After more than a year of hype, Universal Orlando finally pulled a date from its sorcerer’s hat for the opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Friday, June 18.
If you’re any kind of magician yourself, you know that means bypassing the hotel route for a Florida vacation rental. When all the other Potterheads are cramped in 350-square-feet “suites,” your family of four will have a whole condo–like the Celebration vacation rental above–to yourselves.
Even fair weather theme park visitors know what an undertaking it is to pack up the brood for a day in eight hours of Florida sun. The lines are long, the food expensive and the souvenirs marked up simply for their special logos or fancy glow-in-the-dark functions. While there’s no avoiding the crowds, you can at least save money on your vacation rental by cooking at home or reheating (and repurposing) leftovers.
If your spouse insists on a resort-style experience, consider booking the multiple gated communities around Universal Orlando, Sea World and Disney World that offer hotel-ish amenties such as lagoon pools, club houses, tennis courts, play rooms, arcades, mini golf and golf courses. That way, you don’t even have to spend every hour in the park.
Although, one very determined second grader will probably argue with you on that one.
Valerie Moloney is your resident blogger and the Expansion Markets Editor for Citysearch.com, who oddly enough, feels panicked when asked, "What's the best place to eat in Chicago?" or her favorite, "It's my birthday. Where should we go with a party of six?" No stranger to travel--and traveling with kids--she is a young mom who ODs on the Internet when it comes to planning family trips or buying clothes. Here's hoping she finds you the vacation you deserve.