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Florida Guide > Accommodation

Villas versus Hotels

As a family we love Florida with its relaxed atmosphere and fabulous climate. Over the past 12 years we have visited on numerous occasions during different seasons with our two children staying firstly on International Drive –The Ramada - and then many times on the Disney Complex at various hotels (Caribbean Beach, All Star Movies and All Star Music. My husband always wanted to hire a villa and stay there but I was adamant I would not like it! ! It seems so irrational now but when you watch so many American programmes portraying guns and robberies I was so worried I actually felt I was only safe staying on Disney itself. I loved staying at a Disney resort hotel, not having to worry about finding directions, but soon it became too enclosed – this became all too apparent when we arrived one holiday to find I had not packed any of my husband’s tee shirts and so we went off to buy some and could only find character ones! ! !

The following year I agreed to stay in a villa and chose one on West Stonebridge, Davenport as we were seriously contemplating buying one. My husband had wanted to look into doing this for some time and I always felt it would be too far from home to manage so showed little interest.

I have to say the journey from the airport to our villa was quite uptight as we had never really travelled around Orlando by ourselves and we were quite tired by now and it was dark and if anyone knows West Stonebridge they will know it is very easy to miss the entrance. The villa was superb and very welcoming however it did not have an alarm and I felt very worried on my first night trying to go to sleep.

The next morning I felt a lot better and found the villa had everything we could possibly need including the space we need having two teenagers. The Disney hotels were nice and large by European standards but no hotel holds a candle to the space and freedom we have with a villa.

Needless to say I was hooked – until you have tried a villa you cannot possibly imagine the freedom of choice and space you have during your holiday. The kids loved having their own rooms and private swimming pool. We still went to the parks but did not feel the need to go as much because it was so nice to just laze and enjoy the villa and pool. As a family we did more together because we could enjoy playing volleyball in the pool and board games on the lanai etc without jockeying for space at a shared pool. We are actually on a small development and find when we visit we normally meet up with other owners which is great – the forum is a fabulous place for information and to actually talk with fellow owners , some that are actually on our estate.

Having vacationed in a villa I was a complete convert and would never go back to the restrictions that hotels have however nice they are.

Needless to say we bought our own villa – on West Stonebridge as it happens – and now enjoy exploring and venturing outside of the Disney Complex. The one thing I did give in to however was an alarm system probably because we have one at home and it just feels right putting an alarm on and off.

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Page added on: 29 July 2007
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