Saturday, September 1, 2012

Hotel Review: Marriott's Grande Vista (Orlando, Florida)

I'd be curious to know what percentage of American families find themselves in Orlando, Florida at least once while raising their kids.  I know I went there with my family while I was growing up.  It's just unAmerican to not take your kids to Orlando.

Orlando has gained a reputation as the timeshare capital of the world.  Rightfully so as timeshares seam to be all over the Orlando area.  I know both Marriott's Timeshare Division and Westgate are headquartered in Orlando and are two of the largest timeshare companies in the world.  It probably makes sense since Orlando is the quintessential family vacation and timeshares are designed for family travel.

Our family has had the chance to go to Orlando a couple times and both times we stayed at Marriott's Grande Vista, which is one of and the largest of several Marriott Timeshares in Orlando.  It is a huge resort with around 700 rooms, but we didn't feel like it was crowded.  Right when we arrived, we noticed that the resort itself sat quite far from the main road making it feel secluded and the drive up was beautifully landscaped.  The buildings themselves had quite a bit of separation and the resort must sit on a huge amount of acreage because it had several swimming pools and each one of them would be as large as just about any pool we've seen at any other resort.

The rooms are great with ample space and all the kitchen fully stocked with everything we needed.  There wasn't a single thing missing, but our experience at other Marriott Timeshares has proven that if something is missing, housekeeping is quite quick in replacing that item with just a simple phone call.  The rooms were very clean and I got the feeling that they had been recently remodeled.  Plus the added space of a 1, 2 or 3 bedroom unit is so nice when traveling with kids.

The question everyone wants to know is how far it is from the parks.  It's about 15 minutes to Disneyworld and simple to navigate.  Universal Studios is also about 15 minutes from Grande Vista.  Seaworld sits practically 3 minutes away and the longest part of that journey is simply driving out of the Grande Vista driveway.

The resort also has a very challenging 9-hole golf course and Faldo golf school.  If you're looking for a challenging course, just across the street from the Grande Vista is a championship course called Grande Pines, one of my top 10 favorite courses played on vacation, but be warned it is tough.  If you're looking for an enjoyable and reasonably challenging course, Marriott has a course at the World Center that I've played several times and really like.

Our family really enjoys Grande Vista.  There are great kids activities, many pools, golf, a good restaurant (although a little pricey) called Nick's Grill, tennis courts and an excellent golf facility.  It's a property that I can whole heartily recommend to any family doing their Orlando pilgrimage.

As for our trip, we went in January and there were no lines and very little humidity.  Gwen was so excited that when we entered the Magic Kingdom she stated coughing so hard that she started to throw-up.  We were 8 steps into the park before when he had to buy a $50 sweatshirt to replace her clothes.  We discovered pineapple floats and ate plenty of churros.  Gwen loved it all.
Mickey and Minnie shrubs

Gwen pulling faces

Disney's Magic Kingdom in Orlando

Gwen watching the Disney Parade


  1. Love the shrubs! I didn't know Marriott was headquartered in Orlando. I thought they were headquartered somewhere in MD near Bethesda.
    Hope the weather held out during your visit!

    1. Good point. I meant to say their Timeshare Division, called MVCI. I appreciate you pointing that out so I could go in and clarify that point. Thanks again for visiting our blog.

  2. And I didn't know they had a timeshare division! I feel like I've missed out on so much! Do you earn points on those too? {terrible aren't I? the side benefit of working in consulting is all about the point programs :) }

  3. They have about 50 timeshares. The nights you stay there count toward nights stayed. Also, you have an option each year to not use the timeshare but rather convert your week into Marriott Rewards points. We own one on Oahu called Ko'Olina and if we don't go use our week, we can convert it into 110,000 MRP. If you hit the Timeshare page at the top, you'll see a few of them that I've written reviews on. It just works out nicely for us because we travel with kids and appreciate the extra room and kitchen. A lot of the timeshares are built in conjunction with their resorts including the properties in Phuket, Palm Springs, St Kitts, Kaua'i and some of the others.

  4. Oh, Orlando is such fun place to visit! Your photos and post certainly brinng back memories (though quite recent memories, hehe). I was in Orlando for the first over the holidays this New Years. We stayed at another hotel, ehum, of course I can't remember the name right now... But I was very happy with it. And I am so glad you guys enjoyed your stay and visit there as well. :-)

    Thank you for sharing.


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