So, the holiday of a lifetime, where do I start?! It's hard to believe now that we were there for 3 weeks as the time just seemed to fly by. During our stay we visited all four of the Disney parks - Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios, Universal Parks - Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios, Kennedy Space Centre, Discovery Cove plus Downtown Disney and Universal Citywalk. After such an action packed vacation I think I'll have to break my 'report' into separate blogs or I'll never get it all in! :)
So here goes............blog number 1..............
We chose to stay at a villa located on 'Tuscan Ridge', Davenport which we found online through a google search. We'd looked at so many villas that it was hard to choose but we liked the fact that 'The Elm' had a great website packed with information and pics and the absolute selling point was the fact that it had both a pool and jacuzzi that were South facing. We contacted Gary & Anne the owners and right from the start the communication we received from them was first class. We were offered a discount due to our long stay and even received a Christmas card from them which we thought was a lovely personal touch. Prior to the holiday itself Gary sent through super detailed directions to take us from the airport to the villa which included photographs of signs and junctions to really make things clear.
The villa itself was just lovely and exceeded all our expectations. It had 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, living room with dining area, family room, large kitchen / dining room, games room, laundry room plus of course the most important part.............the pool and spa. The villa had a wonderful light and airy feel and felt like a real home from home. There were TV's in pretty much every room along with a Playstation 3 in the family room and Playstation 2 in the smaller bedroom. The family room sideboard was stacked with family board games and 'A' was chuffed to bits to find a basket full of Jacqueline Wilson books in her bedroom. The villa was so spacious that we found ourselves only using the family room and kitchen area during our stay with the living room / dining area being as untouched when we left as when we'd arrived! Each bedroom had plenty of storage space and the master bedroom had a walk-in wardrobe that put 'A's bedroom back home to shame!
The kitchen was well stocked with plates, cups, glasses and so on and the appliances were just fab especially the washing machine and tumble dryer which I used on numerous occasions. For the first time ever I returned home with almost no dirty laundry which was just wonderful! The games room housed a very good pool and football table. We found this was great for the kids to play on especially 'S' who tended to play whilst we were getting ready to leave for the parks each day or after returning in the evening.
Due to the length of our stay we were lucky enough to be able to have quite a few leisurely days by the pool. We'd heard many people say how tiring the parks can be but we didn't quite believe just HOW tired we were! It was lovely to have a 'day off' every few days where we'd sit in the sun, swim in the pool then head off shopping or for a meal later in the day. There was a great selection of outside furniture and even a box of inflatables to use in the pool (which we made great use of!). The pool truly was South facing which meant that we got the sun from early on a morning until it set around 6.30 each night. 'A' made great progress with her swimming while we were there and is now able to swim quite confidently under the water. Even I made progress with my fear of water as by the last day I'd managed to submerge myself and swim and whole length with my face in the water! This may not seem like much, but will come as a great surprise to those of you who know me well!
I tried to think of some negative points to make about 'The Elm' to make this a really unbiased review but I honestly can't think of any! We loved every minute we spent there and it just felt so comfortable returning each day after a hard day of disney-ing. I would recommend 'The Elm' to anyone who's looking for a good value, luxurious villa whilst visiting Florida and I just hope that we can return again in the not too distant future.
For further information on 'The Elm' please visit http://www.tuscan-ridge.com/ where lots more photos and information are available. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org and I'm sure Gary or Anne will be very pleased to help you.
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