Since I moved to Florida in 2008, I have heard people say, “Who would want to spend their summer vacation in Florida?” Based upon our high-value vacation at Marriott’s Grande Vista in Orlando this July, apparently a lot of people do! And that makes for smart spending for a big family.
This was our third year staying at that resort thanks to our son’s vacation club membership. We were fortunate to have all three sons and their families together for the first time in Florida. That includes six grandchildren who took advantage of us every chance we gave them and we gave them plenty.
Resorts like the Marriott understand how to make a family vacation enjoyable for all. For the grandchildren, there seemed to be a never-ending string of activities to keep them occupied. Our grandchildren range in age from 2 to 18 so that was quite a challenge for the Marriott crew.
But the entertainment wasn’t just for the children… As a group we actually had three activities we all enjoyed together. First there was the beach party with free smores for everyone. The entertainment was lively and the camp fires left a special aroma in the air. Next was a presentation of Florida animals with a representative from Gator Land. He had with him a boa constrictor, an alligator and other creatures including a scorpion. I think the scorpion might have been too much, because our 5-year old grandson informed us he would never go to the beach again! He just didn’t believe I had never seen one in the sand. Lastly was a pool party with an outdoor movie (complete with popcorn) that you could watch while in the water or from the deck. Pretty cool.
Staying at the Marriott Grande Vista also puts you in close proximity to the parks. SeaWorld and Aquatica are literally down the street. With a large group of varying ages it is important to have options. Some went and enjoyed SeaWorld and other local attractions, and some preferred simply to stay on the resort to take advantage of the first class golf and tennis available on the grounds. That’s what’s nice about staying at a facility like Grande Vista. No pressure. Just do your own thing. I must say the staff makes it hard to leave. They always go the extra mile for their guests.
When you are traveling, sometimes it’s the little things that mean the most. Did I tell you about the towels? Always clean and plentiful by the pools. I would hate to see their laundry bills! Did I tell you about the golf carts? The staff there is always riding around the grounds and offering rides to wherever you’re going. In the summer heat, that can be a welcome alternative to walking! Did I tell you about the Independence Day parade? It had a marching band, stilt walkers and lots of free stuff for the kids. I was happy my grandchildren don’t like banana Laffy Taffy! Did I tell you about…well, you get the idea.
Of course it is Florida, and we had the afternoon thunderstorms some days. What do to when it rains? Why just take the little ones to the kid’s maze. It has four levels and we could just let them climb and explore. But be sure to take socks! Then there’s the arcade where money disappears and tickets spit out, all the kids liked that. Also under cover are ping pong, billiards and an up-to-date fitness center and spa. To sum it up, there is something for everyone, rain or shine.
Now when people tell me it’s too hot to visit Florida in the summer, I tell them to beat the heat (ironically, many places up north are hotter) and come on down! There is still fun to be had. Our entire northern family agrees.
Here are a few links to help you plan a summer vacation in Orlando, Florida:
Marriott’s Grande Vista (Marriott Corporation/MAR)
SeaWorld (Seaworld Entertainment Inc/SEAS)
Aquatica (Seaworld Entertainment Inc/SEAS)
Universal Studios (Comcast Corporation/CMCSA)
By David Witte, Director of Partnership Relations, InvestBetterSpendSmarter.com
Note: When you are planning a vacation in Orlando, also look into investing in the related “fun stocks” – for example, stocks of the companies that own the amusement parks or hotels. Check our Fun Stocks Watchlist™ and IBSS Stock Picks™ for more “investing in fun” ideas.