When you live within driving distance of Orlando, its hard to turn down a vacation there. Its a great fall back and we end up going atleast once, if not twice, a year. After all, the mouse house is the vacation capitol of the world. And while you may automatically think the Magic Kingdom when you think Orlando, the truth is there are gobs of other theme parks, water parks, themed restaurants, dinner shows, and shopping to keep you busy for every day the rest of the year.
2 weeks ago we spent an entire week, a whole 7 days, indulging ourselves in a dream family vacation that consisted of Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom, Disney Quest, Seaworld, Aquatica, Typhoon Lagoon, TRex restaurant, and the Pirate Adventure dinner show. I pretty much needed a vacation from my vacation after it was over.
But even with all that to do, the best part of the vacation was simply doing nothing. The place where we stayed. Our accommodations. The place where, at the end of the day, we kicked back our feet and sat down.
Now every time we go out of town we have two choices that we flitter over: A house/condo or a resort. That’s it. We don’t stay in hotels. Aside from the fact that my daughter, my husband, and I are all first borns and butt heads if left too long together, I find nothing “vacation-y” about sharing a room with my snoring daughter who needs a bedtime of 8pm.
What kind of vacation is me going to bed at 8pm? I want to stay up late and watch movies and soak in the bathtubs and make ask politely for my DH rub my feet, kwim?
The one thing about resorts, aside from the whole sharing the room thing is simply that they cost oodles of dollars a night for the privilege of just saying you are on Disney property. In fact, the one I always check out is nearly $500 a night. Let me repeat. $500 a NIGHT. I’m not sure, but that’s not in my family budget. Maybe Bill Gates family. But not this family.
And sure, you can take a quick ride to the parks without that $14 a day parking fee, but Ill drive myself if it means Im going to get a great nights sleep and save $3K. Besides, out of the 100s of times I have been to Orlando, and it probably really is in the 100s, I have yet to stay in a resort.
We always always always rent a house or a condo. Did I mention always? Orlando is the one place in the US that you can get a full on vacation home rental for cheaper than most h0tel nights. And don’t be fooled. I don’t mean time share. Home rental is not time share. You rent a home, a home that was bought specifically for vacation rentals, and stay in a subdivision that is other vacation rentals.
And many many communities are minutes, literally, from the main gate of Disney World!
This time we were lucky enough to stay with Global Resort Homes.
Now about 6 months ago I was introduced to Global Resort Homes when one of their staff members randomly emailed my site. They completely tweaked my interest and after talking to them over the phone, I really loved what they stood for so much I knew I had to share it. They were reaching out to moms because they knew that moms are always seeking out safe and cost effective ways to take vacations with their families.
We all take vacation, we all want a break, and Orlando is on a lot of peoples agendas. I knew this would be something that my audience would really like to know about if they could offer me something that was of serious value to my readers. So I was so grateful when they invited me the next time I was in town to stay in one of their homes over my usual condo rental agency.
Eventually we booked our annual trip to Orlando and I gave them a call and they provided us with a home to spend our week in and see what they had to offer.
When we arrived, it was an 5 minute check in at their office and a 2 minute drive from that to the home. The home had no keys and I loved the easy system of memorizing the short code.
No key meant no key to lose at the theme park.
What greeted us was this 5 bedroom, 5 bathroom, Internet available, full fridge, backyard pool (I cannot tell you how important that became after the week ended up being nearly 105 daily, I will never ever rent a house again without a pool),neon blue pool table, with a washing machine home. OMG. A washing machine. SUCH a luxury on vacation.
I went home with no dirty laundry..do you know how good that felt?
Right about now I am sure you are wondering why we had a house with 5 bedrooms and 7 beds when you know its just Chris, Charlotte and I. Its because we invited everyone we knew. Well, not really, but my parents came, a friend and her kids came, and we had a community vacation. The last time we did that was when Chris got back from Afghanistan and my parents and his parents both came. We rented a house then too. Its so easy because everyone shares the cost, gets their own space, and we can meet up in the centrally located living room.
Then, when we are sick of each other, we can all pretend we are tired and go off to our respective bedrooms.
(living area and formal dining. There was also a secondary dining in the kitchen and bar stools)
Check out the pool:
Charlotte wanted to spend every waking moment in the pool. Even after water park days. She couldn’t get enough. And in case you are wondering, the house had a pool alarm on the doors. You can also rent houses with pools that have baby gates.
In the winter, you can get optional pool heating.
For skinny dipping.
The closed in and carpeted garage area had an air hockey table, pool table, Playstation, gaming seats, Flat screen, bar stools and table, and washer dryer:
And if you find any down time (ha!) while you are on vacation and you want to get out of your house (ha!), right in the gated community they had a community pool area, gaming room, gym, mini grocery/toiletry store, and several parks! (like parks with swings, slides, etc).
Oh, and that gated community thing? Serious lock down. Guards going in and out and you had to have your paperwork or they didn’t let you by.
Now I am sure you are looking at all of this and saying “Ok, so you got to check it out for free, but whats it costing me?”
They told me that this house was $250 a night. That’s it. A pool. 5 bedrooms. A pool table. 5 bathrooms. $250 a night. Assuming you are having more than one adult party with you (especially on this property because its such a big house) even if you only had one other couple with you, that cost is near nada. Doing the math, two couples could rent this house for under $150 a night. Less if you have more friends with you.
*(hey bloggers, do I forsee an Orlando shin dig where we all share a house!?)
That cost is cheaper than any hotel you will find and most certaintly cheaper than any other resort you will find and you get SO much more. Less money where you stay means more money to do the extras at the parks.
And they have 100s of homes (and sell them too if you are lucky enough to live in the area) to choose from. Just need a 2 bedroom? A 3 bedroom? Need something larger like a 7 bedroom? There are a variety of styles, locations, and homes that are the perfect fit for your family.
Real quick I wanted to address something you are probably thinking in the back of your head:
“Is it weird to stay in someones home?”
Well, let me clear that up. You’re not in someones home. You are in a rental property..just like if you rent a home on the beach. No one lives there. There are no clothes in the closet and there are no half drunk bottles of milk in the fridge. No worries that the home owners are going to come back and catch you taking a naked midnight stroll to get a cookie at 3am…same as a hotel, the home is completely and utterly yours.
Now its late and I am going to continue my Orlando experience tomorrow and share with you some of our favorite vacation moments and photos, so please come back. In the mean time, dont forget to follow Global Resort Homes on Twitter @GlobalResorts and on Facebook at Global Resort Homes.
OH, and a quick tip, if you “like” them on facebook and send some friends over, they are giving away American Express Gift cards to some lucky winners! Hurry, I dont know how long this promotion lasts.
Dont just take my word on it, check out other opinions at:
- Mama Dweeb Post 1, Post 2, Post 3
- Faithfully Frugal and Free Post 1, Post 2, Post 3
- The Shopping Mama
- Trip Advisor