Blog 2 for me and starting to get the hang of this. Ok so don’t worry I will not start each blog this way but the plan is to file each blog by city so if you ever want to read about a location for a vacation you can find great travel ideas by looking under the city or country. My whole goal is to give you suggestions for great places to stay that are clean, contemporary and in a decent price range. With that, you will find that I really like Florida as a travel destination. Since I am a little long winded and have so much to say I am going to break this blog into two parts – this week will be ‘Orlando Disney Holidays with kids’ and next week will be ‘Orlando Disney Holidays without kids’.
Our Florida Vacation Video.
Do you stay on-site Disney or off-site?
When our kids were first born and even now at 4 and 7 Florida is great. It is predictable, you know where to find Polysporin or antibiotics alongside familiar food aisles, beaches and lots to do on rainy days. I thought it would be a neat idea to give you the ‘adult only’ and the ‘with kids’ what to do in Orlando – the capital of theme parks and turkey legs. So with this week being Orlando with kids, really who goes to Orlando without a visit to Disney World so the conversation becomes do you either stay on site at Disney or offsite. I have now done both and they each have advantages. Staying on property can actually be fairly cost efficient if you stay at a moderate resort. The advantage is that the bus transportation to and from the parks is outstanding and worth it 100 times over. Also the resorts and clean and have great kids themes and pools.
The Contemporary Resort
We have stayed at the higher end Contemporary resort which is convenient if you have really young kids since strollers can go on the monorail, it has nice modern rooms but it is not worth staying in the tower – views are great but balconies are dirty and rooms are very expensive so stay in the lower 3 floor buildings.
Psst – see picture and request a room at the very end of the 3 story buildings that faces the lagoon to see the night water parade, a bit more of a walk from the main lobby but worth the view and it is near the pool.
The rooms at the Contemporary are also great as you can get 2 queen beds and the bench/couch turns into another bed which my 6 year old thought was the cats meow! (Rooms are $350+).
The Riverside Port Orleans Resort
We have also stayed at the Riverside Port Orleans resort which is a moderate resort and a favourite of mine. It does not have a monorail running through it so be prepared to close up strollers for each bus ride but it has a beautiful property
Psst – I prefer the Alligator Bayou as they have lots of smaller pools so you feel like you really are on holiday down south somewhere vs the Magnolia Bend is more formal with 1 or 2 larger pools.
By staying on property it allows you to take advantage of the meal plan which can be budget friendly, check in is a breeze with kids TVs (playing Disney shows of course) and you are privy to special hours at the park. Getting to the park earlier is a blessing, get the rides done by noon with shorter lines in the morning, enjoy the parades and shows in the afternoon and get home for a swim late afternoon and with transportation so accessible head back later for the fireworks and night parade.
Off Site – Wyndham Grand Bonnet Creek Orlando
Staying off property means you are not bombarded with Disney but the bus travel is longer and not as convenient and sometimes you do want to feel the magic of Disney which comes right through their resorts. We stayed at the Wyndham Grand Bonnet Creek Orlando which came with mini golf, great pools which we could enjoy without the pressures of having to be at the park. They had rooms with bunk beds for the kids at a great rate ($177) that gave us more privacy, the kids loved the bunks and we even caught the Epcot fireworks from our room. Psst- be sure to request a high floor, non-obstructed room facing Epcot – call the morning of your arrival to request it, it is worth the long distance call to get the best room for your $.
Rent a car and experience other Non-Disney destinations.
If staying off property be sure to rent a car and experience Sea World which is totally worth the dolphin and killer whale shows. We have yet to travel to Universal with the kids as it is an older experience. At ages 4 and 7 Disney is still the request, my kids watch the live (free) show at the Castle which comes with princesses, Peter Pan and fireworks at least 2 times a day and my son comes home singing ‘Dreams come true’, now that is a memory worth every penny.
Look out for another whole blog on Orlando Disney holidays as there is so much to say about the parks and how to make the best of them avoiding lines, finding the princesses, the best times to go and where to eat. The next time I go I am thinking about checking out the new ‘Art of Animation’ Disney hotel – this is actually in the ‘value’ price range which is the lowest of the Disney scale and has a crazy cool Nemo pool and a Cars park!