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How to choose a villa in Orlando & rental car query???

(21 Posts)
AuntyJantyMinikyMoniky Fri 26-Jun-09 14:15:36

We're looking to book a family holiday for next year to Orlando, Florida. We want to do all the usual Florida attractions, not just Disney.

Looking on the website that I have rented villas from before the main districts around Orlando that have holiday villas are:


Are there any advantages that one area has over another or are they pretty much of a muchness?? I tempted to stay away from Kissimmee just because it is SO well known that I think it might be a bit OTT??

I've been to Florida before but never in a Villa so haven't seen any of these areas.

Also, if we book with Virgin we get a 'free' hire car. When I read the details its far from free because there is the insurance and various fees and taxes to be paid. Does anyone have any experience of renting a car in Florida, are there any cheap ways to do it??

countesscaloriecounter Fri 26-Jun-09 14:26:10

We tend to book our flights and car hire through dial a flight. We still fly with Virgin, just through dial a flight. They can usually offer flight and all inclusive car hire a bit cheaper. There isn't really a cheap way to do it to be honest.

With regard to the villa it just depends what you're looking for. Are you doing Disney Parks? And if so you will want a villa near there. Be aware though that a lot of villa owners will say they are 'near' to Disney, but can often be half a hour or more away from them.

I've found this site really useful.
They give detailed descriptions on what each villa has in the way of facilities and decent maps of where they are. To be honest, if you don't mind being a bit away from the parks, homes on Highway 27 are usually pretty top notch, but you've then got a bit of a trek if you want to go down into Kissimmee.

AuntyJantyMinikyMoniky Fri 26-Jun-09 14:39:30

Thanks, we want to be able to get to Disney but won't be going everyday. We'd like to get to Tampa and Cape Canaveral, Disney, Busch Gardens.
Will have a look at Dial a Flight, never really heard of them.
Off to look at Florida tourist information <so excited emoticon>

countesscaloriecounter Fri 26-Jun-09 14:43:46

Highway 27 sounds like the place to stay then. Its got easy access to the I4 for going to both sides of the coast.
I'm off there in 2 weeks and can't wait. grin

countesscaloriecounter Fri 26-Jun-09 14:46:54

Here's a link to homes on the 27

mumoverseas Fri 26-Jun-09 15:52:54

I would recommend you look at a company called Loyalty Homes which is owned and managed by an english lady called Yvonne. She only manages homes which are within 4 miles of Disney and all have private pools and quite a few have games rooms. They are on a lovely residential area which is close to shops, restaurants etc (off the 192 which is much closer to Disney/seaworld etc than the Hway 27 homes)
If you want to be nosy, my house is Minnies Mansion wink which she has managed for around 10 years

she can also help out with car hire, tickets to attractions etc.

with regards to car hire, I would tend to avoid the flydrive option. As you've discovered, there are lots of extras and also, more importantly, you will probably find that the majority of the people on your flight will do the flydrive option so you will possibly be queuing up with 200+ people to pick up your car. Find out who the airline use and book with a different company. We normally use Hertz but Alamo and Dollar are good too

countesscaloriecounter Fri 26-Jun-09 18:09:39

You can bypass the queues for some hire companies by filling in some forms on line, which means you just get off the plane and go straight to a hire car of your category and be on your way. Not quite sure how that works yet, but I know Alamo do that from Orlando, and we're hoping to try that option this time. We are staying just off the 192 in a place called Formosa Gardens.Very close to Disney.

AuntyJantyMinikyMoniky Fri 26-Jun-09 18:40:15

Thanks for those tips, once LO is in bed tonight I'm going to have a look at all your suggestions. Thanks so much.

mumoverseas Fri 26-Jun-09 18:42:56

ooh, I know Formosa Gardens, just up the road from my villa. There is a fab italian restaurant there called Giordianos, you have to try it. The lasagne is amazing

countesscaloriecounter Fri 26-Jun-09 19:42:41

Oooh thanks for that mumoverseas. Sounds delish! Will look forward to trying

mumoverseas Sat 27-Jun-09 07:10:59

dammit I'm so jealous. We were supposed to be going in October for 2 weeks but DH put his foot down and said no sad

Another fab place at Formosa gardens is the Outback steakhouse, right on the corner. It is lovely but you need to get there early evening as otherwise you'll be waiting hours for a table.

A couple of cheap ones and good for kids are the Sizzler and Ponderosa restaurants (turn right out of Formosa Gardens onto the 192 (towards Disney) and the Sizzler is on the right on the corner of a junction down to sr 545 and the Ponderosa is just past it on the right. They both do the 'eat all you can' buffets for breakfast, lunch and dinner and are really good value for money, particularly if you have kids as there is definitely always something they will eat. Pick up a coupon booklet at any supermarket (one at Formosa gardens has them) and get 10% off

countesscaloriecounter Sat 27-Jun-09 10:49:25

Thanks for the info. Sounds good, especially as I have fussy kids in tow!hmm

willali Mon 29-Jun-09 13:17:44

We were in Davenport recently - very accessible to Disney and supermarket nearby etc. VEry Brit heavy if that makes a difference to you. We found that there were so many gazilions of villas online that you could basically put a pin on a list and you would have something that is very much of a muchness

ihatethecold Thu 09-Jul-09 19:59:10

hi, sorry to highjack but how much do you think i would pay to go to orlando in a small villa for 4 including flights next may/june

oneplusone Thu 09-Jul-09 20:11:46

Can i join the thread?! We're looking to go to florida next christmas (2010) for disney plus other things (don't know what else though as haven't done research yet) so i will be watching with interest.

I would really love to do the drive down the florida keys. Where would be the best place to stay for that and how long does it take? ie is it a day trip or would we need to stay overnight?

countesscaloriecounter Fri 10-Jul-09 12:58:39

You can normally rent a villa for around £400 at that time of year. Flights all depend. I really recommend Dial a flight. Really helpful and good prices.

If you are staying in Orlando, the Keys can't be done in a day. I would recommend staying around Miami , then driving down and staying in Key West. Lurvvve it there.grin The drive down is pretty spectacular too.

I'm off tomorrow to Orlando for the Summer hols. Just finishing off the packing. Woo hoo. So exciting.

mumoverseas Fri 10-Jul-09 13:21:35

countess envy hope you have a lovely time

ihatethecold if you are going early May or in June (ie not May half term) it will be much cheaper for you, both in terms of flights and the villa. You can get 4 bed private villas with pools from around £375 so if there are only 4 of you, you'd probably find a 3 bed much cheaper (don't really do many 2 beds unless you want an apartment)
Look at as mentioned earlier in thread. Ref flights, many people wrongly assume the nearer the departure time the cheaper they are but with long haul flights it doesn't work like that. Flights for next May/June should have just been released so get looking now.

Agree with countess ref the Keys. Just not doable in a day. If you want to drive down to Key West (most southern key) that is a good 3+ hours from Miami which in turn is a good 3 to 4 hours from Orlando depending which route you take (ie Florida turnpike or the coast road)
Last year we did 10 days in Orlando and hired an RV and spent a week driving down to Key West and back up the gulf coast staying at various places on the way.

countesscaloriecounter Fri 10-Jul-09 15:10:21

Thanks mumoverseas. I'm sure it'll be your turn again soon. smile

oneplusone Fri 10-Jul-09 18:39:41

Thanks for the tips and also re booking flights. At a guess should we book flights for dec 2010 in jan/feb 2010?

I am excited even though it's ages away!

ihatethecold Fri 10-Jul-09 20:06:53

thanks for the advice have looked at flight s for half term next year as only want to take the piss and have kids out of school for one week not two.
virgin seem more reasonable than ba.

mumoverseas Sat 11-Jul-09 07:17:07

Think the airlines release the flights 11 months in advance.
A word of warning ref BA is their rather anal new rules on baggage allowance that they brought in a few years ago. You are now only allowed one piece of checked baggage per person as opposed to the previous allowance which was the same weight but in as many bags as you wanted.
Friends of ours flew out to Orlando the week before the new rule (not well advertised) came in and had two small bags each and on the way back got stung with a large 'excess baggage' charge even though their bags were not heavier than the allowance.
This puts me off BA (economy, first class you can have more bags) as we usually have a few smaller bags rather than big ones.

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