My family is obviously a Disney family (after two Make-A-Wish trips to Disney World, yours would be, too!), but this trip to Orlando, we wanted to relax a little bit more than we get to on a typical Disney trip. We also wanted to spend a day at Universal, so we decided to stay outside of a Disney resort.
Finding an accessible hotel room isn’t the easiest, especially when you need more than just a single room. For week-long stays, since there are four of us traveling (and since there are two of us using wheelchairs), we need space, and we need two bathrooms. Most accessible rooms in hotels are not in suites, and they’re almost always a single room with a king-sized bed. This makes very little sense to me, since many people who use wheelchairs also have to travel with a “companion” (in my case, my parents) to help them, and they don’t really want to share a bed with a companion. But no one is asking me for hotel design insight (yet…) so it is what it is.
But I’ve found Marriott hotels/resorts to be excellent in terms of offering a variety of accessible rooms, so I was really excited to find out that there was a Marriott resort right outside of Orlando – the Grande Vista Resort!
We were able to get a two bedroom, two bathroom villa with a roll-in shower, which was exactly what we wanted. They even e-mailed ahead of time to ask our preferences as to villa location, and were extremely accommodating and responsive. Our villa was perfect – there was space to move around, a full kitchen, two balconies/porches… one of the porches was screened-in, which is perfect for dealing with Florida heat and bugs, and was accessible, too! Porches/balconies that are accessible (which means they have regular doors, and not sliding doors that have the “lip” that my wheelchair can’t get over) are something I’ve only seen at Marriott hotels and at Disney resorts, and I know it’s a small thing, but it makes a huge difference.
Plus, the resort itself was amazing – check out this view! It had multiple pools, walking paths, boat rentals, a restaurant and a more casual Marketplace (with Starbucks coffee, a must for me), and an amazing spa. We didn’t have to drive more than 20 minutes to get to any of the theme parks, and there was a stand-alone Starbucks and lots of restaurants only 5 minutes away.
Honestly, I’m really appreciative that Marriott makes things so seamlessly accessible, in a way that works for people both with and without disabilities. I’m more than happy to keep staying in their hotels and resorts, and to know that when I do, they’ll be accommodating to me and my needs.