My husband and I (30's) traveled with our kids (8 mo and 3) and my sister's family (40's, 13, 12, and 7) with frequent visits from Grandma and Grandpa (60's)- to see the least we have the age gamut covered! Eveyrone enjoyed thier time at Summer Bay and the exceptional activities staff offered something for all ages. We stayed 3/23-3/30.
We stayed as part of a guest week through RCI. Our rates were very reasonable ($750/wk), so we did not have very high expectations. We had done some research ahead of time via this site and the resort website and knew which set of condo's we wanted to be in. As part of RCI, you are restricted to the 100's- but don't let them stick you in the way back! They first tried to put us in 103/104 area, which is a far walk to the pools and activities. After much discussion with the very nice front desk staff, they accomodated our request to have units next to each other in bldg 107. Tip: Anyone with kids who will be utilizing the activities center, and staying through RCI, this is your best bet. It is a close walk to the 400 level pool and to the clubhouse for activities.
My family received one call about the timeshare presentation. After repeadtedly saying no, the man became a bit rude at the end of the converation, but didn't bother us again for the rest of the trip- fine with me. My sister's husband had a bit of fun with the timeshare people, pitting thier "offers" against each other, but they too were never bothered again once they said no.
Now onto the fun! We have very high reviews of the activities, music, and activity center staff. Our kids did several crafts, storytimes, and games- WHICH WERE FREE! At many other resorts you have to pay for everything- even foam crafts stratight from Orietnal Trading! Here they are very up front on which activities have a cost, and even those I thought were reasonable for the product you get (we paid $10 for a Build A Buddy, which my daughter picked a very cute stuffed dog- she sleeps with it every night now!). I cannot say enough about the staff- they are very kid-friendly, energetic and appropriate. Our kids really enjoyed them. My sister's family also made use of the family mini golf pass- the people are really cool and will let anyone really use the pass once you pay for it (i.e: my husband could golf on thier pass with our kids). Staying in the 107 bldg we made use of the 400 level pool alot. It is zero depth entry- perfect for our little ones- and a close walk to our unit. They also have no one monitoring for carry-ins, or they don't care, so we brought sandwiches poolside almost every day. One day we even grilled hot dogs by the pool, which was a fun treat. At night, we LOVED the music offered poolside- the dueling pianos was great (don't be scared- not loud or naughty at all- just two guys playing piano together...very family friendly). Most nights the kids would enjoy a late night swim at Big Kahuna's pool while adults enjoyed the music and beverage at the bar. Say hi to John the bartender- he does a great job! Again, we thought the activites were fun and well done- my only thought would be there could be a bit more for the "tween" crowd, but overall- all our kids could easily find things to do all day long most days.
We did eat at Big Kahuna's grill twice and had a different experience each time! First time it was just average pool food, with small-ish portions. The second time was EXCELLENT! Portions were generous, food was more flavorful, etc. Must have been a different cook. Either way it's a convenient option- especially when there's entertainment to be enjoyed. Also, people are right about the pizza- it is delicious! The kids loved it (adults too). One disappointment is the ice cream shop. The staff is not friendly and almost seemed annoyed when you want to order. The ice cream is also very over priced ($3.75 for a not full scoop- ouch!). They can do better here.
The units are very much what you'd expect- resort decor, functional kitchen, hotel-like beds. We brought along Sandwich Bags, which was a good idea for poolside eating and to store leftovers. My sister's unit didn't have a Cookie Sheet, but ours did. We also ended up buying paper bowls as the bowls in the units are odd- really wide and shallow- not good for cereal eating! Our maintenance was fine- and I have to give a special shout out to the maintenance staff who knocked on our door to alert me that our daughter was outside by herself- we knew this as she was walking back and forth to my sister's unit, but it was nice of them to be concerned and take action. After reading the review above, oddly, my sister also got a noise complaint one night. Her 3 kids were quietly getting ready for bed- not being loud at all. I don't know if security randomly knocks on doors to scare people into being quiet or what- but they should probably do a better job of tracking down the source of noise complaints before disturbing guests. FYI- we never had a problem with noise and overall found resort guests to be friendly and courteous.
We did Disney 2 days and it is NOT far at all- 20 minutes to Hollywood Studios and to the front gate of Magic Kingdom via monorail or ferry is an hour. There are also lots of chain restaurants in the area for dining if you are looking for that sort of thing.
Overall our Summer Bay vacation was enjoyable. My sister and her family stayed at Orange Lake Resort the year prior (right up the road from SB) and preferred Orange Lake, but still said they were not disappointed with SB. It's fun for families, more budget friendly than a hotel, and great location for those wanting to go to Disney. And hey- you're on vacation, so it's better than being at work, right? :)
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.