Lots of questions and I hope I can answer them.
Until last year, I had not used AirBnB, and I have never used them in Florida. The perk for AirBnB is it is a very streamlined rental process. There is a lot to be said for that. However, it has also taken away a lot of options for negotiation.
There used to be a TON of houses and websites that offer vacation rentals. There are condos, townhouses, and homes to chose from. Prices are all over the spectrum depending on what you want. A 2 bedroom condo 2 miles from Disney can be more than a 4 bedroom house with private pool 9 miles away.
We have rented 5 places in that area.
Things to look for when gauging the prices are: (1) are taxes included? (2) is there a fee for cleaning? (3) is there a fee for pool heat?
Also - look on a map for distance from Disney. A lot of great priced homes [really low cost] are a bit further than I want to drive. [
Windsor Hills is very high class, very close to Disney, and has a lovely community pool with waterslide, game room, playground, life-sized chess set. It is also one of the more expensive. Do ask yourself if you are going to use those amenities.
We use to prefer to stay off highway 27. We’ve done that twice. It takes about 15-20 minutes to get to the Disney parking lots, but the cost savings are considerable. The drive is also an easy one. We always make rope drop.
Vacationhomerentals.com merged with TripAdvisor…They used to be my favorite. I haven’t used them since the merge. The merge makes it more click-and-pay like AirBnB, but you lose the ability to negotiate.
http://www.onlinefloridavillas.com/ - I have used this site twice. Here you deal directly with the owner and there are more opportunities to negotiate. These are not management companies. Even if you do NOT use this site to rent from, this site has an awesome map of where each community is. (Where I live in NY, it is only the rare community that has a name outside the development. It is a big thing in this region of Kissimmee and the map helps you pick locations.)
(There are agencies that also own and rent out homes. You pay for a kind of house - say 4 bedroom, 3 bath, with pool, but you don’t see it ahead of time. You go to their operating site and pick up a key for what is available. I have not used this method yet.)
VRBO merged with Homeaway. I haven’t used either of them before or after the merge.
“Hot tubs vs. Jacuzzis” be careful with this. Just because there is a little sitting pool area off to the side of the private pool (swirling water) does NOT make it a HOT tub.
Our last two trips we’ve rented a house in Championsgate because it fit our needs perfectly. We also made rope drop every time and it was about a 15-20 minute drive.
When I say a drive time that is all the way to parking and getting out of the car.again. Not just onto WDW property. The property itself starts earlier and you feel like you are “there” sooner.
In my opinion it is easier to get ONTO the property than off. There is always a lot of signage to show you how to GET there… leaving they don’t have signs that say, “Bob - this way to your rental.”
The prices seem to be higher now than two years ago. And I don’t just mean because stuff costs more. I detected a price shift as these big guys started merging.