Last week we talked about how to save up to 52% on your Walt Disney World accommodations using the Vacation Resorts by Owners (VRBO) website. This week we have a first-hand review of one of the Walt Disney World off-property luxury condos you can book yourself using VRBO in Kissimmee.
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Located in the Windsor Palms gated community just five miles south of Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park is the Mullen Condo. This first floor, three bedroom, two bath unit is located near the clubhouse and sleeps eight. This mean you could easily fit up to two families making the savings even more dramatic.
The Mullen Condo has three bedrooms in their one story unit. The first is a Master Suite with a king-sized bed, a walk-in closet and full bath. This room also has a TV which is good for watching the local news while you are getting ready for a day at the parks and want to know the weather forecast. In the walk-in closet are several items such as a port-a-crib, pack-n-play, high chair and two different types of strollers.
The second bedroom features a queen sized bed, chest of drawers with a small TV and a full closet. This room is very inviting due to its two windows bringing in tons of light. According to my daughter, this is “her room”. After a long day in the parks or competing, it’s a really comfortable space.
The third bedroom has two twin beds and a small closet. This room is perfect for the little ones in your traveling party. However, don’t worry if you are traveling with adults only. We housed my daughter’s two VERY TALL volleyball coaches and they both commented how comfortable the room and the beds were.
Not really a bedroom but still available for accommodating extra guests, the Livingroom features a pull out sofa which sleeps two.
The galley kitchen isn’t just a convenient, it’s a money saver. By having a full kitchen at your disposal, you can save money on breakfast and even a few dinners during your stay. We typically pick a few nights to come back from the parks early to enjoy the resort amenities. We also have been known to take midday break and return to the resort for a dip in the pool or a shower on a particularly hot day.
The kitchen offers a full refrigerator, stove and dishwasher. While I know no one wants to do dishes on vacation, by having a dishwasher you can just fill it in the morning then head to the parks. When you get home they are sparkling clean and ready for you to use. The kitchen is also fully stocked with plates, cups, silverware and pots and pans. There is even a crockpot if you want to prepare something to be ready when you return from the parks.
Like most Florida homes, the Mullen Condo has a lanai which is accessed from the sliding glass doors in the Livingroom. This small screened in space is a great place to enjoy a morning coffee or take in the night air with a glass of wine before hitting the sack. Another great thing about the location of this condo is that for most of the day the lanai is shaded by large trees surrounding the property.
Other Condo Amenities
Amenities are abounding in the Mullen Condo. A great feature most don’t think about is a full laundry. Do you know what this means? It means you can pack lighter!! Having the ability to do laundry is a big money saver because I can actually limit the number of suitcases to one checked bag and one carry-on. However, you will need to bring some laundry detergent with you. For my family, we throw a few Gain Pods in a Ziploc bag for the trip.
Something a lot of people don’t think about is condo location. This condo is on the first floor and it’s only one story. One of our trips staying at the Mullen Condo included my mother-in-law. With her mobility issues, it would have been a struggle to have her climb the stairs to a second or third floor unit, especially after a full day in the parks.
Windsor Palms features so many wonderful amenities beyond those inside the condo. The resort includes a well-equipped workout room, a sundries shop for all those small things you forgot and a 58-seat movies theatre. The clubhouse area also includes two tennis courts directly across the walkway from the condo lanai, basketball courts, a beach volleyball court (my daughter’s favorite) and a wonderful shaded picnic area with charcoal grills. We visited several times with my daughter’s volleyball team and used the picnic area for a fun team gathering before our competition began.
By far my favorite amenity of the resort is the amazing pool complex. The great thing about this pool is that it is rarely busy. My daughter and her friends always have plenty of room to play Marco Pool or have some rousing Chicken Fights. Another feature of the pool complex is a new Tiki Bar which offers not only your favorite tropical drinks in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic varieties, it also has a menu of your typical bar fare favorites such as chicken tenders and burgers.
The Four Corners / Kissimmee / Celebration Area
An advantage of its own is the area around Windsor Palms which contains many chain restaurants such as Buffalo Wild Wings, Texas Roadhouse, Golden Corral and Olive Garden, and a Super Target. There is also an Aldi in Celebration if you really want to maximize your saving on condo groceries. Another money savings is the two gift shops located on US 192 (West Irlo Bronson Highway) in Kissimmee which offers prices well below what you will find on property.
If Walt Disney World isn’t your only destination while in the Orlando area. There is a shortcut to Interstate 4. When leaving Windsor Palms all the GPS apps will tell you to turn left on Formosa Gardens Blvd. and take W. Irlo Bronson Hwy. to I4. This is a trap. Every Disney goer staying off-property is using this route to get to and from the theme parks. Instead, turn south (right) on Formosa Gardens Blvd. which turns into Connector Road. Turn West (right) on Sinclair Road to the 429 on ramp then East on I4 to your destination. You can also use this shortcut if you are going to the East Coast beaches via 417/528 or 528.
Time to the Walt Disney World Theme Parks
Below is the time it takes to get to each theme park and resort area:
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park – 5 miles; 10 minutes
- Disney’s Epcot – 8.2 miles; 15 minutes
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios – 7.2 miles; 12 minutes
- Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park – 8.9 miles, 16 minutes
- Disney Springs – 9.6 miles; 20 minutes
- Blizzard Beach – 6.2 miles; 13 minutes
- Typhoon Lagoon – 8.7 miles; 15 minutes
- Winter Summerland – 6.7 miles; 15 minutes
- ESPN Wide World of Sports – 6.5 miles; 12 minutes
Let’s be honest for a second. These times are at least half the time it will take to get to your destination using Disney Bus Transportation. This is especially true if your destination requires a bus change or stops at a different resort enroute to your destination.
As you can see the Mullen Condo is all about location, location, location… the location on the first floor… the location of the condo in relation to the clubhouse and pool complex… the location in proximity to shopping and restaurants… and the location related to Disney property and I4 leading to the areas around downtown Orlando.
How to Book the Mullen Condo
If you would like to book this condo here are the directions to take you directly to their booking page:
- Go to the Vacation Resorts by Owner website.
- In the search field, type the number 55872 and click Search.
- Click Rates & Availability to check their availability calendar for the dates you are traveling. This also lists the cost of each night of your stay.
- If your dates are free, scroll to the right side of the screen. From here you can do a couple things: you can get a detailed view of the total fees, “Request to Book” or contact the owner to ask a question. (NOTE: The owners of this property are responsive, super helpful and a joy to deal with.)
How easy is that?!? I hope you have a chance to stay here and just imagine what you can do with that extra $400 you will be saving over staying on-property?
Sue Nowicki is an alumna of the 2014/15 Disney Parks Moms Panel. She is a recovering team mom who is trying to find ways to fill her time after serving secretary, navigator, head cheerleader, treasurer, athletic trainer and team psychologist for her daughter’s travel sports team for 10 years. You can follow her on Twitter @MQPodcast.