November 15, 2012

How We Did Disney - Going Global

Everybody has their own way that they "do" Disney.  Us?  We had no way.  This year was our first EVER trip to Disney World.  But now that we've done it- I can't imagine doing it any other way than how we did it.  It was fabulous!

We were invited to come and check out Global Resorts while the kids were on Fall Break last month.  Global has a whole line of vacation homes that they maintain and manage.  Do you hear me?  HOMES.  Not hotel rooms.  With 3 kids plus my mom on this trip- a hotel was out of the question unless we did some serious upgrading to a suite.  And even then- who wants to be stuck in a hotel room with a million children.  And while those Disney properties are nice, I've had friends who've gone and said that their vacation to Disney ended up costing them over $7000 by the time they purchased the meal plans, etc.  No joke.

So staying at a Global home seemed like a great fit for our family.  It was pure luxury all the way.

Here is our house in their Windsor Hills neighborhood. (2625 Daulby Street)

Totally gorgeous, no?  My kids thought we'd been put up in a palace.

It's twice the size of the house that we live in now.  It had six bedrooms.  We did not need six bedrooms (or so we thought).  My kids are all used to sharing a bedroom.  That is... until the "night of carnage" happened. (Cue spooky voice) 

We pulled into Orlando around 3pm.  I left Kamron at the house with the kids and went to the airport to pick up my mom who did not want to start off her vacation with us with a 16 hour van ride.  Who can blame her?  When we got back to the house, Kamron was pale and feeling sick.  Within the hour, he was REALLY sick.  Scary sick.  We tucked him into one of the "extra" bedrooms and the rest of us had some dinner and got to know our house and then turned in for the night.  At 2 am, I heard a terrible wretching sound coming from the top of the stairs.  Sadie was standing there vomiting her head off.  I steered her into the bathroom.  Noah walked in with his sleepy eyes and said, "What's going on?"  He was covered in vomit and had been throwing up in his bed in his sleep.  This cycle continued for HOURS.  Needless to say- we played musical beds all night and used every.single. bed in the whole house.  All 8 of them.

Now- Sadie has a very sensitive stomach and she's known to throw up whenever we go on vacation.  When you are in a hotel, it is a major pain to call housekeeping in the middle of the night, wait for them to show up, explain the situation to them, wait for them to bring new linens, wait for them to bring more towels, go trucking to the vending machine to find a bottle of water of water for the sickie, wrap up vomited on clothes in plastic bags, blah, blah, blah.  We've been there, and trust me- it really puts a damper on things.

Here, it was great to be able to throw everyone in a different bathtub, put their stuff in the washing maching (Yay!  They had a washing machine!), grab a bottle of water out of the fridge, and then put them back to bed.  Since we weren't all in one room together, sick Kamron never had to wake up and Miles slept through the whole thing.  As a mom- these are the kinds of things that have value!  I've never been so glad to have NOT been in a hotel room in my whole life!

Can't spread out and do this in a hotel room either!

Now on to the other goodies: THE KITCHEN!  Disney allows you to pack a soft sided cooler.  Since we had a kitchen, we were able to pack our lunches, snacks and drinks to take to the park each day.  In the whole week were there, we only purchased ice cream and cotton candy for a grand total of $25.  Having a kitchen really helped us do the parks cheaply!  (And what else helped us save money, was ordering our tickets from Kissimmee Guest Services- they offer discounted tickets, were easy to work with, and they delivered our tickets right to our rental house along with maps, stickers, and a personal concierge to answer any questions we might have.  You must check them out!)  It was also great being able to cook our meals.  Not only did we save a TON of money, but we didn't have to deal with cranky, overtired, overwhelmed kids at restaurants every night.  Having a kitchen was golden.

But the very best thing of all about our house?  THE POOL!  I've never stayed at a place that had it's own private pool and hottub.  Seriously- this pool was all for us! 

Every house that Global rents has it's own pool.  My  kids were in heaven!  They got to swim while we cooked dinner every night and on those nights when we would shut down Disney, we could still come home and have a cocktail in the hottub because it never had to close!  I'm pretty sure that this has spoiled me for all other vacations because having our very own pool was so cool.  I didn't have to worry about other people's kids, or other people cussing and drinking at the pool (why does that always seem to happen at resort pools?) or worry about the kids going out of site since they were totally enclosed.  I'm now convinced that I have to have a pool at the new house we're building because life was so much easier when I could send the kids out to the pool!  Hey, a girl can dream, can't she?

My kids (and the big kid) also loved the game room in the converted garage.

Our house was only 10 minutes from the gate of Disney World.  Parking was super easy.  The resort, however, does offer shuttle service for a hefty price.  The shuttle situation is my only complaint about our stay with Global.  We found that it was cheaper and easier to just drive and park ourselves which turned out to not be a very big deal at all.  Just make sure you write down where you park!

If you're interested in staying at a Global property- I'd suggest joining their facebook page.  On Fridays, they post weekly specials.  Sometimes these giant houses are marked down to $89 or $99 a night.  (Hello, luxury vacation on a budget!!!)

We all know those people who are Disney fanatics.  I fear that could become us because we can't wait to go back to Orlando!  And you know where we'll be staying!

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