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FL Orlando Sheraton Safari WDW


LoneStar
By LoneStar,
in

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At under 50 bucks, I think this is an excellent choice for those visiting the theme parks. Given how little time theme park visitors typically spend at their hotels (unless they're taking a slower pace), I wonder whether it's worth splurging on a resort, even at priceline prices. The Sheraton Safari is a good alternative: a little "nicer" than a run-of-the-mill motel with a pleasant and modestly entertaining African safari-theme.

As a Starwood Preferred Guest gold member (not a hard status to get), I hit the jackpot with an upgrade to their "Safari Suites" wing. These rooms, about 20% of the total property, are well appointed and large 2-room suites, in the style of an Embassy Suites room with a fold-out couch, decent sized refrigerator-freezer, microwave, and wet bar (even some dishes). The Sheraton Sweet Sleeper beds are more than satisfactory. Regular rooms look to be typical 3-star affairs, albeit with a relatively tasteful safari theme.

The property has a large, well-themed interior courtyard with a large pool and a 79-foot python water slide. My kids certainly enjoyed it, and a good place to relax for an hour or two. There's also a small playground for pre-schoolers.

The breakfast buffet is decent (albeit not extraordinary) and fairly priced by hotel standards at $9.95 including beverages. With kids, it's somewhat of a bargain as you get one free kid per adult. I think that offer applies to other meals, too, but the hotel's location is "ground zero" for every chain restaurant in America. You could easily walk to a different restaurant every night for 2 weeks. It makes the area a little trafficky, but at least you're only 2 long blocks from I-4. Without traffic, Downtown Disney is only 5 minutes away, and the Disney parks about 10. You're also conveniently located to Universal and Sea World.

You could theoretically stay here without a car -- and a lot of foreigners seem to do so -- but I think it's a bad idea given how cheap car rentals are in Orlando and how a car will save you a good deal of time and trouble. The free hotel parking can be a modest annoyance on busy nights for late returning guests, but you'll find somewhere to park your vehicle.

A small "business center" charges relatively high prices for internet access. They charged me a modest 2 bucks to print some boarding passes.

If you don't get a suite, and like quiet, consider asking for a room on the backside of the hotel NOT facing the courtyard/pool area. When visiting the theme parks, I tend to get up early to try to beat the crowds. I also find that Orlando hotel pools tend to be at least somewhat noisy until at least 11 pm, and this hotel is no exception.

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LoneStar, thanx for the review!

I have been thinking of trying my luck a few times on this hotel but never done it. There are so many mixed reviews on this hotel. Most of the TA ones are bad. But if you read the PL reviews you think it's another hotel you're reading about. Many complaints is about the PL "building" they have with the regular rooms. But I'm not so picky, a pool and a beer and I'm set!

I'm also a SPG member (not gold) so maybe I have a chance to a suite if I pay some between. It looks like that you're a frequent traveler so I will take your word for this hotel.

Thanx again!

Henrik.

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Sometimes I think those TripAdvisor reviews are an "expectations" game: perhaps folks are expecting more than a 3-star hotel. Also, of course, individual experiences are anecdotal, and folks are probably more likely to write about bad experiences than good ones.

In any event, this is a very solid 3 star property, consistent with the Sheraton brand. While I don't think I'd be happy paying their current published "discount" rates (which seem to have crept up to $119/night), at under $50 on priceline it's a great bargain. I think it is easily in the top 25% of 3-star hotels you could get in this zone on priceline.

BTW, last time I visited Disney with the kids I stayed in an on-site "value resort" and got "the Disney dining plan" free as part of a promotion. That was an unbeatable combo, and if they ever offer free Disney dining again, that is clearly the way to go. But without free dining, staying on Disney property might not be so great (you'll basically be overcharged for all your meals). A hotel like the Sheraton Safari on priceline rates is a good alternative when Disney isn't offering a super promo.

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  • 2 years later...

Used this hotel for a quick two nights while my husband was working a board meeting. My daughter and I needed a place with Disney shuttle service and after using the board for research on likely wins, found that each of the previously posted wins in the WDW zone at 3* provided shuttle service. Paid under $50 a night -- what a deal!

We really enjoyed this property. Everything said in the first post above is still true two years later -- we got upgraded to a suite because we were Starwood members (not gold) after our first room had a curious vibration in the floor, seemingly located over heavy machinery in the restaurant's kitchen. This hotel provided an excellent 3-star value. The towels are thick and soft and the shampoo/conditioner left my hair nicer than any I've used at hotels. The bed was very comfy and even though we were located facing the pool, we were not disturbed by noise. That might have had something to do with the white noise generated by the air conditioning system, which was fairly loud. My daughter loved the pool and the staff was very, very nice -- above and beyond. One small complaint about the shuttle from Disney: the ride back to the hotel was standing room only. After 10 hours at the park, it was not a welcome surprise. But once back at the hotel, we headed for the pool and all was forgiven. My husband picked up a takeout dinner on his way back from the board meeting and we used our kitchen set-up to avoid any more crowds for our evening meal. It was such a relief to have a dining area and kitchen facilities.

I was chewing my nails after reading the TA reviews, and called before we checked in to beg for a good quality room. The woman assured me I would be pleased if I gave them a chance to show that those posted reviews were exceptions to the rule and undeserved. Thank goodness it was true. Another great Priceline experience.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I too stayed in this hotel in April of 2009 and agree with all of the above...I should have shown my Starwood card but I arrived at 2:00 am and had nothing but sleep on my mind.

The staff could not have been nicer I was very impressed that everyone from front desk to janitor went out of their way to say hello and wish us a nice day.

The rooms are indeed getting a bit tired (mine had some carpet stains and a it of peeling wallpaper) and the hallways are sort of college dorm-like. But...I paid $40 a night. I would go again in a second for twice the price.

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