Daily activities, like outdoor movie night, for kids and families
Long lines and crowds
Extra charge for daily housekeeping
Time-share pitches can be annoying
A non-Disney time-share resort on the Disney World property with enormous one- and two-bedroom condos, five elaborate pools, free Internet and parking, and a quieter, relaxed atmosphere just five minutes from Epcot makes the Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort a good alternative for those who want a respite from Disney's pervasive theme-driven atmosphere. Service can be middling at this upper-mid-range property and lines can get long, but with several on-site restaurants and activities for little ones, some families have reported skipping a day at Disney in favor of the lazy river and pizza here.
Because of its location, features, and condo-style apartments, Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort is an obvious pick for families with young children -- so expect the poolside splashing and occasional restaurant tantrum, but overall the scene here is more mellow than what you'll find at one of the Disney-themed hotels. Guests arriving at the porte cochere will notice a tiered sculpted water fountain surrounded by potted geraniums and palm trees. Inside, the lobby has classic details like white recessed ceilings, hanging chandeliers, and floor-to-ceiling columns with ornate sculptured tops. Brown wicker furniture is topped with green cushions and there's a comfy brown leather sofa in front of a flat-screen TV. Outside, planter boxes hold fresh herbs and there are paved pathways for meandering through the landscaped grounds.
On the Disney World property, but secluded from the frenetic Disney buzz
The Wyndham has a prime location on the Walt Disney World property, but feels secluded and low-key because of its location off quiet Bonnet Creek Road. Downtown Disney and Hollywood Studios are both a five-minute drive away; Epcot is 10 minutes away; the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom parks are between a 15- and 20-minute drive. Nothing is within reasonable walking distance; you'll want a rental car if you want to eat off the property. There's a free shuttle to Disney attractions, and a charge for the shuttle to SeaWorld and Hollywood Studios. Expect a 30-minute drive to Orlando International Airport. Another great perk at the property is free and plentiful on-site parking.
Enormous one- and two-bedroom condos with full kitchens, washers, and dryers
The Wyndham consists of 700 one- and two-bedroom condos with full kitchens and washer/dryers, making them especially economical for families. The Wyndham opened in 2004, and minor renovations since then have kept the carpets, paint, and furniture looking fresh; some guests have complained that linens need a refresh, however. It would be difficult to find more spacious and tricked out accommodations at this price point. Each is stocked with a dishwasher, four-burner stove, full oven, and refrigerator by General Electric. You also get a coffeemaker, cooking gear, dishes, and silverware. The decor is contemporary, but not particularly stylish. Think: neutral walls, brown floral carpet, and framed palm tree prints. Furniture is light wood and beds are made up with white sheets and accented with green bed skirts. There are flat-screen TVs in the comfy living rooms. Large bathrooms can include full whirlpool tubs and separate water closets, plus long vanity counters, and two sinks.
Balconies are furnished with metal table and chairs. Book a condo on a higher floor for views of Disney's fireworks display. Note that the cost of daily housekeeping isn't included with the price of a room.
The resort offers a slew of features for both kids and adults. Outdoors, there's a small mini-golf course, volleyball court, and playground. Inside, you'll find a small fitness center and a kids' club for short-term stays (it's designed as a fun place to drop the kids while parents go on a sales pitch for the time-share). There's an indoor game room with pool table, a small video arcade, and business center with desktop computers and printers. Wi-Fi is free throughout the hotel. Family activities include outdoor movie nights, bocce ball, and ice cream sundae parties. A gift shop sells everything from pasta sauce to Mickey Mouse t-shirts.
For families that love water, the pool complex at the Wyndham is hard to beat. There are five outdoor swimming pools (lifeguards on duty seasonally) spread across three pool areas. Pool toys and noodles are free to borrow and there's a shop selling goggles and flip-flops. The main pool has a zero-depth entry and slow lazy river. A second pool doesn't have the zero-depth entry but there is a waterslide, and third pool with a second lazy river. Interactive water fountains, eight hot tubs, free sun loungers, cabanas, fire pits, and picnic tables dot the expansive water area, giving families a full vacation's worth of activities.
Though there's a gift shop with a mini-market section, the high prices and low variety mean that most guests drive the five minutes to Wal-Mart to stock their kitchens. There are three restaurants for casual dining: La Cantina serves made-to-order sandwiches, burgers, and wraps for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; La Cocina Pizzeria does pizza, salad, and wraps adjacent to one of the pools; Escudos Bar & Grill serves sandwiches, paninis, and wraps in a pleasant outdoor setting with a decent bar. Shipwreck-theme Treasure Bar is located near the pool complex.
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