1. Space! The space that most villas provide is unbelievable. We stayed in a pretty swish 5 bed villa back in 2013 that slept 10 (there were 6 of us). Even if you don't go 'all out' with a villa, you still end up with a lot of space for your money. Having separate living and sleeping space is always nice; it helps you to feel like you can escape as opposed to being huddled up in a hotel room with 4 walls, where sleeping, eating and living all rolls into one area. Having space is particularly good if you have children. Knowing you can put them in a bedroom and then still have chill out time for yourselves in the living room/pool, as opposed to tip-toeing round a hotel room being deadly quiet as they sleep next to you! Just to give you an idea of how big these villas can be, I think there was about 3-4 different dining tables to choose from in different areas of our villa.. crazy! You could definitely 'get away' if you wanted some time to yourself!
2. If you pick wisely, you can have access to your own swimming pool. This is a massive one for me, being the body conscious person I am. Knowing that you can stroll down to the pool and have an early morning or midnight swim, and not have to worry about pool closing hours is great, not to mention the whole privacy thing, and being worried about what you look like! Most gated resorts (if not all) also offer a communal pool area and clubhouse as well.
3. Having access to a huge range of facilities such as a kitchen/cooking area, washing machine, fridge etc. Although we don't cook a lot on holiday (if at all), its nice knowing those facilities are there. We definitely made use of the kitchen in a morning for breakfast, and we washed all of our clothes before heading home or if they got dirty.. saved us a huge job upon returning to England, as if that wasn't gloomy enough!
4. Together-ness. Florida, and more specifically Disney is a family thing, and I know lots of people that go with their extended families, so staying in a villa is great to keep everyone in one place, if you like that kind of thing!
5. If there is a large group of you heading to Florida and you want to all stay together, opting for a villa is fantastic value. You can get a state of the art one for near to nothing once it has been divided amongst the party. A lot cheaper than staying in a 1 bedroom Disney hotel room!
1. You miss out on the Disney extras. The buzz and atmosphere of staying in a Disney hotel is great, with its theming and variety of amenities. Some people cannot 'do' Disney without staying in their hotels. Staying offsite also means you cannot apply for the Disney Dining Plan or Extra Magic Hours in the park, which the majority of people get a lot of use from.
2. Conflict. If you are going as a larger group with family members or people you usually don't live with, conflict can sometimes occur because obviously you are living under each others feet. The hot humid weather, the long days, the achey feet and jet lag can all lead to short tempers. People may have conflicting opinions on intineraries etc. Be aware!
3. If you are hiring a villa predominately for visiting Disney, they are situated in places that require cars. Also, the way in which villas are situated, it's designed like a big gated neighbourhood/community. Similar to a huge housing estate, at the very beginning of this is a security office and gates. Depending on where you are situated, walking from your villa to outside of your 'community' could take 20 minutes plus, that's before you've started heading anywhere, so a hire car is essential. Some people worry about driving abroad (however I've been told its easier than England!). Hiring a car could arguably be seen as both a pro and con. A car gives you so much freedom and allows you to see the 'real' Florida, however others would view it as added stress.
4. Unlike staying in a hotel, a villa does not have the luxury of a daily cleaner. I love the fact that you can leave your hotel room looking pretty messy, bed unmade etc and come back at the end of the day to pristine white ironed sheets, the floor swept and belongings tidied. You will not get that in a villa, it's your mess and you will have to tidy it.
5. You may miss that 'holiday vibe' from a hotel. There's something about coming back to a hotel at the end of the day, walking past the reception, down the corridors until you reach your room. It really makes me 'feel' like I'm on holiday. Obviously with a villa you wouldn't get that, its almost a home away from home. This may not affect/bother you but small things sometimes adds to my holiday experience.
I have stayed in a variety of places in Florida so if you have any questions, please pop them in the comments below!