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March 2002

Westgate Vacation Villas
7700 Westgate Blvd
Kissimmee, Florida 34747

Welcome to www.weloveourlife.com. This is our page dedicated to our experiences while staying at the Westgate Vacation Villas in Kissimmee, Florida, near Orlando.

Our Pictures

Our 1996 Kissimmee Vacation


Accommodations Amenities Food Bar/Lounge Service Attractions Dining Nightlife Weather Tips



Accommodations

We used Interval International to trade into the Westgate Vacation Villas. Our accommodations were beautiful – one of the nicest timeshare units we have ever stayed in. Our one-bedroom unit was on the ground floor. There was a full kitchen with refrigerator (including icemaker), microwave, stove/oven, double sink, garbage disposal, and dishwasher. The cabinets were white and the counters were marble. There was a breakfast bar between the kitchen and dining area, which contained a wet bar. There was a full bath (with shower) that opened off of the dining area. This is convenient for those sleeping on the couch.

The openness continued into the living area, which contained a huge, comfortable leather sectional couch (including a sofa bed) and a large screen (we believe 48") TV with surround sound and a VCR. The floors were tile with an area rug in the living area. The décor was modern and somewhat tropical. There was a screened-in porch adjacent to the living area which contained a lounge chair as well as a table and four chairs. Beyond the porch was the pool area. We found it convenient to put the deadbolt on the inside door and go out the porch entry when we went to the pool. Of course, there was no way of locking the door to the porch, so we kept an eye on it.

The bedroom was spacious, with a king-size bed. There was a wardrobe with ample space for our open luggage. There was a 19” TV in the bedroom, also with a VCR. The bedroom opened right into the bath area, with a huge whirlpool surrounded by Grecian columns dominating the space.

This was truly a two-person whirlpool with side-by-side seats. We could turn the bedroom TV to watch it while in the whirlpool. The bath area contained a double vanity, huge shower, and a separate water closet containing the toilet. There was a closet with double mirrored doors which contained a guest safe. There were ceilings fans – one in the kitchen, one in the living area, and one over the bed. The lighting throughout the unit was thoughtfully placed, and many of the lights had dimmer switches (including the light over the whirlpool bath, which was a nice touch). There was a washer and dryer in the entry. There was also a lock-off unit (occupied by others while we were there) that contained two double beds, a TV, a wet bar with compact refrigerator and microwave, and full bath with shower. (We checked out the lock-off before its occupants checked in.) This unit could have been combined with the one we stayed in to sleep eight.

Resort Amenities

The resort had many pools (we believe 16 total). Some of the units are quite a distance from a pool; we were fairly close to ours. The pool area was surrounded by a fence and contained ample lounge chairs. Towels (albeit small and non-absorbent) are provided in the units. Our pool area contained a whirlpool meant to hold 8 with jets that were constantly running. There was a small pool (the bathing load was listed as 20) with steps in one end whose depth ranged from 3’ to 5’. It was not a diving pool, but numerous children and adults persisted in diving into it anyway. The pool was heated very high, which was nice in the evening but not refreshing in the daytime. We estimated the pool temperature to be generally over 90 degrees F. Sometimes the water in the pool was hotter than the whirlpool! There was also a small baby pool, neglected by most of the children. There was a small cabana that contained public restrooms as well as a water fountain. We noted another pool near ours had vending machines at the cabana area; ours did not. There was no lifeguard protection at our pool, so we would recommend parents closely supervise their children. There was one pool near the lobby that advertised adults only between 9 and 12 p.m. We visited that pool (which had a pool bar) one day; it was packed with screaming children, so we returned to our own quieter pool.

The resort boasts children’s activities. That is available at the lobby. From our unit, it was driving distance. They have a “fully equipped” weight room. We spoke to a guest who said the exercise facility was not very up-to-date or clean. They also advertise tennis courts, volleyball courts, and basketball courts. They have a convenience store off the main lobby. The selection was limited, and we opted not to shop there. There are desks in the lobby for purchasing Disney tickets and tickets to other local attractions.

Resort Food

Westgates Villas had limited food service. There were a couple snack bars, which we did not visit. On our last night, we ordered a 6-pack of beer and a pizza from their Pizza Hut delivery service. The beer was cold, the pizza was hot, and the delivery was prompt.

Resort Bar/Lounge

There were a couple pool bars, but we opted to avoid them, as they looked packed.

Resort People/Service

Service is an area where we feel the resort could use some major improvement. When we checked in, we had to wait in a queue similar to those found in a theme park. When it was finally our turn, the woman at the desk did not even smile or greet us in any way. She simply asked us for our confirmation and name in English that was very bad and difficult to understand. Since this was the US, we had expected to be dealing with resort personnel who at least spoke the English language, and we feel Westgates should ensure all guest-facing personnel speak decent English. (Obviously if we were outside of the US this would not be an expectation of ours.) Our non-cheerful greeter could not find our reservation at first and it took her a very long time to check us in. It seemed she had never done this before, and we started to get nervous. Finally she found the reservation, handed us two keys, and pointed us towards Guest Services, where we were told to wait. That was a little better – at least the guy spoke English. He told us to get our car and to follow his golf cart to our unit. He said he was the bellhop but did not offer to help with our luggage. He merely opened the door, showed us the bathroom and where the whirlpool was, and left. We are usually generous tippers, but we did not feel he had done anything to warrant a tip.

We explored the unit but could not locate any towels, so we called the front desk. After being transferred two times, we were told they would be delivered shortly. Eventually we located the towels – they had been stowed under the bathroom sinks, not an obvious location. We decided to let the towel order stand (they were delivered several hours later while we were out). It would have been nice if the bellhop had told us where the towels were. After we unpacked and settled in, we decided to go out to dinner. We thought it would be wise to use the guest safe to store our valuables (and we recommend that). There were no instructions on the safe. We have used safes like this before and tried several things, but nothing worked. We called Security, and no one answered (an ominous sign). We called Guest Services, stated our problem, and they transferred us to a line where no one picked up (probably Security). Exasperated, we tried a number that was posted in the unit as an extension to dial if we were having issues (we were). Someone did answer and he tried to help us. His instructions weren’t quite right. After some more time, we were able to get the safe to work. Suffice to say we weren’t exactly overwhelmed by the service.

The next day, we ventured over to the lobby (it was quite a distance, so we drove). It was a Saturday, and we were horrified by what we saw. People were waiting in lines so long to check in that we figured they would be lucky if they were in their units by dark (it was about 11 a.m. at the time). The noise level was deafening. Understandably, after long mornings spent traveling, families were frustrated at this additional wait. The lobby was simply too small to handle crowds like that. Our guess is that the resort has continued to expand, but the lobby has not expanded to sufficiently handle the influx of people. We had to fight our way through large numbers of people to get a look at the convenience store (not too convenient). We made our way over to the Disney desk and purchased tickets to Pleasure Island. We went to the other activities desk and had to deal with a woman who spoke worse English than our friendly greeter of the day before. We tried repeatedly to explain that we wanted to reserve round-trip cab service to Pleasure Island the following evening. The woman screwed it up. The following day when the cab did not arrive as scheduled (and we called them) we found out she had given the cab company a nonexistent unit number, and had simply booked one-way service (we were able to find a cab for the way home). Our advice to those staying here is to avoid the lobby and the resort employees as much as possible and make your own arrangements; you will be glad you did. Honestly, the unit was beautiful, but the low level of service is a major factor that prohibits us from labeling this resort “Best of.”

One note on the service: we did have a good experience that we should mention. We had a nagging problem with the toilet in the bathroom off of the dining area – it didn’t like to flush consistently. Finally we had to call maintenance. That was a pleasant surprise – someone showed up fairly promptly and fixed the problem, at least temporarily. The toilet acted up again a couple days later, and we again had to call maintenance. They fixed it while we were out of the unit.

Area/Attractions

There is plenty to do in the Orlando area, and you don’t have to be a kid to enjoy it. There are many things we could suggest, but we have decided to write up those things we decided to do during this visit. We also visited this area in October 1996 (see that write-up) and chose to do some different things at that time. Note that we visited the parks as two adults, with no children in tow. We happen to like fast-moving, scary, thrilling rides and recognize that may not be for everyone. If you get motion sickness, stick to the shows. There are height restrictions for some of the rides. If you have very small children, strollers are a must, as there is a lot of walking. Do yourself a favor and wear supportive, comfortable walking shoes (we opted for sneakers). Also remember to take your camera in a bag that you can wear or strap onto yourself. Sunglasses and hats are suggested for warm days. Remember to put on some sun protection. Note that all the amusement parks are now required to inspect all bags (even diaper bags) as a result of the September 11 terrorist attacks. Hydrate yourself and your loved ones by drinking plenty of water, especially on warm days.

Disney/MGM Studios - Disney/MGM Studios Web Page
We got there just as the park was opening, and would recommend that. Our first stop was Star Tours, a virtual thrill ride that is pretty realistic. Next, we went to Sounds Dangerous, a show featuring Drew Carey. Guests wear headphones, and it is unique, as the microphones were actually placed in Carey’s ears. It can also get quite loud. Note that the theater is completely dark for 7 minutes of the presentation. We sat next to a small child whose mother did not put the headphones on, and the child was understandably distraught and confused when the lights went out. This is definitely not for small children. Next we sought out the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, but the line was very long, so we got Fast Passes. Fast Pass is a unique thing: guests input their tickets and a Fast Pass pops out with a range of time when the guests should return and can go right to the front of the line with little to no wait. While this sounds great, sometimes the Fast Passes can be for hours in the future, so if there are rides and/or shows you definitely want to go to, be sure to get your Fast Passes early. From there, we went to the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith. We did have to wait in line for a half hour, but figured it would work out just right. The ride was great, but be prepared for an intense, brief, coaster ride with lots of loud music. After that, it was time to use our Fast Passes at Tower of Terror. This is your typical Disney ride – very well done, with ride attendants in costume and acting in character. This was a good ride, both scary and thrilling, and not for the weak in the knees, as there are rapid drops.

At this point, we took a break for lunch at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant. It was worth the 15-minute wait. The restaurant appeared to be a drive-in theater. Diners were seated in retro 50s cars outfitted with small counter type tables, and all faced towards a movie screen that showed clips from old sci-fi movies, interspersed with old drive-in ads. It was blessedly cool. The non-alcoholic drinks are bottomless. We were thirsty and each ordered a pink lemonade, which was cheerfully replaced without our having to ask each time we got down to the bottom (all told, we drank 6 lemonades between the two of us). Keith had an overstuffed ham sandwich and chips, and Lori had a good burger and classic crinkle-cut fries. It is not cheap, but we felt like we got what we paid for.

We knew we wanted to participate in Who Wants to be a Millionaire, so we got the Fast Pass for that. We went on the Great Movie Ride, which was somewhat hokey and tame. We did the backlot tour, which was worthwhile. We walked through the tribute, Disney: One Man’s Dream, then saw the very informative short film (it was nice and cool). We went back to Who Wants to be a Millionaire and were selected to be Fastest Fingers contestants. This is a lot of fun, and a must for anyone who has ever watched the show. The host is excellent. Alas, we did not get to the hot seat, but we had fun. We did not do the shows, which you may want to attend if you have little ones.

Pleasure Island - Pleasure Island's Web Site
Pleasure Island is an adult area with clubs. This is not a place to take kids. Patrons pay one entry price which gets them into the clubs and shows. Drinks are extra. There is limited food available – some snacks in some of the clubs, and some stands sell food. We recommend taking a taxi if you plan to drink – that’s what we have done on the two times we visited. Taxis are readily available when you exit Pleasure Island. We also recommend eating dinner before visiting Pleasure Island, if you plan to imbibe (the drinks are strong). We had a taxi drop us off at downtown Disney, where we ate dinner, then strolled over to Pleasure Island. Since we were unable to get into the Comedy Club the last time we visited, that is where we went first. It is improve comedy, along the lines of the TV show “Whose Line is it Anyway.” After that, we wandered around a bit, watching the dancers at the Rock N Roll Beach Club. We eventually ended up at the Adventurers Club, which we highly recommend. Patrons enter on the top floor. It is decorated like a set out of an Indiana Jones movie. Make your way downstairs, get a drink, take a seat, and watch the show. Entertainers mingle with the guests and are pretty funny. We learned a drinking song about beer to the tune of “Do Re Mi” from The Sound of Music. We then went into the library for the Cabaret show, which was hysterical – funnier than the Comedy Club. This was probably our favorite part of the evening. After that, Lori got to do her requisite recording at the recording studio – this time to Sarah MacLachlan’s Adia. To wind the evening down, we listened to Elliot Dyson play the sax at the jazz club. He was excellent, and the ambiance was soothing.

Epcot - Epcot's Web Site
We had visited Epcot back in 1996 but had not allowed ourselves enough time, so this time we were there when the park opened at 10 a.m. The first place we went was to Guest Relations, to make a reservation for dinner (a must). We had eaten at the San Angel Inn in Mexico back in 1996; this time we opted for Nine Dragons in China. Note that Future World opens at 10, but the World Showcase does not open until noon. We began in Future World with Body Wars, a virtual ride we had done before. We liked Star Tours at Disney/MGM better. We next went on to do Ellen’s Energy Adventure (featuring Ellen DeGeneres and Bill Nye the Science Guy). We had ridden this before and had enjoyed it, and we enjoyed it once again. Next we rode Spaceship Earth, which we had also done before. If you want to ride the Test Track, get your Fast Pass early. We were not willing to wait in a 1+ hour line, so we never got to ride it, even later in the evening. We visited The Living Seas, which is a limited indoor aquarium. We were not impressed, and prefer Baltimore’s Aquarium any day. We rode Living with the Land, which is a slow-moving boat on the water (even though it is about the Land). It is interesting when you get to the hydroponic plants they are growing indoors.

At this point, we headed over to the World Showcase. We made a bee-line for Germany, where we got big, cold beers and soft pretzels. We wandered through each prototype country, trying some pastry in France, some sparkling wine in Italy, some Moroccan wine and beer, among other things. We stopped into the pub of the Rose & Crown in England to have a cold beer. Pam Brody began doing her piano bar act just as we were leaving. We both bought shirts to wear for dinner, as it had been a very hot afternoon. We rode El Rio de Temple in Mexico, where guests float under a star-lit sky. It is tame, similar to the Magic Kingdom’s It’s a Small World, but is cool and relaxing. Even if you don’t eat in Mexico, we recommend stopping in. The scene of a Mexican village is absolutely breathtaking. Afterwards, we got frozen margaritas and drank them while standing in line for the Maelstrom at Norway. It’s not a very thrilling ride, and it is a lot more entertaining after a margarita. We changed shirts and went to dinner at Nine Dragons in China. We ordered a bottle of Spring Moon (Chinese) wine. Lori had wonton soup, pot stickers, and scallops with black beans. Keith had hot & sour soup, chicken salad (Chinese salad), and some of the best Kang Bao Chicken he has ever had. It was a long, full day, and we left the park at 8 p.m. after spending 10 hours there.

Universal's Islands of Adventure - Islands of Adventure Web Page
We were originally going to go to Universal Studios, but a local waitress told us Islands of Adventure had better rides (and that is what we enjoy), so after studying both brochures, we opted for Islands of Adventure. First of all, we knew right away we were not at a Disney park, as it wasn’t quite as organized. Disney sets the standard for theme parks, and it is difficult for others to compare. Universal’s parks are located closer to population, so there is not as much room. One nice plus was that we got to park in a parking garage, so the car was not hot in the afternoon. Universal does not have trams to take guests to the park’s entrance like Disney does, so be prepared for a lot of walking. On the day we visited, not all the people movers were working, so there was even more walking. Guests must walk through Universal’s version of downtown Disney (full of shops and restaurants like Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville) before arriving at the entrances to the theme parks.

Islands of Adventure is made up of separate “islands”: Suess Landing, The Lost Continent, Jurassic Park, Toon Lagoon, and Marvel Super Hero Island. We started out at Marvel Super Hero Island with the Incredible Hulk Coaster, probably the best coaster we rode on this particullar trip. Next we went to Doctor doom’s Fearfall, which we assumed would be something like Disney/MGM’s Tower of Terror. What a disappointment. After an initial rise and drop, the ride is over. We stood in a brief line that took us through the offices of the Daily Planet, to ride the amazing Adventures of Spider-Man. This was a truly creative ride, and our favorite on this trip. Everyone puts on 3D glasses and rides in cars. It is not a virtual ride; the cars do move. The visual effects are spectacular: Spider Man and the villains appear to reach out and touch you, and it genuinely feels like you are whipping through the streets of New York, diving up and down. It was fabulous and is difficult to describe. We went to Toon Lagoon and rode Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges. There were signs all along the walk that warned us we would be drenched. They weren’t kidding. There is an area in the middle of the raft where riders can secure things like cameras and snap down a water-proof cover: make sure you do that and take off any watches that aren’t waterproof. We did get soaked. There is also a flume ride, which we opted out of after our drenching. We strolled through Jurassic Park and considered goin on the Jurassic Park River Adventure, but there were warning signs about getting wet, and we were still wringing out our clothing, so we kept on going. We made it to the Lost Continent, and rode the Flying Unicorn, a tame small coaster. We ate lunch (basic burgers) at the Enchanted Oak Tavern. There are two more extreme coasters called Dueling Dragons. One is Fire and one is Ice, and supposedly they are different rides. We had to walk a long time through a twisty-turny castle to get to the one coaster, so we were content with riding only one. Suess Landing is really for the little folk. At this point, the skies opened up, and we ducked into a bar at Point of Entry for a drink. We decided we enjoyed Spider Man so much that we wanted to do it again, so we went back and stood in line for 45 minutes to repeat the ride. It was worth it. Note that we were at Islands of Adventure when it opened and were finished by early afternoon. We wished we had opted for the pass to both parks, as we would have gone over the Universal Studios at that time.

Dining

Cattleman's Steak House -2940 Vineland Road, Kissimmee, FL 34746 407-397-1888
We had eaten at Cattleman’s back in 1996, when Lori had some of her best crab legs ever, so we decided to visit again. Alas, they no longer had crab legs, but we had a decent dinner. We ordered a bottle of Coppola Chardonnay (very crisp). Lori had the shrimp cocktail and shrimp scampi. Keith had the salad bar and the 6-ounce filet. The steak was good and juicy. The bread was available at the salad, bar it was mouth-watering. Our server was excellent – we never had to ask for anything like more water; she kept on top of things.

Carrabba’s Italian Grill - 7890 W. Irlo Bronson Hwy. (Route 192), Kissimmee, FL 34747 407-390-9600
Carrabba's Web Site
We had driven past this place and it looked interesting, so we went there for dinner on a Saturday evening. We weren’t aware that is was a chain. Since it was Saturday, we went shortly after 6 p.m. (and waited about 20 minutes). The ambiance is that of a winery, and there is a pasta bar along one wall, a brick oven, and tile floors throughout. It was bustling on the Saturday night we visited, and although it is not a quiet place, our server did his best to make us feel like we were on our own island. We shared an antipasti platter of calamari, brochette carrabba, and mozzarella marinara. All were tasty. The bread with frest olive oil and herbs was excellent. Lori has some delicious lobster ravioli. Keith had a large helping of tasty veal. We ordered a pinot grigio that went well with our dinner. Our server was wonderful, indulgent, and allowed us to take out time. We left at nearly 8 p.m., and the line stretched pretty far outside around the building.

Wolfgang Puck Café Disney - 1284 E. Buena Vista Dr., Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830 407-938-9653
Wolfgang Puck Cafe Disney's Web Site
This is a big, bright, restaurant at Downtown Disney, which is where we opted to eat before our evening at Pleasure Island. The Café is downstairs, and the more upscale restaurant is upstairs. We opted for the more casual of the two. There are tables in the back that overlook the water. If you are into sushi (we are not), they have a sushi bar. We each ordered pizzas: Keith had the traditional cheese pizza, with cheese, tomato, and pesto, and Lori had the BLTA, which included bacon, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and avocado. Both were done in a brick oven and were tasty. Keith had some cold Sierra Nevada Pale Ale on Top. Lori had a glass of Piper Sonoma sparkling wine, then tried Wolfgang Puck’s signature wine. It is by Kendall Jackson, and is very good. The food was good and the service was average. It is a busy place – appropriate for children but probably not the best option for a romantic, quiet dinner.

Jiko (The Cooking Place) - Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, 407-WDW-DINE
Jiko's Web Site
This was our favorite dining experience during this vacation. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is one of its newest resorts, and it is stunning. We took a quick trip to find it the afternoon before we were going to eat there. We learned we were only a mile from a back entrance to Disney, and really only 5 minutes from this Lodge. It is breathtaking, and we continue to be amazed at the authenticity Disney lends to its resorts. The resort is intended to look like a big African lodge, which indeed it does. The swimming area is vast and contains Quonset huts. The restaurant was large and beautiful. Our server, Nasser, who was a native African, proudly informed us the restaurant had only been open 11 months and it would be his pleasure to introduce us to the foods of Africa. We began by ordering a bottle of African Chenin Blanc – Kanu Wooded (Stellenbosch ’00). It was excellent, and rested in a glass pot filled with ice suspended on a black iron floor stand. We also requested bottled water, which was brought along with crystal glasses and a plate of lemons and limes. We decided to take the plunge and try different things. Keith ordered kawabata olive flatbread, and Lori had bacon and onion flatbread. As an appetizer, Keith ordered a salad with cottage cheese, cucumber, red onion, and watermelon vinaigrette. Lori had the lobster dumplings (which actually came in a soup). For entrees, Keith chose the oak-grilled steak, which was moist and flavorful. Lori had the shrimp skewers, loaded with plenty of curry. After all those wonderful new tastes, we decided to split dessert – a pistachio crème brule, which Lori had her eye on from the beginning. We tried African liqueurs – Lori had the Amarula Cream, which had just been approved in the US, and Keith tried the Vanderhum, a smoother version of Grand Marnier. It was a delicious, relaxing, meal, and our server was wonderful about educating us and sharing with us his preferences. We highly recommend this restaurant. There is a children’s menu available (after all, it is Disney), but we saw mostly adults in this restaurant.

Nine Dragons Restaurant - Epcot
Nine Dragon's Web Site
Admittance into Epcot is required, and reserving priority seating is pretty much mandatory. They had a wide variety of Chinese cuisine to sample. We ordered a bottle of Spring Moon (Chinese) wine. Lori had wonton soup, pot stickers, and scallops with black beans. Keith had hot & sour soup, chicken salad (Chinese salad), and some of the best Kang Bao Chicken he has ever had.

Narcoosee’s - Grand Floridian Resort 407-WDW-DINE
Narcoosee's Web Site
This is located at the Grand Floridian, which we think resembles the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego. It is a beautiful resort. The restaurant is octagonal shaped and overlooks the lagoon and part of what we refer to as “Old Disney” – the part that opened back in the early 1970s. We had a nice view of the Contemporary Resort, the Monorail, and the Magic Kingdom (Cinderella’s Castle and Space Mountain were visible). We had called ahead and gotten priority seating – a must at nearly any Disney restaurant if you are having a sit-down dinner. We had a bottle of Danzante Pinot Grigio – a nice, crisp, cold white wine that goes well with Floridian weather. Keith had an appetizer with prosciutto and fresh mozzarella, and Lori had some wonderful steamed clams. Keith had stuffed chicken, and Lori has pasta tossed with shrimp and healthy chunks of lobster. At 7:25, our server informed us the fireworks would begin in a few minutes, and she extended an invitation to go out on the deck overlooking the water to watch, and then we could return. Like most of the other diners, we went out to the deck to watch the fireworks, which were beautiful, reflected in the water. The restaurant had outdoor speakers to deliver the music that went along with the show. Afterwards, we went back in, and split a chocolate mousse with after-dinner drinks. A nice dinner – not our favorite, but good nonetheless.

Nightlife

After running around at theme parks all day, walking miles, and sweating under the hot Florida sun, we were up for much nightlife. We did manage to make it to Pleasure Island after a full day at Disney/MGM and were pretty impressed with ourselves for that (we took the next day off to simply relax around the pool). Our nightlife pretty much consisted of hanging out in our whirlpool and – after a long day at Epcot – returning to our unit and taking a cold drink out to the heated pool. Ahhh! To be sure, there is nightlife available, but our best recommendation to those seeking nightlife would be to stay closer to downtown Orlando. Kissimmee/Lake Buena Vista is filled with family hotels and timeshare which accommodate…families.

Weather

Florida is a hot, humid state. We were there the third week of March. Every day (except for our last, when it cooled off a little) it went up into the high 80s F, and dipped down in the 60s at night. We saw very little rain in 7 days – a few brief downpours on our last full day. We understand Florida, like other parts of the US, was experiencing a drought, and that the temperatures were slightly above average for that time of year.

Tips/Suggestions

We took bug spray along with us and sprayed ourselves liberally before going outdoors – either to the pool or to theme parks. And we were not bothered by bugs. Be sure to take plenty of sunscreen and use it. Even with layering on the sunscreen, we came home with nice tans which could have turned into sunburn if we weren’t careful. If you are going to the theme parks, be sensible and wear comfortable, supportive walking shoes. We saw people in high heels, and teenagers in platform shoes nursing blisters. It may sound old-fashioned, but you will be doing plenty of walking, and you will be thankful you wore something practical. Flip-flops are a no-no because they can come off in some of the rides. Make dinner reservations when you can (especially at Disney restaurants). If you cannot make a reservation, try to eat at off-peak hours. We noted that Disney is especially handicapped-accessible – it was great to see those in wheel chairs gaining access to many different rides. Pace yourselves. Remember, this is supposed to be a vacation. We did one day on, one day off – a theme park one day, a day by the pool the next – for 6 days. This worked well, as we got to do what we wanted to do, yet relaxed at the same time. If you want to, you could be doing something 18 hours a day, every day, but you would leave needing a vacation. There are plenty of theme parks we did not get to: the water parks, Universal Studios, Sea World, etc. We hope to get to some of these on a future trip.