Orlando Vacation Homes – Comparing Homes to Hotels

When staying in Orlando, you really do have a lot of choices … sort of. One of the big decisions that the travel sites and the travel books will alert you to is whether to stay on property or off.

And to be perfectly honest, Disney hospitality can be very nice. We like the hidden Mickeys and the themed swimming pools, but on our last trip to Disney World, my wife and I looked at each other and asked, “We paid $250 a night for that?”

A Little Perspective

Did you know that you can get a room at the The Waldorf-Astoria® for less than $250 a night? It comes with neato robes, too!

Florida Lemons

The fact of the matter is, you have many choices, and not all of them put you into 250 sq feet or so of living space.

I compiled this chart for a 1st week in March stay for a family of six …

                 Price/night      Sq. feet       Sleeps 

Doubletree          $ 168             608         4-6  

Holiday Inn         $ 190             485          6 

Caribe Royale       $ 166             500         4-6 

Caribe Royale 

(big suite)         $ 316           1,260          8 

Sheraton Vistana    $ 218         497-910          8 

Disney Value Resort $ 218 (2 rooms)   260          8 

Disney Moderate     $ 338 (2 rooms)   314          8 

Disney Deluxe       $ 578 (2 rooms)   400          8 

Beach Club Villas   $ 350           1,080          8 

3 BD/2 BA 

Vacation Home       $ 150           1,600          8

When you look at how much you pay, the hotel option leaves you wondering what the differences are.

Hotels – Tried and True

Hotels offer a standard quality of accommodation. They’re centrally located – and this is especially true in Orlando. Disney’s hotels are right on their property, and therefore the closest you can get to the “Magic.” However, they’re small, don’t offer cooking facilities, and it can be difficult to get off of Disney property easily (say, to visit another park).

The Vacation Home Alternative

Orlando boasts an amazing number of vacation homes. These are detached homes that are individually owned. They have full size kitchens, several bedrooms and bathrooms, and many have private pools and/or hot tubs.

You do need to have a rental car. The homes in Orlando are between 10 to 15 minutes away from the parks at Disney World. My vote is that it’s nice to get away in the evening to your own private home and pool, but some people prefer to be surrounded by the theme parks 24/7.

In addition, there is no room service at a vacation home. However, most homes are within several blocks of a grocery store, so stocking up on your favorite foods (both fast and not-so-fast) is easy.

For a family of six, these two differences add up to serious savings, both in terms of time and money. Having a car means we have choices in terms of getting to and leaving the parks. On a busy evening, we may choose to have dinner at one of the resort restaurants and pay for valet parking (or skip dinner and just pay for parking anyway). At the close of day, we can then skip the long monorail/bus/boat lines, and take the much shorter resort monorail.

In the morning, having a ready supply of breakfast foods means the younger members of our family don’t have to wait until everyone is showered and ready to go before being able to eat breakfast.

Conclusion

If you’re looking to take a group or a family larger than five people on a Disney vacation, and if having a rental car and a full size kitchen appeals to you, then you owe it to yourself to try a vacation home.

Thinking of Cruising Go Carnival!

Stepping out of your car at the departure port is only the beginning. If you’ve never cruised before, get ready for a vacation of a lifetime. The excitement that builds up before you step onto the cruise ship is not as big as the excitement you get once you actually start your adventure at sea.

Carnival Cruise Line definitely does a good job with keeping their guests happy and satisfied throughout the trip. The second you board the ship and place your belongings into your cabins, you’re constantly greeted with warm and friendly smiles from every employee on board. If you’re in need of something at any point in time, whether day or night, an employee will always be there to help you. Before the ship departs, everyone on board meets up in the theatre and goes over a safety briefing. This lets everyone know that they will not have to worry about their safety or anyone else’s safety while embarking on the journey at sea.

One of the best things about cruising with Carnival Cruise Line is there is always something to do. Whether it be early in the morning, middle of the day, or late at night. You may just be looking forward to getting to the ports of call, but its not just the destinations you’re traveling to that are worth getting excited for, the days at sea are spectacular also. There are activities for all ages day and night, and tons of entertainment which you really get to experience during those days at sea. I mean, some crazy hilarious entertainment such as dance offs and harry chest competitions. The activities that happen on board bring families and friends together and even help you make friends as well, that you could potentially keep in touch with for a lifetime. When your stuck on a boat for a few days with people, it’s nice to make new friends that you can hang around the casino with, maybe take dance lessons with and more. And Carnival definitely makes it easy to do so.

While on board, the employees try and bring people together with all of their shows, entertainment on the deck throughout the day, and so on. It’s nice seeing everyone gathered around in one big area laughing and dancing together. It makes the trip that much more exciting and fun.

Aside from all of the entertainment, the food on the ships are out of this world also! You are guaranteed to never be hungry during your vacation, with the pizza bar, ice cream stand, and food buffet they constantly have on the deck. It’s extremely tasty food too! Also, every night there Is a timed dinner for your family and friends to enjoy and most of the time, you get your own table, depending on how many people you have and all. But the food there is amazing also. It’s a three course meal that will be hard to forget! And trust me, you’ll definitely leave full. Aside from the food, these dinners are a great time to share exciting events that occurred throughout your day on board, or to talk about the excursions your family and friends took part in that day. During this time once again, the employees will always make sure you’re having a good time! Some nights they dance, sing, and get you’re friends and family involved too. Every second is full of fun and laughter.

When it comes to ports of call, the employees on board are there to make sure you have a great time their as well.

Carnival Cruise Line has left me and many others happy with full of unforgettable memories, and has had me wanting to go back on another cruise since the day I stepped off of the ship, it also has me now wanting to work for the Cruise Line Industry at some point in the future.

If you’re thinking about booking a cruise at some point in the future, try out Carnival Cruise Line, so that you can leave your vacation happy and full of unforgettable memories also.

Camping in Europe is a Matter of Style

In Europe, hotel charges bite far deeper into budgets than you would sometimes expect. In Britain there is the inexpensive alternative of bed and breakfast. This does not exist to such an extent in the rest of Europe.

One way of getting around this, particularly for friends planning to travel together around the Continent, is hiring a car and, in summer, staying at camp sites.

Europeans are fond of the outdoors and there are camp sites wherever people holiday. There are, perhaps, three types of camping: luxury, pretty snazzy and bring your own tent. Which you select is up to your budget and style. But note most carefully that if you are taking your own tent you MUST camp in a proper listed camp site. You cannot pull into a field and hope for the best. It is illegal and strongly discouraged.

The three classes

Eurocamp is primarily intended for motoring holidays and is particularly suited to a group travelling around Europe by car. Eurocamp provides a choice of six-berth tents or six-berth caravillas, which appear to be of a very high standard.

Luxury first: Eurocamp,  a subsidiary of the Next group of clothing stores, has well over 100 sites in France, West Germany, Spain, Yugoslavia, Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy and Austria. Many are away from the population centres in the Swiss Alps, the French Riviera, Tuscany, Innsbruck and the German Black Forest, but Eurocamp also has sites in Florence, Paris and Munich.

The caravillas – 9.5 m long by 2.5 m wide — and tents — 5.2 m by 4.9 m – come with cooking facilities, pots, pans, crockery and cutlery. The caravillas have showers and toilets. Both forms of accommodation include a double bed and four single beds.

The campsites come with a variety of amenities — most have restaurants, bars and either a swimming pool, lake or beach. All campsites have running hot and cold water, modern washing facilities and fresh water taps close to the tents. For some this will be paradise. For others, perhaps, a form of hell.

Many of the sites are in France, in the Loire Valley, Dordogne, Riviera, Provence, Pyrenees, Brittany, Normandy and Picardy. Free child care is provided at about half the camp sites.

Mid-level comfort

Self-Drive motoring holidays in Europe for the independent motorist. These are camping and mobile homes in France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. The minimum stay is three nights. The cost of your camping is included in the package price.

To check out prices I invented a family, parents and two kids, with a saloon car coming from Britain in May and spending five nights camping. The answer came back: The price of your holiday is EUR404 ($US508) including accommodation and crossing, but excluding insurance and maps.

Bring your own tent in true camping style

covers UK, Ireland, Spain including the Canary Islands, Germany, France, Portugal, Czech Republic, Denmark, Poland, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg which is pretty well most of Europe.

Note that this is both a listing of camping sites and a booking centre. It does not guarantee the quality of the sites although, from experience, outside of the annual European holiday in August they are generally quite splendid and civilised. In almost every case you have to take your own tent and gear.

This is just a brief sampling. You can explore the Internet until your eyes grow dim. Use a Google search and just type in camping Europe. Then pick and chose.