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Photo Credit: Amy Barseghian / Orange County TravelingMom

After a wonderful weekend at our TravelingMom Writers’ Retreat at Disney World, it was time for some R & R at Mystic Dunes Resort, an expansive property that offers dining, shopping, entertainment and activities for both guests and those who are timeshare owners. As part of the Diamond Resorts International family, Mystic Dunes Golf Resort offers guests an opportunity to vacation and get away from it all with structured activities for family members and beautiful pools all while being surrounded in palm trees and the beautiful blue skies in Orlando.

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Accommodations

While Mystic Dunes Golf Resort is a timeshare ownership property, you can also stay as a guest.  We found the accommodations to be spacious for our family needs, but it would also be very fitting for a couple traveling without children.  The one bedroom villa has a full kitchen, dining area, living room, full patio with table and chairs, as well as a large bedroom and master bath.

When traveling longer than four days, we prefer to have a kitchen so we can make meals at “home” and save money while eating healthy meals.  It was really nice to have the full kitchen at Mystic Dunes with so many dishes, utensils and pans.  If you are a coffee drinker, you can rest easy with the coffee maker right in your kitchen.  In the morning, we recommend brewing a cup and heading out back to your private patio to enjoy the peace of the morning.

One thing we look for while traveling as a family is room for the extras.  If we are traveling locally for a staycation, that may mean bikes, boogie boards, outdoor toys and so on.  When flying to our destination, we often buy some inexpensive sand toys and balls for our children that we give to another family upon our departure.  We want floor and closet space for those items as well as suitcases and backpacks.  The one bedroom villa at Mystic Dunes offered the space needed for a comfortable family trip and allowed everyone to have their own space.

Photo Credit: Amy Barseghian / Orange County TravelingMom

Photo Credit: Amy Barseghian / Orange County TravelingMom

Amenities

When we go on vacation, my absolute favorite part of the entire trip is not planning everything. With so much of our daily lives structured, it offers a change of pace for everyone in our family. However, in order for it to completely work, I know I need access to some convenience items for our family.  At Mystic Dunes, The Market Place is located on property and open daily from 9am to 8pm. While we certainly could not do all of our family shopping there, it offered some items we needed as well as grab and go items.  Do your full grocery shopping on your way into town or when you first arrive so you can relax and enjoy vacation without making extra trips to the store.   Mystic Dunes offers a grocery delivery service as well which may help with your mid-stay needs if you need anything,

Mystic Dunes Resort also offers complimentary shuttle service from 7am to 10pm to help you get to the pool, golf course, restaurants, and more so be sure to take advantage of this amenity. The property is larger so walking to everything you want to do is not an option for everyone.  The buildings toward the entrance of the resort offer a bit more privacy, but they are also further away from some things so dial “0” or 50125 to request your shuttle service!

Mystic Dunes Resort pool

Photo Credit: Scotty Reiss/ CoFounder SheBuysCars.com

Activities

When you arrive at Mystic Dunes Resort, pick up a resort guide. It’s loaded with the information you will need for your stay. As an Orange County family we are accustomed to an active outdoor lifestyle and were impressed with the number of activities for all ages offered at the resort. Scavenger hunts, resort cook outs, craft activities, movie nights, pool games, and sports are just a few of the activities that families with children will appreciate. Mini golf and bike rentals are available at The Market Place by the garden pool as well.

If you are a golf enthusiast, you can fuel your passion at the par 72 Mystic Dunes Golf Course designed by NBC Golf Analyst and Champions Tour player Gary Koch. The water hazards were a bit too challenging for my skill level, but the course is truly beautiful. The Pro Shop offers daily specials as well so be sure to check your Resort Guide or call the shop to learn more about the specials available during your stay.

We found the multiple pools at Mystic Dunes to be really nice for our family.   After all, not everyone wants to be around kids and not all families want to be around those without children.    The Garden Pool and Terrace Pool are located near the equipment rental and Activities Center so if your children are old enough for some independence, find a spot to enjoy the sun at one of these pools so you can still be close by.

Dining

Mystic Dunes Resort Dining

Photo Credit: Scotty Reiss/ CoFounder SheBuysCars.com

Kenzie’s Restaurant and Lounge is conveniently located within the resort as a dining option at Mystic Dunes that also offers live entertainment.  A live entertainment schedule is provided in your Resort Guide to help you plan; the Comedy Magic Show and Date Night with Sinatra and his fellow Rat Pack friends caught our attention.  And while full kitchens are a priority amenity for us when we travel, it is also nice to order in for a quiet night with the family. Kenzie’s offers a delivery menu as well making these nights a reality.

If Happy Hour is more your style, then kick back at the Dunes Lagoon, which offers a daily special from 4-7pm.   With the resorts convenient location, you can also find local delivery from nearby businesses which would be essential during a stay at Mystic Dunes that extended more than a few days.

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Photo Credit: Amy Barseghian / Orange County TravelingMom

Timeshare with Flexibility

Diamond Resorts International has an impressive portfolio of resorts that owners can use their points at and the list of properties continues to grow. As an owner in the network, your have flexibility around when, where, and how you travel.  We were not interested in learning more about becoming an owner and found the staff very respectful of our polite decline. However, if you are interested in learning more about ownership, there is a large sales office offering discount theme park tickets as a bonus for listening to their 90-minute presentation.  The nice thing is this sales office is tucked away a bit so guests can choose to engage with them if they want without it being too prominent for other guests.

Location and Nearby Attractions

With Universal Studios, Walt Disney World, and Sea World all nearby, guests will want to make sure they set aside time to take in these attractions.  Mystic Dunes Golf Resort is a 30-minute drive from each of them. The resort sells theme park tickets, which saves you time when you arrive at the parks.