious and cheaper than take out).
     
  6. Davey-D-99

    Davey-D-99 DIS Veteran

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    Wow..Windsor Hills looks like an amazing option!! Never, ever, even considered something like that. I'm not sure how my wife would feel about renting someone's private house though? Do you actually arrange it through the individual owners of the condos?

    I was really just considering a regular Hotel stay! I will have to do some research
     
  7. BrerMama

    BrerMama DIS Veteran

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    They're really not private houses. I'd guess 90%+ have bought them as vacation rentals. They may stay in them several weeks a year, but it's not their primary residence. Florida has pretty strict laws about vacation rentals, and if you check around this board enough you can get reviews on the most popular owners. You can usually deal directly with owners (and get a cheaper price) but there are also management companies who will rent them. It's definitely an option with your budget.

    Have fun planning!
     
  8. softballmom3

    softballmom3 DIS Veteran

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    If you are wanting offsite then I too would definitely recommend Windsor Hills. We stayed there last October and it was a very beautiful place. We did see some people who were obviously residents but it is a huge rental place. If you want to know who we went through you can pm me and i'll give you the info. Very reliable and no problems at all. It was a great place. If we ever stay offsite again (say we wanna do Universal, etc) this is where we will go back.

    Beaches----some like Cocoa Beach. We do NOT. We have been there a couple times and I could leave it. We will be going to Clearwater or that area next time. Not much farther. Although I do like the Ron Jon store at Cocoa Beach.
     
  9. spiceycat

    spiceycat <font color=blue>Own at BWV, VWL and BLT<br><font

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    windsor hills is not in between WDW and US/IOA.

    you would probably look in the Seaworld area.

    there are some hilton
    or you could rent from a hgvc member and stay at HGVC at Seaworld.

    www.tug2.net
    www.myresortnetwork.com
    www.condodirect.com
    www.redweek.com

    also if you still want windsor hills
    http://www.rentwindsorhillsvillas.com/
    http://www.windsorhillsbest.com/
    http://www.discountvacationrentalsonline.com/communities/windsor-hills/

    the top 4 have used and love them.

    the windsor hills one you are on your own
     
  10. disneysteve

    disneysteve You have to enjoy life, not go

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    I highly recommend a rental property. We have rented many times and would NEVER EVER consider staying in a hotel in the Disney area with the exception of an onsite hotel at Universal.

    We just got back from two weeks at Windsor Palms. We had a 3-bedroom, 3-bath townhouse, full kitchen, washer/dryer, private screened-in pool, etc. We paid $89/night. It is pretty tough to beat that. Master bedroom has a king bed. 2nd bedroom has 2 twins. 3rd bedroom had a queen I think. Loads of space. Fully equipped kitchen. 10 minute drive to Disney.
     
  11. Davey-D-99

    Davey-D-99 DIS Veteran

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    I have been researching and I'm just not sure we are ready or really comfortable with renting? I didn't even know it was that popular in the Orlando area...we were just considering a regular old hotel. I can't believe how affordable they can be though for what you get...I just feel like there is so much that could go wrong by going this route...I know that's mostly nervous inexperience with it.
    Tough decisions to make in the next few weeks...

    Thanks so much for all the replies:thumbsup2 It's been helpful.
     
  12. BrerMama

    BrerMama DIS Veteran

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    If you'd feel more comfortable with a hotel, then you should stay in a hotel. Try the Hotel & Accomodations review board at the top of this board for some reviews. There's a Hilton at Bonnet Creek that might appeal to you.
     
  13. kathy884

    kathy884 DIS Veteran

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    We often go the owner rental route too, because of the value for the dollar (renting from Timeshare owners on TUG2.net or Redweek.com -- two bedroom condos).

    With your $200 a night budget, though, you can easily go retail and get a reasonable deal without going out of your comfort zone. The Marriott Residence Inn properties are another option I can think of. DS stayed at the one by SeaWorld for a few nights for SeaWorld camp (Thought it was really nice), and it gets good reviews on TripAdvisor (includes breakfast and has a kitchen). There are several of these in the area.// Look at TripAdvisor.com for reviews of the Staybridge Suites properites, the Marriott Residence Inn at SeaWorld, etc. for help in picking one of those. These are very popular options with many vacationers.

    There are several different Homewood Suites properties that are popular too that I'm guessing would probably me similar to Staybridge Suites, Marriott Residence Inn,etc.

    Here is a link to Trip Advisor Hotel Reviews in Orlando in Generalhttp://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotels-g34515-Orlando_Florida-Hotels.html

    Here is the link to a few of the Homewood Suites mentioned: (All are highly rated by Trip Advisor contributors) -- four different locations:

    http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Re..._Suites_Orlando_UCF_Area-Orlando_Florida.html

    http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Re...est_to_Universal_Studios-Orlando_Florida.html

    http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Re..._Drive_Convention_Center-Orlando_Florida.html

    http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Re...Lake_Buena_Vista_Orlando-Orlando_Florida.html

    Here are some Staybridge Suites reviews (also highly rated by contributors to Trip Advisor)

    http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Re..._Suites_Lake_Buena_Vista-Orlando_Florida.html

    http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Re...taybridge_Suites_Orlando-Orlando_Florida.html

    The good news is that with all the competition in Orlando and with how overbuild Orlando is that there are tons of great choices.

    Our favorite beach choice for a day trip is Clearwater (big wide beach with a pier, resturants across the street, lots of things going on). It's a good hour and a half or maybe depending on traffic two hours each way, though. We like it enough for than Coco, so if we are doing a beach day mid trip end of going there. // Can't comment on beach place to stay for a few days. When we go to Orlando, we tend to stay there all week and alternate theme park days with resort days, waterpark days, or a beach day trip vs. splitting a week long stay (We're more into doing the theme park thing every other day).
     
  14. Brian Noble

    Brian Noble His Curmudgeonly Highness

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    One compromise might be to rent a home, but go through a management company rather than rent from an owner directly. This will cost a little more (the agent takes a cut), but gives you a little more peace of mind---you are renting from a larger company rather than a private individual, they have a larger stable of houses they can rebook you into if something goes wrong with the one you book, etc. All Star Vacation Homes is one popular agent, and there are others.

    Personally, I am comfortable renting directly form an owner, and that's the route I'd go, but you have to do what is comfortable for you.
     
  15. disneysteve

    disneysteve You have to enjoy life, not go

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    I understand the hesitancy to rent but it is a very, very well-established industry in the Disney area. There are literally thousands of rental properties within 20 minutes of Disney property. My family has rented numerous times in either Lindfields or Windsor Palms. We've rented 2 BR condos, 3 BR condos, 3BR townhomes and 3 and 4 BR single homes. Nothing has ever gone wrong and there is almost always a local property management company to contact if you do experience any problems. Honestly, we've had many more problems in hotels than we've ever had in rental homes. We even rented a beautiful 4-bedroom chalet in Stowe, VT a few years ago using the same site we've used for Florida (VRBO.com).

    The first time may be a little weird just because it is something different, but trust me, once you try it, you won't ever go back to a hotel.
    I would agree. While we've never stayed in a Residence Inn near Disney (no need - see above), we have stayed in them in many other places. They give you a decent amount of space, separate rooms, a small kitchenette, free breakfast, etc. If you do want a hotel, this is a good choice. There are a few of them in the Disney area.
     
  16. zigzagzerr

    zigzagzerr DIS Veteran

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    Just a few weeks ago, we stayed at the Floridays resort (on International Drive, near Sea World). It was great, and very close to both the parks and shopping.
     
  17. ClanHarrison

    ClanHarrison Mouseketeer

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    This is exactly what we did for our very first trip, because I was so uneasy about all this...and we also went thru All Star. They were EXCELLENT & the home was more exquisite than the website showed it to be. All Star was also conveniently located in the shopping center down the road from the development (on 192) so I had *someone* to address face-to-face, immediately, with any concerns. They were VERY friendly & responsive. The extra money was well worth my piece of mind...until I got used to this industry & what to look for when renting from an owner.

    But, be careful. You think you're worried about renting now. Once you do it...you will be HOOKED :lmao: .

    We fell in love with offsite villa renting and will probably NEVER stay onsite (except for Universal for Front of the Line Access & Wyndham Bonnet Creek).
     
  18. ExpatDisneyLover

    ExpatDisneyLover DIS Veteran

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    I think you can book vacation homes through travel websites like orbitz, expedia and lastminutetravel.com if that makes you feel any better about the process. I personally haven't done so but definitely would if I was traveling with my family - you get a lot more for your money! Good luck!:)
     
  19. Davey-D-99

    Davey-D-99 DIS Veteran

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    The more we look at those condos on the All-Star vacations website, the more tempting it's becoming:thumbsup2:thumbsup2

    I'm sure the closer we get to actually booking I will be asking more questions;)

    Thanks for all the help...I love the DIS!
     
  20. ruadisneyfan2

    ruadisneyfan2 DIS Veteran

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    Before we bought our timeshare in 05, we stayed in rental homes many, many times and loved it. Even though we're a family of 4, we could get a 4 BR single home for around $120/nt with our own private pool. We'd even have a spare bedroom to store our luggage.

    Back then (2003-05) we used a rental management company called Villa Direct which, by the time I discovered the Disboards, was going downhill quickly & not getting good reviews on here. I'm not sure it's still in business but regardless, the rental route is a great way to travel when you want a lot of space & privacy. When our kids were small, it was so hard staying in a hotel room. Trying to get kids to sleep, while dh & I don't want to go to sleep at 8 pm. :lmao:

    All Star rentals was around back then too; we used to see their maintenance trucks often in the Kissimmee area. I think renting through a reliable agency would give you more peace of mind since it's your 1st time.

    Also, if you're thinking of visiting Universal I highly recommend staying at one of their onsite hotels. They are all 4* deluxe (Loews Hotels) but the best part is that you simply show your room key and bypass all the regular lines. It's like an unlimited fast pass. You will be instantly spoiled so I would do this last on your list of theme parks. It's hard to wait in line after that. :lmao:
    The Royal Pacific & Hard Rock Hotels are an easy walk to the parks or there's a water taxi also. Their pools are massive with plenty of lounge chairs & very relaxing. Really, they put the Poly's pool to shame. (My kids were shocked on our recent stay how small and lame that was.)

    Have fun planning!:goodvibes
     
  21. shalom

    shalom DIS Veteran

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    You can also rent a lot of the Timeshares in the area direct from the corporation that manages the place -- for instance, Floridays and The Fountains are both well under $200 per day and you'll get a 2 BR unit with a living room and full kitchen. The Fountains even has a little lake you can canoe on, and both of them have onsite activities if you plan on taking a day off from the parks. I'm sure there are dozens of other TS units available within your budget where you can rent from the corporation rather than from an individual.
     

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