I have so many reviews that I am behind on, but I feel this one deserves my attention the most. My husband and I stayed at Champions this past week as a result of an incentive week (from a vacation club presentation), so we weren't sure what to expect. We'll, let me just say up front that our stay was wonderful! We had a long day of connecting flights and finally arrived well after 9pm, but Tamara was friendly, quick, and informative. She notified us that due to our company booking, we would not owe the resort daily fee (I think it was $7, just so you all know what to expect if you are not exempt from that. However, I think the rates are pretty low, so if you add that on to your daily rate, you are still getting a value IMO). She gave us a coupon booklet that was good at the bar/restaurant, so we went straight to the bar after we brought our bags to our room.
Chris was the bartender that night (we had read reviews of him, so I already knew to expect great service). He treated us very well! It was Friday, which was a buy one get one free night for wine. He included champagne in the deal, so we toasted the night away. Even without the deals, drinks at that bar were the most reasonable of our entire trip (we drank at Disney, Universal, and downtown Disney bars). I think $4 for most wines and maybe $6 for tinis (don't quote me on those). We met some locals (Phil and Barb from England who stay for the winter) and had great conversation with Chris and them. Saturday was spent lounging around the hotel, taking the bus to Target ($2 fare each way, or $4.50 for a whole day pass... well worth it if you decide to stock on groceries one trip, and go have dinner at one of the local restaurants or visit downtown Kissimee on another trip in the same day. We wish we did that, but there's so much to do in a week)! Careful, the Lynx buses do not give change. We actually walked back from Target because we like walking.. took us 20 mins. Spent the night chilling at the bar again. They had a Halloween party that day, Saturday (Oct 27th), and three costumes won a $20 tab. We were one of them!! We didn't even have a costume, but there was a thrift store across the street and we improvised! The $20 tab along with a buy one get one coupon (we used for festive halloween drinks) allowed us another great night for a good value. We had another awesome night conversing with Chris and another couple from England (honeymooners that had a fun a card game that we all played together). FYI, Chris puts a lot into this bar, and even bought martini glasses on his own to help stock it. Sunday we went to Universal Studios! A great surprise came when the Bus Driver (I think his name was Moreno) told us there was no fee for Universal/Sea World (supposed to be $15). Yay! He was a very fun bus driver and always tried hard to entertain his passengers, especially the kids! Tips are very appreciated and I think well deserved (a $1.00 or two each way per person is what we gave). Another night in the jacuzzi followed (it was cold, so the hot water was welcome!). All the pools seemed very clean (there were leaves in the pool by the jacuzzi, but no one was swimming anyway, and the other two pools looked fine). We also had a friend visit who lives in the area. We ordered pizza from the bar with one of the coupons (two pizza for $15, and they didn't charge our friend parking as long as it wasn't overnight. And the pizza fed us three plus two days of leftovers for our friend. They also have a bucket of wings and pitcher of beer coupon we never got to take advantage of). Monday, we took advantage of the Disney transfers (also free) and visited downtown Disney (take the shuttle to Epcot or Magic Kingdom and then use the Disney buses/monorail for free). I think Jackie and Erika at the front desk were who helped us with information regarding the shuttles. Very friendly staff! I think we also met with some of the managers that day. Dalton and Mildred were their names. Let me tell you, they were so warm and welcoming! They are really trying to make this resort into the great place it has the potential to be and even took our suggestions as to how to improve it. They have a nature center we never got to see that they will also be upgrading and are looking into permanently making the Universal/Sea World shuttles complimentary (remember I said they are usually $15 pp rountrip, but free for our stay) Tuesday we went to Epcot (shuttles are great for this because they have several times at Magic Kingdom and Epcot right around park opening and closing and one midday, and you can use Disney's free monorail and buses to get to either if you want to take advantage of the different pick up times to the hotel.. Ex: If you sleep in for Magic Kingdoms 10ish shuttle you can take Epcot's noon shuttle and take the Disney bus/monorail over to Magic Kingdom). My husband had the breakfast buffet that day and loved it!!! (biscuits and gravy, bacon, sausage, omelets, fruit, bread, cereal, juice, etc). Wednesday (Halloween) we went back to Universal and stayed for the Halloween Horror Nights (Note: the shuttle does not bring you back to the hotel that late and you will need another form of transport.. I think it brings you back around 6pm and brings you there around 7am, just in time to get to the front of the line before park opening). Thursday, we both did breakfast (they accommodated my dietary restrictions and made me egg whites with no butter/oil and lots of veggies and even let me take it to go when our shuttle came.. my fault for not leaving enough time to order it, so I'm not sure if they normally let you leave with breakfast). We took advantage of the shuttles to Disney and them used the Disney buses to get to Downtown Disney again and then to Fort Wilderness for the Hoop-Dee-Doo dinner and were able to make it back in time to the 8pm shuttle from Magic Kingdom back to Champions (we had the 4pm dinner, so the 6:15 dinner would probably get you back to the 10 pm Epcot shuttle in time, but I wouldn't recommend the later dinner shows if you want to get back to the shuttles in time, because you have to take a couple Disney buses to get back to the parking lot where the Champions shuttle picks you up). Thursday night we went back to the Champions bar to have another toast of champagne to celebrate the closing of our vacation. Then another night at the Jacuzzi (doesn't close until 11pm). It was also this night that Leticia and Jackie helped me check in and print our boarding passes for the next day's flight home. Friday we woke up and checked out with ease and our shuttle guys came right on time to take us to the airport (I recommend Mears, great value if you book ahead on line for a rountrip. Very efficient, prompt and friendly. We paid $68 for the both of us for roundtrip transfers to the airport).
The reason I'm so descriptive is to let everyone know our whole experience and ease of our trip based on what we wanted to do. So, I hope I didn't bore anyone. Basically, the stay was wonderful and we would stay there again in a heartbeat! We may try a Disney resort next time just to try the experience, but being as this was a last minute trip, this resort fulfilled our needs beyond our expectations! And there were lots of families staying here for 2-3 week stints as well who planned way ahead of time (so it's not just great for last minute stays!)
As I am realistic, I also want to mention the downsides. Don't worry, there's only two. We do not like people entering our room while we are gone, so we always kept the "Do Not Disturb" sign up. One night in the middle of the week, we found our sign removed and our room cleaned. I don't know if the sign blew away or someone just thought to take the liberty of cleaning our room, but we were a little unhappy about it. Nothing was missing from our room however, and it was windy, so it could have been an honest mistake if the wind blew the sign away. So if you are like us, I would recommend letting the front desk know to have no one enter your room under any circumstances other than your request. The other con was that our hair dryer was quite dirty. It looked like it just needed a good wiping off, but then again, we didn't touch it, so I could have just been a stain. No real big deal, as the rest of the room was very clean. :-) Just something to note if you plan on using their dryer (I brought my own) Another positive note, we had a microwave and a fridge/freeze at no extra charge and they have working ice machines! The front desk also corked a bottle of wine for us and let us use their scissors because we forgot to bring those tools!
Overall, our stay was great and well exceeded our expectations, and not just for the value (even if we didn't get the trip as an incentive we would have been very happy). We will probably come back to this hotel again! Side note: Spirit incentives booked our trip! We also used that company for our airfare. The vacation club people that offered the incentive trip used them and ironically my credit card company also used their services for a free companion domestic round trip ticket that we get annually. Just mentioning in case someone else finds themselves in the same situation of getting an incentive trip and not sure what to expect!
Thank you so much Champions! Please feel free to add if we left anything out!
~Chris and Chris~ (same as the bartender... lol)
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Champions World Resort and Nature Park is situated on 15 tropical acres just 3.5 Miles from the Walt Disney World(R) Resort. The hotel offers scheduled transportation to the Walt Disney World(R) Resort Parks, the Lake Buena Vista Outlet Mall, Sea World, Aquatica, and Universal Studios.After a long day at the parks or shopping til' you drop, come back and relax at one of the 3 heated pools (one covered for year round enjoyment) or just grab a drink and relax in the Jacuzzi. Uncover the hidden secret that makes this hotel so special by visiting the 5 acre nature and jogging park. Three separate ponds complete with sandy beaches, paddleboats and lounge chairs. You will also find picnic tables, grilles and a Gazebo for family enjoyment. Sports enthusiasts can enjoy our multi- purpose sports fields, basketball courts, sandy volleyball, fitness center and kids playground. Champions Restaurant is open for your dining pleasure or to watch your favorite sporting event in the Lounge. Champions World Resort has something for everyone. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Champions World Hotel Kissimmee
- Hotel Champions World