To resort or not to resort, that is always the question. I wrote a great blog about this that I'll eventually post (hopefully as a guest blog, hint hint!), but I'll do a small version while I'm thinking about it. There are almost too many options when it comes to vacationing in Orlando. Since Orlando has become a mecca for tourists, deciding where to stay really depends on vacation plans.
For example - our current trip planning is for the Disney Half Marathon in January 2011. Our plan is to fly directly into Orlando (a first for me - we always fly in to see family first) and relax and unwind a few days before the race. After the race, we plan to only do 1 or 2 days at WDW, but we might also check out Sea World or Universal - hey, I may be a Disneyaphile (as a coworker called me), but I also love Harry Potter and really want to visit the Wizarding World.
If you're not completely familiar with Orlando, WDW, Universal, and Sea World are all relatively close. In between , there are thousands of restaurants, shops, and other small attractions like mini golf courses galore and Medieval Times. Universal and Sea World are closer to each other, around 5 miles apart, but about 20 minutes to WDW. Add in rush hour, and it's probably best to stay closer to the parks you plan to spend the most time. For us, that will most likely always be WDW.
However, seeing that we might go visit the other parks, do we really need to take advantage of the pluses to staying on Disney's property? Extra Magic Hours and park transportation aren't useful across town. This is what I started researching in the past month. Where to stay off property. I'll discuss those bonuses in a later post, btw.
That's when I realized - for less then staying at a hotel near the parks, there are rental homes ALL OVER. And please learn from my mistake and don't send a request for information form. I received around 40 emails the first day and several more for the following week. But, I'm learning what to look for. Another plus - the villas I'm currently looking at are in a neighborhood about 2 miles from WDW, but close to neighborhood restaurants and few miles from Celebration, which I personally want to explore. PLUS- they have individual pools! They're barely bigger than a hot tub, but a POOL! Hooray for privacy. And I bet that will feel amazing after those 13.1 miles are complete.
So, if you're planning to see the whole area, not just one place, I'd check into Orlando vacation homes. There are fantastic reviews all over the DisBoards, so I'm confident we'll be in a nice area. Maybe our next trip (Food and Wine half marathon 2012?) we'll do more WDW oriented traveling and stay in a resort again, but for now, off property it is!
Anyone else have any recommendations? Ever rent someone elses vacation home?