Awhile back, I’ve written a 2-part post on Disney lodging options for a family of five. The challenge was to find the best bargains on points, yet still fit five people in one room. To be honest, even that seems like an overkill, as I would rather get a vacation rental or a house with that many people involved.
But what if you have 4, 5 or even 6 kids? Though, I seriously doubt anyone in this hobby has 6 kids. Anyway, for those folks one hotel room is simply not an option. You can start by browsing VRBO, AirBnB, Greatrentals and similar sites to see what you can find. In all likelihood, they will be your best bet.
But what if you are short on cash, yet flush with points? Or perhaps you are thinking about applying for a hotel-affiliated credit card and wondering about your choices. The good news is: You do have some options.
Few months ago, we have stayed for 2 nights in Holiday Inn Vacation Club Orange Lake The place goes for 35,000 points or you can use your annual renewal certificate from Chase IHG MasterCard.
In exchange, you get a 2-bedroom villa that fits up to 8 people. It’s located within 20 minute drive of Magic Kingdom, so not terrible as long as you don’t stay in park till 2 AM. The resort area is huge, and looks almost like a city onto itself. There are many amenities: pool, lazy river, restaurant, golf course etc. You can see detailed photos and reviews on this page of TripAdvisor
The big catch for this rental is that 2 people have to sleep on a sofa bed. I am always skeptical of those. The mattress is usually 3 inches thick, and you can feel the springs. Well, here is a photo:
I actually ended up sleeping on it and it wasn’t bad at all. As you can see, the mattress is fairly thick. I won’t say it was the best bed I’ve ever slept on, but it wasn’t the worst. That would be army barrack-style, dusty 4-inch mattress in my college dorm.
The rental has a king size bed in a master bedroom and 2 queen size beds in the second bedroom. There are two bathrooms, full kitchen, washer and dryer. The rental is in very good shape and looks to have been recently renovated.
The entire time I was thinking: Can it really be sufficiently comfortable for a family of 8? I think it just might be, especially if you don’t stay in your rental the entire day. Whether it’s worth it to spend 35,000 points per night is unclear.
It depends on the time of the year you would be staying and how many IHG points you have. The lowest rate I’ve found is $159 plus tax, so you would get around 0.50 cents per point in value. It’s not all that impressive, to be honest. That said, it is a good place to use your renewal certs from the credit card if your plans match up. Be aware, this property does have blackout dates during major holidays.
A reminder: The 70,000 points offer on this card will expire on March 31st. It pays me referral. As I’ve mentioned several times, some were able to get an offer of 80,000 points+$50 while making an IHG reservation.
There is a non-affiliate offer for 72,000 points that is also set to expire March 31st. My advice for you is to apply for it if you can’t get the targeted link to come up, and then try to get Chase to match it to the 80,000 points offer. There are many reports that Chase is matching the targeted link that comes up via IHG booking.
Other options to consider
This program has several options for large families. One of the best is Quality Suites Lake Buena Vista It gets great reviews, and some suites will fit up to 8 people.
The cost is 25,000 points per night. I wouldn’t advise to buy them at full price, but if you still have a decent stash from last Daily Getaways sale, it could make sense to burn them here. The rate includes full breakfast. Watch the upcoming Daily Getaways sale, though, be aware: Choice packages are very popular and will likely sell out within seconds.
A great thing about SPG is that they have several Category 2 properties in and around Lake Buena Vista. That means you can get a room for only 3,000 points on a weekend. But wait, we need something bigger than a room, right?
Well, fortunately, Sheraton Lake Buena Vista resort does have suites that will fit up to 8 people. There is an upcharge of 1,500 points per night, and you will have to call and book it over the phone.
We actually ended up getting this option but decided to cancel and redeem points at another hotel. Honestly, even with the resort fee of $19.95 as well as parking fee, it could make sense to get a suite here for only 4,500 SPG points on a weekend, especially during major holidays.
Things we did in the area
The purpose of this trip was for kids to have a camping experience in Fort Wilderness. This has become somewhat of a family tradition. However, this time was different. No one was camping (long story), so that’s how I found myself sleeping on a couch.
We couldn’t get a refund for our camping spot, so ended up taking advantage of the amenities and just hanging out in the area. I’ve described this place previously in this post We rode the monorail between the resorts, did the campfire sing-along etc.
I ended up renting one of the boats and taking my daughter along with me. I don’t have a photo, partially, because I was scared as heck the entire time. After all, I’ve never steered a boat before. Nevermind the fact that the employee said that a 10-year old could do it. I started out going really slow and my daughter was complaining that all the other guys were passing us.
I told het that her mom is a scaredy cat. To that, she starting chanting; “You are brave! You are brave!” After 10 minutes or so, I finally started feeling a bit more comfortable and picked up speed. You could hear me across the lake yelling: “I am brave! I am brave!”
No, this isn’t Tahiti. That’s a Polynesian Disney resort, and as you can see, they are building overwater bungalows to go with the theme. Kind of brilliant, if you ask me. No, they didn’t actually ask me. I didn’t check what the rates will be, but suffice to say, it will cost a LOT to stay in one of those babies.
Here is my son playing in the water sprinkler area back in Fort Wilderness. It’s the best thing since sliced bread, I mean it! The water is heated, so even in December the kids can have a blast. What’s nice is that they have chairs where parents can sit and watch their spawn. This thing entertained both of my children for hours.
P.S. Don’t forget about Daily Getaways sale on Alamo discount gift certificates. It’s set to begin today at 1 PM, and you can register to receive an email reminder.
Leana is the 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.