Which community for villa in Orlando - so overwhelmed!!!

(23 Posts)
flatmum Tue 22-Oct-13 03:12:35

Just to say we are there now and are very pleased with West Haven. So far it has taken 15 mins to get to Magic Kingdom, 20 mins to Animal Kingdom and Blizzard Beach. Champions Gate is just up the road which has a nice, small complex with a publix, pharmacy and a chillis (best place we've eaten so far - food at Disney is awful). We have also been to Downtown Disney which was 20 mins or so. Today was the first non-weekend day (Monday) and still 15/20 mins to and from Blizzard Beach. Tomorrow we're going to Seaworld so will report back on going to the other parks which are slightly further away. We are just zipping up and down I4 though so it is only another couple of junctions. No traffic so far to speak of (maybe longer in peak times if traffic on the I4?)

The development is very nice, lovely large villas, modern, spacious and clean. Very quiet (a little deserted but I guess this is the same in all villa complexes as everyone is at the parks?). Looks a bit Desperate Housewives. We have nothing to compare it to as first visit but have no complaints on location and villa so far for anyone considering West Haven (I wouldn't worry about which individual "gated cul de sac" within West Haven eg The Sanctuary, The Abbey, The Haven etc as they are all very close to each other and seem very similar)

Glittertwins Tue 24-Sep-13 07:54:44

We booked for August next year in Feb this year after clearing with our managers. The price was a lot less booking so far in advance compared to booking the same time this year ie 6 months ahead not 18. We wanted a villa for the space. Hotels in Kissimmee were fine for just us back in 2002.
We aren't telling them until as late as possible though.

flatmum Mon 23-Sep-13 23:03:56

Impressed at you all being so organised and booking so far ahead - what I should have done! I booked the tickets on a bit of a whim in the sale in July and then did nothing until about 2 weeks ago - last minute panic! Think I have hopefully pulled it off as have booked villa, tickets and car hire today. Would have had some really lovely places to choose from if was booking for next year like you all. Mind you the one we've booked looks nice and I agree, if you look on google earth you can see how much more spacious it is than some of the estates really near Disney. I am quite claustophobic and think I'd prefer a slightly longer drive and bit more space. Hopefully we are making a good choice.

Will update on the villa area and drives when back.

Hanginggardenofboobylon Mon 23-Sep-13 22:28:14

I think the earlier poster may have been thinking of the time it would take to go via the 'top way' to Disney IYSWIM when you look at google maps. We may be proven wrong but I love the look of the villas in west haven, much more modern and spacious than a lot of others.
Let the count down begin!

Glittertwins Mon 23-Sep-13 22:14:01

Watching with interest as we have The Shire booked for next year. We did this one as it was quite new and 20 mins drive from Disney.

flatmum Mon 23-Sep-13 22:06:47

ha ha great minds! Once we booked it I looked at it on google earth and it looks about the same distance as from where we live to Chessington and that takes about 15-20 mins if traffic ok so I reckon it will be fine! I live near the M25 anyway so I am hardened to it! smile

Will let you know how we get on - any tips welcome!

Hanginggardenofboobylon Mon 23-Sep-13 21:13:03

flatmum we have also decided on west haven! We are staying at the Manor.
I looked extensively at reviews of the area and most reviews suggest it's not too far out. It's so close to the I4 so I think at quieter times of year we will be ok. There is a website that gives the crowd levels for each week of the year, can't recall the name but worth a look.
Have a fab time. Please come back after your trip with any tips smile

mummytime Mon 23-Sep-13 15:47:05

We stayed in Rolling Hills, and our Villa wasn't really overlooked. You do have to look at the pictures carefully. I didn't mind so much our neighbours might be able to see the pool area, but certainly didn't want it visible from the road.

I would definitely recommend staying pretty close, as you don't want to spend more time than you have to in the car, and it is so good to get back at lunch time for a nap and a swim.

flatmum Mon 23-Sep-13 15:27:28

Hi booby have you booked anywhere yet? we have booked in the Shire at Westhaven now in the end for this half term so can let you know how it is when we get back. We decided to go for this, even though it is a bit further than recommended as we don't really anticipate coming back in the day, once we're out, we're out til the bitter end normally ( youngest happy to sleep in buggy) and, I am hoping, that the drive to the parks won't be too bad since we re going in October when it will be less busy (I hope) and cooler.

I have also picked up the impression from the hours spent on the web looking for a villa that some of the resorts really closer to disney are looking a little tired now? could be wrong but I guess they have been there longer? Westhaven for example seems a little more modern and spacious (from the photos only of course) which suits us more.

anyway, we are going in less that 4 weeks so were at the beggars can't be chooser stage anyway as this was all a bit last minute so, we will see, fingers crossed!

MadeOfStarDust Sun 22-Sep-13 10:19:45

We stayed in Emerald Island - close to Disney (close as in we timed it as a 9 min drive in the morning), close to supermarket and restaurants, and pharmacy. Loads of bigger and smaller villas.... all had pools except the "town-houses". Many are for rent all year round being so close to the parks.

Also had a communal clubhouse with pool where the kids could hang out with others whilst we had a drink, a play-area with slides/climbing frame, as well as loads of wildlife - cranes (4 feet tall) pecking for lizards on the front grass!! stick insects/lizards on the garage door in the sunshine - and we saw an actual armadillo scurrying round the outside of the pool netting... The gate was manned 24 hours too, felt lovely and secure and secluded.

jimijack Sun 22-Sep-13 10:10:45

I would suggest that distance is very important because we were there in July and were over an hour away from the parks.
This was not so good after spending all day walking round the parks, tired & hungry having a track back to the villa for showers, change of clothes and out to eat. It was 8,9pm before we were eating.
Plus the traffic becomes very heavy at the usual rush hour times.

Stay closer to the parks if possible and go farther for restaurants to eat.

Villas with games rooms are fab too. While you get organised your little one can play.

Hanginggardenofboobylon Sun 22-Sep-13 10:02:39

Thanks for your input. Tobago that looks lovely

stantonherzlinger Sun 22-Sep-13 09:03:52

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Tobagostreet Sun 22-Sep-13 09:00:01

Well done on saving enough air miles for the flights!!! Very envy.

You'll find that most of the villa communities pretty much meet your specification.

All will say they are 15-20 mins from Disney (because Disney is massive). Most have a kids play park somewhere on the estate. Most will have some villas around the edges which are not overlooked.

Do a villa search on the Dibb (linked in a previous post) on your own requirements, and short list them based on facilities you like/need.

Have a look on google earth at the surrounding area to give you an idea of how the community is laid out.

I'm going to this villa in 6 days time grin: (on iPad app - doesn't do linksangry) http://www.holidaylettings.co.uk/rentals/orlando/13180.

I've been before and previously worried that 2 adults and 2 kids might be rattling around in a 4 bed villa - but it was brill having all the extra room (one for clothes/ironing board always set up, and one to store all the shopping you'll doshock). So don't discount a good fit based on size!

mummymeister Sun 22-Sep-13 08:46:25

hanginggarden - west haven is even further out than solano so no wouldn't go there myself as it will be over an hours drive. thats why the villas there are cheaper. go onto the dibb forum villas map flatmum has set up and look at areas around emerald islands, rolling hills and Formosa gardens and bear in mind these are 10 - 15 minutes drive. the maps give no real good idea of scale - the area is vast so pick something smaller but nearer would always be my advice.

Hanginggardenofboobylon Fri 20-Sep-13 20:14:24

Thanks mummymeister I am looking at West Haven at the moment. As this seems reasonably located?!

mummymeister Fri 20-Sep-13 20:03:37

beware the large ones sleeping 10. they often include sofa beds and put you ups with a lot less living space in them or they aren't in the best position. Solana is quite a long way out actually. we stayed at Hampton Lakes too and it was about 35 - 40 minutes so Solana will be getting on for an hour which is just way to far with little ones tbh. Windsor gardens and hills, indian creek davenport lakes are all good but just don't go too far away as you really wont get as much out of it as you could.

Hanginggardenofboobylon Fri 20-Sep-13 12:32:52

Thank you couch and Flatmum the Dibb is great I agree, It's just narrowing it down. I thought I would be limited as I have fixed dates less than 9 months away but there is still so much choice.

I liked the look of lindfields so thanks for the recommendation.

The ridiculous thing is the price of the villas seems to bear little resemblance to its size. I have been looking at ones sleeping 10 when there are only 3 of us, because they are the same price as a 3 bed.

couch25cakes Fri 20-Sep-13 11:31:55

We've stayed a few times in the Lindfields community and close by. Lindfields/Formosa Gardens area is very close to the parks and lots of restaurants etc are close by. I dont know if there's a playground though but there are lots of communities close by there so some of them may have one. Sunset Lakes is ,ovely but the villas are too big for us.

I'd echo The Dibb, we always get our villas from there.

flatmum Thu 19-Sep-13 22:23:55

just marking place as currently making same decision (for half term - eek!) - currently looking at a villa in Solana. Interested to hear opinions. I found this map really useful if you havent seen it:

www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/villa-map.php
www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/Villa-Communities-c-21.html

Hanginggardenofboobylon Thu 19-Sep-13 21:01:52

Thank you, have ordered the book.

mummymeister Thu 19-Sep-13 19:39:25

buy the books the unofficial guide to WDW with kids. its really useful and has a good map showing all the communities. we have stayed at sunset lakes which is 10 - 15 mins max drive or a bit further out. with a 4 yr old be as close as you can so you can split the day up other wise it is just so full on and tiring. be aware that there may be lots of rides that your DS cant go on because of height restrictions. again the book is really good for this so that you know what to expect. have a fab time.

Hanginggardenofboobylon Thu 19-Sep-13 19:28:28

So we are really lucky to have enough air miles to get us (me DH and DS) to Florida next May. DS is 4 so getting this trip in before he starts school.

I am completely overwhelmed by the sheer number of villas and locations. I have had a look at the couple of villas owned by mumsnetters after doing a search on here, but really struggling to decide which community?

Proximity to Disney not too much of an issue, we just want a non-overlooked private pool and perhaps a kiddies playground.

Where have you stayed and why would you recommend it?

TIA

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