Stayed at the Mona Lisa from April 1 to April 10th, 2009 (just prior to Easter week).
I travel on business and stay in Hilton hotels (Hilton VP status), Delta hotels (Delta Platinum Plus status) in Canada, and many other hotels throughout the last 20 years. In other words, I experience a lot of hotels and we like to stay in nice hotels to ensure our trips are enjoyable while on vacation.
I researched most if not all the hotels in the Disney area and decided on this hotel based on its price and location to Disney. (Without traffic, @EPCOT, we were starting the car in the parking lot and 8 minutes later we were getting out of the car at the Mona Lisa hotel. Normally during park closes and peak times like 5pm it took us more like 20mins and more.)
Currently today we are leaving the Mona Lisa flying home so am providing this review via the wireless connection in my room. Unfortunately, I had to bring my work with me and used my notebook daily for several hours a day. The Internet was fine, very fast, and reliable. It was easy to connect and never an issue.
This is our 15th visit to the Orlando-Disney area and only once did we stay in the same place twice (The Parc Corniche – which was 10 years ago… but the reviews says the place is dated). We have stayed in the Disney hotels during our last 8 trips but this time we needed the space due to travelling with 4 adults who need space. Disney hotels are always very small and costly. In the past, we have stayed at the Floridian, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Yacht & Beachclub (our favorite because it has the best pool in Disney World). We have also stayed in the local Hyatt and World Marriott hotels too but these are rooms and not suites like the Mona Lisa. (Since we have 4 adults, we need the space this time.)
At the Mona Lisa, we stayed in the two bedroom suite which has a pullout couch in the living room for the 4th adult. (2 adults in 1 room, 1 adult in the 2nd bedroom, and the 4th adult was sleeping in the living room.)
I am writing this review to give back to TripAdvisor since we travel a lot for pleasure and only use TripAdvisor to get hotel advice.
Walt Disney World is huge and we always rent a car if we are on property or stay off property. We love Disney, but the worst thing in WDW (in addition to sometimes long lines) is the food. After day two the food is boring and always the same – and it is a real chore to find something different. We recommend staying at a WDW hotel to get the Disney experience at least once, but if you want a larger place with more food options, staying off WDW is our preference.
Here are our quick comments on our stay:
- The Mona Lisa location is excellent… very close to WDW, just a few miles/minutes away. Getting to and from WDW was easy. (Suggest stay away from International Drive during peak hours where we were caught in traffic jams for 20mins or more.) The hotel is actually in Celebration – an interesting Disney community. The Mona Lisa is 1min away from I4 the major freeway so it is easy to get to Universal Studios. We stayed in this hotel to be close to WDW. If your interest is primarily Universal Studios, then we would recommend another hotel closer to Universal.
- We stayed in the Mona Lisa with the 2-bedroom with pull out couch. We arrived at 2am after a long day of travelling – and it was an easy, friendly check-in. The pull-out couch was not prepared (with many hotels it is automatically prepared) so we called the front desk and 5mins later they had the bed linen to our room. They explained we had not requested the couch to be made up and that was true. They said they want to ensure the pull-out bed had fresh linen so that was true. We pulled out the bed ourselves and quickly made the bed.
- The kitchen was amazing and complete with everything we needed. The next day we purchased food at the local Walmart (there are 2 in the immediate area within 5 miles… one on US Hwy 192 (Irlo Bronson Hwy., Kissimmee). So in the morning we made our own breakfasts and read the paper (USA Today) which was delivered at the door. On the weekends they provided the local Orlando paper since USA Today is only a M-F paper.
- The whole suite was big for Orlando/Disney standards. We were told the Mona Lisa opened in May of 2008. The room are very large and the master bedroom had a fine desk to work on with plenty of outlets for high-tech power requirements. The room had a safe too which was easy to use. The room was very clean and the 2 bedrooms had 2 separate bathrooms which is very nice. We were on the 4th floor and there are 5 floors in the hotel. We found the bathrooms clean and showered daily – and never had any problems with the shower pressure and the shower water was always hot and pleasant.
- The 2 bedrooms face the pool and there were never any issues with noise… so it was always a nice pleasant sleep. (Each room has a TV so in total there were 3 flat-screen TVs)
- The rooms had awesome beds, one of my big complaints at often many hotels. The bedding was comfortable and European which is nice. My bed at home is a very high quality bed ($4K) and this bed was just as good. So no complaints at all with the bed.
- The staff from the moment we checked in were always pleasant and helpful. The security of the hotel was very strong and we found the security agent to be alert and friendly. (I had a problem with my badge getting into the building and he was quick to check the badge out for me and he handled it very professionally without me knowing he was also confirming my story of being a guest.)
- The cleaning staff were pleasant and we left notes when we need extra coffee, toilet paper, or towels etc.. Everything was free but we always left $3 or $4 with a note that this was a tip for their wonderful service.
- The Mona Lisa pool is great with hot-tube. My wife swam in the pool and really enjoyed it.
- WDW during Easter is packed! Go to the WDW web-site to search on park times and stay away from the parks that have the “Extra Magic Hours” which is only offered to the the guests of the WDW resort hotels to enjoy extra hours. Those guests will go to those parks so instead of feeling like 2nd class citizens, we went to the other parks.
- Try the water parks: Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach – they are so much fun. Either show up when the park opens (because they will close it around 10:30am if it is full) or around 3pm in the afternoon where you can drive up to the front entrance parking lot and find a much better spot to park. If they close the park for the day, they allow people in later in the afternoon when the park starts to empty a bit. Yesterday, after shopping for most of the day we arrived at Typhoon Lagoon around 5pm for a nice refreshing float around Castaway Creek. (Castaway Creek is an inner tube ride in a meandering stream that encircles Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park in Walt Disney World Resort.)
- Recommended shopping off WDW is the Prime 1 Outlets (off of I4) (www.primeoutlets.com). It is amazing with awesome pricing, so the place to shop. You can get to it off I4, but recommend you exit off to International drive because driving out can take a long time. We drove out both ways, the first time took us 30mins to get onto the I4, the 2nd way was to exit onto International Drive and then catch the I4 from there.
- Found the Air Conditioning at Mona Lisa to be noisy. It works very well, but it is noiser than I expected. We closed our bedroom doors and it wasn’t a problem, and thankfully the person that sleeped on the couch didn’t mind the noise.
- The combination Washer/Dryer was a tricky thing to operate. My wife was up to the challenge though and had to give it a whirl. I had read complaints about it on TripAdvisor and they were true.
- The light switch in the living room operates both the light and the fan, the fan operates at a fast speed and there is no control to slow it down so we didn’t use the light (or the fan).
- Avoid Easter week, the week before and the week after… to many people around.
- Be careful driving, we saw some accidents and we saw many situations that would have been accidents if not for other careful drivers.
- Watch your speed, don’t speed as there are often hidden Orlando police cars with radar checks.
That’s the end of the review, we would recommend the hotel and would stay here again. The price is fair and again, no complaints at all. If you stay here, enjoy your stay and your trip to WDW & Universal.
- Also Known As:
- Mona Lisa Suite Celebration
- Hotel Mona Lisa Suite
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Priceline, Splendia, Hotels.com, Cheap Tickets, Sol Melia Hotels and Resorts US, Expedia, Travelocity, BookIt.com, Amex, getaroom.com, Otel and Tingo so you can book your Melia Orlando Suite Hotel at Celebration reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.