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Toddling to Disney on a DimeJune 28, 2010
by Katie Newingham
Sun, laughter, splashing and relaxation are just a few of the things most of us desire in a vacation. But finding affordable, toddler-friendly resorts with activities for older children can be a challenge. That's why my family was impressed when we arrived at the Liki Tiki Village in Orlando, Florida. Upon entering the well-manicured property, lined with tiki poles and palm trees, we noticed a family of five riding a Surrey bike on the right and a large water park on the left.
All together, our crew included four adults and four children ranging in ages from 16 months to 5 years old. With a group this size, we needed a large room and lots of options for entertainment.
Since we were all on a budget, we decided we would go to Disney World's Magic Kingdom one day. That left the rest of
We settled into our two bedroom, two bath suite with full kitchen, dining room, living room and balcony. Then we quickly found the nearest grocery store, less than a mile away, and packed our carts with enough food for for 16 meals. Our meal plan consisted of hearty breakfasts: eggs, bacon, pancakes, grits, sausage, etc; quick lunches including sandwiches and fruit; and balanced, inexpensive dinners like lasagna and bread, pork chops, potatoes and green beans and hamburgers and broccoli salad.
To make it feel like more of a vacation from cooking, we spent the first day cooking and baking things we could eat for several days. Then we scavenged through the welcome packet to make a plan for the kids.
The resort had a water park with multiple slides, a wave pool and spouting tiki heads. The two older children were tall enough (48 inches) to ride on all the slides. The two younger children played at the two kiddie pools, one with a giant spouting octopus and the other, a mushroom waterfall.
The only major downside to the resort is the large tiki head sign that says "no coolers allowed." This meant budget-conscious families had to return to their rooms for lunch instead of picnicking poolside. There was a bar by the pool with a menu that consisted of mostly fried, packaged foods.
Beyond the multiple pools located across the resort, the Liki Tiki also sells a harbor pass for $25/day or $50/week. This pass gets a family of five access to paddle-boats, putt-putt, Surrey bikes or tennis or basketball equipment.
Other time fillers included the playground, sand beach, fitness facility, raised bridge walk and lakeside picnic areas.
Traveling together meant the bill for housing and food could be split in half. So a vacation that would ordinarily cost $1,000 was reduced to $500. This left money to visit Disney, buy souvenirs and go out to eat two nights.
If you're looking for a similar budget-friendly, family experience in Orlando, view resorts and vacation packages at:
Search the "deals" pages, check the family vacation pages and sign up for fare trackers or trip watchers to receive personalized emails in your inbox.
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