Yes, thatÂ´s right- rent a house. Not only is renting a house a great way to accommodate a lot of people, have your own private pool, full kitchen, and laundry facilities, but it can also be much cheaper than staying in a hotel.
WhatÂ´s a Rental House?
There are thousands of homes located around the Walt Disney World Resort that are used exclusively as vacation homes. The sole purpose of these homes is to be rented out to patrons of Disney World. If anyone lives in these homes, it is for only a couple of weeks or a month out of the year. A rental house comes fully furnished with everything a typical home would have: furniture, bedding, towels, eating and cooking utensils, dishwasher, washer/dryer, TV (sometimes a big screen), DVD/VCR players, and sometimes they will even have a Playstation.
Other extra amenities that you can find in a rental home could be a two-car garage and a private, enclosed swimming pool. One of the best perks that we always enjoy in a rental home is the private swimming pool. It is exclusively yours to enjoy. Splash around in it or completely relax in it, it is all up to you. You donÂ´t have to worry about other people getting in your way or vice versa. Having a pool can be a great way to take an afternoon break from the parks and cool off.
Rental homes also come in a variety of sizes. They can be as small as a 2-bedroom home up to a 7-bedroom home that can sleep 16 or more people. The price will fluctuate with the number of rooms, so only get as much house as you think you will need. There are so many houses with so many different options, so everyone should be able to find one that fits their needs.
Why a House Instead of a Hotel?
There are many reasons why you should consider a house instead of a hotel. Some of these reasons could be financial and others could be preference.
o Could be cheaper than a single hotel room.
o A large family can rent a house for sometimes half of what two hotel rooms could cost.
o Multiple families can share a big home and save even more (and possibly have more fun) than staying in multiple hotel rooms.
o Having a full kitchen can allow you to save tons on food expenses. Instead of being forced to eat out 3 times a day, you can cook and eat like you would at home.
o With a free washer and dryer you can pack half of the clothes that you would normally need and wash them for free (you will still need your own detergent).
o Room to stretch out. Instead of a bedroom with an attached sink, you could rent a 3 bedroom house that includes a living room, kitchen, dining room, patio, and multiple bathrooms. Instead of 300 sq feet, you can get 2,000 sq feet.
o Privacy. If youÂ´re the type that doesnÂ´t like to be stacked with a bunch of people, a house could be a good option. Let the kids jump around, yell and scream, or walk around in your PJs. ItÂ´s your house, do whatever you want.
o Did I mention the private pool?
Is There a Downside?
Unfortunately there could be some downsides to renting a home. Depending on what your personal situation is, these could or could not affect your vacation plans.
o Distance from parks- The closest a house is going to be from the gates of Disney World is about 2 miles. ItÂ´s not that far, but it will add a couple of minutes to your Mickey commute. Some homes could be as far away as 15 miles. Use caution when thinking about staying so far away.
o No Disney perks- You will not be able to gain access to the parks early or stay late as Disney Resort guests are able to do. You will also need to pay $8 a day for parking if you do not have an Annual Pass.
o You will need a vehicle- You will need to either drive to Disney World or rent a car during your trip. You will not have access to a shuttle or to DisneyÂ´s transportation. If you already planned on driving, this should not be a problem.
What Should I Consider When Looking For a Home?
There are many things that you should consider when looking for a rental home. Below are some tips on finding the best home for you.
o How big, how small?- You need to do a thorough assessment of your family/group. If you have 4 children, it would be nice if they all had their own bed or even room. Sometimes it doesnÂ´t cost any more to get a house that has 1 or 2 extra rooms. On the other hand, if your children are small, you probably donÂ´t need those extra rooms. Staying in a strange house could be too much for the young ones and they might end up sleeping together and wasting a room. If your kids want to share rooms look for homes that have bunk beds or multiple beds in the same room.
o 2 Master Suites- If you are planning on sharing a home with another family, look for a house that offers 2 master suites. This means that there are at least 2 rooms in the house that have an attached bathroom and that will have a large bed. Most of the rental homes in the area were built specifically for vacation rentals and offer this kind of layout.
o Distance from the parks- As mentioned before, some homes can be as close as 2 miles from Disney World and others can be as far away as 15 miles. This is something that needs to be explored. 15 miles can put at least an additional 30 minutes into your afternoon break if you decide to go home to rest. You will pay more or less depending on the location of your home, so look at what the price range is and determine if time or money is a priority for your vacation.
o Length of Stay- Most home rentals are rented for a week and the week begins and ends on a Saturday. If this schedule does not match yours, try to find a home that has some flexible conditions. Some owners allow renters to stay for less than a week and will charge per night and some will allow guests to stay for an additional night or two at a prorated rate. Make sure that your schedules match up before booking.
o Did we talk about the pool? Not all rental homes come with a pool, but most do. Look into each home to make sure that a pool is included if you want one. Most of the pools are also heated pools. If you are staying between the months of October and April, a heated pool is highly suggested. Most of the time there is an additional charge of $20-$30 a day for pool heat. Find this out upfront.
o Special kid items- Ask if highchairs or playpens are available with the house. Most owners cater to families and will provide these options to their guests for free or for a small charge. Some houses even come with available strollers that you can take to the parks. If you were planning on renting a stroller, this could save you some additional money.
How do I Find the Best Deal?
Read the book! -Just kidding. Look at our next article Renting a House for Your Disney World Vacation- Part II to get the lowdown on the money-saving tips and resources that are available. Stay tuned…