By Bob & Sandy Nesoff

Walt Disney and his pint-sized rodent pal with the big ears, never dreamed what would evolve from their first animated effort, the silent cartoon, “Steamboat Willie,” where Mickey Mouse made his first appearance.

And while they are worldwide today, the most popular destination is still Florida.



As busy as the Orlando-Kissimmee area is during the cold weather months up north and the spring break invasion, the warm weather months are still the most popular with crowds of families, couples and singles invading the region.

The first question that visitors must ask themselves is “where to stay” in an area filled with tourists. The simple truth of the matter is that the closer you are to the theme parks, Walt Disney World in particular, the more expensive it’s going to be.

Common sense will tell you to just move a few minutes outside of the tight circle around the parks and find accommodations that are top flite, better for your pocketbook and still convenient to the attractions.

Within minutes of WDW is Championsgate where you enter through a beautiful entrance “gate” over the roadway. This is not a gated community and, in fact, your GPS might have some difficulty in locating it. If that happens, try entering Davenport, Florida and it’ll bring you right in.

The Omni Resort at Championsgate rates four stars on several links and it truly deserves the designation.

From the moment you arrive at the resort and pull under the porte cochère you know you’ve arrived someplace special. You can either valet park (for a fee) or self-park (for a smaller fee) while your luggage is taken inside. If ever a lobby sparkled, this one does. But at the same time it is both warm and inviting.

If possible, request a room overlooking the pool area. The view is absolutely beautiful. You can watch kids and adults relaxing as the current takes them along the winding Lazy River while others laze poolside and still others swim in the large pool.

Beyond the pool patio is a magnificent championship 36 hole golf course with some of the deadliest bunkers you’ve ever seen. A few of the water hazards are daunting as well, but that didn’t seem to stop any of the golfers. It was obvious that the skills et of those ranged from competitive to those who simply liked to hit a ball around.

Since the highest point in Florida is a pitcher’s mound, you can see virtually the entire course from your room.

Most resorts offer very little that isn’t charged for. The Omni has a door-knob hanger in the room offering coffee, juice and morning drinks at no charge for each day you are at the resort. The Orlando Sentinal is also dropped at your door each morning.

Rooms in the Omni are modern and spacious. One of the failings at many resorts and hotels is the pillows: a small but significant detail. Some are too soft and others are too firm. There are even those at upscale resorts that offer wafer-thin pillows.

Like Baby Bear in Red Riding Hood, the Omni has found one that “…is just right” for a comfortable sleep.

Rooms range from a deluxe with two queens-size beds or a king size to villas that will accommodate eight people.

Disney World and virtually all of the theme parks are within minutes of the resort. If you prefer not to drive the Omni offers a free shuttle to and from the parks. A caution…make sure you see the concierge to make a shuttle reservation the night before to assure room. The first shuttle leaves at about 8:30 a.m. and the first return is about 3 p.m. There are a number of options in between.

Contact the Omni at (888) 444-OMNI or (407) 390-6664. The resort is located at 1500 Masters Boulevard, Championsgate (Davenport), Florida.



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