Updated: May 21, 2015
Review of the Sheraton Vistana Villages:I just returned from a nice 5 night vacation package in Disneyworld (Orlando, Florida). I booked the trip through Costco and it included a 5 night stay at the Sheraton Vistana Villages, 5 day park hopper passes for my wife, our 2 kids and myself, roundtrip transportation from Orlando International Airport, and daily transfers from the resort villas to the theme parks at Disneyworld. The total cost was about $2000 and we probably overpaid a bit since we have since heard how the Disney parks are not doing so well with the recession. We left right after the SuperBowl and arrived the first week of February 2009. I had done lots of research online and found that Tripadvisor has plenty of in depth reviews but too many people were getting the Sheraton Vistana Villages and Sheraton Vistana Resort mixed up and this only confused the issue even more. To be CLEAR, the Sheraton Vistana Villages is a completely separate property than the Sheraton Vistana Resort. The Sheraton Vistana Villages is a much newer property on International Drive and the Sheraton Vistana Resort is an older property that tends to get worse feedback from travelers.
The booking with Costco was pretty straight forward although the details as we got closer were a little confusing. The Sheraton Vistana Villages is a timeshare property in Orlando which allows Costco to book the villas through a package deal. That's how I found out about the villas in the first place. The official website for the property can be found online HERE. The Sheraton is a quality resort lots of stuff for families to do when they are not at the Disneyworld theme parks. The villas are offered on a nightly basis and they are either 1 or 2 bedrooms. The grounds at Sheraton Vistana Villages are in great condition with flower beds, shrubs, and immaculate lawns. There are currently 30 buildings on the 95 acres of property and I stayed in the Key West Village section in Bld 12, Villa #404. The other 2 areas are Amelia Village and Bella Florida Village. The main pool is closer to the check-in area but there was still a pool just across the parking lot from our building. Everything is walkable since the grounds are flat and there are pathways that lead you around from building to building. We flew into Orlando International Airport and got a ride from Far N Away shuttle service to the resort and it took about 25 minutes. Once onsite you don't really need a car since they provide shuttle service to and from the 4 major theme parks in Disneyworld - Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, and Disney Hollywood Studios. The van leaves twice in the morning and returns to pick you up at the parks twice in the evening. The service was great and we had no issues with the shuttle. The resort had a main restaurant called Flagler Station which we ate at once for breakfast (not that great) and we also ordered some dinner one night which wasn't bad. The big plus is that they have a small grocery store on site which carries all the basics for breakfast (eggs, milk, cereal, bagels, muffins, coffee, juice, bacon, etc.) and you can also get snacks and drinks to take to the parks in the daytime. It's open until 9 PM most nights and it's near the Key West Village section. I had a $100 resort credit through my package so I charged the food we needed for the week at the store which made it quite convenient. They also sell beer and wine. Overall the stay was nice, although the weather was extremely cold (low 50's) most of the trip and so we never did get to enjoy the onsite amenities like the pool and tennis courts. Maybe next time.
Location of Sheraton Vistana Villages:The actual address is at 12401 International Drive - Orlando, Florida 32821. Their phone number is (407) 238-5000. There is a nice map of the resort down below which shows its vicinity to the airport and the Disneyworld theme parks. You can also see SeaWorld and Universal Studios on the map (they are north of the resort).
Be prepared to have some cash handy if you are driving a rental car from the Orlando airport (MCO) since several of the roadways require a toll to be paid. Highway 4 is the major freeway that separates the hotels and resorts off of International Drive and the Disneyworld theme parks on the other site. It took the shuttle about 15 minutes in the morning to get to Magic Kingdom and the other parks. Downtown Disney was a touch closer and cab fare one night was roughly $15 to the Sheraton Vistana Villages. You are better off without a rental car since the daily fee to park added to your daily rental fee isn't worth it. Just take a shuttle.