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How To Feel At Home On A Trip To The Family Vacation Capital Of The World

The following was produced in partnership with our friends at Airbnb who invite you to explore one of their whole-home vacation rentals in family-friendly destinations all over the world.

A family vacation can be a beautiful bonding experience, but no one is immune from the feeling of getting home and wishing they could take a vacation from vacation. That’s especially true if you’ve just returned from a land of theme parks, lines, and crowds of other people clamoring for a front row seat in your family memories. Ideally, your brood’s vacation blends the comfort and familiarity of home, the best your destination has to offer, and the freedom to spend some actual quality time with, you know, your family. That’s what Tampa photographer Keith Reid managed to achieve on a recent weekend trip with his wife, Kristine, and their 3-year-old daughter, Evelyn, to a local family vacation destination you may have heard of called Orlando.

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“We tend to travel farther to visit our families in Philadelphia and New York. This was a rare trip where we actually had family time — just the 3 of us without any other family involved.”

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“We went to check out the kids’ room and found a bunk bed with a pirate theme. Pirate ships and anchors on the walls, even a wooden ship steering wheel. Evelyn immediately starts asking, ‘My room? My Room?’ She’s in a big time pirate phase right now. She was psyched.”

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“It honestly felt like if you took your furniture and moved it to a different location for a few days. You’re on vacation but it’s comfortable and familiar like you’re chilling at home. It was great to feel that right when we walked in.”

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“After we got settled, we went to the Orlando Eye, which was a first. When you see it in person, the stories of how big it is don’t do it justice. It’s almost a 30-minute ride and you can see all of Orlando. Evelyn was a little scared at first; she’d never been that high before other than in an airplane. We were there during the golden hour and seeing the sun set over lake Eola was spectacular. She really enjoyed that.”

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“Saturday morning we made breakfast, got dressed, and took a cruise up the St. John river at Blue Spring State Park. Another first: Evelyn’s first time on a boat. She did surprisingly well. It was awesome seeing her walk back and forth across the boat looking at the river and the wildlife surrounding her — birds, tortoises, alligators, manatees. She definitely entertained the other people on the tour.”

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“Saturday is taco night so we got some groceries, had tacos with Kristine’s homemade guacamole, and made brownies. Evelyn helped. She poured the chocolate chips … and ate the chocolate chips.”

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“After dinner, we tucked Evelyn in, read a book, she went to sleep, and mom and I snuggled on the couch and drank some wine.”

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“Sunday we hit a farmer’s market on Lake Eola with a spectacular view of downtown Orlando. I was expecting a typical farmer’s market but this was like a festival. Kristine and Evelyn shared a fresh cut baby coconut, I had possibly the best lemonade I’ve ever tasted in my life.”

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“We finished things off with our daughter playing on a playground. I tried to get a picture of her with a swan but you know, swans can be nasty. Evelyn’s like, ‘The swan is mean!’ and I said, ‘Alright, forget the photo.’”

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“Usually when we travel, Evelyn gets the difference, like this place isn’t ours. She’ll say she wants to go to ‘Evelyn’s house.’ But right when we got to the property she called it ‘Evelyn’s house.’ She loved it. Next time we mention ‘Pirate Room,’ I’m pretty sure she’ll be all over it.”

The Reids’ Orlando Picks

Kings Bowl America
“A cross between a legit restaurant and glow-in-the-dark bowling. We had a blast.”

Coca-Cola Orlando Eye
“It’s about a 30-minute ride, with an amazing 360-degree view. Wasn’t too busy around 5:00.”

St. John’s River Cruises At Blue Spring State Park 
“Book the first tour at 10:00 a.m. if there’s afternoon rain in the forecast.”

Orlando Farmer’s Market At Lake Eola Park
“There are tents on both ends of the lake and food trucks; it’s farmer’s market meets festival.”

 

No matter how hectic life may be, Airbnb can help your family belong together anywhere, with whole-home vacation rentals in family-friendly destinations all over the world.