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Everything posted by homeschoolmom

  1. That would be fantastic. I'm interested in the area around Binghamton. I know there's a 2.5* in Vestal... does anyone know what it is? Last couple of times up there I just direct booked the Fairfield in BGM, which is a really nice one with great indoor pool, etc., but also pricey at around $100.
  2. Yes, upon further review, I have found that the "flavor of the month" Palace is still a Wyndham. Why'd they change the name to Buena Vista Palace if they weren't yanking its branding is what I'd like to know. Of course the one we're discussing in this thread is the Wyndham on the corner of I-Drive and Sand Lake (?) Rd.
  3. Yes, and definitely check your on-site options before you bid; it's worth a few extra $$ to be in Disney proper.
  4. Palace in DTDisney no longer exists.It's prob. the one on I-Drive which is in the Univ./SW zone. I've stayed there!
  5. For a fantastic pool, I recommend the Univ/SW zone resorts. The Renaissance has just had their pool area redone (well maybe it's been 2 years?) and the JWMarriott (the most-often won) is very new with a lazy-river, cute kids' pool and playground. They're close to SW, but not really close to anything else. The JWMarriott also has a boat they take around the lake... kids might enjoy that too. Of course, the same old caveat applies: You may be the first to win a new resort. (This never bothers me when I think about saving $100+ per night.)
  6. Dianev is correct. I have both won and lost by trying to skip over hotels' acceptable bids. I look at it this way: If I need the Gaylord for a room during a convention, I can either pay the $160 or so rate, or I can try to get it via pl for around $80. I figure that even if I overbid and get the Hilton @ $80 (loss of $20 since they're usually around $60), I can use the $80 I've saved (per night) for taxi fares, etc. You can even lessen your "gamble" by bidding for only 1 night. Then, if you get your preferred hotel, you can just try the "add a night" feature. If you don't get the one you want, you could either take another pl shot or book it direct for the remaining nights. More importantly, there is NOTHING wrong with the Hilton. In fact, I recently tried to win it, because although it isn't as impressive as the Gaylord, it has a fabulous location right next door to Downtown Disney as well as Extra Magic Hour privileges, which, imho, are the most important perk (besides Disney transport) to have when visiting DW. Btw, I didn't get an accepted bid, so nothing to tell... just decided to book Disney direct instead. Hope this helps to clear things up.
  7. I was going to reply to this earlier but wanted to double-check the info... The Wyndham Palace no longer exists as such. It is called the Buena Vista Palace and is supposed to be getting major renovations according to its new owner. Until those renovations are complete, I doubt pl would even consider revisiting its rating. The only other resort that has been showing up sub-$100 is the DTDisney Hilton. Beware, though, as the Hilton usu. has a lower acceptable bid than the Gaylord. Please let us know what you end up with!!
  8. Glad you had a fun time!! (How could you not in Orlando?) Did you ask if they'd be willing to add on the park-hopper option on a prorated basis? I know they have done this sort of thing in the past. The catch, of course, is that you'd have to be upgrading, not downgrading! :) I think the park-hopper option is indispensable, esp. if you're staying on-site and taking advantage of the Extra Magic Hours... for instance, one park may open early while another stays open late... without park-hopping privileges, you either get one or the other (or spend 2 days worth of passes, NOT!!). I bought Seasonal passes (before the price increase) online with Discover's 5% back promo on New Years' Eve, and we'll pick ours up just before our oldest turns 10!! (Yes, I did plan it that way.) Unfortunately, she is not supposed to order off the kids' menus after she hits 10... That IS greedy! I'll be feeding her off of my plate, or have her and sister share an adult plate... probably better quality food anyway. :)
  9. It may not matter whether Hotwire takes care of you or not... If you use MasterCard or Visa (not a FAKE-- debit/check card), you have chargeback privileges, which means that if you pay for something that is not delivered to you (in this case, no room for your $$), MC or Visa will refund your money. The catch is that you must file the chargeback claim before 60 days has passed (from the transaction post date, I believe). This is useful info for many purchases (mail-order, building contractors, furniture orders-- anything that involves stuff that has yet to be delivered).
  10. The Hyatt and Marriott in Arlington are 1/2 and 3 (?) blocks from the Metro. I stayed at both about a year ago for around $55/night. I liked this area; there are a lot of restaurants, a grocery store, and a mall (adjacent to Metro).
  11. We just stayed here about a month ago on a special Travelzoo rate. We asked for and got a room with Universal view on the 12th floor I think. It had a very nice view and you can't beat the location unless you stay at the Loews hotels onsite (and they cost at least $150 even when you get a special rate). You can walk there if you don't mind about 2-3 extra blocks... since the pkg garage is right across the street. (You'll save at least $9 there.) The pool area and arcade/restaurant area had some construction going on... pool was closed. Hope you have a great time!!
  12. Check out www.mousesavers.com. It's an excellent place to check for Disney discounts of all kinds, esp. resort codes.
  13. I am not positive, but I think there are probably only 2 possibilities here. The most likely is Doubletree Suites. The other is the Embassy Suites. Still, I would prefer to take this chance rather than try to bid it on PL, though, because I'm seeing a lot of people stuck at the HI (for 3 *, I can't imagine what PL's thinking!!), and that place is the pits. Let us know what you get if you decide to stick your neck out for this!
  14. Gee I thought for sure you'd have some luck by now... If you do reserve that AKL room with the AAA rate, will they charge you for a change/cancellation? I know for Passholders/Fla Residents rate, they hit you with a one night's rate deposit (you forfeit it if you change/cancel). If there's no penalty, you might want to go ahead and book it now. I haven't stayed at the AKL, but have seen it on Travel Channel, and it looks outstanding! Definitely not a shabby "Plan B." If you do go with the AKL, my best piece of advice for you is this: Ask for a room convenient to the lobby; we have relatives who got stuck waaayyy out on one wing of the hotel!
  15. I suspect the traffic on I-Drive during your dates may be quite congested. (It typically is busy, but this is at the start of summer vacation...yikes!) If it were me, I would not bid resort at this point due to the remote location of the JWMarriott. I didn't read whether or not you will have a car for this trip; that would also be a major factor if you ended up at JWM. I suggest bidding 4* only and perhaps checking to see if you can target your conference hotel on hotwire. Good luck to you. I think having a headstart on this will be to your advantage.
  16. This is why I usually bid resort quality level only in Orlando. At least then, if I'm paying a resort fee, I'm getting a real resort.
  17. I believe they're referring to hotwire's guarantee; it doesn't come from the Venetian.
  18. I'm not sure I understand your question... but are you entering Orlando as your city on pl.com? If so, you should see the zones listed above.
  19. I know many people get this on PL (3* Univ/SW zone, I believe), so I can't believe I'm the first to review it. We paid $75 via Travelzoo special and got a free upgrade to a 14 floor corner room with a view of Universal. Room was quite large with 2 queens, sleeper sofa (prob. a full-size bed), desk/chair, etc. Room had just been renovated with new "Sweet Dreams" bedding, as well as new carpet, drapes, etc. Bathroom had also been done, but they did a sloppy job in there (toilet seat would not stay up, sticker still on toilet, tub and toilet almost touching). A good deal of the food court, outside courtyard near pool, and game room were under construction. Lots of chain and hotel-rest. choices right inside the hotel, incl. Starbucks, Pizza Hut, a sports bar, etc. Lobby was nice and spacious with many little seating areas in case you need to wait for your room. This hotel is directly across the street from the Universal Orlando parking garages, so you could walk to the parks from here if you wanted (saves you $9, unless you have an AP like me!). In the immediate neighborhood (away from I-Drive on Kirkman Road) you'll find a Carrabba's (yum!), McDonald's (Bistro), Burger King, KFC, Taco Bell, Walgreens pharmacy, and many other rest./stores. If you want a grocery store, turn right onto Kirkman as you're leaving the hotel, and travel approx. 1 mile (about 2-3 traffic lights), you'll find a Publix in a strip mall on your left. There's lots more restaurants in that area as well. Oh, yeah, I almost forgot the staff. They were all very nice; we got our 4 warm cookies right away! And they didn't charge me anything to park!! (They didn't ask, and I didn't mention it.) This room may not be as good quality-wise as Royal Pacific and, more particularly, Portofino Bay-- Universal on-sites, but I'll tell you, it beats the pants off that worn-out dog of a room they gave us at the Hard Rock. And I sure as heck can appreciate saving $100+ each night as well. This hotel was a good value at my rate and an excellent value at its typical PL rates of $55-65.
  20. Just a quick question... It sounds like you're starting a new bid for 1/24-27. Have you tried adding those nights to the front end of your Gaylord stay? I'm not sure if they'll let you add all of them, but it might be worth a try. When I stayed at the G.P. for a convention, I used the add-a-night option and it went through fine (that was for $83 on Mem. Day wkend, too).
  21. Well, we went there a few years back and stayed at the Sanibel Gateway-zoned Country Inn and Suites. It was about 20 minutes or so to the Edison/Ford Estates in Ft. Myers, and not a straight shot either. Have you tried googling the Visitors/Convention Bureau for Ft. Myers yet? They might have some maps or hotel recommendations on their site... I must say I'm not quite sure what tourist attractions there are in FM, but I think the Estates are a can't miss. We got to tour the homes as well as Edison's lab, and they have an amazing banyan tree as well as many other interesting plant species on the property. Oh, yeah, and it's on the river... really pretty!!
  22. Yes, there are loads of hotels/convention centers in Orlando. The biggest one on Disney property would be Coronado Springs (classified as a Disney "moderate")-- not avail. on PL, of course, anyway. The Gaylord has a fairly large convention area... you could probably find out their schedule just by calling or digging on their website. The largest conv. ctr. in the area is the Orange County CC; I found the calendar at www.occc.net. It is in the Universal zone, and would therefore have the most direct impact on those hotels (JW Marriott, Renaissance at Sea World, Peabody, etc.). I have a very strong gut feeling that there will be availability at normal prices on PL... e.g. $60 Hilton, $83 Gaylord, etc. in the WDW zone. Note that I don't mean that if you bid these you will get those specific hotels, just that those are the lowest acceptable offers recently, and IMO your dates just won't require higher offers because occupancy should not be that high. Don't worry so much... I think PL's just not ready for your dates yet.
  23. I guess it depends on how you feel about waiting until closer to your deadline vs. spending the big bucks! I just looked up my DC trip for fun, and, although I spent about 3 wks bidding (and for me that means EVERY 72 hours!) on it, I wasn't able to pick up my rm at normal PL rates until Jan. 17 for a stay starting only 2 weeks later (Jan. 31)!! I could not have justified the cost for this 2.5 week trip without the PL rates, so although I was nervous about having to wait until the last minute, I HAD to. Also, to save the $$, I was willing to stay in several different areas and at a few different * levels; so I felt more comfortable about waiting since I had a good measure of flexibility. With that DC experience behind me, if I were in your place I would book a cancellable bookup (EasyClickTravel or travelzoo would probably help with that-- don't forget to use the hotel links here if possible) and keep my bidding at normal-win rates until at least 2 weeks before the stay will begin.
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