Updated for 2016!
I read all the time on Facebook comments where die-hard Disney fans just cannot understand why someone would ever stay off property during their vacation. I have been on that mental thought train. We have truly enjoyed some fantastic on-property trips. And then we got two dogs, making on-property stays impossible without kenneling the furry members of the family. Not only am I too cheap to pay the kenneling fee, but it just seems like a choice I would rather avoid. And then my children grew taller than me, so sharing a couch bed was no longer so much fun for three kids. I then found myself on the Internet researching the costs of rental homes.
Have you done any research lately on the cost of rental homes? Granted, you are away from the magic and not in the heart of Walt Disney World, but there certainly are perks to renting your own home away from home.
One of our favorite rental homes is found in Davenport, Florida, which is about a 20 minute drive to the Magic Kingdom, give or take a few minutes for traffic. The house was called “Golfing Mickey,” and it is located on a community run Golf Course.
Perk #1: No Kennel Fee
We have two small dogs that are very well behaved, sleeping most of the day. If we were going to be gone longer than four hours, we arranged for someone to stay home with our pets. They lounged on a blanket on the couch, listened to TV, and watched birds fly overhead out by the pool. What a doggy life!
The neighborhood was filled with similar houses, so walking the dogs through these surroundings didn’t seem like such a vacation chore.
There was a lake nearby, so we frequently took a doggie field trip down to see if we could spot any fish.
We paid a pet deposit, which was returned when we left the house with no pet damage.
Perk #2 A Private Heated Pool
I’m a southern girl, so I don’t like a northern pool. In other words, I don’t like swimming in cold water. Disney has some fantastic pools, all of which are heated in the winter, with amazing theming and super fun slides, but you are sharing your water and space with a bunch of strangers. I love the Disney pools, but sometimes it’s nice to have your own space. Our rental house had a lovely (heatable) pool with a relaxing view of the golf course.
The pool furniture was a great place to park tired feet after a log day of theme park walking.
Perk #3 Your Own Bathroom
When you get out of the pool, how about a bathroom separate from the kids, where you don’t have to wait in line to wash your hair, and with plenty of room to spread out your cosmetics.
Perk #4 Save Money With a Huge Kitchen
I love a nice meal on Disney property just as much as the next die-hard fan, but Disney food is pricey and definitely not a private experience. Our rental house had an amazing kitchen/dining area just next to the living room.We like to cook at home A LOT when we rent a house, mostly because we save money, but it’s also nice to have our three teen’s undivided attention. It’s hard enough to get teens to hold a conversation these days, much less surrounded by by hundreds of people while you eat.It was nice to talk to the kids during meals.
Walmart was a quick three minute drive from our rental which made cooking simple.
You can see the golfing theme in the above living room decor.
Perk #5 Your Own Bedroom
There are perks to staying in a hotel room with your whole family in that one room. But the ability to spread out and not wake up with an elbow in your face? Priceless. Our rental house had four bedrooms.
Rent a house in Orlando? Well, there was a time when I would have said a rental was not on my list of top places to stay when we head to Disney World. But times and circumstances change…
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Disney’s Cheapskate Princess