We are Robert & Donna. We are a friendly, outgoing couple from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in Western Canada. We have been married for 39 years. Robert designs and builds new homes, and Donna is highly successful as a salesperson of travel trailers and huge fifth-wheels. Robert is a creative whiz with a strong design and writing orientation, and Donna is also a master chef with a huge library of cookbooks, and a very strong artistic and creative flair as well. We LOVE travelling in Florida, and love our villas located just south of Walt Disney World. We have spent a great deal of time upgrading and tweaking our properties in order to make our guests feel pampered and comfortable. Without doubt, our villas have some of the nicest interior finishing in our entire subdivision.
We have three adult children, the eldest who worked as a cast member at Epcot in Disney’s International Program for a year, and two grandchildren (don’t feel that old!) who keep us on our toes. Robert is a bit of a theme park buff, and very knowledgeable about the Central Florida area. All of this allows him to provide excellent advice to our villa guests about their trips; what to do, where and when to go, how much time to allow, things suitable for children, etc. We also understand how to ‘do’ Disney on a small budget, or a big one if that is your taste, and are happy to share our advice and experience with our many guests. We continue to upgrade and improve out properties, pouring everything they generate back into them in order to provide the best experience we can for our guests.
We chose to purchase our homes in Thousand Oaks after we first stayed in the area, and completely fell in love with the place! I timed the drive from the driveway to the parking lot of the Magic Kingdom, and it was under fifteen minutes, yet the villa was located in a very quiet and safe conservation sub-division, that was really hidden out of the way. The homes in the area were not built with no personality and right on top of each other like so many vacation rental developments are. As business owners we were intrigued by the aspects of running a vacation rental business, and after returning home, began watching the real estate listings for a house like the one we had stayed in. When one came up for sale six years later, we bought it! The conservation subdivision where our homes are located has a good mix of owner residents and vacation homes, so the area is safe and kept in good repair. It is very beautiful, designed around a central 40 acre natural lake, and is very pleasant for a morning or evening stroll, when one can enjoy many birds, the odd small wildlife and a pleasant ‘Hello’ from neighbours.
While visiting our first Florida home (which had become a successful vacation rental), we found another property for sale nearby. We were able to immediately purchase it, but knew it would take some work to bring it up to a standard suitable for our guests. After a year of work and renovations (not just decorating – we jack-hammered out floors, moved plumbing, tore out and built walls) it welcomed its first guests in December 2012. Since then we have been accumulating rave reviews. Our second villa is located at the edge of the development against some tropical forest on the back side of the home where the pool and lanai are situated. The closest rear neighbor is a full lot away, and we have put in privacy landscaping to beautify and separate the pool area from neighbours. This affords our guests privacy, and a wonderful environment, without being alone in the country.
Out third property represents the completion of a full circle journey in our Florida Vacation Rental Home adventure! Back in 2003, this was the very first vacation rental home we ever saw, or stayed in. The experience was so wonderful that we decided we wanted to share it with others. When the opportunity to purchase our first home came up in 2009, which has the exact same floor plan by the same builder and on the same street, we were able to make our commitment to the vacation rental business sight-unseen because of our original experience at what would eventually become Happy Oak Villa (so named because the area is Donna’s Happy Place)! After renovations completed in 2023, Happy Oak Villa now joins its sister properties in welcoming guests from around the world.