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Old Nov 10, 11, 11:53 am   #1
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Where to stay (not Disney)

Off to Florida with the family next year, so grandparents, parents and kids aged between 6 and 2.

We need somewhere for a few nights in the Orlando area before moving to the Disney Vacation Club apartment that we own a microscopic sliver of.

Any thought? Would be for three nights and we'd probably spend 1 day at Kennedy Space Centre, plus one day just around the pool.

Because of the kids ages we need a suite or interconnecting rooms (or an apartment).

Had seen the Nickelodeon hotel, but have visions of thousands of hyped-up kids charging around the place 24x7!

Any tips welcome.
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Old Nov 10, 11, 12:02 pm   #2
 
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Cool

On my several trips out to finally see a shuttle launch, I stayed at the La Quinta Inn Orlando Airport West. Very nice, comfortable rooms with great beds. They likely have some adjoining rooms, and are very near the Beeline Expressway with easy access to Cocoa Beach and the Space Center. Nice prices, use the promo code homedl You can enter that in at the lq.com site.

There is another La Quinta with even better rates - La Quinta Inn & Suites Orlando South - but I haven't stayed at that one.
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Old Nov 10, 11, 12:10 pm   #3
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There's a renovated Sheraton (Safari?) in Orlando that has one building with suites, sort of Embassy Suite style where you enter into a living room with a sofabed and then there's a little hallway with the bathroom on one side and a wet bar with microwave and minifridge on the other side, leading into the real bedroom. This is a full service property. The garden has a large pool with a big slide; it's very kid friendly. When I stayed here, before the major renovation, the hotel had a resident parrot and a small gator behind glass in the lobby. It was fun.

Obvious other choices are extended stay properties, but they usually offer only limited services.
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Old Nov 10, 11, 2:21 pm   #4
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How about staying at Universal for those few nights? You can get connecting rooms, and probably the best benefit, is the front of the line pass that comes with it. In many cases, you will be almost to almost walk on every ride (excluding Harry Potter). If I wanted to go to Universal, I would consider the cost of the room a small price to pay for not standing in line.

I know that doesn't help with going to the Kennedy Space Center, but you might want to also consider it for 2 of the 3 nights, since that front of the line access lasts until midnight of the day you check out.
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Old Nov 10, 11, 3:07 pm   #5
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Thanks for the input so far.

Sheraton Safari looks good, but reviews badly on Tripadvisor. Is that likely to improve once the refurb finishes?

Universal - I know I said three nights but it'll only be two days as we expect to be at Legoland on the way over from the Gulf Coast (Day 1) then heading to Disney early on Day 4. We also reckon the kids are a bit young for Universal, so all told I'm thinking it would work out as a very expensive option, especially when on the 1 down day we have, I'd favour NOT going to a theme park!

Any more ideas most welcome - always nice to hear others thoughts. I'd also considered the Doubletree in Downtown Disney as they're running at $200/nt for a 1br suite, so similar price to the Safari but waaaaay better ranking on Tripadvisor (although no slide into the pool )
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Old Nov 10, 11, 3:20 pm   #6
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Well, as much as I"m not thrilled with the Hyatt Grand Cypress these days (some people will disagree) it is probably a good option for your family. The pool is great - the kids will love it, and there's a lake that you can take out paddle boats. They have a resort fee and have just started charging for self-parking.

But the hotel is good and in a very good location. It's right at the edge of Disney property and the Sheraton Safari is nearby. I haven't heard very many good things about it either

Just disregard the front desk staff at the Hyatt
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Old Nov 10, 11, 3:33 pm   #7
 
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Priority Club options based on your wants/needs:

Have you had a look at the Holiday Inn Orange Lake Resort property?

Second choice would probably be Crown Plaza Universal....
Third choice Staybridge Suites Lake Buena Vista....
Fourth choice Holiday Inn Lake Buena Vista Downtown (near Downtown Disney)
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Old Nov 10, 11, 6:24 pm   #8
 
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http://www.gaylordhotels.com/gaylord-palms/index.html

I've never stayed here but it looks pretty awsome. Especially if you are looking for a destination in itself for a couple of days.
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Old Nov 10, 11, 6:26 pm   #9
 
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Are you doing Busch Gardens at all? It is a good alternative to Universal since it is one park and has lots for kids to see and do.
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Old Nov 11, 11, 2:30 pm   #10
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Probably won't do Busch Gardens - a few days on the beach and by the pool, we like the aquarium in Clearwater and we'll maybe go to Lowry Park Zoo.

Thanks for all the hotel suggestions. Was really liking the Holiday Inn Orange Lake (my eldest would love the minigolf and lazy river) but the Tripadvisor comments about hard sell for the time share really put me off and left me wondering if that's why the price is so low.

Hyatt looks reasonable and given we're at the Hyatt at Clearwater too, would make for a healthy haul of points with one chain over 8 nights or so.

Pls keep the ideas coming!

Oh, did the Safari used to be a Hyatt years back (like 30 years back???)
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Old Nov 11, 11, 3:52 pm   #11
 
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We just had a very nice 3-week stay at Polynesian Isles Resort, Polynesian Isle Blvd (betw. 192 & 535). We had a two-bedroom, 2-bathroom apt, (very spacious for just the 2 of us) and there would have been the possibility of having another adjoining apartment (if needed). I always buy time-share certificates at skyauction.com (costs us about $250 per week when buying the "home & away" or blow-out sale certs. etc.) for our week stays in Orlando. Polynesian Isles also show availability on their regular daily rate schedule online.

The apt. was beautifully furnished, very complete and very clean. The grounds & pools are very well maintained, and the personnel excellent and very friendly. The only negatives were relatively minor -- audible noise from other guests walking in the apt. above us (not heard from the apt next to us) and veeery slow internet connection. Otherwise, definitely recommendable.
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Old Nov 14, 11, 10:03 am   #12
 
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In most cases you do not have to do the timeshare tour. This usually just gives you discount tickets to Disney.

There are several timeshare locations on I Drive between 528 and World Center Drive. These give you the condo-like rooms at some pretty decent rates. That may be your best bet if you need more room. Another option with so many people is to look for a rental home. Most are west of I-4, but there are some located just north of 192 and east of I-4. I havnt stayed there, but look for the Mike Ditka resort.

If you look on Hotels.com, try looking for locations close to Sea World.
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Old Dec 8, 11, 10:57 am   #13
 
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We stay at the Lake Buena Vista resort and spa and love it with the outlet mall next door.
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Old Jan 19, 12, 9:28 am   #14
 
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Marriott Vacation Clubs

Depending on when you go, there can be very good package deals for 2-3 bedroom timeshares available to all, have used Marriott points 3 times in the last 5 years and found it to be very comfortable for 5 days or so... I found Marriott Grand Vista to be one of the nicer properties, great location oaway from the fray, so to speak... look for package rates when searching...

cheers,
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Old Jan 19, 12, 9:42 am   #15
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dittymau View Post
Depending on when you go, there can be very good package deals for 2-3 bedroom timeshares available to all...
Agree with your suggestion. I've used points to stay at a number of MVCI Orlando properties in the past. They can be a very good use of points.

My personal preference, for a 3 bedroom unit, is the Imperial Palms on the Marriott Worldcenter property. While it is an older property, I like the unit layouts better, it seems to be a bit "larger" than the Grand Vista 3 bedrooms, and its almost on the Disney property. (But you can't go wrong, really, with either.)
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