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My Experience Staying in a VRBO house in Orlando, FL

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My Experience Staying in a VRBO house in Orlando, FL

For my Dad's 60th birthday, he decided he wanted to have a everyone join him at Walt Disney World in Florida. In the beginning, we'd agreed to stay on-property due to the many benefits provided, mainly the ease of transportation of getting to/from the parks each day, and being able to get into the parks 30 minutes before guests staying off-property. So, we took names of all the family members that would be going, and booked 4 rooms at Disney's Art of Animation resort. We had 3 Little Mermaid rooms (sleeps 4), and 1 Lion King suite (sleeps 6).

Unfortunately, my dad was laid off, and for awhile we thought the trip may not happen at all. After much discussion between families, we finally decided we'd rent a house off-property and pinch pennies anywhere we could.

I have personally stayed off-property one other time (2015) so I had a decent idea of what all we would be missing out on. The next choice we had to make was to rent a car, or use ride-share services such as Uber or Lyft. Pros of renting a car - freedom to go wherever, whenever you need to. Cons of renting a car - on top of the cost to rent the car, you also have to pay for gas and parking fees ($25 per day at Disney at the time of writing this), and trying to naviagate streets and traffic in an unfamiliar place. Pros of Ride-Share - sit back and relax while you are driven to your destination, no need to worry about gas or parking fees. Cons of Ride-Share - waiting for someone to arrive to take you, travel cost plus tipping.

Ultimately, I decided not to rent a car and use Lyft. Would I make the same decision again if staying off-property? Nope. The cost of the ride from the airport to the house was roughly $75 after tip, and about the same getting back to the airport (for 2 people). I liked not having to navigate unfamiliar parts of town, but having to wait up to 30+ minutes for a ride slowed us down at times. My biggest problem with it came day 1. We'd flown in that afternoon, grabbed our luggage, found the ride-share area, and after several failed attempts, finally got a ride to the house. Once we got to the house, we were starving! I used a meal delivery service and got Chick-Fil-A but it was $60 for 2 people! The regret of not renting a car settled in real quick!

So, what about the house. Well, there were 11 of us total and we had a 6 bedroom, 4 bathroom house. We ended up having 1 bedroom we didn't need and there was plenty of space for everyone. The house had a pool and hot tub as well as a fully furnished kitchen, game room with pool table and ping pong table, as well as a washer and dryer. Luckily we did have 1 family with us that drove (whoa!) the 18 hours from Oklahoma to Florida, so we used their vehicle on our arrival night to make a trip to Walmart for food and other essentials. The Walmart was INSANE! Because the area we stayed in was known for rental homes, most of the people shopping were unfamiliar with the store and wondering around lost. But, it was total chaos because it was packed with people! We ended up having to go twice and both times (non-peak shopping hours) were very crowded with minimal items on the shelves. The first night we spent $350 on hand soap, toilet paper, trash bags, laundry soap, snacks and sodas. We knew we'd be at the parks most evenings, so we bought more breakfast items like cinnamon rolls, cereal & milk, etc. We stayed 7 nights, and even after the service and cleaning fees, the total cost was still less than staying on-property.

So, what did it actually cost us to save this money? It cost us being able to book Individual Lightening Lane (I.L.L) reservations for Rise of The Resistance, Remy's, Slinky Dog, Flight of Passage, and more. When you stay off-property, you cannot buy I.L.L reservations until park opening vs 7am if staying on-property. We also couldn't get to the parks right at opening and rush to the ride, because those people staying on-property are allowed to enter 30mins before off-property guests. So, the lines were long before we could even get into the park for the day. So, we did miss out on rides we really wanted to do because of this. Next, we didn't have access to all the food! I love waking up in a Disney resort and being able to mobile order breakfast and coffee, and wonder over to pick it up. Each Disney resort offers fun items such as Mickey Waffles, seasonal cupcakes, flavored coffees and lates, and so much more. By being in the house, we only had access to what was there, and we had to prepare it ourselves. For me, I go on vacation to get away from having to cook & clean, so I missed my Disney grab-and-go options on many mornings!

Next, the issues with the house. Our trip was early February, so we chose a house with a hot tub to relax in after a long day in the park. Unfortunately, Florida had been in a bit of a cold spell (nothing extreme, but lows in the 40s). The hot tub could not keep up with the cooler temps, and after having to hassle with contacting the property management team every day (multiple times per day), we had a working hot tub 2 out of the 7 nights. The house had minimal furniture and was pretty worn out after having so many guests over the years. The pillows were flat, the beds were squeaky, the washing machine leaked, nails were poking up through the laminate flooring, a dishwasher rack was broken, the outlets loose in their boxes, the light bulbs needing replacing, and more. The house was fine, but I wouldn't stay at this property again. It is in need of some fresh paint and updated appliances for sure, and I imagine there are many homes in Florida in similar condition.

So, would I rent a VRBO home again? Nope. It wasn't for me. I missed the actual feeling of being on vacation and being pampered with food options outside the room, and transportation available to whisk me off to the theme parks for the day. I love the Disney skyliner and being able to be at Hollywood Studios or Epcot so quickly without even having to fold up the stroller! Plus, I missed out on rides that I really wanted to check out. I could've waited in the stand by lines, but those were running 1-2 hours typically, and with limited time in the day, it wasn't something I was willing to do. Disney is so much about the time-to-money balance. The saying 'time is money' had to have been created by a Disney traveler!

Would I have a different opinion if I'd never stayed on-property before? It's possible. By waking up each day at the house, I knew exactly what I was missing, and it sorta sucked honestly. Sitting on the lumpy couch waiting for a Lyft knowing lots of people were taking my spot for Slinky Dog really crawled under my skin!

If you are considering staying off-property, I highly suggest you compare the cost, but also the value of the experience you will be having. Disney World has multiple value resorts that make you feel like you're staying inside the magic without breaking the bank. I actually scored a value room for $152 a night recently. Make a good pro/con list for you and your family. If staying together in one big house sounds like a good idea (and I hope you guys all really like each other), then make sure you understand what it will cost you on the experience side as well as the possible savings on the financial side.

Have questions about my trip? I'd love to answer them! Shoot me an email at

Get in touch with Kelley Huff


Kelley Huff

My Experience Staying in a VRBO house in OrlandoFL

OKC Travel Agent Near Me

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Hello, and thanks for taking the time to read a bit about me. In high school, I was the French Club president (yup, I was the nerd!) which allowed me to travel to London and Paris my sophomore and senior years. From an early age, it was ingrained how important learning other cultures and countries can be. Traveling makes us humble and appreciative of our day to day lives. Booking that next trip and having a count-down going, makes the days pass easier and with less stress. Whether you want to travel within the states, cruise the ocean or along a French riverside, visit the white sand beaches ...  Read More >>>

An expert destination wedding travel agent near me with five star luxury travel packages with a luxury travel company, Vincent Vacations.

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Our cruise to Greece was fantastic and Kelley made it possible. Thank you Kelley for your updates, guidance and help along the way for the novice cruisers we are. Can’t wait for you to help us on our next exciting adventure! Highly recommend Kelley and Vincent Vacations.
-Laura Seargearnt

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I had a very wonderful experience!! Thank you Kelley for everything you did!!!! I highly recommend her travel agency for all your travel needs.
-Mary A

Re: Walt Disney World

Kelley planned a Father’s Day trip for my son-in-law and I in September 2021 and it was fantastic! She helped with the resort reservation, dining, food suggestions, and even where to get the limited edition merch. Her response time to questions was very quick, and her Disney knowledge is just amazing! Use Kelley as your travel agent, you will not be disappointed!
-Kevin M

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