What started as couples only 4 day resort only trip quickly turned into (Let’s bring the kids, their BF’s and the grandkid)
DW and I flew down a day early so we had 1 guaranteed day. We are from SE MA. and we flew out of Hartford CT. (BDL) first time for us. I would do it again. I found $49 one way flights going down on Spirit and found $49 one way flights coming back on JetBlue. We parked at the airport in lot #1 (cost us $76 for the 9 days) The rest of the group parked in lot #5 and cost them $30 for the week. Shuttles run seemingly continuous. Overall, I’d gladly fly from there again but prefer Providence for it’s proximity to SE MA. Only delay was the kids flight on Spirit coming down (1 hr) due to a weather delay from MCO.
DW and I arrived on time and our Turo minivan was waiting for us in the MCO parking lot. Cost for that was $475 from 3pm on 8/19 to 6am on 8/27. I found it reasonable and that included all taxes and fees. Turo does charge a hefty fee ($100+) if you choose to pick up and drop off at MCO via the app. I communicated with the owner prior to booking and he advised me not to choose MCO p/u via the app. He told me all the fees go directly to Turo. Instead he offered to deliver the van to MCO prior to my arrival and park it in the garage at my arrival terminal. He left the key and the parking ticket in a locked box outside the passenger window and sent me the code prior to my arrival. Only additional cost to me was to pay the parking ticket on the way out of the garage ($19). Worked great. The host I used has lots of vehicles and his office/lot is located a mile away from MCO. Anyone interested in more info, just PM me.
First night DW and I stayed at Sheraton Vistana Villages. Beautiful room, beautiful grounds, overall I really liked the place and will not hesitate to book there again. They had oversold our 1 bedroom category so they upgraded us to a 2 bedroom overlooking the waterfall and the pool area. I booked directly through the Bonvoy app about a week ahead of time. Cost was $178 for the 1 bedroom. Definitely could have gone cheaper and closer to property but I liked what I saw in the pictures on the app, the reviews were good and the whirlpool tub in the bedroom was the kicker. And they checked us in early which was a bonus.
Next day we checked into Wyndham Bonnet Creek 2 bedroom condo. Got it via Redweek for same price as the Sheraton ($178pn) picked it up about 3 weeks out as we hadn’t planned on needing a condo or a full week for that matter. It was snug for 7 people but adequate. I feel the 2 bedroom at Sheraton had a better layout and seemed roomier. If I had to do it again, I’d go with a 3bd.
Check-in went fine. Signed up for the timeshare presentation, got our room early again. Did a major shopping @ Walmart and Publix then came back to the room to put it all away. 8th floor, building #5, room 884. Great view of the Epcot Spaceship Earth ball and I sat on the balcony and watched Harmonious and Enchantment simultaneously. Can’t beat that. Since the kids flight was delayed an hour I left after that and picked them up and brought them back to the condo.
Sunday (8/21) first day we were all together, DW & I dropped everyone off at MK at noon. DD18 & her BF had 3 day Tix, DD33, her BF & DGD7 had 1 day after 1pm Tix (they also had a SeaWorld/Aquatica funpass good til 12/31). DW and I had after 5pm Tix. It was the 1 day we wanted to spend at MK and watch fireworks together. Turned out to be a great day. Did a MM share and we got lots of great pix. Used BG1 for the first time and it was fabulous. I may never use MDE again for LL. Park closes at 11pm and we stopped well past that.
The next several days all seemed to roll into one another. I played UberDad alot, dropping off and picking up at different parks and times while DW and I just soaked up the resort.
My only ask of the group was I wanted a nice lunch and a photo session at the photo pass studio at Disney Springs. We chose Wednesday and we chose Splitsville for some sushi and bowling fun. We had a great time. Shopped alot. Girls bought me a nice Tommy Bahama Disney shirt and a cool Disney jean jacket as a thank you. We took the boat over to POFQ and we had Beignets sitting outside the lobby for the first time (OMG, delicious). We missed the last boat heading back to DS so we had to take a bus. Bus driver was so nice. She dropped one party off at Riverside, the next at OKW, and finally us at DS. When they say they’ll never leave you stranded, they mean it.
We flew out early on Sat 8/27. 7:30am.flight. I dropped everyone off at the terminal and proceeded to drop the Turo rental back in the garage but I ran into a snag. Both garages A & B we’re closed and I had to hike it to Terminal C. Never been there before. It’s not connected, lots of road work going on and the signs we’re a bit lacking. After 2 trips around I found it, parked and then had no clue how to get back to Terminal A. Signs in the garage pointed in 2 direction that just seemed wrong. I met up with another family who was in the same predicament. I went one way which seemed the right way and they decided to follow the misleading signage and go the other. I made it to the faux monorail and back over to Terminals A & B. Not sure what happened to them. Security lines were super long at 6am on Saturday but they announced no taking anything out of bags, no taking shoes off, just walk through. Prior to getting to the conveyor belt and metal detector we all walked in 2’s side by side through a pathway with a K9 who walked back and forth between us. Never seen it work like that before but I got through security with plenty of time to spare.
Overview of the trip:
*Bradley airport (great alternative for New Englander’s) I’d fly them again
*Spirit Airlines (you get what you pay for and for $49 I got what I paid for)
*Sheraton Vistana Villages (beautiful resort, lush grounds, friendly staff, very nice rooms) will stay again
- Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort ( beautiful resort, lush grounds, plenty to do, super close to just about everything insite. Still best to have a vehicle, 2 bedroom seemed small compared to Sheraton, service not up to par, I had several issues with staff, a drunk guest, and clueless security. Timeshare presentation was so shady. I had enough bad experiences that I don’t think I’ll be back there although I loved the resort overall.
- Turo rental minivan (great experience. I felt I got a good deal. I looked at rentals at the big sites and even the off site locations and couldn’t find a better deal. You have to look around and play with the dates/times/locations to see true pricing. My advice is find an owner with decent reviews and have a backup that you cancel without penalty)
*BG1 (Awesome. Thanks Joel. Definitely changed the way I’ll do Disney in the future)
*SeaWorld ( No personal experiences for me since the 1990’s but DD33 and her family enjoyed it immensely. They had the funpass with unlimited entry to SW and Aquatica and paid the same price for that as a 1 day ticket to DW. They were picked to go up for the sealing show, Sat in the splashzone for the Whale show, and really enjoyed infinity falls)
- Finally, it’s always nice to spend time as a family. You never know when those days will end. I often think of the Harry Chapin song “Cats in the Cradle” and these lyrics in particular…" I called him up just the other day I said, I’d like to see you if you don’t mind
He said, I’d love to, dad, if I can find the time
You see, my new job’s a hassle, and the kids have the flu
But it’s sure nice talking to you, dad
It’s been sure nice talking to you"
Here’s a link if you’d like to see some photos from the trip.