Monday, May 11, 2009

Florida Short Term Rentals, Orlando Holiday Villas And Special Needs

When we managed a number of Orlando holiday villas (during our property management days) and actively sought renters for Florida short term rentals, one unexpected feature of the business was the joy and happiness we saw that "special needs" visitors experienced during a Disney world visit.

Whether the wheelchair-bound or disabled person was an adult or a youngster, a parent or a child, the Disney magic worked for all of them. The Magic Kingdom seemed to work it's magic on everyone - but even more so on people who had extra burdens to deal with in their day to day life.

Disney itself does a great job of catering for visitors with special needs. They have a team dedicated to making things as rewarding as possible for disabled visitors and the website expresses it this way:

Disney gets especially high marks from visitors with disabilities. In true Disney fashion, they pay close attention to details that will make people with special needs especially comfortable.

From the basics of special parking, wheelchair accessibility and the availability of electric powered vehicles through to hotel accommodation with roll-in showers, Braille guidebooks and assistance for guests with hearing impairments, Disney does a great job.

But what if you have a special needs member of your family and you really want to enjoy the added relaxation and flexibility that Orlando holiday villas offer? Can you find Florida short term rentals that give you all of the facilities you need?

Well, it may be difficult to track down the perfect holiday home and you will need to persevere, but there are at least a few really well-equipped places out there. As ever, you will need to do your homework because the hype can outstrip the reality, but have your questions ready and keep asking until you're sure what the home has to offer. You may not find a place with absolutely everything you want but give it a shot - it could turn out to be the best piece of research that you ever do.

To illustrate things more clearly, let's take a look at just one property that we are very familiar with - see Blue Skies Florida. We're familiar with this four bedroom two bathroom home because we used to manage it when it was first built and we know the current owners, Judith and Dean Hall.

It's at Grand Reserve, an upscale community that's about ten to fifteen minutes from Disney property, close to Exit 58 of Interstate 4. All of the accommodation is on one level (no stairs to navigate!) and when the property was first built, the original owner (a muscular dystrophy sufferer) had some specific modifications built in that make this home special - for example:

  • Widened doors, including the extra wide patio doors from the master bedroom and family room
  • Wheel-in shower in the Master Bedroom
  • Clos-o-mat style toilet with left or right transfer
  • extra wide pool area for safe and easy wheelchair maneuvering
  • Pool hoist to allow access to both the pool and the spa
  • Lots of equipment, including wheel-in shower wheelchair, electric and hydraulic portable hoists, a king size profiling electric bed with bed raisers if required, floatation aids for the pool
For more details, check out Judith and Dean's website and send them an e-mail with any questions you have. They are very friendly people and happy to help.

Now this home may not cater for absolutely everyone's special needs - indeed, we know from our time in managing it that, for example, it has only one master bedroom, so if you want two, this won't do. It has standard-height kitchen cabinets and worktops, so if you definitively need reduced-height counter tops for the comfort of someone in a wheelchair, it can't offer that.

However, we saw literally dozens of families, including the owners, who enjoyed the best vacation they'd ever had just because they could have a fabulous and relaxing time in a home that gave them the main features they were looking for.

We have absolutely no connection with Judith and Dean and we get no benefit for promoting this property in particular. But we do know that there are some Orlando holiday villas that can bring joy to special needs families and Florida short term rentals can be found to meet most needs - so why not give this home, or one like it, some consideration if you're putting together an Orlando vacation package?