As you may have guessed, I’m really struggling to post about our Florida holiday. I’m not sure if its because I just want to leave it as a happy memory and not dwell on it, or if its because it already seems so long ago – but whatever it is, the posts aren’t coming easy, despite knowing I want to at least have something to look back on and remember.
The last post I made, was about the flights – both there any back. This one is about our Villa. Obviously when you go on holiday you always have so many choices when it comes to accommodation and this in part, is why I feel the villa was best for us.
Our villa was originally found on VR360FloridaVillas. I’m not completely sure how my mum came across this particular site or this particular property but I looked at the information on the site and agreed it looked nice.
And it was nice. It was okay. Potentially, it was amazing. But in reality it was just okay.
Chris and I had a double room, next door to the girls who had a twin room. Near to us was also a bathroom with a shower over the bath, toilet and sink. It was a good size family bathroom. Near to that was the kitchen, a small dining are and a large lounge – all open plan. There was then a further lounge or den area, with another more set aside dining room. Finally there was my mum’s room which was a large double with an en-suite bathroom – featuring both a seperate large bath and double shower. Outside there was a large pool area, safely enclosed and including patio furniture. On paper it all sounds great.
Sadly it wasn’t that great – it was old and it needed some love. The decor was quite outdated but I guess individual taste is hard to tailor to everyone. Certain features were very old and worn, spoiling what could have been an amazing property. The biggest disappointment of all though, was the air conditioning. When on holiday somewhere like Florida, the air conditioning from Aspen Air is absolutely essential. Ours was old and rubbish. It barely worked and it certainly didn’t make any difference. Even at 3am in the morning, the house was still boiling hot from all the heat it had retained in the day. This was the biggest issue in my few, but a tatty bath/shower area, completely mismatched plates, glasses and cutlery and old faded outdoor furniture, all added to a bad experience. Yes it was a fairly cheap properly (£900 for two weeks) but it really wasn’t good enough and in hindsight I would have rather spent more and had a nicer experience.
Not only was it not really acceptable, its also hard to pass comment or really warn anyone else. The property itself had a guest book but no one had written in it in a long time and this just made me wonder if everyone felt the way I did. When you pay not only your rental fee, but also a deposit, how do you go about saying “your property wasn’t up to standard” when you want to ensure you get your deposit returned. Not only that, but on the day of leaving we were expected to put out the bins, wash and dry all our bedding and towels – it was far from a hotel experience would have been.
That said, a villa was the right option for us. Sure I would have loved to stay in a Disney hotel – immerse myself completely in Disney, but it just wouldn’t have really worked for us. Not only did we want to do Disney, we also wanted to do Universal and Kennedy Space Center. We were always going to hire a car and so it made more sense that we were somewhere neutral and could just travel wherever we wanted. Not only that but we wanted to be able to cater for ourselves. We wanted to make a simple breakfast, pack a lunch, cook a simple dinner. We wanted to come and go as we pleased, make food whenever we wanted and have a place to store food, refrigerate milk and basically just live as we would at home.
For me, the villa was the right move but sadly not this one. The location was fine (Davenport), taking about 25 minutes to Disney and 40 to Universal. There wasn’t really anything nearby but there was a Publix within 5 minute drive and various places to eat were scattered all along the stretch to either Disney or Universal. The villa itself wasn’t even the problem either. It was a lovely size, beautifully spacious and having a pool was just amazing (and certainly the girls favourite thing). Sadly though, it was just the specific owner of this property and the lack of upkeep that had gone into it.
If you plan to do a hotel – room only, half board, all inclusive etc – Disney or otherwise – then this post won’t really help you at all. I’m sure you’ll love it, I hope it will be a lovely standard and in a way I’ll be a little envious. However if you plan to do a villa then please take this advice – check out what people actually think, what reviews have been made and what comments have been posted. Beware of the absolute cheapest villa you can find, no matter how nice the pictures are. If you can’t find comments or reviews, move along. Sometimes what people don’t say about a place, speaks for itself. A villa is definitely a fantastic idea, especially for a family like mine. However you are there for a week, a fortnight, maybe more. If the idea is for it to feel like home, you need to make sure you’ll be happy there.