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…
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.”
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.