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Oyster Hotel Review
Family-focused time-share-style resort with four pools and a popular golf course, but lower service standards than at other nearby resorts
The Mystic Dunes Resort & Golf Club is a collection of 986 one-, two-, and three-bedroom condo-style guest rooms, each with a full kitchen and a washer-dryer. It is best suited to families and small groups on longer vacations who are happy to relax by the four pools, play some golf (or minigolf), and maybe spend a day or two at the nearby Disney theme parks (the resort is just a 10-minute drive from Animal Kingdom). While the in-room decor needs a refresh and service standards are low compared to what you'll find at other resorts nearby, the large rooms (starting at 650 square feet) are aggressively priced and the quality of the pools and popular on-site golf course are real assets.
While it isn't a conventional resort -- it's a "vacation ownership" resort, meaning that all units are individually owned -- guests don't seem to notice any appreciable difference, save occasional mentions of deals and priority service for owners. (They get, for example, first dibs on tee times and free use of the tennis courts.) There are time-share presentations for potential buyers, to be sure, but there's absolutely no pressure to attend.
Service is less impressive than at other nearby resorts like the Omni or Reunion.
With apartment-like accommodations, only one restaurant, and limited poolside service, interaction with the staff is limited. In general, the service standards are lower than they are at other nearby golf resorts, such as the Omni ChampionsGate. An example: After fruitlessly trying to connect to the resort's Wi-Fi network, I called to request an Ethernet cable and was told it'd be delivered right away. Thirty minutes later, I called to check on it and was told, "Our runner was on his break." It finally arrived an hour after I'd first requested it. Another example: After checking in with an attendant for my reserved cabana (including a fruit plate and six beverages, for a hefty fee), he simply pointed to my cabana -- that was the extent of the service provided; I even had to take down the "reserved" chain myself.
- Daily housekeeping only available at extra cost; this is not uncommon at other time-shares, including the Disney Deluxe Villas.
- Front desk employees frequently appeared flustered by short lines of guests (in the off season).
- Though the Dunes Lagoon pool has a small bar, there's no drink service; even the guests who rent cabanas have to fetch their own cocktails.
- Free resort shuttle runs during the day and ferries guests to and from rooms, pools, activities, and the golf clubhouse.
Just a 10- to 15-minute drive from Disney World; farther from Universal and the airport than most Orlando resorts
The resort is situated just west of Interstate 4, five miles south of Disney's Magic Kingdom and 27 miles southwest of Orlando International Airport. As at most Orlando resorts, a car is essential, even if it's just used for driving to nearby strip malls, chain restaurants, or the grocery store.
- A good selection of chain restaurants line Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway, a commercial strip five minutes away.
- Just south of the Disney theme parks, about a 10- to 15-minute drive away
- Downtown Disney, a retail and dining complex that also provides park-and-ride service to Disney theme parks is about 15 minutes away.
- SeaWorld Orlando is 20 minutes north along Interstate 4; the drive to Universal Orlando Resort takes about the same amount of time.
- 30-minute drive to downtown Orlando; there's not much to see downtown, though Orange Avenue has a notable dining and nightlife scene, and non-theme-park attractions like the Orlando Science Center and the Harry P. Leu Gardens are popular with tourists.
- Getting to Cape Canaveral and Kennedy Space Center takes about 90 minutes by car.
- 30-minute drive to Orlando International Airport
Full kitchens and lots of space are tempered by older-looking decor.
The standard room at Mystic Dunes is a 650-square-foot apartment, complete with bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, living room with a sleeper sofa, and a washer-dryer (unlike at other condo-resorts, all of the units have the same furnishings). While the rooms look a bit older, everything's perfectly clean, including the full kitchen, which is equipped with everything needed to prepare meals for four. For larger families, the three-bedroom units accommodate up to 12 people. Plus, parents might enjoy a soak the Jacuzzi tub in the bedroom after a busy day. However, the design at Omni ChampionsGate and at the Reunion Resort is a bit more 21st century (and both hotels also have more reliable Wi-Fi connections).
- All guest rooms are large, one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments with full kitchens, washer-dryers, and sleeper sofas in the living room.
- Queen-size beds in standard rooms: off-brand mattress (neither notably comfortable nor unpleasant); four poly-fil pillows; light blanket appropriate for the climate; one-bedroom Deluxe units have king-size beds
- Each kitchen includes a stove, oven, microwave oven, fridge, freezer, 12-cup coffeemaker (with free generic-brand coffee), toaster, teakettle, pots, pans, utensils, and four place settings (including four wine glasses).
- Breakfast bar with four stools; no proper dining table in the standard one-bedroom suites (something the one-bedroom Deluxe units do offer).
- Whirlpool washer-dryer combo with Tide detergent
- Huge flat-screen TVs, both in the bedroom and the living area, in two- and three-bedroom villas. Some older tube TVs can still be found.
- Small in-wall safe, big enough for some laptops
- Strong hard-wired connection available for a daily fee
- Most bathrooms have stand-up showers; two-bedroom units also have a tub.
- Bar soap only; no other toiletries
The resort offers plenty to do, sometimes for an extra fee.
With four pools, a par-71 golf course, tennis courts, minigolf, and a range of kid-friendly activities, there's plenty to do at Mystic Dunes. While there are numerous structured activities -- like minigolf tournaments and movie nights -- they often come at a nominal additional cost.
Four well-maintained pools are popular features -- but they aren't as nice as the pools at the pricier Reunion Resort.
The resort has four distinct pool areas, meaning you're never far from at least one. (Free resort shuttles that run throughout the day connect everything anyway.)
- The Dunes Lagoon is the biggest of the four pools, and includes a waterfall, a waterslide, cabanas, plentiful deck chairs, and a gradually sloping "zero-entry" section.
- Small bar with beer, frozen drinks, and Maui Pizza at the Lagoon pool
- Cabanas can be booked -- or won during resort activities like minigolf tournaments -- though there's no service provided.
- The Garden Pool is good for families, with a smaller waterfall appropriate for younger kids, and plentiful shade.
- The Terrace Pool has a broad deck, ideal for sunbathing.
- The smaller Courtyard Pool is convenient for guests near the resort entrance. It also has good sunbathing and a small kid-friendly waterfall.
A great place for families with large suites and daily activities
- One-Bedroom Standard rooms sleep four on a queen-size bed in the master bedroom and a queen-size sleeper sofa in the separate living room; the three-bedroom suites (the largest units) sleep up to 12 people; adjoining units also available.
- Full kitchen in every guest room
- Kenzie's restaurant has a short kids' menu with seven lunch-and-dinner items.
- Kids' activities and family-friendly activities like arts and crafts, movie nights, and sports tournaments are constantly scheduled and run by the resort at nominal extra cost.
- Disney's theme parks are 10 to 15 minutes away; SeaWorld is a 20-minute drive.
Limited on-site options, but rooms do have full kitchens
The only full-service restaurant on the property is Kenzie's, in the same building as the pro shop. As such, it sees a decent share of local golfers for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; guests also occasionally stop by, too. The menu has bar snacks, burgers, pasta, salads, and steaks. There's also a Maui Pizza on-site that delivers to rooms and the Dunes Lagoon pool.
- Kenzie's is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; its bar offers 12-ounce mugs of domestic draft beer all day long.
- Room service from Maui Pizza
- In-room kitchens: The closest grocery store, a Winn-Dixie, is a 10-minute drive from the resort.
My room and bathroom, despite the older furnishings, were perfectly clean. All four pools were well kept and the grounds, as almost everywhere in Central Florida, were expertly groomed.
As a time-share-style resort, Mystic Dunes' 986 condo units (each with a full kitchen and a washer-dryer), four pools, waterslide, popular golf course, and daily family activities make it a reasonable, more affordable alternative to Disney's villas (15 minutes away). But, with its lackluster service, limited dining, and outdated rooms, it doesn't compare to pricier resorts nearby.
Things You Should Know About Mystic Dunes Resort & Golf Club
- 7900 Mystic Dunes Lane, Celebration, Florida 34747, United States
Hotel is Also (or Was Formerly) Known As
- Mystic Dunes
- Mystic Dunes Golf Resort
- Mystic Dunes Hotel
- Mystic Dunes Orlando
- Mystic Dunes Resort
- Mystic Dunes Resort Golf Club
- Wyndham Palms
- Wyndham Palms Resort
- Deluxe One Bedroom Villa
- Lock Off Two Bedroom Villa
- Standard One Bedroom Villa
- Standard Two Bedroom Villa
- Three Bedroom Villa