SALES/CHECK IN :
We rented a 3BR villa from a timeshare owner (Interval Exchange) for $980 for the week of Jan 5-12th. Given all the bad reviews we were very worried going in but there was limited availability for three bedrooms at the last minute. I called ahead to request 29, 30, 31 or 32 - newer buildings and to be near a pool. As other people noted check-in is a little odd. We arrived early, about 12:30 and checked in at a portable office trailer -- a room was not ready but they said we could come back to the sales center at 2 (much better than 4!). At 2 I waited for about ten minutes for my concierge to take us to the room -- this is where they assess if you are at all interested in the timeshare presentation. They take you to the room, turn on all the lights, check the fridge, ask if everything is okay or if you need tickets, want to golf, etc. We expressed interest in golf and they pitched two rounds for $20 (vs $110 each). We said no and weren't called or bothered again (until we called them -- see below).
BUILDING: We were assigned building 22, near the Dunes Lagoon, not what I requested but the building was clean, close enough to the pool and updated. Other than a little funky garbage disposal smell in the one bedroom unit (quickly remedied) everything was good. Typical timeshare layout of one two bedroom villa attached to one 1-bedroom unit -- two kitchens, two living rooms, one patio. Plenty of towels for six people, sheets for pull out sofas, extra pillows and blankets.
TIMESHARE PITCH: We decided after a few days to take them up on their $20 golf and did the timeshare presentation for three rounds of golf (we had three golfers two of them under the age of 16). We scheduled first pitch of the morning at 7:30, let the kids sleep in and we were in and out, including the complimentary breakfast, tour, standard manager last ditch pitch, with three golf passes in hand in two hours and five minutes - I thought it was well worth the time for savings of $310! You have to remember a couple of things -- don't ask any questions and don't EVER waiver from NO.
POOL: The Dunes Lagoon pool is very nice, as other people have noted the slide is fast and rough -- probably not for very little kids. Water is warm enough to swim in the evenings. The lack of a hot tub is disappointing. You have to check in/out towels at the pool and aren't supposed to take them back to your villa - kind of a pain, I'd suggest taking your own. The bar poolside is adequate.
SERVICE/PROPERTY: The staff is as pleasant as you are to them, I never saw them go out of their way, but as with most people a smile and a kind request always got us excellent and prompt service. They were always nice to my kids. The Pizza Hut Express had pizza to our door in 35 minutes and was of Pizza Hut quality (you either like it our you don't!) They picked up our garbage from outside our door everyday (not the case at other timeshare resorts). The grounds were clean and well manicured. The golf course is challenging. The units are good sized, clean and well stocked.
LOCATION/TRANSPORTATION: The location is better than I expected. I've always heard that going to the parks from the 192 area is a pain but we zipped in and out of the Disney parks with no problems, access to I4 was no trouble at all. On-site the resort beautiful and big and is really spread out, walking to any of the other pools, the basketball court or the front desk is up/down hills and quite a haul. You should request a building near where you want to hang out. They said that if you called 0 they would send a shuttle to take you anywhere on property. We never did because we were close to the things we wanted so I can't attest to their efficiency. My kids did walk to the basketball court and said it took a long time.
A few tips -- DON'T use your GPS to find this -- it takes you to an old entrance that you can't get in. Remember Orlando area has REALLY long stop lights - and there are LOTS of tourists that don't know where they are going! If you stay at resorts or homes in this area you really need a rental car! There are lots of things nearby but NOT walking distance! I wouldn't rely on shuttles to any offsite locations as it wastes too much vacation time. If you stay at a timeshare resort don't expect free daily maid service, expect to clean up after yourself or pay for additional services.
Overall our stay was excellent. For comparison we have stayed at Sheraton Vistana, Marriott Grande Vista, Westgate Lakes and this was as nice. There are fewer activities and pools here than some of the other places and as I said it is way more spread out -- but we thought a very nice change from the stacked in on top of each other that you feel at some of the other resorts.
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- Also Known As:
- Mystic Dunes Resort & Golf Club Hotel Celebration
- Mystic Dunes Resort And Golf Club
- Mystic Dunes Hotel
- Mystic Dunes Golf Resort
- Wyndham Palms Resort
- Mystic Dunes Orlando