Lake Buena Vista – If you’ve been to Orlando and stayed at one Disney’s properties or if you’ve stayed at a hotel along Orlando’s famous International Drive, and are looking for something different – something more peaceful and less hectic – the Grand Cypress Resort may be just the ticket for you.
The hustle and bustle of staying at a Disney property or the traffic jams on International Drive are only a memory at Orlando’s Grand Cypress Resort.
Here, even though you are virtually within sight of Walt Disney World and Downtown Disney, you may stumble across a wild Florida fox or Florida deer while horseback riding on some of the resort’s 1500 acres.
The huge resort begins adjacent to the Downtown Disney in the Lake Buena Vista area and then continues for miles, with portions of it looking like “old Florida” where raccoons and other critters outnumber people. That is the beauty of the resort, the “country feel” yet world-class accommodations and the convenience of nearby tourist attractions, restaurants, and shopping. The best of both worlds!
On the resort, you will find a variety of activities to keep you busy, including one of the most common Florida entertainment pursuits – golf, to something more unique: a world-class equestrian center. You can even experience an unlikely Orlando activity – leisurely horseback rides through acres and acres of the resort’s natural landscape that includes Oak trees, Palmetto scrubs and of course, Palm trees.
The accommodations at the resort, The Villas of Grand Cypress, are world famous. The 146 Mediterranean styled villas range from club suites to four bedroom suites. All villas have either a private balcony or patio that overlook some of the 45 Jack Nicklaus designed golf holes. And speaking of golf, the resort is a golfer’s Mecca!
All guests have complimentary and unlimited use of the driving range of clubs and shoes available to rent. The resort even hosts its own golf academy, the Grand Cypress Academy of Golf, which offers one, two and three-day instructional programs as well as hourly programs.
The programs range from courses for beginners, to programs for juniors and for advanced golfers. If you think you can’t improve your game, don’t despair. The Academy even has the latest hi-tech devices to ensure you leave a better player than when you arrived. Model Golf is the instructional method used at the Academy that combines the science of sports biomechanics with video, computer graphics, and professional instruction.
Once you do make it onto the course, again technology will come to your rescue. Each cart is equipped with a GPS type computer that displays the exact number of yards from your golf cart’s position to the hole. (GPS stands for the global positioning system. It is technology that was originally developed for use by US military forces.)
Finally, to round out your golf vacation, you can hone your pitching and be putting skills on the pitch and putt course. Play as much as you want because there is no charge and no tee times are required on this par 3 course that has holes from 40 to 90 yards.
The Villas of Grand Cypress
If you value privacy and seclusion, you will get your fill of both at the Villas of Grand Cypress. A guardhouse at the entrance ensures privacy and ample security patrols in large SUVs ensure only those who are supposed to be on the property, are on the resort.
This is one reason that the Villas are often a favorite place to stay for visiting NBA teams coming to town to battle Orlando’s Magic. This is also the environment that visitors who travel by helicopters like to stay, which is the reason the resort boasts a lighted helicopter landing pad.
The rooms are luxurious and spacious and include daily maid and nightly turndown service. Convenient to all of the Villas is a pool area and bicycle rentals, which are a must to really experience the resort. In the room, you’ll have your choice of a variety of free videos – children’s, comedies and action adventures – and 24-hour room service.
As far as the bike rentals, one of the best advantages of the resort is that almost all recreational activities are unlimited and free. From bike rentals to health club access to the use of a variety of resort boats including paddleboats, kayaks, hydro-bikes, aqua cycles, small sailboats and canoes, there is no charge for their unlimited use.
If you want to see the resort in a less strenuous fashion, other than by biking it or running on some of the many jogging trails, there is the more conventional way. Courtesy shuttles make regular trips around the expansive resort so that you never wait more than five minutes to get from one point to another. There is also free hourly transportation to the Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot, Disney-MGM Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
While most Orlando area resorts normally offer the same fare, the Equestrian Center puts the Grand Cypress Resort it in a league all of its own. It is a British Horse Society “Approved” facility that offers a variety of activities for riders of all ages
Instruction is offered for all skill levels in dressage, hunt seat, combined training, jumping and basic western. There are also pony rides for the youngsters and trail rides that take beginning horse riders through the resort’s Florida scenery. Be sure
and keep your eyes open, wild foxes, deer, and turkeys are often seen on the rides.
The highlight of the equestrian center is a 44-stall barn that includes a lighted and covered arena, lighted outdoor jumping ring, regulation dressage ring, exercise track, turnout paddocks and more.
For those who would like to stick to racquet sports, the Resort has outstanding facilities as well. There are 12 tennis courts including eight clay and four hard courts. Five are lighted for night play. Tennis clinics and lessons are available. There are also two outdoor racquetball courts.
The resort boasts a number of elegant dining options. The Black Swan, where jackets and reservations are suggested, earned an AAA four-diamond award. It is open for dinner, with piano accompaniment nightly.
The Club is a restaurant and sports bar. Its casual country club setting makes it a favorite for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The Grand Cypress Resort is definitely a very upscale resort, but by all means worth it. The costs at the resort vary greatly depending on the type of suite and when you plan on visiting. August, September, and October are usually the least busy months when you will often find the best prices, while January, February, and March would be the busy season with its corresponding higher prices. Currently, the least expensive villa is the Club Suite.