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Holiday Inn™ Family Suites Resort Courts Military Families
By Tony Conboy III
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Orlando - Although many hotels and resorts market themselves to military/family travelers, the Lake Buena Vista Holiday Inn™ Family Suites Resort, located less than two miles from Disney World™, is in a league all of its own.

The 800-suite resort provides so much on its 24 acres that you could virtually enjoy a complete family vacation without ever making it to the parks or leaving the resort's property. Put aside those preconceived notions of Holiday Inns you've stayed at in the past; those hotels were for business men and women, while this resort is for families.

The first impression of the train themed resort is that it appears to have been built from the ground up with one thing in mind: families. From the resort's train that takes youngsters for daily rides, to the expansive pool that is more like a water park than a standard hotel pool, families are first and kids are abundant!

Patriot Salute Military Family Promotion

The award winning resort is now actively courting military families by offering its "Patriot Salute" package. Active and retired United States military personnel receive a substantial savings on a vacation that includes a three-room suite accommodation package. Packages start at $149 per suite, per night. The "Patriot Salute" package is valid through December 23, 2002.

The package includes:

  • $50 Family Suite Bucks daily - Family Suite Bucks can be used by the entire family to enjoy the resort's many dining and entertainment options, further reducing the hassle and increasing the value of a family vacation.
  • FREE hot breakfast buffet daily - Not a continental breakfast but a complete full-fledged buffet including eggs, bacon, fruit and almost anything else you could want for breakfast.
  • 'Kids Eat Free" Program - Children 12 and under always eat free lunch and dinner from a special kids' menu when accompanied by
    Holiday Inn™ Family Suites Resort Pool - Photo copyright © Holiday Inn ™ - Used with Permission
    a dining adult.
  • FREE scheduled transportation to all four Walt Disney World Resort theme parks.
  • FREE evening entertainment - A comedy-magic show from 7-8 pm; family bingo from 8-9 pm and Karaoke from 9-11 pm.
  • FREE 9-hole miniature putt-putt, ping-pong and shuffleboard.
  • FREE Family portrait.
  • FREE Coca Cola products and a tub of microwave popcorn - Just join Holiday Inn's Priority Club and receive the Coke and popcorn for free from the resort's store.

Amenities and Activities

Holiday Inn™ Family Suites Resort Kitty Pool/Playground - Photo copyright © Holiday Inn ™ - Used with Permission

Although the military promotion is great, you don't have to be military to enjoy the resort and appreciate the value. As I mentioned, kids are king at the resort. They will be thrilled the massive zero entry pool that sits surrounded in its courtyard by some of the resort's six story high units. This isn't your typical hotel pool, but more like its own water park complete with fountains squirting swimmers, animals that double as water shooters and a variety of other interactive water park features. Next to the massive pool, there are two whirlpools, shuffleboard court, kiddy pool, playground and even a nine-hole miniature golf course. The other courtyard, known as the West Track, offers an Olympic-sized lap pool, two whirlpools and a complimentary fitness center.

Comedy shows, face painting and magic tricks take place nightly in a special entertainment room complete with stage, sound and lighting system. It's a hit with kids and shouldn't be missed. Game room tokens are the favorite reward for the kids who elect to become part of the show. There is also often also free cake, drinks and ice cream during the show!

Train rides! Near the main entrance is the train, which takes kids for rides around the property daily from 8:30-11:30 am. Also, make sure your kids check-in when you first arrive just as mom and dad do, but at their own separate check-in window. Once they've "registered" at the kids' check-in, they'll receive their bag of goodies that includes a coloring book, candy and much sought after game room tokens.

Kidsuites!

The Holiday Inn™ Family Suites Resort offers five suite types with something for every individual's needs and tastes, including:

  • 2-Bedroom Kidsuites, offering a private adult bedroom with king or queen-size bed and a fun-themed semi-private children's room with bunk beds or twin beds, TV, video cassette player, Nintendo 64 and more. My room included bunk beds, which was immediately spotted by my six year old who shouted upon seeing them: "You're the best Dad I ever had!" (She has a flare for the dramatic, but her enthusiasm could barely be contained.)
  • SweetHeart Suites, offering a 117-gallon heart-shaped whirlpool tub and king bedroom, in addition to mood lighting, heated towel rack, dual showerheads, his and her robes, remote-controlled stereo system and 50" TV.
  • CinemaSuites, offering a private king bedroom and a separate home theater room, complete with 60" television, surround-sound stereo system and dual recliners.
  • Classic Two-Bedroom Suites, offering two queen-size bedrooms, or one queen-size bedroom and a semi-private bedroom featuring twin beds.
  • Residential Suites, offering a king-size bedroom and full-service kitchen with refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher, stovetop range, coffee maker and complete utensils.

Location, Location, Location

The resort enjoys a great location, convenient to all of Orlando's major tourist attractions just off of I-4 on SR 536. Disney™ is less than two miles; three miles to Water Mania; four miles to Sea World/Discovery Cove™; 10 miles to Universal and 16 miles to Orlando International Airport.

There are free shuttles to Disney™, saving you the cost of parking at Disney™, which can cost a family as much as $8 per day. If shopping is on your vacation "To Do List," there is a complimentary shopping shuttle to the nearby Lake Buena Vista Factory Outlet Stores.

Value

In my opinion, the resort provides a great value for the family traveler. It is often not the cost of the resort room or suite that puts a damper on a vacation, but the many other related costs such as breakfasts, extra charges for extra persons, health club costs, etc. The Lake Buena Vista Holiday Inn™ Family Suites Resorts allows a family to hold the line on costs by including so many of these fees in the package price. In addition, the resort makes great use of coupons and special offers to entice its guests to explore the on-site game room, restaurants and stores.

For more information about the Patriot Salute Package and Holiday Inn™ Family Suites Resort contact your travel agent, call toll-free (877) 387-KIDS (5437) or (800) HOLIDAY, or visit the resort's Web site at Holiday Inn Orlando - Lake Buena Vista - http://www.holidayinn.com/hotels/us/en/lake-buena-vista/dislb/hoteldetail.

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