We booked a unit in the Florida Vacation Villas last March through my brother-in-law's timeshare, for Thanksgiving week. I called a few weeks before we arrived to let them know we'd be coming in late Saturday night (thanks to reviews that told us their office is closed in the evenings so we could ask how do the late check-in). I got the info I needed from Amy, and I asked if we could be placed in a unit in the main section, not in the section across the street (thanks again to other reviewers about this info!). Amy confirmed we were indeed going to be in the main section. When we finally arrived after being stuck in heinous Orlando traffic, we were rather upset to learn we were in a villa across the street.
There was nothing we could do about it at 10 pm, so we went to our villa. It was nicely appointed and spacious, with the master bedroom having one full wall of closets. The kitchen was small with little counter space, though. There was a flat-screen TV in the living room but older TVs in the bedrooms. The stove was an electric coil stove and the dishwasher was an old one that my parents had back in the 80s!! There was a nice gazebo with a patio table and four chairs in front of our unit, and the back patio faced a nice, grassy courtyard with a raised patio and another table and chair set. There was a small pool behind the units and a tennis court, along with laundry facility. We decided to make the best of it and decide the next day whether to see if we could be moved to the main section.
By Sunday morning, we had uncovered NUMEROUS maintenance issues, and we spent the first half of the day with the maintenance man going in and out as he fixed one toilet, replaced the DVD player (broken remote), swapped batteries in the smoke detectors (one was beeping when we got in and the lights were out in all the others and likely dead), got the patio screen door back on the track, and tightened the wiggly toilet seat on the other toilet. The reception on the TV in the master bedroom was terrible. Once everything was fixed, we felt better about staying in there, but then the people above us came back from their day or checked in and literally were stomping around and letting their children run around. I finally called upstairs to let them know we could hear everything, and to my surprise, the women was very polite and agreed to keep it down. Dead silence for hours, and then they came back again at 11:30 pm. For an hour we endured major stomping around, the very loud and rapid squealing of the bed frame above our boys' bedroom (it kept them awake) and then the sound of a long shower (the roar of the water in the pipes was incredibly loud). That was enough for us. First thing Monday morning, we called and spoke to Danielle (Jay, the marketing guy who comes in on Sundays, does not have the authority to do room changes) and she immediately said she'd move us.
So we spent Monday morning packing up and moving. At first glance, the new unit seemed fine, just seriously dated and in need of new counters, cabinets, and flooring (the carpet was torn in the bedroom, and several tiles were chipped, broken or scratched). But that night, we discovered that the master bath shower didn't work right: the temperature dial just spun and spun, so my husband got a lukewarm shower. Our king mattress was so old, that just sitting on the edge of the bed made the springs squeak. It was also sunken in on one side, so I slept in the middle. The headboard was not attached to anything and smacked the wall if we so much as turned over, so we had to pull the bed out. By the following day, it looked like it was going to collapse on us, so we used the nightstands to hold it in place.
We called about the shower, but no one came on Tuesday, so we had to call again Wednesday morning (all five of us had to use one shower). When we got back to the room Tuesday night, we discovered water under the kitchen sink and in the dishwasher, which we hadn't run. Maintenance took care of both issues on Wednesday and then ran the dishwasher for us (very nice!). We were also pleasantly surprised to find a pumpkin pie on the counter, from the staff to help us celebrate Thanksgiving. The staff really does do their best; this place just needs an overhaul.
In the main section of the villas (I hesitate to call this a resort, because that evokes an image of one of the amazing Marriott timeshare resorts we've been to), there is a larger pool, a hot tub, an outdoor pool table and a game room. We had wanted to be near all of that, and we were glad once we were so the kids could just walk out the patio door and go hang out without our needing to be there too the entire time. They were in the pool every night after we got back from the parks and had a great time (although they said the water in the hot tub looked yellow one night!! Gross.). The outdoor pool table and virtually all of the gaming tables in the game room are in need of replacement. The outdoor table has a tear in the fabric, but that didn't stop our enjoyment for a casual game. You have to ask for the cues and balls from maintenance if the office is closed. Luckily, Ken was walking by and brought them out for us. The pool table in the game room is so worn the metal is showing on the edges of the pockets. The air hockey table surface was smashed in on one side, as if someone nailed it with a pool cue. The foosball table had a broken attachment for one of the bars, and the tabletop shuffleboard surface was chipped. There was no water fountain, which would have been handy. My husband and boys went into the game room once and never went back.
The on-site laundry consists of a couple of laundry rooms with coin-operated washers and dryers, but no change machines. It took two attempts to get our clothes dry the first time (you cannot choose the time; it's pre-set). No baskets were provided. We won't stay in another apartment-style resort without laundry in the unit again; it is FAR easier when it's in your unit and you don't have to forage for coins. It supposedly gets locked up at 10 pm but we were in there until 11 twice and it wasn't locked up (you use your room key to get in).
I believe the reviewers who gave this property a 5-star review must have either been in refurbished units or just don't care about run-down units that have maintenance issues. We are pretty tolerant people and managed to enjoy ourselves anyway, and we appreciated the staff. We gave one star for them and one for the pool area, but we'd never stay here again. We have stayed in several timeshare resorts, with only the Marriott one being exemplary (RCI properties are too often run-down like this one), and we will stick with the Marriott. We don't mind older units, but we do mind run-down accommodations. Had we paid for this on a nightly basis, we would have checked out on Tuesday and stayed somewhere else.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC