Things people often forget to pack

Things people often forget to pack

Here are some things that you may not think to bring with you when packing. While you can purchase them in Orlando very easily, and even many of them at the the theme parks themselves, why bother with that hassle when you can easily bring your own inexpensively? A small

Disney’s dirty secret!

Disney’s dirty secret!

Keeping Disney in Perspective… When thinking about all things Disney, including a Walt Disney World Vacation, it’s important to keep in mind what the Disney Magic runs on! It’s kind of Disney’s dirty secret! And no, it’s not imagination, although there is certainly plenty of that employed in the Disney

Visiting Disney World? Many families (and especially Travel Writers) are doing it wrong!

Visiting Disney World? Many families (and especially Travel Writers) are doing it wrong!

Travelling to experience Walt Disney World in Florida? Families (and especially Travel Writers) are doing it all wrong! I understand that many travel writers get free stays and other perks to come to Walt Disney World and write about a trip to the theme park capital of the world. But

Why you can’t possibly stay in my ‘AirBnB’

Why you can’t possibly stay in my ‘AirBnB’

Names are important. They define us, and become recognition cues in peoples minds that help them to understand who and what we are. It is a (common) reaction amongst Vacation Rental owners like myself to be frustrated by people referring to their properties or Short Term Rentals as ‘AirBnBs’. Referring

My Best Tips and Tricks as a Disney Expert #8

My Best Tips and Tricks as a Disney Expert #8

Tip #8 The biggest way to save on a Disney World trip is how, where and what you eat! The simplest way to do this is to avoid all of the tourist traps for food… like food in the parks and the hundreds of restaurants in the area, and to

My Best Tips and Tricks as a Disney Expert #7

My Best Tips and Tricks as a Disney Expert #7

Tip #7 Take a Rain Poncho! Take folded rain ponchos with you to the theme parks. In the summer, you will need them for the frequent but short downpours which happen every day in Central Florida. In the winter, you can use them to keep from getting drenched on many

My Best Tips and Tricks as a Disney Expert #6

My Best Tips and Tricks as a Disney Expert #6

Tip #6 Save your Feet! This one is simple. Disney World is not the place to be fashionable! Wear good quality, well broken-in running shoes for a day in the theme parks. You will be walking, on average, at least five miles. Bring two pairs from home. You may very

Is the villa close to the Orlando airport?

Is the villa close to the Orlando airport?

I received an inquiry, from someone asking if the villas are ‘close’ to the Orlando airport. This is one of those situations where the correct answer is “it depends”. Whether or not you consider the villa to be close to the Orlando airport depends upon how you define ‘close’ and

Sham Bookings & How to Avoid Them

Sham Bookings & How to Avoid Them

How to find a Great Vacation Rental in the Orlando Area There is a phenomenon in the Orlando Vacation Rental Market that a lot of guests get caught by, and when it happens, it means they won’t have the accommodations they thought they had booked to stay in when they

Tips for spotting good (& bad) properties on Vacation Rental listing sites

Tips for spotting good (& bad) properties on Vacation Rental listing sites

How to find a Great Vacation Rental in the Orlando Area When looking for a vacation rental property on an online vacation rental listing site, the number of choices can be dizzying and confusing. How do you know which is a good property and which isn’t? Most operators in Orlando

My Best Tips and Tricks as a Disney Expert #5

My Best Tips and Tricks as a Disney Expert #5

Tip #5 WalMart for Souvenirs! Almost all of the unique theme park merchandise and souvenirs are available at The World of Disney Store talked about in tip #4 and there are some really terrific offerings, but like all things Disney, they are pricey. If you want to save on Disney branded

Getting the best price on Orlando Vacation Rentals in 2021 and beyond

Getting the best price on Orlando Vacation Rentals in 2021 and beyond

I received an inquiry from a Snowbird today, which is always an interesting exercise, as many love to stay in the Orlando area over the winter months, but of course, given the length of their stay, want to pay the lowest possible rate they can. This is completely at odds

Do we Accept Foreign Currencies in Payment for the Villas?

Do we Accept Foreign Currencies in Payment for the Villas?

We occasionally get asked about accepting payment in Canadian Dollars or Great Britain Pounds. All of our transactions are conducted in US$ funds. It really makes no sense for us to accept anything else, as all of our villa expenses and operating costs are of course paid in US dollars.

My Best Tips and Tricks as a Disney Expert #4

My Best Tips and Tricks as a Disney Expert #4

Tip #4 Don’t Waste Theme Park Time Shopping! Don’t waste expensive theme park time shopping for stuff in stores inside the park (food that you’ll consume immediately, and a few unique demonstration stores are another matter). While this is very tempting, practically everything sold in the parks is available at

How soon in advance should I book my Florida Vacation Rental?

As you think about your Florida trip, you may be wondering ‘How soon in advance should I book my villa?’ This really depends upon what season during the year you are planning to come and stay with us. We use information from Disney in reviewing and planning our rate seasons

My Best Tips and Tricks as a Disney Expert #3

My Best Tips and Tricks as a Disney Expert #3

Tip #3 Take food with you to Disney Parks! Disney allows outside food into the parks in soft-shell containers (not coolers). Freeze plastic water bottles the night before (the soft sided collapsible ones work great because they take less space as they empty), and take snacks (and even lunch), like

My Best Tips and Tricks as a Disney Expert #2

My Best Tips and Tricks as a Disney Expert #2

Tip #2 Don’t leave the parks mid-day!! Ignore the advice of the vast majority of travel writers who write about a trip to Disney World using information fed to them by Disney, especially when they recommend leaving the parks mid-day to go back to your hotel for a nap or

The Plum Guide – How would THEY rank? – Part 3

The Plum Guide – How would THEY rank? – Part 3

If you’re not familiar with Plum Guide, before you devour this information, please go back to the beginning and read the article that is the first part of this series. In the first article of this series, we took a look at the Plum Guide and introduced the concept. In

The Plum Guide – How would we rank? – Part 2

The Plum Guide – How would we rank? – Part 2

If you’re not familiar with Plum Guide*, before you devour this information, please go back to the beginning and read the article that is the first part of this series. Before we get into things in detail, know that the Plum Guide is very AirBnB centric; some of their expectations

The Plum Guide – Would we Pass the Test? – Part 1

The Plum Guide – Would we Pass the Test? – Part 1

The Plum Guide* is a London, England based curated website of vacation rental homes. It’s produced by a company which personally evaluates homes using a 150-point test criteria, and then presents them on their own listing site. Their purpose is to do an ‘honest’ assessment of vacation rental homes (reviews

Polk County Walking Trails

Polk County Walking Trails

This is Part IV (sort of…) of a list of great things to do that are free(!) or nearly there in the villa area. See Part I here, and Part II here. Part III presents details on Osceola County Nature Trails. You may think us boring, but one of the

Osceola County Nature Trails

Osceola County Nature Trails

This is Part III (sort of…) of a list of great things to do that are free(!) or nearly there in the villa area. See Part I here, and Part II here. Part IV presents details on Polk County Walking Trails. You may think us boring, but one of the

Help coming to ease traffic congestion on I4 in Walt Disney World area

Help is coming for I4, but we will have to be patient, just like anyone must be lately if they use I4 between Highway 27 and Walt Disney World. Express lanes are going to be added to the entire stretch. This means that in addition to the exist six lanes

Not Everything in the Orlando area costs money!

Not Everything in the Orlando area costs money!

Enjoy this list (Part I) of activities and explorations that won’t tap your wallet, courtesy of the Orlando County Convention & Visitor’s Bureau. Part II features more activities in the Kissimmee area, Part III features Osceola County Nature Trails, and Part IV lists Polk County Walking Trails. In a city

Not Everything in the Kissimmee area costs money!

Not Everything in the Kissimmee area costs money!

This is Part II of a list of great things to do that are free(!) or nearly there in the villa area. See Part I here. For even more interesting things to do closer to home, explore this list of activities and attractions courtesy of the Kissimmee Convention and Visitors

How to have a great Orlando theme park vacation: Lessons learned – Down time and how sweet it is!

How to have a great Orlando theme park vacation: Lessons learned – Down time and how sweet it is!

Photo above: Our second time at Disney World, 2003. I realize that what I am about to write here will sound like simple self promotion, but I would tell you the exact same thing before we purchased our home in Florida, because some of what I am going to explain is one

My Best Tips and Tricks as a Disney Expert #1

My Best Tips and Tricks as a Disney Expert #1

Tip #1 (My first tip may appear rooted in bias, but I lived by it for years, and it is what got me into my Florida vacation rentals in the first place.) Ignore the advice of the vast majority of travel writers who write about a trip to Disney World

Breezy Oak Villa vs. Pleasant Oak Villa: What’s the difference?

Breezy Oak Villa vs. Pleasant Oak Villa: What’s the difference?

If you have seen both of our properties, and are wondering what the differences are between them, this information is for you. Talking about the differences between the two is a bit strange – because in truth, they are far more alike than they are different. So what do they

How to have a great Orlando theme park vacation: Lessons learned – How much time you need

I often get asked how much time is needed to take in the theme parks and other activities in Orlando.  Here, in question and answer form taken from actual communications with guests, is how much time I recommend for the major attractions. (There are lots of other great things to see

The number one way to save money on an Orlando/Disney vacation!

The number one way to save money on an Orlando/Disney vacation!

I often get asked about how to save money on a trip to Disney World, and for good reason.  It is an expensive undertaking, no matter how you look at it.  Airfare, park tickets and other attractions, accommodations, food and dining, spending money and souvenirs; these can all add up