Florida lap of luxury

Many of the vacation homes available for rent in Central Florida feature screened in pools and hots...

Many of the vacation homes available for rent in Central Florida feature screened in pools and hots tubs in the back yard. (QMI Agency)


, Last Updated: 9:32 AM ET

As I sat back in a comfortable chaise-lounge with a beverage in hand and watched the kids make the most of our private swimming pool and hot tub in our fully screened-in backyard, I simply couldn’t help but wonder what the poor folk were doing.

Staying in a private vacation home in central Florida has that effect. It lets visitors feel like they are living in the lap of luxury without breaking the bank.

Our 1,915-square-foot bungalow in Glenbrook Resort (available through Florida Vacation Rentals) was simply perfect for a February holiday from a harsh Manitoba winter. With four bedrooms, including two masters and two with twin beds, two pullout couches and 3.5 bathrooms, it could easily sleep 10. We had only six and were perfectly comfortable. Oh, and did we mention this mini-palace in a Florida community known for its orange groves and championship golf courses, is just 20 km from Disney World, 30 km from Sea World and 36 km from Universal Studios and the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter?


Location-wise it’s perfect for a family vacation and allows the visitor the option of eating meals at home instead of paying the exorbitant prices that can be found anywhere near the Orlando-area amusement parks and, of course, it offers the private pool and spa. Imagine spending a day fighting the crowds at one of the local parks and then going back to your hotel to fight the crowds in the pool area? No such worry with a vacation home and it’s a valuable luxury.

The vacation home option is also affordable, even more so if you have a large group of people in your entourage. The house we rented is available for $140 a day in low season, which translates to under $1,000 for a week. It was a steal at $2,400 for the month.

Of course, our trip wasn’t about hanging around the house all day and with such a perfect location we were able to cram an awful lot into our one-week stay. This would not be for everyone, but we took some time to drive down to Florida from Winnipeg, seeing plenty of sights along the way. That allowed us to have our family vehicle on hand and we made good use of it.

Enjoying a week of near-perfect weather (highs of about 27 C with sunshine every day and lows of about 18 C, not bad for the last week of February) made for a memorable week, with visits to all four Disney Parks, both Universal Studios parks, a superb water park, Busch Gardens and even the Atlantic coast, where beaches with brown sugar-like sand, surprisingly warm surf and even an appearance by the space shuttle Discovery were highlights.