When you travel with your family, do you prefer a hotel or a vacation home? I’ve found that our preferences change, depending on where we are and what we have planned. Recently, we were offered a hosted stay at Bears Den Resort in Orlando, FL (Reunion is the actual city name but it is in the Orlando area).
Bears Den Resort in Reunion, FL is a property consisting of luxury rental homes. With rates currently starting at $900+/night, Bears Den Resort isn’t what I would imagine is in most middle-class family budgets, unless you are traveling with multiple families who will be splitting the cost.
It’s just over 20 minutes from Disney World and conveniently located near plenty of activities! They do allow pets which was a HUGE plus for us!
After staying at Bears Den Resort last month, I thought I would share our experience and what we found to be the pros and cons of staying at a luxury rental home.
Bears Den Resort
Decor and Necessities
Walking toward and into our Bears Den Resort home, there was no lack of oohs and aahs from my family. The home was very grand. Everything is bigger than you would imagine it to be including the ceiling height, the rooms, and the number of bathrooms. If the first impression was everything, we were in love as soon as we walked in.
Our home had a huge custom kitchen (my dream kitchen for sure). The amount of storage was almost too much if that’s possible. They provide all of the tools you need to cook, comfortable furniture, and just about everything you may need including a laundry room with a full washer and dryer.
Our refrigerator came stocked with everything we needed for breakfast including eggs, bacon, bread, cereal, milk orange juice, and water. They also left us ice cream and soda. It’s part of a package add-on that Bears Den Resort offers to its guests. Totally worth it if you don’t mind cooking while you’re on vacation!
If you prefer to eat out, make sure to check out Finn’s Restaurant at Encore Resort. The food was amazing! They delivered right to our door (as did many other restaurants thanks to Door Dash).
When we walked out into the backyard, we found a huge grill area, complete with a dining table big enough to fit eight. The pool is heated and sits next to a light-changing hot tub and two fire pits. Basically, if you asked my kids to design the perfect backyard, this was it, minus a playground (which happened to be behind the home, within walking distance).
One of the things I personally loved about the home at Bears Den Resort was the alarm system. To prevent little ones (or even inebriated adults) from roaming out into the pool area and getting hurt, there is an alarm system that requires you to push a high-placed button three times before you can open the door. If you forget, a loud alarm sounds throughout the home so you are quickly made aware if someone is out there and possibly in danger.
Space for Everyone
Our Bears Den Resort home had 5 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms (there are larger options available). The bedrooms were spacious and so comfortable! The master had a huge balcony, overlooking the backyard and was the perfect place to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee or get some work done.
Having a bathroom for each room was an added perk we didn’t realize we needed. Our family home has only two bathrooms and with four girls and a Dad who spends way too much time in the bathroom, we often find ourselves constantly waiting for someone to get out. So it was nice to each have our own bathroom.
Fun and Games
Our home at Bears Den Resort had a number of super cool amenities including a full home theater and a pool table. Between that and the pool, there was no lack of things to do at the home and it gave our kids something to do outside of having their faces in their phones.
The home theater offered both streaming and cable services, so we found a number of great family-friendly movie options during our stay.
Bears Den Resort has its own waterpark. Unfortunately, it was raining for most of our stay so we weren’t able to check it out.
What Could Be Improved?
Honestly, the pros far outweigh the tiny cons of staying at Bears Den Resort. But if we were to suggest anything (and we had to get pretty nitpicky to come up with some things), here is what our family thought was missing:
- Spices (at least salt and pepper). We had everything we needed to make breakfast but no salt or pepper.
- Electronic curtains for the stairway. Hear me out… there are these huge, tall windows in the stairway and we love natural light, so every night, Super Dad had to manually close each one and the highest one was hard to reach — and he almost busted his butt.
- A popcorn machine in the home theater. What’s a movie night without popcorn?
- A stash of family-friendly games. While there was so much to do, we would have loved some game options too!
- A gaming system. That was our 9 year’s olds wish. Though I read that some of the larger homes do have a gaming room!
- A garage opener (or keycode entry). If you wanted to park in the garage, you had to have one person run inside the house to open it for you. With the rain, that was less than convenient.
Which do you prefer — a vacation home or a hotel? Comment below and let us know!
*Bears Den Resort hosted our family in exchange for social media exposure. All opinions are our own.