Destinations all around the world are seeing a rise in demand for stand-alone accommodations such as cabins and villas. Central Florida is no exception to this increased demand, and there is no shortage of options. I’ve pulled together some of my favorites, some that are near Walt Disney World, and others that are in the broader Central Florida area.
Cabins at Fort Wilderness Resort
As things began to open back up at Walt Disney World, one of the first destinations to welcome guests back was Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. It is hard to beat the charm of Fort Wildreness. It evokes the Vacation Kingdom vibes of original 1970s Walt Disney World. These pre-fabricated, free-standing cabins can sleep six people. A separate bedroom contains a king bed and bunk beds, a large bathroom has a tub and shower combination, and there is a fully equipped kitchen, small dining area, and a living area with sleeper sofa.
Back in July, my husband, son, and I stayed in a Fort Wilderness Cabin as our “welcome back” weekend. We visited EPCOT and Disney’s Animal Kingdom that weekend, as it was our first time back in the parks, but I kind of wish we had spent more time at Fort Wilderness. Breakfast on the front porch of the cabin was peaceful and divine. There’s plenty to explore and enjoy at the resort itself–you don’t even have to go into the parks to have a good time.
Treeshouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort
For an upgrade and uplifted Florida wilderness experience, the Treehouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort cannot be topped. Finding availability at these Disney Vacation Club free-standing villas is not an easy task. But if you appreciate nature and want a laid back Disney stay then it is worth the challenge to get in. Transportation can be an annoyance for guests without a car; it is slow at this resort. But the tranquil boat ride to Disney Springs or a cup of morning coffee on the deck among the Florida wetlands more than makes up for it.
The Treehouse Villas sleep nine people, though two of those nine would be children because of the bunk bed in the small children’s bedroom. The views are marvelous. The furnishings are woodsy, but a notch above rustic. Vaulted ceilings add to the character of these unique villas. The truly are the most special accommodations on property, in my opinion.
It is worth mentioning the Bora Bora Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Resort and the Copper Creek Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. These accommodations are splendid, and great for those wanting their own stand-alone building. They can be a challenge to get into whether you’re a Disney Vacation Club Member or not. But if you’ve got enough points or cash to book one, definitely go for it.
Margaritaville Orlando Cottages
Near the Western border of Walt Disney World is the sprawling Margaritaville Orlando Resort. You don’t need to be a Parrothead (a major Jimmy Buffett fan, like me) to appreciate the tropical vacation atmosphere of this resort. As you arrive to the resort you’ll no doubt notice the Island H20 Live Water Park that practically sits on the edge of Highway 192, as well as Sunset Walk, the resort’s shopping, dining, and entertainment area. The resort offers a 4-star hotel where each room has a pool view. Then there are vacation cottages, each one bursting with tropical details.
You can book a one-bedroom cottage all the way to an eight-bedroom cottage, in case you’re traveling with your own football team. Each cottage has access to all the included resort amenities. You can also enjoy outdoor common areas as each cottage has an outdoor patio that connects to a common area with picnic facilities including tiki tables with thatched roofs. Small playgrounds are spread out throughout the property for easy access from the cottages. There’s no shortage of fun at this resort.
The Villas of Grand Cypress
Just outside the Disney bubble, at Lake Buena Vista, is a towering resort beloved by many, Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress. Just down the road from this iconic resort are The Villas of Grand Cypress. These villas are no longer associated with the aforementioned resort, but they offer luxury and relaxation that feels like you are world’s away from Walt Disney World, yet it is just around the corner.
Currently these villas are closed. No reopening date has been announced, but I would encourage you to consider them for a future stay. They are especially attractive to golfers. Keep these in mind if you plan to visit Walt Disney World a little longer down the road.
Reunion Resort Vacation Homes
About 15 -20 minutes from Walt Disney World is Reunion Resort. This resort is a nice alternative for families and groups who want more space, both in the villa itself, and throughout the resort’s amenities. A golf course winds through the resort providing fun for those that golf, and a lush atmosphere.
The vacation homes that reside within the Reunion Resort are some of the most luxurious in all of Central Florida. The largest vacation home has thirteen bedrooms and has its own bowling alley, movie theater, and a “hidden” children’s bedroom themed to Harry Potter. Other vacation homes range from 10 bedrooms down to three bedrooms. Most have their own private pool and outdoor kitchens, with all the amenities of a luxury home.
Cabins and Glamping at Lake Louisa State Park
Way on the other side of the spectrum, a long way from luxury, but right at the heart of natural beauty is Lake Louisa State Park. Here you can stay in a two bedroom cabin with a beautiful lake view. These cabins can sleep up to six people and offer a full kitchen, screened-in porch, and charcoal grill. What is missing is a television and telephone. And quite honestly that sounds delightful to me. I wonder if they’d lock my cell phone away from me for a little bit?
Lake Louisa State Park is about thirty minutes from Walt Disney World. It is certainly not a convenient location for visiting the attractions. But if getting away from it all, while still being reasonable close to the fun, it is a great option. A minimum two-night stay in cabins on weekends and holidays.
If you really want to immerse yourself in the natural beauty here, but not ready to completely “rough it” there are luxury tent sites to provide a “glamping” experience. Glamorous camping is a very popular alternative for those wanting to camp, but not miss out on some of the nicer things in our modern life.
Other Central Florida Stand-Alone Accommodations
- Cabins at Blue Spring State Park (an hour north of Walt Disney World)
- Glamping at Westgate River Ranch (an hour southeast of Walt Disney World)
- Vacation Homes in Kissimmee, Davenport, and more
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