Fall Break in Orlando
Fall Break 2017 in Orlando: Epcot
Fall Break 2017 in Orlando: Airport lounges reviews
Last year, my family and I went to Orlando for Fall Break. My wife did the same trip with the kids the year before and enjoyed it so much, that she wanted to repeat it. So, we loaded up the minivan and road-tripped, Griswold-style, to the real-life Wally World. We stayed at the Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort and, today, I review the resort’s amenities.
Something for everyone
The resort’s website describes the amenities this way:
"The resort’s pool amenities have something for everyone in the family with five pools to explore, water slides, splash zones, lazy rivers, inner tubes, private cabanas, hot tubs and poolside bars. Additional resort activities include miniature golf, sand volleyball, organized resort activities, barbecue areas, indoor game rooms, playgrounds and picnic areas."
Contrary to what you might expect, there is not a lot of marketing fluff there. I was doubtful when my wife told me about the lazy river and that there was enough to do that leaving the property was not necessary to be entertained. Some of my doubt was due to personal perspective: I am not one to sit around hotels, as I prefer to get out and explore an area. However, on our first full day, we only left the resort to go to dinner at Disney Springs and that was because the kids loved the Rainforest Cafe the previous year. The next night we took advantage of the grilling stations to prepare steaks and we spent hours everyday in the lazy river. During the three days I was there, two were primarily spent at the resort, and much to my surprise, I was never bored! And I did not even take advantage of all the amenities that were available!
Water options galore!
Wyndham Bonnet Creek features several choices for pool-lovers. I was lucky that my favorite was located directly behind our building, Tower 5 - a lazy river! The river meandered below tall palms between our building, the adjacent Tower 4 and the lakeside “fortress." While it could get crowded, I never felt unable to leisurely float in the current. At other times, I played with the kids along the course. I can’t count the hours we spent in the water! On the “shores” of the “lagoon” outside the Tower 5 lobby doors were numerous lounge chairs for those who might want to read or soak up the rays from the warm Florida sun.
The adjacent Tower 6 had an appealing tropical oasis pool complete with pirate ship and cabanas. We only visited this pool once so the kids could slide on the waterslide disguised within the pirate ship. We never reserved a cabana so I am not sure what process or cost this would have entailed. Near the cabanas was a hot tub large enough for multiple people to sit without being uncomfortably close to a stranger. Despite the warm days during our stay, I really enjoyed sitting in the steamy water after the kids checked out the waterslide.
Behind the visitor’s center is a second lazy river (though, in my opinion, not as grand as the one previously described), a pool and a splash pool for younger kids. There is a final pool/kiddie pool outside Tower 3. A boardwalk crosses over the edge of the lake, connecting the areas behind Towers 4 and 5. This part of the lake has koi fish according to the property map, though I never saw any fish. While I am not a big pool person, I got a lot of value from these amenities, all without adding an additional cent to our vacation expense!
Other water amenity photos
Games inside and out
If water activities are not your thing, or weather doesn't permit taking a dip, there are games available on-property. Of the outdoor variety are two shuffleboard courts, one on each side of the lake, and a miniature golf course beside Tower 2. I took the kids to play a round of mini-golf (though this turned into young kids randomly hitting golf balls into holes, so I am not sure it could be called a “round”). The process for getting equipment was pretty simple. You go to the recreation desk in either Tower 6/Grand Wyndham Hotel or the main visitors center and exchange your ID for the necessary clubs, balls, etc. Equipment is due back at a certain time, though I can’t say what the penalty is for late return since we were on time. All equipment is included with your cost of stay.
There are also indoor games throughout the property. Inside the visitors center is a game room featuring chess, billiards, air hockey and a big screen tv paired with a plush sofa. An arcade, also in the visitors center, looked a little 80s. Ping pong tables can be found in the visitors center and Tower 5.
Other game amenity photos
Food: prepared and grilling
If you don’t want to prepare a meal in your suite, you are covered. There are dining options in the visitor’s center and Tower 3, though I did not try either. If grilling out is your thing, there are multiple grill stations located near the towers with gas grills that are first-come, first-served. For one night’s dinner, we brought utensils down from the room and cooked steaks that we bought at Costco. There are picnic tables at the station, but we just put our meat on a platter and returned to the suite.
The “convenience store” in the visitors center sells packaged snacks and displays one of those “We Proudly Serve Starbucks” signs but their Starbucks selections were limited and the prices make an actual Starbucks look cheap. The one time I went by to place an order, they did not have the drink I wanted despite it being on the menu. If you are craving Starbucks, I can't recommend this shop and think you would be better served by heading over to Disney Springs or one of the nearby standalone Starbucks locations.
Other food amenity photos
When I travel, I am not the type to hang around a hotel. That’s why I generally don’t care too much about amenities and can live with run-of-the-mill limited service options. This was why I was skeptical that I would be able to go a full day on a property, resort or not, without being bored out of my mind. I was very wrong! I enjoyed our time on-property as much or more than I did our visit to Epcot. In fact, when my wife took me to the airport to fly back to Atlanta and return to work, I was very bummed out I was leaving because I knew I would miss the fun we had in the lazy river and enjoying other property amenities with the family. The biggest endorsement I can give the Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort is that I would repeat this visit with no hesitation should my wife want to do it yet again!