I’ve mentioned many times that I try to pick destination first, then work my miles and points stash around it. That said, we do short family getaways in Florida where the purpose is just that: to get away. Usually, what matters most is that city has some kids’ activities and that it’s located within short driving distance (1-2 hours from home). Oh, and that it doesn’t cost much via points.
We are fortunate to be able to afford several decent trips per year, but it’s nice to break up routine now an again. That’s why I went ahead and reserved two nights in Park Inn Kissimmee during MLK weekend in January of 2016. I used Club Carlson points and was able to utilize BOGO benefit before it disappeared into oblivion like so many “too good to be true” hobby perks usually do. The cost for the whole weekend was only 15K points, a complete steal. As you have guessed, the location offers lots of activities for kids, hotel has pools etc. And yet, after some back and forth, I went ahead and cancelled the reservation.
Here is why:
1. We don’t plan to go to Disney parks during that getaway, mostly because it’s so stinking expensive. We’ll probably do it in 2017, but next year our budget (and wallets) just can’t handle the assault of Mickey.
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Apologies to Disney lovers, I know it’s a touchy subject.
2.The place gets mixed reviews on TripAdvisor. Even though most of them say the rooms are clean, there are reports of hot water issues, noise, crowded pools and so on. Of course, for 7.5K Club Carlson points per night, how can one complain? And it’s true, if you are just looking for a place to sleep, this establishment will most likely fit the bill.
But I want us to have a fun getaway, not just a semi-decent room with a myriad of potential issues. The truth is, I have a lot of hotel points in various programs, so we don’t have to compromise. We actually CAN stay anywhere we want, so why settle? Sure, me of five years ago would totally go for it, but things change, sometimes for the better.
3. My husband absolutely hates Orlando and its traffic. I’m not a huge fan of the city either, but we go there for the kids’ sake. Still, there are other locations that would be a good fit for kids and adults alike. I really like staying near a beach. It’s an Eastern European thing, we literally can’t get enough of the ocean.
So, that’s why I went ahead and just cancelled the reservation. Sure, I didn’t have to do it now, I could have just waited till it got closer to deadline. The problem is, I’m super cheap and love me some good deal. I knew I would be tempted to just keep that reservation. And who can argue with paying 15K Club Carlson points for two nights at a hotel? But if half of the family isn’t all that happy on a trip, is it really a deal?
To be clear, I’m not saying that I’m too good for this place, not at all. And if you are on a tight budget and happen to have a ton of Club Carlson (and only Club Carlson) points, you should definitely consider it when planning your Disney vacation. Even without BOGO benefit, paying 15,000 points per night is a tremendous bargain.
Once again, I was reminded how nice it is to use points to pay for family trips. For someone as
indecisive OCD as me, there is a huge advantage. I can change my mind as often as I like till I find that perfect combination. Like Cheapblackdad said, every trip is like a child you birth and nurture to maturity. Sure, not every “baby” will become a professional football player who goes on to win a Superbowl. But it’s nice to do your best to make your family trip as enjoyable as possible. Just don’t overdo it and don’t be like me!
So, where are we going instead? I have no clue, but I’m sure it will be a long and exhausting decision process. Stay tuned.
Readers, can you relate to this insanity?
P.S. Reader Doug had been to this property and made this comment:
“We stayed at the Park Inn Kissimmee last June. My family of 6 had 2 rooms for 9 nights all on points. The hotel is not fancy (probably was when it was built) and needs a some TLC. The pool area turns into a party in the evenings which many enjoy. However the salt water pool was nice and so was the fresh water pool. There’s a Quick Service Pizza Hut perfect for the kids! Their ‘convenience store’ was not over priced and has everything you would need… would have saved me a trip to Walgreens had I known ahead of time. Breakfast is over priced though (they gave me two days free) but Dunkin’ Donuts is across US-192! Shower was never cold and I actually enjoyed the unique arrangement of a corner shower/tub instead of the traditional rectangle shower/tub arrangement. Everyone (staff and guests) were friendly. My daughters used the free shuttle after the fireworks show at Epcot one evening without any issues. So for $150 (two Club Carlson Visa cards annual fees) we did okay. Paying full price? Since there would be a resort fee normally (free when booking on points) there are probably better options for sure. And really this was just a place to sleep after a long day at the parks… and we slept just fine.”
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Leana is the owner and founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.