Traveling with teens is the equivalent of traveling with four adults, minus the adult part. That means you’re traveling with adult-sized people who still act like teens–they toss their stuff everywhere and don’t do much to help unless they are nagged. And nagged. That’s why finding overnight accommodations like Diamond Resorts International Mystic Dunes can be so important to family vacation harmony.
This vacation ownership property has the thing families with teens need most: extra space to spread out. (Yes, it’s what used to be called a time share, but the process has improved significantly since your parents bought that time share they still are trying to unload. And there are lots of free snacks–always a plus with ravenous teens–offered to entice people to listen to the vacation ownership pitch.)
I stayed as a guest of Diamond Resorts’ Mystic Dunes property in Orlando, Florida. After a weekend at Disney World that included a ride on the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train roller coaster in New Fantasyland it was a welcome respite to walk into my one-bedroom condo and find the triangular soaking tub.
Although I wasn’t traveling with my teens on this trip, if I had been, I know that they would have plopped down in the living room, grabbed some snacks from the full kitchen and zoned out in front of the television. Me? I would have done the same thing I did when traveling without them: Draw a hot bath and sink into the tub.
Need a Car at the Mystic Dunes
I’m a big believer in public transit and don’t really like renting cars when I travel. I like to think that is because I enjoy watching the scenery go by. But it’s probably more due to the fact that I have the world’s worst sense of direction and even my GPS can’t always keep me from getting lost.
During this trip, a portion of which was spent test driving Chevrolet cars (loved this Chevy Tahoe), I was car-less. That meant I was at the mercy of transportation provided by my hosts. While on property at Disney’s BoardWalk Resort, it was relatively easy to get around by bus, boat or on foot. Heading to Mystic Dunes was another story.
As the Magic Kingdom fireworks show started–the signal that the night is ending–we headed to the Disney transportation center ferry that would take us to the spot where we would meet the shuttle to take us to Mystic Dunes.
Transportation to Mystic Dunes
Be there on time, we were warned. The shuttle waits for no one.
Rather than risk missing the bus–literally–we arrived in the parking lot by 11:10pm. No shuttle. 11:30. No shuttle. 11:40. No shuttle. Repeated calls to the front desk at Mystic Dunes elicited much sympathy and offers to call the transportation company. Still no shuttle.
Finally, at 12:15 am, a shuttle arrives and takes us and the six other Mystic Dunes-bound passengers to the resort… and, at 1 am, attempts to drop us at a closed gate so far away that you can’t even see the check-in desk. We convinced the driver to open the gate and drive us to the check-in building. Which he did, sort of. Luckily, the other passengers could point us toward check-in, which was still a half-block away.
Upgrades in Process at Mystic Dunes
The next day we learned that transportation is one of the areas on the list for improvement at Mystic Dunes. Diamond Resorts is a new owner of the property and there are plenty of things on the company’s to-do list, many of which have already started.
Unless and until the company brings transportation in-house so the caring staff has more control over who gets picked up when and where they get dropped off, I recommend renting a car and driving to this resort and into the parks. You’ll pay for parking, but you will have control over your own schedule. And that means less time standing around a parking lot at Disney and more time soaking in the tub at Mystic Dunes.