wyndhamtravelingmomMy family and I discovered a true gem of a resort on our current trip to Disney World. The Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resortis located 10-15 minutes from all the Disney Parks, Universal Sea World, downtown Disney and is perfect for families of all shapes and sizes. It’s not a Disney-owned resort, it’s actually a timeshare. We really didn’t know what to expect before we arrived. We were anxious to see what timeshares were all about.

In our few days here, I can honestly say that I understand why people invest in them. We have truly been deep in timeshare 101, learning the ropes. Staying in a timeshare is far more comfortable and economical than your average hotel stay, especially in a place like Disney World. You can avoid the cost of meals out, transportation to the theme parks and parking fees. Plus, your family won’t be squeezed into a small room. A timeshare is like a home – spacious and with all the comforts and amenities you need – the difference being that you’re on vacation.

There are basically five benefits of timesharing, and Wyndham Bonnet Creek is a great example of each characteristic:

1. SPACE: When we walked into our suite for the first time, we were immediately impressed and somewhat relieved to find a full kitchen, two bedrooms, living space, two bathrooms and a lovely balcony. Oh, and did I mention an eat-in kitchen and washer and dryer? The kids also have plenty of room to spread themselves out and play, much unlike your typical hotel room.

2. EXPENSE: Given the fully equipped kitchen, we’ve been able to make healthy meals, which, if you’ve been to Disney, is a huge time and cost saving, as well as a relief that you are feeding your kids from all the food groups while away. Also, if you add up the number of visits to this timeshare or any Wyndham timeshare around the world (you are not restricted whatsoever and can move around) you get from your investment in a lifetime, and calculate the cost of staying in a popular place like Orlando during peak season, you are clearly saving money on accommodation costs. You use more points to stay at a timeshare during peak, you use less during soft season. For an explanation of the point system, please continue reading.

3. COMFORT: The beds are lush and the bedding is really comfortable. There’s a jacuzzi in the master bedroom suite which is fantastic after a day out in the parks for aching feet. The rooms have flat screen TVs and WIFI (in the new towers, the others are soon to come). The living room is comfortable and wonderful for a bit of relaxation at night. Everything about the resort was made to help you relax as soon as you walk in the door. In addition to being comfortable and creating a relaxing environment, the staff at the resort make you feel extra comfortable. Everyone we’ve come into contact with truly has wanted to assist us. We’ve yet to encounter anyone without a smile and our requests have been met with nothing but kindness.

4. AMENITIES: A bonus of staying here is that you truly have everything you need. Five pools, some with water slides, an arts & crafts room, a playground, miniature golf, club rooms with games for kids including board games and Wii, ping pong and billiards tables keep my kids entertained so much so that it’s not necessary to leave on the days we are not at Disney. The pools are shallow, not much more than 3 feet, which is helpful for us with a child who just learned to swim. The kids are having an absolute ball, and I love that after a busy, hot day at the pool, we can come back to our suite and vegetate, yet not be on top of each other.

wyndham2travelingmomThere is also a full fitness center in each building. In addition, the property offers activities throughout the day – ice-cream socials, bingo games, karaoke, music. It’s been a pleasure to just hang out here rather than run to the parks everyday. The resort also offers free shuttle service to the parks daily, as well as a free parking pass.

My kids particularly adore the water slides. Our tower is located by a nice sized pool centered around a pirate ship with a furiously fast water slide (trust me, I tried it), with hot tubs on both sides. The tower next door has the “Lazy River” which we all love – a pool that goes in a loop, with large-size tubes for us all to float in. My son, the newly trained swimmer, can float, swim or walk around the pool that doesn’t go deeper than 3 feet. It’s amazing to see how much his swimming skills have improved since we’ve been here.

The bars have pool food – pizzas, chicken nuggets, snack-ish food for when the kids are hungry and we don’t have to carry ID or credit cards. It’s a money-less environment, everything can go on our room’s bill. It’s all pretty inexpensive, too. For more plentiful food, it’s important to have a car to get to the grocery store which is only a few miles away.

Another bonus is that one of the bars at the pool delivers pizza right to your room, which I took advantage of once or twice for my kids. But the beauty of staying here is that we can go to the grocery store and come back and make homemade meals. They have grills on the main grounds for anyone who wants to grill outside. We’ve prepared burgers, fish and hot dogs. In the mornings, I’ve been preparing french toast and cereal for my kids. For lunch, we pack sandwiches to take with us. It’s a huge savings on the food bill.

5. BELONGING/BONDING: Many of the people you meet at a timeshare, according to our time spent at the Wyndham Bonnet Creek, are repeat visitors. As a matter of fact, I was told that 40% of the buyers here are repeat buyers. People enjoy the experience so much that they keep buying more points toward more time in the timeshare. The Wyndham Bonnet Creek attracts a lot of Disneyphiles, given the location, as well as Wyndhamphiles, who just keep coming back for more of a place they love. They can bank their points for future visits and come back more often. The people who stay here like the atmosphere. With the amount of space one gets in a suite, they can bring along grandparents, aunts, uncles and other family members and make it a special kind of extended family vacation. Tri-generational travel is quite common at Wyndham.

With these five benefits that make your stay all that more pleasant, family travel is just that easy when you buy time in a timeshare.  A commitment to a timeshare is a lifetime commitment to traveling, particularly with a family. In addition, timeshares are certainly appealing and something to consider if you’re looking for an easy, economical way to travel with your family for years to come. The fact that you can leave your timeshare to your child is pretty amazing.

You may be asking, how does a timeshare work? A timeshare is a vacation ownership. It’s a program in which a group of people shares ownership of a resort or club by dividing among themselves the rights to use the property or club for specific time periods. Management and upkeep are handled by a professional management company, and costs are shared among all owners. Wyndham Vacation Ownership offers point-based timeshare products. Owners receive an allocation of points for usage either annually or biennially, depending on their purchase agreement. Each unit at each participating resort is assigned a points-value. Owners use their points towards their vacation, allowing them the freedom to select their resort, unit size and dates of travel, subject to availability. Ownership may include deeded real estate at a “home resort.” Owners work up to different statuses, and the Presidential reserve is the highest level of ownership. Another plus is that there are 89 Wyndham properties in the U.S. and 150 worldwide, and members re entitled to stay at any of the resorts.

So, you basically put up a certain amount of money upfront that guarantees you to a room for life at locations around the world. Not bad!

Our experience at Wyndham Bonnet Creek has been truly magical and one that I’d recommend to anyone looking to invest in future family vacations. If you are interested in finding more about the timeshare offerings at Wyndham Bonnet Creek, call 800-210-0948 or go here. You can also visit their Facebook page or join their Twitter handle over at@WyndhamDeals.

Disclosure: Our visit was made complimentary by the team at Wyndham Bonnet Creek to facilitate this review, but all opinions expressed are my own.