Since we are going to become a foster/adoptive family soon, we wanted to have a chance to spend some quality time this summer with our current children. We realize a lot of our attention is going to be taken up soon by this change and we decided this would be the year that Eddie took a full week off (for the first time in five years!) and we dedicated it to the five of us and nothing but quality family time.
I’m so happy that when I reached out to Encore RV Resorts about their Petite Retreats they agreed to work with us to plan the perfect getaway!
We chose to go to Florida because we used to live there, so we wanted to visit a few favorite places and people if possible, plus we are already familiar with the area. We chose Orlando because Penny had never been to Disney World and there are a lot of other attractions to visit as well. It didn’t hurt that it was only a 90 minute drive from our old neighborhood and the beach.
One problem. Our family has outgrown a traditional hotel room designed for four people. We were going to need to either rent two hotel rooms or book a villa or a house…and that can be super expensive!
I saw other bloggers recommending these small cottages just a few miles outside of Disney World, and I reached out to the Encore company to see if they would let me check out their Petite Retreats. (Super cute name for super cute cottages.) They did, so now I get to share all of this with you.
I know if you’re looking into renting a cottage or tiny house you have a ton of questions, just like I did. That’s why this is going to be a very long post with tons of pictures. I’ll do my best to address everything you want to know. But if you are wondering about anything else just comment here or head over to Petite Retreats to check them out. We stayed in the Colorful Cottages at the Tropical Palms resort in Kissimmee. We stayed in a 2-bedroom cabin with a loft. It was equipped to sleep up to 8 people.
First, let me take you on a tour of the house. Watch the video to get a better understanding of the layout and the amount of room you have.
The model we stayed in was considered a Premium 2 bedroom with a loft. We used the loft as the girls’ bedroom and they loved it!
What I loved: There is too much to put in this category, so I’m going to have to break it up into smaller pieces. But this is what our cottage looked like from the outside. The vibe of the whole resort was very laid-back and homey.
In general: I really loved the finishes and the amount of natural light we had. The interior of the cabin felt much roomier than Eddie and I expected. I think that is because of the tall ceilings.
We also really enjoyed the deck because it offered more living space. We had some of our meals as a family outside and we could also send the kids out to play on it sometimes. They blew bubbles or bounced balls.
I especially loved the privacy. Because we have a child with special needs, staying in hotels can be very challenging. Having people stay above or below us means lots of extra noise and sensory input. It also usually means the entire family living out of one room. But having our own cottage meant that Nicholas had his own space. He had a bedroom all to himself and could close the door and take a break, which he did almost every single day. It also meant not worrying about the people staying above or below us making noise, or us needing to worry about if we were waking other people up when our kids wanted to watch tv early in the morning (or when Penny was crying at 1am on the first night we were there because she was homesick).
Having our own kitchen was especially handy. We were able to go grocery shopping the first day we arrived and make many of our own meals throughout the week, which was a huge cost-savings compared to eating out every day! And the kitchen came fully stocked, so I didn’t need to pack any pots or utensils.
The amenities: We were in Florida for six days and two of those days we spent at the resort just relaxing and taking advantage of the amenities they offered. There was a large pool, plus an additional kiddie pool we visited almost every day. The resort had a calendar of kid-friendly activities like chalk art and “dive-in” movies at the pool. The activities started at 1pm and went until bedtime. Most of them were included with the rental, but there was a small fee for things like making your own s’mores. (That cost $2.) Unfortunately, there were thunderstorms many of the evenings we were there, so we didn’t get a chance to check out the movies. Taking advantage of all the things the property had to offer also helped us reduce the cost of our vacation because we weren’t spending extra money finding family-friendly things to do.
The resort also offered mini golf, horseshoes, ladder golf, corn hole, and shuffleboard. And there was a cable tv in our living room. Our kids never complained about being bored.
There was also a cafe area near the pool where you can buy lunch or adult beverages.
Security: The resort was gated and a security guard was on duty 24 hours a day. Because we were driving all the way from Pennsylvania, we arrived on our first night after the main office had closed. It wasn’t a problem because I called ahead of time and they left our key with the security guard. We just had to show an i.d. to pick it up.
Parking: There were several parking spaces marked directly across from our cottage, so we were able to park very close to our door. It was easy to load and unload the car. We were given a parking pass at check-in and just displayed it on our dashboard. The easy-access parking was a big plus for Eddie because he didn’t have any of the typical hassle of loading all of our things onto a luggage cart and into an elevator.
The Bathroom: We had a full bathroom with a tub, which was nice for bathing the kids.
Turn-Down Service: The resort staff came into our cabin every day to make the beds, empty the trash, and re-stock the towels and paper products. Bath towels are provided, but we did bring our own beach towels to use at the pool and on our beach day. (I remade the bed after we slept in it for the purposes of this picture. The professionals did a much better job!)
Laundry: There is not laundry in the cottage itself, but it is available on-site.
What is provided: Our cottage came stocked with fully made beds, extra blankets, and a well-equipped kitchen. There was a cable tv in the living area. There was also a stove, refrigerator, microwave, and coffee maker. Dishes, flatware, and several pots and cooking utensils were also provided. Any other small appliances that you might want (like a slow cooker), you would need to bring with you. I will say that we did not have scissors and we missed those several times. I almost bought a pair, but we got by without them for the week.
Location: The resort is about four miles from Disney World. It took us around ten minutes to drive to Magic Kingdom. There are also several restaurants and stores within walking distance.
Shuttle Service: They do not offer a shuttle service at this time, but the resort is within walking distance of areas to access public transportation. We had a vehicle with us, so this really didn’t affect our family.
The price: I was honestly shocked by the affordability of these cabins. Pricing starts at $129 per night, and goes up from there depending on the size you are looking to rent. It was certainly MUCH more affordable than anything I had seen to accommodate the size of our soon-to-be-growing family, but instead of a single room just for sleeping, it was for a private cottage that could sleep 8 people and came with a full kitchen! Plus, at the time we were looking to book there was also a Groupon that offered even more savings.
Air-conditioning: Our cottage did have central air, which is a must in Florida, and there was a thermostat we were able to control.
Pets: The resort is pet-friendly, but a deposit is required. A fenced-in pet park area is available for your four-legged friends to get their exercise.
Booking: All of the information is available on the Petite Retreats website.
Overall, our entire family was thrilled with the experience. We are already planning our next trip, hopefully with new family members tagging along next time!
Here’s the video tour one more time, in case you missed it.
We were provided with accommodations for the purposes of this review. All opinions are my own.
If you liked this post, I always appreciate your pins and shares!
You might also like my Tips For Renting a Beach House.