By Patti Roth
City & Shore Magazine
For many vacationers traveling to Orlando, a traditional resort is the obvious place to stay. But some visitors prefer a different option.
A vacation rental home was ideal for John Kuhns of Pennsylvania, especially with siblings, in-laws and other assorted relatives stopping over during his stay. “It was great. Four bedrooms. Three baths. Private pool,” Kuhns said of his townhouse in Kissimmee. In fact, he booked the same property for future trips to Florida.
Vacation home rentals are especially plentiful in Kissimmee and other towns with easy access to the Orlando attractions. About 22,000 vacation home rental properties are in the Kissimmee area, according to a spokeswoman for Experience Kissimmee, the tourism authority for the region. More are in the works.
“We are ‘The Vacation Home Capital of the World’ because we have more vacation home rental units than anywhere else in the world,” says Cori Powers, director of communications for Experience Kissimmee.
The variety of vacation home rentals ranges from two-bedroom condos to extravagant mansions with 13 bedrooms. Some properties decorate bedrooms with fun, kid-friendly themes, such as “Frozen.”
“Picking a vacation home is half the fun,” Powers says. “[Some] offer gourmet kitchens, grand entertainment spaces and next-level outdoor living areas, like infinity pools with built-in water loungers, sunken fire pits, fully equipped kitchens and glamorous cabanas.”
While plenty of tourists probably aren’t familiar with vacation home rentals, others are devoted fans, according to Nikki DeVeronica, owner of Dream Orlando Vacation Rentals and president-elect of the Florida Vacation Rental Management Association.
“Once they figure it out, they stick with vacation rentals,” she says. “There’s so much more space and room.”
Enthusiasm for a vacation home rental was offered on an Instagram post by professional blogger Kevin Wagar and his family, known as Wandering Wagars. The family is from Canada and their vacation in Central Florida, including a rental home overlooking a golf course, with six bedrooms, a pool table and private pool, was sponsored by Experience Kissimmee. “For the first time we are staying at a [vacation resort home] in #Kissimmee Florida. This place is AWESOME!” according to the Instagram post. “Our house has more bedrooms than we can count and there are splash pads, lazy rivers and volleyball courts just down the road.”
A wide variety
of vacation rental homes include
Encore Resort at Reunion offers about 400 luxury single-family homes with private pools. Homes range from four to 13 bedrooms. Extra amenities may include home theaters, game rooms and outdoor putt-putt greens. The resort features a water park with water slides, restaurants and transportation to theme parks. With Florida residents’ discounts, rates are about $250 to $1,000 per night, depending on property and season. 888-978-2855, encorereunion.com.
Dream Orlando Vacation Rentals offers three-bedroom condos, four-and-five-bedroom townhomes and single family houses with private pools in screened patios. Price range from about $100 to $300 per night, depending on season and unit. 863-582-1005, dreamorlandovacationrentals.com.
iTrip Vacations in Orlando offers various styles of rentals, from two-bedroom condos to nine-bedroom single family houses. Rates are about $85 to $600 a night, depending on property and season. 888-847-0086, itrip.net.
Read about various others on the Experience Kissimmee website, experiencekissimmee.com/places-to-stay/vacation-home.
Explore Florida & the Caribbean is a special supplement of the South Florida Sun Sentinel.el.