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Florida Villas - Help needed please!

(23 Posts)
RockinSockBunnies Mon 09-Mar-09 15:07:15

I've been to Orlando in the past, but always stayed in hotels. Next year however (March 2010) I'm planning on going to Orlando with DD and some family friends. We're looking for a 3 or 4 bedroomed villa, near all the parks, with the usual perks (private pool, games room etc).

I know that the big tour operators offer villas (Virgin etc) but they seem fairly expensive compared to some sites where the owners advertise their properties directly. The thing is, how do I know it's safe to book directly with an owner? Such sites aren't ABTA or ATOL protected. What if someone advertises a property on the site that they claim to own, pocket the money, then it transpires that they don't own the villa at all sad.

I know I'm thinking worst-case scenario, but I wondered if anyone had any recommendations of good websites with nice villas on there, or any personal recommendations of villas you've stayed in before by booking direct with the owners.

Thank you grin

bellavita Mon 09-Mar-09 15:10:05

Hi there,

Can't offer you any info on villas as such, but I am sure Mumoverseas knows someone who has a villa in Florida that they rent out.

It might be worth putting a call out for her smile

bellavita Mon 09-Mar-09 15:28:45

It is Mumoveseas that has the villa


if you scroll down the page, she gives details of the management company and you should be able to view the villa online.

RockinSockBunnies Mon 09-Mar-09 16:30:06

Thank you for that!

Sycamoretree Mon 09-Mar-09 16:35:55

You should go to the website VRBO.Com (vacation rental by owners).

You can't go wrong. We've rented in Florida twice through them and had a great time. They are privately owned villas, rented via local estate agents.

mumoverseas Tue 10-Mar-09 14:39:14

Hi RockinsockBunnies, my ears were burning!
I can confirm I do own a private villa in Orlando <waves at bellavita and considers offering her a job in advertising!>

It has 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a private pool and games room and all the usual mod cons plus tv's in all bedrooms.
It is 4 miles from Disney and around 20 mins drive to Seaworld, Universal etc.

If you are interested you can either book direct through me (I do own it, honestly) or if you would feel happier/more secure, you can book through the management company who are managed/owned by an english lady called Yvonne.
Her website is She manages around 40 homes and mine is minnies mansion
If you are interested and want more info you can email me at

bellavita Tue 10-Mar-09 14:42:42

<<waves back, glad to be of assistance>>

RockinSockBunnies Tue 10-Mar-09 18:24:09

Hi mumoverseas!

Thanks for the info. I've been looking on the website. I'm being an idiot, but I can't see currency that the prices are in - I'm assuming they're in dollars?


mumoverseas Wed 11-Mar-09 05:14:25

Hi Rockin, yes, the prices are in dollars on the website as its a US based company and they have to price in dollars.
If you are interested in my villa and would like to book direct I can probably offer you a lower rate than via the website.

jellyshoeswithdiamonds Wed 11-Mar-09 09:57:57

We stayed here in 2007 and it is a fabulous house. I looked at loads of houses before I found this one. My extremely fussy checklist was: conservation views, south facing pool, great location, quiet residential area, no Florida floral decoration (I'm serious). This house ticked all the boxes for us.

The couple who own it (British couple) also have a 4 bed house which is on their website. I originally booked that house and 4 weeks before we were due to go, groundwork for a new street started around the corner from the house, the owner phoned me to let me know this and offered me the 5 bedroom. Wonderful.

When we went again in 2008, she was the first owner we contacted, unfortuantely it was booked out and we couldn't be flexible with the dates. I had to settle for another house (slightly better area) but nowhere near as good a house.

We've used several times.

RockinSockBunnies Wed 11-Mar-09 10:47:52

Jellyshoeswithdiamonds - thank you! Those villas look lovely!

Out of interest, has anyone here been to Florida at the end of February, beginning of March? Will there be enough sunshine?

mumoverseas Wed 11-Mar-09 11:44:32

that house is lovely jellyshoes but quite expensive. You can get 4 bed villas for around $100 pn at the moment.

I've not been in Feb Rocking but used to go quite regularly in March although the last few years have been July (very foolish as too damm hot)
A friend of ours is coming back from the villa tomorrow so I will ask him what the weather was like and let you know although I would imagine it would be nice and warm and sunny

jellyshoeswithdiamonds Wed 11-Mar-09 16:58:59

I'll admit, I'm very fussy. I've realised through experience that I want a view from our pool area, some villas don't show the full pool area which means that you will end up looking at a fence for a fortnight which also means that you'll be within earshot of other families and their kids enjoying their pool IYKWIM.

I realise that the house isn't the be all and end all of the holiday but it's a big chunk of money to waste if it's not a nice place to come back to after a long day in the parks. TBH, we pace ourselves and spend mornings in the house/pool and afternoons/evening in the parks but then my kiddies are older now so can cope with that.

It all depends what you want out of the house experience.

We try to go in May, 1st June is official start of hurricane season, been in June and the weather was dreadful, friends went in Sept and it was dreadful. Last year we went for three weeks at Easter and it fab. Check that there are no US holidays when you want to go and if there are book up your restaurants in advance to save on waiting an hour for your evening meal.

Flier Thu 12-Mar-09 14:39:06

I am going for the first time in May and booked via There is also loads of useful info there, as well as a forum.

RockinSockBunnies Thu 12-Mar-09 17:10:35

Thank you everyone! Keep the suggestions coming!

biscuitsmustbedunkedintea Thu 12-Mar-09 22:51:02

Alexander Florida Homes is who my in-laws have used for many many years and never had any problem with, although they don't seem to be as nice as the ones jellyshoes books with.

abbey1136 Wed 20-Jan-10 09:34:52

Hi - I am new on this site so please bear with me! I am looking to rent a villa for 2 weeks next march/april 2011
interested in one ive seen recommended on here 'floridavillas' it has been reviewed by craggy & I would have loved to have contacted them to ask a few questions but there is no link? If anyone has stayed here could you please let me know as I have loads of questions that I have been unable to find out off the site.. many thanks

Badpups Wed 20-Jan-10 21:28:26

We've also got a villa in Florida that we rent out through various sites. However, it's a 6 bed villa so probably too big for you.

I advertise on The Dibb and, if it gives you any reassurance, they wanted to see our purchase contract before allowing us to sign up with them to prove that we are the legal owners of the villa.

Villas vary tremendously in price depending on location, facilities and furnishings etc. A lot of the cheaper villas are on non secure developments quite a distance from Disney. The first time we went we were assured that the villa we were renting was 15 minutes from WDW - in fact it was more like 45 minutes with the normal traffic conditions. The Dibb have a map showing the location of all popular sub-divisions so you can check for yourself how far away villas are.

You also need to bear in mind that, in Florida, owners have to pay a 13% tax on all bookings to the state so this is usually added on to the rental price. Pool heating is also usually extra and is very expensive.

Hope you have a great holiday. There are some fantastic villas available.

abbey1136 Thu 21-Jan-10 15:49:28

Thank you - 6 beds would be too big we only need 3 or 4 think we have decided to book the one I saw reviewed on here
many thanks

poppyjc Thu 30-Sep-10 21:44:26

Hi I am new to this site but just saw your post and wondered if I could help. We have been to Florida a few times usually October or November but in 2008 we went last week in February first week in March. We have stayed in Hotels but the last few times we have been in private Villas. We always stay on a gated community called Emerald Isles which is only 3 miles from Disney and you could literally drive there in 5 minutes. We go again in 36 days (not that I am counting or anything) so if I can be of any help just ask.

mumoverseas Sun 03-Oct-10 10:13:09

Not that I'm counting but I'm going in 21 days grin
Can't wait, not been there for over 2 years and can't wait to see DD2's face when she sees the Minnie Mouse bedroom

MABS Sun 03-Oct-10 10:59:21

soo jealous mos

cjlb Wed 06-Oct-10 19:39:12

<<You should go to the website VRBO.Com (vacation rental by owners). You can't go wrong.>>

Sycamoretree, I am sure you are right about Florida, however, the same wouldn't apply in New York City where most VRBO ads are either scams or for appartments where holiday lets are illegal.

Make sure you do your research before handing over £1000+ to an individual you have only ever communicated with online.

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