Decent price and location
Submitted: September 25, 2012
Stayed: September 2012
Booking with Mark was convenient and pleasant. We were first time visitors to Orlando and stayed 1 week at Grand Villas. It was hard to get to using the address we were given because it took us to Cypress Pointe check-in instead of the Grand Villas check-in. Once we arrived, we got checked in and they urged us to receive our "welcome package." I let him know we were tired from our travels. A rep then called us when we were unpacking in our room and was quite persistent, though I kindly refused as I didn't want to be bothered by this on our vacation. WiFi was free (max 2 connections) but it was down for the first few days of our stay.
Location: It's close to the Vineland outlets and not too far from Universal and International Drive. Though it looks close to Disneyworld it's such a huge resort that you'll need to plan enough time to get to the actual attractions on opening. For example, we left at 8:15AM from our unit and arrived almost exactly at 9AM at Magic Kingdom after parking and taking the tram to the park. I would leave sometime between 8:15-8:20 if you want to get to any of the four parks by opening. Try to bring a newer GPS that gives you the option to avoid tolls. It's not like it's a big deal to hit tolls - it'll give you a faster trip home. But if you're like me and don't know the area, you won't actually realize the difference so you might as well think you're saving money and not having to keep change on you. We only hit one toll the whole trip ($1.50) because we didn't have a GPS.
What to do: We did a bit of research beforehand but couldn't find anything other than the major theme parks in Orlando so we stuck to those. We spent our first day in Universal's Islands of Adventure, second day shopping at the outlets, then the next four days at Disneyworld (one park a day). We didn't want to venture outside of Orlando.
Weather (September): Bring/buy a poncho! We got hit by thunderstorms almost every day and you'll need one if you're at a theme park. Most of them run $8-8.50 but you can pick one up at the outlets or Walmart for less. We started our day early so most of the time we hit everything we wanted to before the storm.
Tips: I'm not sure if we'd return as I think it might end up being cheaper to go with a Disney resort. We paid about $75/night but parking was $14x4 days at Disneyworld. There are a lot of perks staying at a Disney resort but then again, I probably won't be hitting Disneyworld for as many days the next time I'm in Orlando
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