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Yesterday I showed you pictures of the Global Resorts Orlando vacation home where we stayed while on vacation last month. I promised you that today I’d explain why staying in a vacation home played such a big part in one of the best vacations we’ve ever had.
First off I want to touch on the topics I promised I’d mention – the laundry room, the family room, the bathrooms, the bedrooms and the kitchen.
The laundry room.
The laundry room is a huge plus for several reasons. You can pack light and not have to pay for multiple bags or oversize bags. You can wash clothes that might have accidentally gotten soiled. After all, it’s hard not to drip something on your clothes when you’re on vacation, isn’t it? (For me it’s hard not to on any day. Just sayin.) You can’t do laundry in comfort if you’re staying at a hotel. You need to take money to the laundry room and wait there or make a few trips down. In the vacation home we did laundry when we needed to. And we went home with no dirty laundry, which was very cool.
The family room.
Have you ever been on vacation and had your day’s plans for a theme park rained out? It stinks when a group of people is stuck in a small hotel room, doesn’t it? We spent the bulk of our time in the house in the area between the family room and the kitchen. We had some hectic days and it was great to come home and unwind. We’ve stayed in hotel rooms previously and it’s hard for everyone to relax and unwind when they’re in one room. The kids loved the television, which even had a DVD player. We adults watched a little tv but for the most part spent our time in the house enjoying each other’s company. We played some games at the kitchen table, much as we’ve done many times at home. It was great to have enough floor space in this area that CJ could play with all of his cars on the floor, something that is also hard to do in a motel room. We didn’t have any days that were completely rained out but if we had we would have had no problem having a great day in the house.
Generally one hotel room has one bathroom. Four people (average number here) sharing one bathroom can be challenging. Four bathrooms on the other hand, was awesome. No Grandma holding it in. No CJ asking “potty”. No teenagers hogging the bathroom and making everyone else wait.
Anyone with a family knows it can be challenging to get a whole family to sleep in a hotel room. For some it means children go to sleep much earlier than adults and when the children go to sleep everyone else has to be quiet, because they’re all in the same room. For others it means squashing more people than is comfortable into one bed. For others still it means being relegated to sleeping on the floor. We had 6 bedrooms, a house that could sleep twelve. My youngest loves to snuggle and is very much a “love the one you’re with” type of child. He slept with just about everyone and there was no shortage of room. There were flat screen televisions in every bedroom, so bedrooms also became another alternative when it came time to relax. In a motel room you have one television, maybe two. If you’re anything like my family we all watch different things and people are always unhappy when sharing a television.
When you vacation and stay in a hotel you generally don’t have a kitchen. We’ve always had to request (or bring) a mini fridge to keep milk and meds in when we’ve traveled. So that means you’re eating out most of the time. That’s fine, if you can afford it. Eating all of your meals out can be an issue if you have someone who requires a special diet like my youngest son. Not all restaurants have gluten-free choices on their menu, after all. Leftovers? Don’t you hate having leftovers of something yummy and not being able to heat them? We had a microwave and heated leftovers all week long.
No kitchen also means limited snacking, challenge in our family. We loved having the kitchen. We stocked the cabinets with our favorite drinks and snacks, just like home. No trips to an ice maker to get ice cubes to put in our warm drinks – we had a full size fridge with ice maker. No trips to a store or drive thru for coffee, we had not one but two coffee makers. We were in the mood for sweets one day. I baked muffins.
Now for a few other things.
You park in the driveway, like you would at home. Not ten miles away in a parking lot. This is awesome when unloading (and loading) the car when arriving and leaving. It’s also awesome when you’ve had a long day at the park and you’re just tired and don’t want to walk a mile.
That sign there isn’t just for looks. Behind it is a guardhouse. The community is a gated community. To enter or exit you must go pass through a gate and have a guard let you in or out. Period. No exceptions. I lock my doors all the time at home so this made me feel safe. I liked knowing that the only people in the community actually belonged there.
Which brings me to trash and cleaning.
See that bench in the photo above? It’s a trash can. Well, not really a trash can, but a place to put the trash. Trash is picked up six days a week at the vacation home. You put your trash into the bench, shown above, and a pick up comes around every morning and takes it away. No, there is no housekeeping like you’d get in a hotel. That’s fine by me. I get a little weirded out by strangers coming into my room on a daily basis when I’m not there.
Aside from the television and game playing, there’s no shortage of activities at a Global Resorts vacation home. There’s not much to do in a hotel room in bad weather but communities such as Windsor Hills where we stayed offer tons of activities. There’s a large pool and spa. There are playgrounds for the children. They have a fitness center for those interested. They also have basketball courts, tennis courts and sand volleyball. Looking for something a little less physical? In that building behind the pool they have a video arcade, billiards and a movie theater. Some of the homes even have playstations, or billiard tables in the garage.
I wish a had a picture of the whole group of us. Sadly I don’t. The fuzzy picture above is of me, RB, CJ, my Mom, my Dad and my brother LB2. Out of all of our pictures each one is missing one person or another. Darn it. Anyway. One of my favorite vacations ever was one where all members of our family and extended family were able to spend a vacation together. This can be pretty hard to do in separate motel rooms, as I’m sure you’re aware. A vacation home makes it easier to be more organized and more special. It certainly allows for more time with the family. Being in multiple rooms increases cost and decreases the togetherness factor.
Which brings up to the topic you’ve probably been wondering about.
We all know that going on a family vacation costs money, no matter where you stay. That being said, I believe that a vacation home would come out more affordable in the end over staying at a park type resort. This way you still get to go to the resorts, you’re just spared the cost of staying there. Let me illustrate.
I’m using prices I got today, Sunday, for this.
A 6 bedroom home in Windsor Hills, the exact one we had on Archfeld Drive in fact, is $333 per night, for a reservation beginning tomorrow. I did not have to state how many people, adults or children, would be staying. It took under a minute to find the pricing on the Global Resorts page. You can get pricing by what type of place you want to stay at, or even get pricing on a specific house. That $333 is for the exact house i stayed in and blogged about, so everything I mentioned (and anything I missed) is included. Also, for internet addicted bloggers like me, their rates include high speed internet. Windsor Hills is located two miles from Disney.
Now for Disney. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Disney.
Searching value resorts, I got this message – “Your party size exceeds the maximum occupancy allowed for this Resort.” I tried searching moderate resorts – no luck. I keep trying and am getting the impression that there are no rooms available in Disney at all. Their search functions are just not as friendly as I would expect. I was finally able to find pricing by going into the individual resorts. Since I was pricing for six I went to the Coronado Springs page, since I know they can accommodate groups of that size. I clicked on room types and pricing. There I found a junior suite that sleeps six with a weekday value season rate of $355 per night. The short list of what that price gets you is 1 King-size bed or 2 queen-size beds, a queen-size pull-down bed, a table and chairs, 2 bathrooms, a mini fridge and a coffee maker. High speed internet is additional.
For me there is no contest at all. The price for the vacation home is a little lower than the theme park resort and you get a whole lot more for the money.
Thinking that a six bedroom house is more than you need? Global Resorts offers a wide range of vacation homes, from 2 bedroom condos to 7 bedroom homes. And for those of you wondering, the homes are vacation homes. That means they are there to book for vacations, just like a hotel. Their homes would be perfect for vacations, of course, as well as get togethers and family reunions.
I only found one thing about our vacation home that I didn’t like. No deadbolts or chain locks on the inside of the house. I realize they aren’t always pretty but we always have something to ensure that CJ stays in the house on the off chance he gets up. He has never wandered off but we don’t want to find out if he would, being as he isn’t very verbal.
Once again I need to give a huge thank you to Global Resort Homes, for helping us have one of the best family vacations we’ve ever had!
A week’s stay at the vacation home was provided free of cost to me for the sole purpose of product testing or review. This post has not been monetarily compensated and is based on the views and opinions of my family and/or self. Please note that the opinions reflected in this post have not been influenced by the sponsor in any way.