Pirate ship pool at Sheraton Vistana Villages. Photo by Stephany Wiestling of BestKidFriendlyTravel.com
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Family Resorts in Orlando: Sheraton Vistana Villages

Pirate ship pool at Sheraton Vistana Villages. Photo by Stephany Wiestling of BestKidFriendlyTravel.comWe love checking out different family resorts in Orlando.  The big thing for my family is proximity to the parks, and how awesome the pools are.   One of our favorites is the Sheraton Vistana Villages.  It is also gets great reviews from our readers who stayed there on their family vacation.

The location of this family resort is ideal!  It is right across the highway from Downtown Disney, and very close to Walt Disney World.  It is also located on I-Drive, which is the same road SeaWorld is on.  It was about a 10 min drive to SeaWorld, and about 15 minutes to Universal Studios / Islands of Adventure.

2BR condo at Sheraton Vistana Villages with fully equipped kitchen.  Photo by Stephany Wiestling of BestKidFriendlyTravel.comThe all-villa family resort located six miles from Walt Disney World® Resort boasts large one and two-bedroom condo-like facilities with fully equipped kitchens or kitchenettes, washer/dryers and separate living/dining and sleeping rooms. The resort does not charge additional person fees,  resort fees or for cribs. Enjoy free parking, wireless internet access and daily scheduled transportation to select Walt Disney World® Theme Parks.

Amenities include a casual restaurant, pool bar, outdoor grill area and Mallory Square Market where you can find groceries, ready to make or eat meals and laundry products.  Swim in one of the pools (reviews below), play in the playground, basketball court, tennis court, game room or ping pong, or workout in the fitness center.

One-bedroom accommodates up to 4 with a full size sleeper sofa in the living area and two-bedroom accommodates up to 8 comfortably. Each villa features a screened and furnished private patio.  FL Resident Rates are available–Proof of residency will be required at check in.

All the units are being upgraded to the Westin standards.  Kitchens have (or are getting) granite countertops, cherry cabinets, modern furniture… the upgraded rooms are gorgeous!!   We stayed in a St. Augustine building, which had been upgraded, and it was a dream!!  Even in the rooms not yet upgraded, the service is great, the rooms are clean & spacious, beds are comfortable, everything you need and more in a hotel room.

Review of The Pools:

From the pirate ship play area in the pool to the giant water slide, the pool in St. Augustine ‘neighborhood’ was our personal favorite. The main pool has waterfalls and a shallow splash pad with a zero-depth entry. Off to the side of the main pool is the ‘quiet pool’. This was our favorite place for our beginning swimmer to practice because  toys and inflatables were not allowed, the pool is only 3′ deep, and it is more heated than the main pool. The splash pad area was a hit for babies and young elementary-aged kids alike.  Lifeguards would come by and toss toys in for the kids to play with.  So fun!  In the Key West ‘neighborhood’ the kiddie pool had a huge sea lion fountain in it.    We spent one day in the adult pool there, which was like cool bathwater… perfect!! Nearby that pool is a little sandy beach area to play in next to a replica of the Key West Southernmost Point Marker.  None of the pools were overly deep, although some got to around 5 feet.

The big thing to remember is the sunscreen.  Florida sun is strong, and splashing in cool water only makes you think you’re not getting much sun.  Protect their tender skin (and yours) with some good quality sunscreen.  We like California Baby SPF 30 + Sunscreen Lotion – Super Sensitive, 2.9 oz because it’s allergen-free, is the right size for travel, and it works. They also sell Beach Bum suncare products at the resort, which are great, so if you forget your favorite at home, no worries, they’ve got you covered.

Family of ducks at Sheraton Vistana Villages in Orlando, FL.  Photo by Steph Wiestling of BestKidFriendlyTravel.comTake a walk along the many paths.  Along one path (around the largest pond) we encountered a family of ducks.  We fed them plain Cheerios (not salty crackers!) the first day, and they looked eagerly (but not aggressively) for us each day after.  Along that same path is a nice-sized playground with swings and climbers all on soft, white sand perfect for playing in.

We loved this family resort so much we now go back every year.  Book your family vacation at the Sheraton Vistana Villages today! If you’ve been, share your thoughts in the comments below.

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