3/22/12

My Affordable Florida Holiday-Part 2 @hiclubvacations


If you read Part 1 about my recent Florida Vacation you will recall that this is my family's third trip to the Orlando area.  The first time we went, four years ago we did the whole Disney thing.  Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios.  I'm glad we did it when the kids were younger and into Disney princesses and characters.  That first trip was 9 days and most of those days were spent at a park.

Since this was our first official big family trip, we really over did it.  We didn't have any downtime except for one day we stayed at the hotel because my older daughter was ill. We were totally exhausted when we got home!

On our second trip last year, we visited Universal Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios, Gatorland and Sea World.  The hotel we stayed at had a few amenities for kids like basket ball, a small water slide, a couple pools and a play ground.  This trip we played it smart and planned 3 days just to hang out at the resort with friends that joined us on our vacation.  It went great, and this trip I actually felt like I had time to relax.

Lazy River
When we were looking up a place to vacation this year we ended up in Orlando again.  It really is one of the more economical places that we have found to fly to and stay in Florida.  My husband and I were on separate computers using Expedia.ca to find a resort suitable to vacation at.  It's was pretty funny that we both bookmarked Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Orange Lake Resort

We had certain things we were looking for:
  • A resort that offered fun, age appropriate activities because the kids only wanted to go back to Epcot for a day and Universal Islands of Adventure for a day.
  • The kids said we HAD to stay somewhere that had an "awesome" water park area
  • It needed to be relatively close to the airport and theme parks
  • It had to be reasonably priced
  • It had to have a small kitchen area 
  • Laundry facilities
Orange Lake Resort fit the bill perfectly.  We booked our trip in August and patiently waited 6 months until February.

It sure is nice to leave the cold and snow behind!  One of the nicest things about going to Florida in February is feeling the warm air and sunshine when you walk out of the airport.  Once we got our rental car loaded up the hotel was a half hour drive away.

When we arrived at the resort we check in immediately with Tony at the front deck.  Check in time at the resort is 4PM but I had requested a 2PM check in as our flight landed at 12:30pm. We were so glad that we could be accommodated.  We had been up since 4AM so we were ready to relax.


We stayed in a studio room which was very clean and comfy.  The room had:
  •  two  large  beds, 
  • mini fridge
  •  microwave/oven
  •  cook top 
  • all the kitchen items needed to prepare a quick meal
  • shower/tub combo
  • upgraded stone counters 
  •  dish soap, laundry soap and toiletries
  • dining table and chairs
  •  pull out couch
Another huge plus was the double sheeted duvets on the beds.  Hotel bedspreads freak me out.  Usually the first thing I do is take it off and set it aside so I sure was glad that I didn't have to do this.
Once we were unpacked we headed out for lunch and to picked up some sunscreen and groceries at the Super Target right across the street from the resort. You know what's funny?  Last year when we were on vacation we shopped at this same Target store and we commented that the resort across the street looked nice; and this year we were staying there!

Once the groceries were put away we headed out for some resort fun.  One thing we quickly noticed is that
The Hippo!
this resort is HUGE.  It's like it's own city.  If you don't have a car here don't worry!  There is a resort shuttle service to get you where you want to go.   

Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Orange Lake Resort has:
  • 2,478 villas
  • 7 pools
  • 6 retail and pro shops
  • 9 restaurants
  • 54 holes of golf
  • Mini putt
  • Tennis, Basketball, raquetball
  • Swampy's  Kid's club
  • Arcade
  • Watersports rentals
  • a full calendar of planned activities

River Island was a huge hit with the whole family.  The River Island  area was our favourite because of all the fun things to do.  We played mini golf, went down "The Hippo"(the world's largest inflatable slide!), floated down the 1,200 ft lazy river floating surrounded my tropical foliage and swam in the 2 beach style pools.  An added plus was getting to enjoy my Starbucks cappuccino while the kids were swimming.

During our 1 week holiday we had two days that were windy and cool.  These were great days to take advantage of Swampy's Kid's Club.  The kids played ping pong, Wii and even made a Tye-dye shirt



My Final Thoughts

Pina Coladas Poolside (Breezes)
Overall I was very impressed.  The resort was very clean and the grounds are well kept.  The staff was very friendly and there are a lot of them around if you needed to inquire about anything.  I really like staying in places that offer laundry facilities, it means I have to pack less!  The only restaurant we ate at was Anchors in the River Island area which was tasty and affordable.  

This resort is cashless so everything you purchase gets charged to your room and you pay by cash or credit card at checkout.  I've never stayed at a cashless resort before and I really liked the convenience of it.  

My whole family agreed that if we holiday in the Orlando area will be coming back to HCV Orange Lake Resort.   I've got my eye on HCV Myrtle Beach for a family vacation and HCV Marco Island Sunset Cove for a possible holiday with no kids ;o)  One thing I do know is that the dog in NOT coming with us even if he tries to sneak into the suitcase again!

Deals, Deals, Deals!

Check out Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Orange Lake Resort Family Fun package! It starts at $140 / night and includes an upgrade to a 2-bedroom villa, four 7-day Play Passes and waived resort fees.

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Disclaimer: My family was given play passes to enjoy all of the fun things to do at HCV Orange Lake Resort. As always, all opinions expressed on this blog are my own.

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