Written by McKenna Thelen.
About every other year, my family and I travel down to Florida to visit my relatives that live down there. We stayed at Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Orange Lake Resort in Kissimmee for our second time. This is a great place to stay if you are traveling with kids.
We stayed for a week and we spent most of our time by the outdoor pool with a slide and the lazy river. They offer plenty of activities such as three fitness centers, Putt Putt or play on the mini golf course, and an arcade which I never got the chance to check out. There is also free Wi-Fi throughout the whole resort which was very nice to have. In order to use the tubes for the lazy river or to play Putt Putt, wristbands are required that you can pay for. Luckily a family who was leaving the resort gave us their five passes for wristbands which was awesome! Tennis, basketball, racquetball, and volleyball are available at the resort. My dad and two sisters played tennis one morning and came back complaining about how hot it was outside (rackets are available but you have to bring your own balls), they still had a good time and said the courts were in good condition.
We stayed in a Villa which was very much like a condo but there are also Studio and Signature type of rooms. The Villa offers amenities such as fully equipped kitchens, a dining room/living room area with a pullout sofa sleeper, a furnished patio/balcony and more! It was great to have such a spacious place especially with my family of five.
The resort offers dining such as Legacy Sports Bar & Grill, Breezes Restaurant and Bar, River Island Grilling Company, Anchors, Tradewinds Bar, Windward & Leeward Pool Bars, Paisan Pizzeria, and Currents Café. In order to save money we bought groceries that lasted us the entire week from the Publix that is right next to the entry of the resort so I did not get to experience many of these places to eat. Although, on some of the 97 degree days we visited Currents Café at River Island Exchange for some ice cream. They only had eight different choices but if you order a double scoop they give you a lot more for your money. Currents Café also offers freshly brewed Starbucks coffee, pastries, sandwiches, wraps, fruit, salads, desserts, smoothies, magazines, newspapers and more. I also visited Breezes Restaurant and Bar at the West Village, which serves lunch and dinner, but I did not try their food. It is located right by the outdoor pool and it has live music which I thought was pretty good. When I went, there were face painting and a clown blowing up balloons along with different activities for kids right outside the restaurant by the pool. But I am sure the activities are different depending on the night.
Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Orange Lake Resort is located next door to the Walt Disney World theme parks. One of the seven days we were in Florida we decided to go to Disney World which I have been to multiple times and it never gets old. I highly recommend visiting this magical place if you do not mind waiting in long lines and a little chaos. I did not have a fast pass because I do not like the fact that you have to be at a specific ride at a certain time but if you do not mind that then it is perfect for getting on rides right away. We visited the Magic Kingdom first and my favorite ride was the Haunted Mansion. We only got to go on four rides here because the lines were so long but other than that it was a good time. We packed a lunch to save money instead of buying all of the expensive food. Then we went to Hollywood Studios and had dinner at Min & Bill’s Dockside Dinner. If you order from the kids menu you get more for your money at a low price. I had the pulled pork sandwich that comes with a choice of apples or coleslaw with a soda and a cookie. We went to see my uncle at Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular which is really cool to see him in action as Indiana Jones. My favorite ride here was definitely Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster because it is super fast.
I recommend going to Magic Kingdom first and then going to Hollywood Studios because while everyone is watching the fireworks at night at Magic Kingdom you could be standing in no line at Hollywood Studios and hopping right on the ride. I did not visit Animal Kingdom this year but I really enjoyed it last time I went and my favorite ride was Expedition Everest-Legend of the Forbidden Mountain. It is pretty neat because while standing in the line to ride the roller coaster it exhibits authentic and fictional elements to a yeti museum. Out of the many times that I have been to Disney World I have never been to Epcot but I hope to check it out one day.