If you followed us on Instagram over the summer you would have seen that we were travelling first to Switzerland and then to Florida and mainly Orlando (although we did spend a weekend at Jupiter). Whilst there I don’t think we could have fitted anything else in we literally were on the go and having family fun in the theme parks, water parks and even at the beach every day for the 2 weeks and one of the reasons we put it down to is that we were able to rest and rejuvenate overnight, take breaks when we wanted and relax because we were based not at a hotel but at a villa or vacation home.
Having stayed in villa’s the last few years in Europe we knew that they were the ideal base for us over there and this year decided to see whether it would be compatible with an Orlando vacation. This wasn’t our first trip to Orlando, we had previously stayed in a motel (both me and my husband in the same year when we were kids with our parents unknown to the other) and then in a hotel as a couple the first year that we were married but looking at the different options available we settled on Reunion Resort with James Villas and because my god-daughters family would be joining us one of the Executive Villas for all 8 of us to use comfortably.
The villa was beyond our expectations, as I’ve written before staying in a villa allows so much more freedom for your family than a hotel, you’re not confined to a room or a couple of rooms and instead of sharing facilities like swimming pools, laundry, kitchen they are all there for your personal use.
Our Executive Villa in the Patriots Landing Community at Reunion Resort was ideal – it was for 10 people, with 4 bedrooms upstairs and a smaller guest bedroom downstairs. Each bedroom from the 2 master suites to the twin rooms for the kids had it’s own private bathroom with bath’s and walk in showers for the masters, and baths with over the tap showers for the twin rooms. The guest bedroom was adjacent to a small guest bath with shower ideal for coming in from the pool.
With the rooms set up for families – the two twin rooms each had 2 single beds, a night light, overhead fan, TV with all the channels that you could ever want to watch including the Disney Channel which was a hit with the kids, ample storage space for their clothes and toys. Although because we had our own laundry facilities we actually didn’t take that much stuff.
The two master rooms were bigger than the ground footprint of our house! With super king size beds which were so comfortable, bathrooms with huge tubs, walk-in showers and his and her sinks. Plus storage space for everything we needed and a TV. We returned each evening and were able to rest to be up at the crack of dawn with the kids (yes even after getting in at midnight we were still up before 7 most mornings!) and head out to the parks.
On the lower ground floor, there was a huge entry hall – where all of our shoes were stored and dried most evenings after the virtually guaranteed afternoon thunderstorms.
A large kitchen which we used every morning to prepare a breakfast that we knew would keep the kids going till lunch in the theme parks and also for evening meals and snacks between park visits. A lounge and den with TV plus doors out onto the pool area.
Having your own pool was fantastic, it was the perfect depth in the shallow end for the kids to stand and swim, plus as it wasn’t too big with the kids that we worried about them swimming and getting in trouble. What we often did was head out to the parks early in the morning avoiding the crowds, then return mid-afternoon have a rest (where the idea was that the kids had a nap – did it happen NO!) and swim to cool off and then return to the park or a different park in the afternoon.
In the past, we stayed at a motel on I192 and a hotel on International Drive – and here are our thoughts and what we will be doing next time as well. A hotel and motel are ok if all you are going to do is sleep, they either have 1 double or 2 doubles in the rooms and you could be on the ground floor (we were last time) or up in the top floor of a tower block. Although you don’t share your bathroom you will share a pool, there maybe a restaurant but from experience this is an extra cost and I don’t think our kids would have eaten as much as they did staying in the villa. With our kids, we knew that we would have to have a rest if we wanted to see the fireworks, be in the parks after dark and get up early the next morning. We also knew that they needed space to play! Whilst we got ready each morning to head out the 4 kids would be playing in the rooms, watching TV, chasing each other around and having fun as although the parks are great fun they are full on and kids do need to play as well as do the parks especially when you are travelling with toddlers, preschoolers and kids that have just started school.
Next time, we’ll we’re already looking back at the James Villas site and planning which resort to choose although I have a feeling that we will likely return to Reunion Resort Florida as it’s only 30 minutes drive in traffic from Walt Disney World an ideal situation for families like ours.
We stayed in the villa at Reunion Resort through James Villas as part of a press trip, all of the thoughts and views expressed here are our own – please see our disclosure policy for more information.