Disney World, Resorts and hotels
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Other Disney resorts

April 2013:  Disney Villas At over $300 per night, villas contain more apartment-like amenities, such as microwaves and coffee makers. Most are part of Disney’s Vacation Club, which is Mickey’s version of a timeshare. If Disney offers a Vacation Club unit via its hotel reservation system, it means no Vacation Club member booked it that […] Read more...

Disney World, Resorts and hotels
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Disney’s luxury resorts

April 2013: Amenities – room size, resort layout, etc. – vary little with Disney’s moderate resorts and not at all with Disney’s economy resorts. Not so in the luxury category. Each resort offers a range of styles, room sizes, restaurants, and more. The Grand Floridian is undisputedly the most luxurious resort on Disney property – […] Read more...

Disney World, Resorts and hotels
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Disney’s moderate resorts

April 2013: While Disney’s economy resorts are identical, the moderate resorts are merely similar. Basic rooms in each have roughly the same amount of space and layout, with prices based on view; and none have the easy-park access of those on the monorail system. But the park commute from moderate resorts is, in general, shorter […] Read more...

Disney World, Resorts and hotels
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Disney’s economy resorts

April 2013: This choice is simple – all Disney’s economy hotels are the same. Almost. Rooms are the same size; check-in is the same; restaurants – cafeteria-style – are virtually the same. Key differences: Pools reflect the individual themes, as do giant fiberglass (maybe it’s plastic) renditions of smaller objects, such as three-story guitars, 40-foot […] Read more...

Disney World, Resorts and hotels
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Disney’s Saratoga Springs

Disney Saratoga Springs

Saratoga Springs struggled to find its identity before becoming part of the Disney Vacation Club. It’s the only resort within walking distance of Downtown Disney (shopping/entertainment complex), and Walt Disney himself once viewed it as a residential community with shopping center access. But in 1975, the company switched gears and made it a villa resort […] Read more...

Planning an Orlando trip, Resorts and hotels
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Home rentals: The (Un)American Way

U.S. travelers stay in hotels or timeshares or campsites. Europeans, however, rent homes – and more Americans should follow their lead. A one-week Orlando-area home rental can upgrade a vacation and save money at the same time. Orlando has many rental homes, from condos to six-bedroom mini-estates, with most owned by out-of-state or out-of nation […] Read more...

Resorts and hotels, Universal Studios/Sea World
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Universal’s Hard Rock Hotel

“Hard Rock” is not exactly a theme, at least not in the same way other Universal/Disney hotels use the word “theme.” California-styled Spanish architecture describes Hard Rock’s external design, and contemporary describes the interior. Lobby décor ranges from standard hotel fare to kinda-cool chic. The rock angle comes from multiple museum-like displays featuring famous bands’ […] Read more...

Resorts and hotels, Universal Studios/Sea World
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Universal Studio’s Royal Pacific Hotel

If you want to vacation in Hawaii completely immersed in the sights and sounds of the island, Universal’s Royal Pacific Hotel probably isn’t for you. It’s a deluxe hotel with a Pacific island theme; but if judging it against other themed hotels – the kinds that appear around Orlando parks more than anywhere else – […] Read more...

Resorts and hotels, Universal Studios/Sea World
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Universal Studio’s Portofino Bay Hotel

Many non-Disney hotels say they have a theme because they purchased coordinated chairs, pictures, and bric-a-brac from their favorite hotel supply warehouse. Not so at Portofino Bay, possibly the best hotel (for theming) at Universal Studios Orlando. If you want an Italian-themed resort close to a theme park, Portofino Bay is the only game in […] Read more...

Disney World, Resorts and hotels
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Disney’s Boardwalk Inn and Villas

The Boardwalk resort completes Disney’s northeast coast vacation theme: The Yacht Club is at the marina; the Beach Club sits a few blocks from the water; the Boardwalk is where everyone goes for entertainment. Officially, it’s the Boardwalk Inn and Villas, with the “Inn” part referring to the hotel and the “Villas” part referring to […] Read more...