There is no question that the Walt Disney World resorts are amazing. That said, there are many other amazing places to stay in Central Florida. Margaritaville Resort Orlando is a new complex that is located just minutes from Walt Disney World. The property is where Orlando’s unknown theme park, Splendid China, used to be. I drive by the area almost every day, and I have seen Margaritaville go from piles of dirt to brightly colored cottages.
The day we visited, there was to be a concert on the lawn. It featured Ms. Nadirah Shakoor, who is also a featured vocalist of The “Coral Reefer” Band. It was the first such show at Margaritaville, but it will not be the last. The show was free, and open to the public. People were encouraged to dress up in their best ’70’s outfits, and a fair amount of people did just that. There were plenty of afros and tie-dye, and there was even a group who dressed up as the Village People. A pair of tickets to a Jimmy Buffett concert was the prize for the best costume. The audience had a fantastic time, there was plenty of dancing and singing along.
I was also excited to be able to find out more about Margaritaville and to explore a bit. The lobby is beautiful. It has such a relaxed feel that you’ll want to sit down and just enjoy the atmosphere for a little while. There are a couple of things that stand out in the lobby. There is a lighting fixture that is made of 311 margarita glasses. It’s actually quite stunning. There is also a large sculpture that you will not be able to miss. It is a model of a giant broken flip flop, and there is a pop top next to it. If you aren’t sure why, you need to listen to Jimmy Buffett’s song Margaritaville again.
Currently there are four restaurants located within Margaritaville. There is also an area called Sunset Walk at Margaritaville that has more dining options, as well as a movie theater. The main pool complex is open, and later this spring the Island H2O Water Park is also supposed to be up and running. Day passes and annual passes will be available to use the water park, you will not need to stay at the resort.
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Staying at Margaritaville is a bit unique. You have two options, you can book or you can own. If you decide to book, that is broken down into two more options. You can choose to stay at the hotel, or instead you might want to stay in one of the cottages. The cottages range from one to eight bedrooms, and they have private hot tubs.
I talked at length with one of the employees about the owning option. He was extremely friendly and helpful. He explained to me that this is not a time share. If you decide to purchase a cottage, it will be yours. Some people decide to live in their cottage year round, and that is certainly their prerogative as an owner. Most of the owners use the cottages instead as a vacation home. They will choose one of two different management companies. When the owners are not staying there, Margaritaville will rent out the cottage as a vacation rental. It’s a way to help defray the costs of owning a second home. When the owners want to hit Walt Disney World, they just let the staff know and they have a place to stay.
Margaritaville is open, but it is far from being complete. As I already mentioned, the water park is expected to open later this spring. St. Somewhere Spa also is slated for a spring opening. There are over one hundred cottages already built, but the plan is to build close to 1,000 in total. New places continue to open at Sunset Walk. Even though Margaritaville is a work in progress, there is still plenty to do. The Kids’ Clubs are already open, you can swim, and the restaurants are happily serving up plenty of cheeseburgers in paradise. The lobby and the areas that I saw are stunning. If you’re looking to stay outside of Walt Disney World, Margaritaville could be a great choice. The physical address is 8000 Fins Up Circle, Kissimmee, Florida, 34747, but since it’s brand new it might not come up on your GPS. It’s right off of Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway (Route 192). It isn’t far from the World Drive entrance to Walt Disney World. Learn more about Margaritaville by visiting their website: www.margaritavilleresortorlando.com