Vacationing in Orlando

January 30, 2009
Windsor Hills Resort
Werner Weiss, Curator of Yesterland

Hello from a three-bedroom, three-bathroom townhouse with a private pool. I’m about two miles south of Disney’s Animal Kingdom at the Windsor Hills Resort. It’s one of the “Vacation Home” communities that provide spacious alternatives to on-site and off-site hotels.

Before I go any further, I need tell that I have a business relationship with, and I’m here as their guest. They approached me last year about becoming a Yesterland sponsor. At first, I was reluctant, but I did some research. I found out that they take very good care of their customers, and their claims of “best deals in Orlando” are legitimate. I explained to them that Yesterland is primarily about Disneyland in California. After some discussion, it made sense to me that people who care about Disney theme park history might also enjoy visiting Walt Disney World in Florida.

Today’s article has nothing to do with Disney history. In some ways, it’s a shameless sales pitch. But I hope you’ll read it anyway—especially if you think you might visit Walt Disney World one of these days.

Windsor Hills Resort
This Vacation Home is an attached townhouse.

I’ve been visiting Walt Disney World for over 25 years. I’ve stayed at cruddy off-site hotels, nice off-site hotels, extended-stay suite hotels, various Marriott timeshares, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, and every Disney Vacation Club resort at Walt Disney World. But this is my first stay in a Vacation Home. We’ve never had so much space.

Vacation Homes come in different sizes. The one we’re in is big—but, surprisingly, it’s at the smaller end of the size range for Vacation Homes serving Disney guests. This one is a townhouse, but Vacation Homes can also be free-standing homes with up to six bedrooms!

Windsor Hills Resort
Even just the living room is bigger than most hotels rooms.

What’s amazing about Vacation Homes is they’re available at nightly rates that are in the same range as regular rooms at Disney’s Moderate and Value resorts. The value is especially good for anyone who would otherwise need to book more than one conventional hotel room.

One major advantage of Vacation Homes over regular hotel rooms is having multiple bathrooms. It makes getting ready in the morning much faster. Getting out of the room a half hour sooner more than makes up for the additional travel time to a Disney theme park.

Another major advantage is having a kitchen, complete with dishes and cookware. It saves time and money, especially at breakfast.

Let me take you on a photo tour of the three bedrooms. Two are upstairs, and one is downstairs.

Windsor Hills Resort
The master bedroom here has a king bed.
Windsor Hills Resort
The second bedroom here has a queen bed.
Windsor Hills Resort
The downstairs bedroom has two single beds.

As the photos show, the furniture here is attractive and contemporary, with an Asian influence. (Well, the downstairs bedroom doesn’t go with the rest of the home, but we’re not using it.)

Vacation Homes are privately owned, so different homes in the same community have different furniture. It depends on the owner. What they all have in common is that each bedroom has bedding for two people. There’s often a sofabed in the living room. It’s my understanding that such homes are nicely furnished because the good property management companies have high standards—and because the owners want you to come back year after year.

Windsor Hills Resort
The private splash pool would be great on a warm day.

This townhouse has its own splash pool. I don’t plan to use it today because the Orlando weather forecast is for a high of 55°F and a low of 38°F.

There’s huge pool at the clubhouse, complete with a water slide and hot tub. I haven’t explored the clubhouse yet, but I understand it has a fitness center, ping pong, video games, a 70-seat cinema, and a bunch of other amenities.

Windsor Hills Resort lets check prices and make reservations online.

Around two months ago, I added a link near the top of the Yesterland home page to Through my relationship with, this page lets you compare and book selected off-site hotels, Downtown Disney hotels, and Vacation Homes.

By the way, I didn’t write the “bullet points” extolling the virtues of each property. When there’s a description of the number of miles, minutes, or seconds to Walt Disney World, please understand that it’s the distance to the Disney property line, not to a particular park. Also, the stars assigned to each property provide an easy comparison between properties, but are not based on one of the better known star rating systems.

I wish I could take credit for the prices, but they’re all negotiated by

Here’s an example. The 444-room Holiday Inn Maingate East looks brand new after completing a $10 million renovation project about a year ago. Using the Holiday Inn website, the cheapest nightly rate for a two-night stay beginning February 1, 2009, was $81 per night—which is a good value for a full-service Holiday Inn in a convenient location. However, at, the same nights at the same hotel are just $52 per night.

Just as regular prices go up and down with seasonal demand, so do the discount prices. You can’t expect a $52 nightly rate at peak times—but you can expect good discounts throughout the year.

My apologies for the shameless sales pitch.

Now, please continue on to to get an idea of what’s available and what it costs.

Compare prices and reserve Walt Disney World area Vacation Homes and hotels at For more Vacation Home selections, and to talk with an Orlando Vacation advisor, please call the special toll-free Yesterland number at 1-866-391-6840. Support Yesterland and save money.

Click here to discuss this page on the Yesterland Discussion Forum at MiceChat!

Harry Potter and Disney
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© 2009 Werner Weiss — Disclaimers, Copyright, and Trademarks

Updated March 6, 2009.

Interior and exterior photographs at Windsor Hills Resort: 2009 by Werner Weiss.
Screen capture of 2009 by Werner Weiss.