Fall Break 2017 in Orlando: Introduction

Fall Break in Orlando

Though students in the Atlanta area have been back in school just over a month, fall break is upon us. Of course, after a whole month and a half of school - including a three day weekend for Labor Day - students must be exhausted and need a week to recharge…really?? Yes, that’s a bit sarcastic, but I are grew up in an era when our first substantial break after returning to the classroom was Thanksgiving and then only for two days. Regardless of my old school perspective, many people who live in school districts that have Fall Break will be hitting the road in a couple of weeks. I thought it would be a good time to review my Fall Break trip from last year.

I’m going to Disney World!

Though road-tripping on Saturday, I still caught the game on my improvised "home theater!" (click to enlarge)

In September 2016, my then-girlfriend took her kids to Orlando, Florida for fall break and do the traditional family trip to Walt Disney World. She found a nice vacation rental on VRBO, but since I was not joining them for the trip, I did not pay too much attention to the specifics of where they were staying, I did know it was a resort with a lot of on-property activities, but that was about it. They wound up having such a great time, both at the resort and going to the various theme parks, that she decided she wanted to repeat the trip last fall. Because we were married by then, I accompanied them for half the week since our international travels did not leave enough vacation for the full trip.

With six of us going, we did the Griswold-style road trip substituting a minivan for the station wagon and with much less drama than in the movie! We left Atlanta after work on a Friday, so we broke the southbound trip in Valdosta, GA. We stayed in a run-of-the-mill Hampton Inn, so I will not be reviewing that stay. The next day we finished the drive, arriving in Orlando by early afternoon, just in time to check-in at the property, the Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort in Lake Buena Vista, just minutes from Walt Disney World.

  Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida

Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida

A home away from home

It did not take long to to see why my wife was so satisfied with her stay the previous fall. She had reserved a two bedroom condo which was very homey and more comfortable than my last apartment. It had a full dining table and breakfast bar in the kitchen, which was well-equipped with small appliances and kitchenware. The living area had two armchairs and a sofa in front of a big-screen TV. The master bedroom had a comfortable king-size bed opposite another big screen TV. The room opened into the bath area which featured a whirlpool tub and separate shower room. The second bedroom was large enough for two full-size beds and yet another big-screen TV. A second full bath was just outside the second bedroom and the washer/dryer was in an adjacent closet.

  Master bedroom in our Wyndham Bonnet Creek condo

Master bedroom in our Wyndham Bonnet Creek condo

Plentiful recreation options

When my wife told me that you could stay on-property some days and not get bored, I had my doubts. To be fair, I am the type that likes to go out-and-about while traveling, but, as with so many things, she was right! For two of the days I was there, we hung out at the resort and, as promised, I did not get bored. Between the lazy river outside our building, additional pools at other buildings, miniature golf, and game and TV rooms, there were numerous recreation options. We spent hours floating down the lazy river, though with two elementary school boys and a rambunctious middle schooler, the float was not always lazy! We played miniature golf, visited a pirate-themed pool at the building next door, and grilled steaks for dinner one night.

  We spent hours on the lazy river outside our building.

We spent hours on the lazy river outside our building.

Epcot: a day of nostalgia

We did leave the confines of Bonnet Creek one day to visit Epcot at Walt Disney World. I had been to the park once before on a high school trip back in the early 90s. I remembered Spaceship Earth, the park’s signature geodesic sphere, offering depictions of what was then conceived as our future lives on earth. I was curious how that attraction had held up over the course of nearly three decades. I was also excited to visit the various country pavilions since I have traveled to many of those countries since my high school days. We only stayed until dinner but that allowed us to see almost everything. I enjoyed my visit and was glad we opted for Epcot out of all the Disney parks.

  Disney’s take on Venice’s Piazza San Marco at the Italy Pavilion at Epcot

Disney’s take on Venice’s Piazza San Marco at the Italy Pavilion at Epcot

Orlando airport lounges

I had to return to work on Wednesday, so my wife took me to Orlando International Airport late Tuesday afternoon to catch my Delta flight back to Atlanta. I asked her to drop me off a little earlier than necessary because there were two airport lounges that I wanted to visit. I could access each of these via my various credit card benefits. Using my Priority Pass membership, which is a benefit of my Citi Prestige Card, I first checked out The Club MCO. It was very similar to The Club ATL in Atlanta, and, after having some snacks and drinks, I headed over to the Delta Sky Club. I was able to access the Sky Club with my American Express Business Platinum Card. I spent the rest of my time before boarding in the Delta lounge having a few more snacks and soft drinks. Soon, it was time for the short flight back to Atlanta and a return to real life back home.

  Food selection at the Delta Sky Club in Orlando

Food selection at the Delta Sky Club in Orlando

Summary

Overall, my fall break trip was a great short getaway. I thought a few days without much sightseeing would be more than enough for me, but I was genuinely sad to leave. I was glad my family had two more days to enjoy Orlando and the resort. Over a series of posts, I will be reviewing the Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort, Epcot and the two Orlando airport lounges. While my reviews are probably too late for any of you traveling for fall break this year, hopefully, I can offer some insights should you take a Disney World vacation in the near future!