Orlando, Florida (Vacation Village at Parkway)

You’ll see from our pictures that we didn’t have a great deal of time to snap those real “keeper” photos.  This was our first real family vacation with with our rather fussy then 2 year-old and at that time our only child.

What made this vacation memorable was the absence of bells and whistles and the pressure that comes with it to enjoy them.  Now you might think this is an odd thing to say but when it comes right down to it, when you go to a luxury high end resort with a lot of extras to take advantage of, and you bring your then high maintenance 2 year-old with you then this is a recipe for frustration.  All of these indulgences are just out of grasp as your 2 year-old clings to you and buries his head in your chest.  It’s not a recipe for satisfaction and the fact that you have paid for the amenities and are not able to participate only makes you regret paying for the experience that you didn’t get.

We stayed in accommodations that were just what we needed.  They were clean, simple, and straight forward.   Because our almost 2 year-old was indeed such a handful (what 2 year-old isn’t?), our vacation requirements were pretty easy to meet: we just wanted to “be” somewhere different than our own home, with things to occupy our son, that was sunny and warm.   Fancy amenities were the enemy! 

I have to say, all things considered, Vacation Village and Orlando really fit the bill.  And because I refer to it as 'not fancy', don’t think it’s plain Jane either.

Our 2 year-old had free reign of the unit and the complex and parents don’t have to be on edge.  This is after all family central!

Vacation Village is absolutely enormous and it has I would guess 5-7 high rise towers and a collection of large resort pools and accompanying small splash pads that go with each cluster of 2-3 towers.  If you get the right cluster, the newer ones, then they have large zero entry pools that are quite welcoming for even the smallest of crawlers.  

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We didn’t take advantage of Disney for the same reasons that we picked this resort, that our two year-old was better suited to shorter, less frenzied outings.  But it’s safe to say that most of the guests we spoke to we’re using it 'as base camp' for their Disney endeavours.  It’s about a 15 minute car ride to the WDW from Vacation Village.

One destination that we did partake of was Celebration, which is a Disney inspired community, neighbourhood of sorts, complete with shops and a small group of restaurants.  Many will think that I am referring to Downtown Disney when I describe this and this is not the case.  We really liked the fact that it was walkable from Vacation Village to Celebration and there was just enough there for a 2-3 hour outing which as I said was all our son could handle at the time.

Sounds pretty simple and unexciting?  Yes, indeed.  It was all we could handle at the time and we did it for a bargain basement price.  Why spend the money on a vacation with all of the bells and whistles that you know you can never never properly enjoy?  Simple, straight forward, affordable.  Vacation Village definitely “is what it is” and I am grateful “it is”!

© Paul-Sarah 2013