Staying Somewhere Unique and Special – Renting Vacation Homes

Staying in hotels is happening less and less for my family. It’s not that we’re traveling less, we simply have found a better option for us – renting an entire house. I love having the room. My son has his own bedroom and my husband and I have ours. There’s a living room that we all can enjoy. Plus, we have a kitchen that even if I don’t cook, I can still store milk, juice and snacks in a full-size refrigerator and eat them on real dishes.

One other advantage I’ve found with recent rentals. Some of them are really unique and special! One such place was where we stayed for a trip to Disneyland last week. It was a 4-bedroom home just a short drive or reasonable walk from the parks that the owners have dubbed “The Disney Theme Home.” It is definitely that. When walking through it the first day, my son remarked, “Mom, I think we’ve found someone who loves Disney more than you.”

This place is full of Disney stuff. I mean, the dishes and appliances in the kitchen are mainly Mickey Mouse, the bedrooms all have Disney-themed linens, but it’s more than that…

The first thing that caught my attention was the large "Rabbit Hole" in the wall and then my eyes drifted to the Alice in Wonderland tea party set up. The large tube above the cups is actually a fountain. So fun!

The first thing that caught my attention was the large “Rabbit Hole” in the wall and then my eyes drifted to the Alice in Wonderland tea party set up. The large tube above the cups is actually a fountain. So fun!

Of course, my son went straight to this room. It had everything a child could want. Toys, a Wii, a drumset, a keyboard, Legos, craft supplies, and even a little hiding place in the wall.

Of course, my son went straight to this room. It had everything a child could want: toys, a Wii, a drumset, a keyboard, Legos, craft supplies, and even a little hiding place in the wall.

Even the living room makes you remember that you are staying near the Happiest Place on Earth.

Even the living room makes you remember that you are staying near the Happiest Place on Earth. The Mickey-covered iPad on the end table is even there for guests’ use.

The master bedroom also gets into the act, although in a lovely, more muted way.

The master bedroom also gets into the act, although in a lovely, more muted way.

Seriously. What boy could resist this room? My son sure couldn't. He was so excited that this was his room! There was also a Princess-themed room for girls and a Winnie-the-Pooh themed bedroom as well.

Seriously. What boy could resist this room? My son sure couldn’t. He was so excited that this was his room! There was also a Princess-themed room for girls and a Winnie-the-Pooh themed bedroom as well.

 

Tired of walking around the parks, but don't want to miss the fireworks? We didn't have to. This was the view from the back patio / pool area. The homeowner even provided a CD/CD player with the fireworks music so we could listen along.

Tired of walking around the parks, but don’t want to miss the fireworks? We didn’t have to. This was the view from the back patio / pool area. The homeowner even provided a CD/CD player with the fireworks music so we could listen along.

Did I mention the owners of this house thought of everything? This is what was hanging in the Princess-themed bedroom closet. There was also a closet full of boys' costumes and even costumes for adults. They also provided toiletries, strollers, rain gear, and we could have even used their JEM car with a longer stay.

Did I mention the owners of this house thought of everything? This is what was hanging in the Princess-themed bedroom closet. There was also a closet full of boys’ costumes and even costumes for adults. They also provided toiletries, strollers, rain gear, and we could have even used their JEM car with a longer stay.

While we loved this house, this isn’t the only unique home we’ve had the opportunity to stay in. On a recent trip to Half Moon Bay, California, we found this lovely treasure, which I’ve seen referred to as “The Hobbit Home.”

Just walking up the entrance, I couldn't help but feel like I was leaving the real world behind. The plant life really created a natural barrier between the house and the neighborhood.

Just walking up the entrance, I couldn’t help but feel like I was leaving the real world behind. The plant life really created a natural barrier between the house and the neighborhood.

 

One look at the front door and we could see why it was called "The Hobbit House." The door actually could open all at once or in two sections.

One look at the front door and we could see why it was called “The Hobbit House.” The door actually could open all at once or in two sections.

 

The living room was my favorite room of the house. During the day, it was like relaxing in a garden without bugs and with climate control. In the evening, I would use the remote for the round, center couch to lift the head and feet areas creating a cozy spot to watch television or just snuggle by the fireplace.

The living room was my favorite room of the house. During the day, it was like relaxing in a garden without bugs and with climate control. In the evening, I would use the remote for the round, center couch to lift the head and feet areas creating a cozy spot to watch television or just snuggle by the fireplace.

 

Looking at the outside of the living room was lovely as well as this view from the hot tub shows.

Looking at the outside of the living room was lovely as well as this view from the hot tub shows.

There is nothing that can make or break a vacation home rental more, though, than the owners of the home. One other thing I loved about the Disney Theme Home was that the owner called and talked to me before we rented. She had tons of tips about Disneyland and was so helpful. She had a goodie bag for the kids (knowing what they liked and their shirt sizes through our phone conversation) that was really fabulous. It even included a new XBox game for my son, swords, a t-shirt, a Tsum Tsum Pluto and more. During our rental, we texted back and forth some and she was extremely, extremely responsive.  Anything we needed or wanted, she was there to help. I was so appreciative of the time she took with me. We also thought we left something there and she had someone go through the house looking. I mean really go through the house – even checking under the beds.

Not all owners are so fabulous, though, so be sure to check out the reviews on the home and check on the owners before renting. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. For information on questions to ask the owner, view the post from my friend Jessica who owns the Disney Oasis Villa at Windsor Palms near Walt Disney World, “Ten Questions Renters Should Ask Homeowners Before a Vacation Rental.”

As a final note in case you’re wondering how to rent vacation homes, we use VRBO for our vacation rentals and that’s how we found both these homes. Check out my first VRBO experience in my post, “Renting a Home Away from Home with VRBO.com.” I also know someone who uses HomeAway, which is a great alternative.

One thought on “Staying Somewhere Unique and Special – Renting Vacation Homes

  1. Jennie Ceragioli

    Wow that rental is amazing! I think I’d be happy just vacationing there and not going to Disneyland. Well, maybe not. 🙂

    Like

    Reply

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