In August BP turns 13 which makes him officially a teenager (although he's been acting like a teenager for a long time!), while we're not venturing to Orlando, Florida this year that means he'll be turning 14 if we were to go next year. It will be our first experience of holidaying with teens and we're not quite sure what to expect, he could be completely fine or the dreaded teen hormones could give us a hard time. One of the things we're having to consider is where to stay while we're on holiday, do we choose a hotel or a villa?
We have visited Florida many times and ever since our first trip, when it was just the Hubby and I, we have stayed in the Animal Kingdom Lodge. The Disney hotel is amazing, our favourite by far and whenever we visit it's like coming home. Walking into the lobby my stresses slip away, I smile, and I feel like I can finally enjoy our holiday.
Entering that place brings a smile to my face every single time. Perhaps it's because I'm so familiar with it, perhaps it's for other reasons, like the fact that the boys know it too. They know where everything is, they know how to get around. The boys can walk into the Animal Kingdom Lodge and know they can sit in front of a TV and watch a Disney movie within seconds of walking in. They know they'll be entertained by drummers walking around the lobby with a line of children following them banging drums and shaking maracas. And I know they will be safe and looked after.
Part of the reason the hotel feels like home is it is very much like my home, rustic and homey. The African decorations and woodwork around the place remind me of home, our house is more brick and wood but still. The colours of decorations (oranges and bright yellows), the details in the floor of the lobby, it all makes for a great welcome.
- Home is where you feel at home and are treated well.
Of course it's not just the welcome that I love, the rooms are great too. We have to book a double room, usually the boys have a bunk bed, and we have a beautiful view of the Savanna from our balcony. Waking up in a morning, stepping outside with the Florida sun beating down and spying a Zebra (!) grazing right outside your window is one of the best things ever! Not to mention going for a walk around the hotel and seeing Flamingo in a small lake.
See the dark cloud in the distance? Rain is on it's way!
The Hubby and I have a favourite bar, it has a view of the restaurant too, and it's like what I imagine visiting your favourite pub (we don't go to the pub) is like. We know the people, we know the drinks, again, we're home.
Having a teen, who doesn't want to sleep in the same room as his parents or share a bunk bed with his brother could prove to be a problem. The Animal Kingdom Lodge is expensive, there's no doubt about that, and while we love the place there may come a time when expense just puts it out of our reach.
The thought of booking 2 rooms, BP having one all to himself, scares me... a lot. The idea that he could come and go as he pleased, has a room key all to himself, is alone at night. Just the thought of it makes me shudder. Plus there's the expense of it. Booking two rooms, making sure they're together, and having to pay for two rooms is going to be double the price.
No matter how much we love the Animal Kingdom Lodge there will come a time when we can't book there anymore. So I have to turn to local Villas...
The range of villas is huge in Florida, there's small properties, huge properties, and properties in between. The price range is the same too, there's some reasonable, some expensive, and some, well, let's just say you'd need a LOT of money!
The benefit of a villa is that we wouldn't need to think about paying for an extra room for BP. No matter which villa we decided to rent it would be one with at least 3 rooms, that way both boys could have a room of their own.
The thing Villas have over hotels is they are homes, they have sofas, TV's, sometimes even pool tables and games areas (depending which villa you rent). If we rented a villa I could cook (not that I would choose to!), the Hubby and I could watch our movies or TV series in an evening while the boys slept in the rooms upstairs, just like at home.
I wouldn't have to worry about BP's complaints that he has to sleep in the same room as his brother and his parents. He would get the privacy he craves even though we were on holiday and that would probably help with the teen tantrums. He could go into a separate room and watch TV or read a book while he calmed down, or even have a little bit of time to himself.
- Privacy is not something that I'm merely entitled to, it's an absolute prerequisite.
Giving teens time to themselves when you're on holiday can be tough, especially if they're a younger teen like BP. While you want to give them their freedom allowing them to roam alone can be terrifying. A villa would help give them the freedom.
Clickstay.com is a great place to find villas for rent, they have a huge selection and after a little searching I found this one.
Just look at that sunset!
The main photo (above) for The Presidential Lodge won me over, can you imagine being in that pool after a long day at the Disney parks watching that sunset? How amazing! I see a large glass of bourbon sitting on the table waiting for me as I watch that sunset, and the boys in the games room playing pool while I relax. Now that sounds amazing.
With gorgeous decor, comfy looking sofas and plenty of rooms this would be my choice if we were looking for a villa to rent.
Which to choose
Privacy is a big deal for teens and that's the biggest challenge when you go on holiday. For us either of these choices are possible at the moment, a hotel room with bunk beds for the time being and later a villa. Knowing that there are some lovely properties available for rent is comforting, it means it's not something I need to worry about in the future.
I like to be prepared and looking at the villas on Clickstay.com I now have a list of options for future trips to Florida (the pool tables swung it).
When you go on holiday do you stay in a villa or a hotel?