I have checked around the web for a site that had some independent information about the Sheraton Safari Hotel in Lake Buena Vista, Florida and I couldn't find one. So I decided to write my own.
This web page is a continuing report of what I found during my family's stays at the Sheraton Safari Hotel in 2003, 2004, 2005, and most recently August 2006. I found it to be clean, the staff was very friendly, the accommodations we had were more than adequate, the location was very convenient and I would not hesitate to recommend this hotel to anyone. But be clear, this is not a deluxe resort hotel nor is it a new hotel. Some areas such as the elevators show their age. But it is not run down by any means. It's what I would consider a three star hotel on a scale of four stars being the best.
One thing that we found to be annoying was the split reservations that Starwood required us to make for a weekend stay on points. Points are higher for Friday and Saturday stays so a four night Thursday through Sunday stay required three reservations. And while you are not required to go back to the desk each time to check out and back in like you are at a Disney resort, it gets to be a little confusing to the maids since their room make up list shows your reservation as ending on three different days. It didn't happen to us but I can see where this could cause a problem for someone else in the future. You must also be sure that the front desk is aware of the multiple reservations when you check in so they will encode your room key properly. Nothing's worse than going back to your room after a day at the parks and the card key won't open the door.
Be very careful when walking off property in the area. There are sidewalks and stop lights but it is a very high traffic area, especially during rush hours.
All that having been said, let's move on to what I found this property offers.
Location, location, location! The Sheraton Safari is located at the intersection of SR535 and Palm Parkway. It is right down the street from Crossroads Shopping Center and Hotel Plaza Boulevard that leads to Downtown Disney (about 1 mile away) and the theme parks.
The hotel has 393 standard rooms, 90 mini suites with kitchenette called Safari Suites (all 90 were rehabbed in August, 2004), and 6 two room Deluxe Suites with full kitchen.
Four buildings are arranged in a square surrounding the pool. The main building has no second floor. It is used for electrical purposes. So the lobby is on the first floor and the rooms are on floors 3 to 6. Parking areas are located on all four sides. All but a few rooms have interior corridor entrances. Rooms have large and rather noisy "through=the-wall" air conditioners rather than central air although they do work quite well.
Room rates start at $99 per night depending on season. Some folks have reported getting the Sheraton Safari on Priceline with a bid of $39 per night but that is the exception rather than the rule. Sheraton Safari also participates in the Starwoods Guest Program so award points may be used to obtain free room nights. It is a Category 2 hotel in the Starwood program needing 3000 points per night for Sunday-Thursday stays and 4000 points per night for Friday-Saturday stays.
Located on the first floor are the following:
|View of Sheraton Safari room closet|
Parking is self parking, free and plentiful.
Check In time is 4:00 PM. Check Out time is 12:00 PM.
Sheraton Safari offers and/or charges for the following services:
|View of sink area looking left||View of sink area looking right|
|View of Sheraton Safari room safe. That's a 9x12 notebook next to it so you can judge how big the safe is.|
Standard rooms at the Sheraton Safari contain:
|Sheraton Sweet Sleeper Beds view 1||Sheraton Sweet Sleeper Bed view 2|
Miscellaneous Room Impressions
Room decor is nice and remains consistent with the safari theme but color scheme is drab with dark beige and both light and dark brown earth tones dominating. Rooms are not as bright during the daylight hours as other color schemes would allow.
Be warned that the rooms that face the Apopka Vineland Road side can be noisy at night. It is a very busy road. The windows are not good sound insulators and you will hear every truck and every horn from that road, even in the middle of the night.
Another thing to keep in mind for those of you with allergies is that the Sheraton Safari is a pet friendly hotel. They even have a Dog Walk on premises. That means that it is entirely possible that at one time or another someone travelling with an animal may have stayed in your room. There may be pet dander (or worse) left behind. I have not known it to be a problem, but there is always the possibility that it might be to someone else.
The Safari Suite rooms were refurbished during the fall of 2004. Maggie Workman had two stays in the Safari Suites in late June and early July 2005. She writes:
"We had a Safari Suite in building 4 on the 4th floor both times. The suite was great and we had a great view of the pool. Truthfully, this room made me consider staying offsite in the future (we are normally and on site family). There was room for everyone. There were 2 TVs. Now, normally while at Disney we don't watch TV because we are either at the Parks or DTD or something. But since this was a leisurely trip, we did spend time in the room a little. The 2 TVs were nice for the kids. We had 2 queen (?? maybe double) beds in the bedroom with a balcony and then the pullout sofa in the living room. There was also a little kitchenette. The bathroom area was big too. There was a room with the toilet and shower/tub. But outside the room there was a large vanity with 2 sinks, a huge mirror, etc. There was also an ironing board and iron in the closet in the bedroom."
|View of sofa bed and kitchenette||TV and table across from sofa|
|Bed||Armoire and seat in bedroom|
Photos of Safari Suites courtesy of Maggie Workman
The Guest Laundry is located on the first floor near the pool slide. It has six washers and eight dryers. The washers are $2.00 for 30 minutes which is a complete wash cycle. The dryers are $2.00 for a 45 minute dry cycle which will usually still leave a normal load damp so my advice is to plan on having to use two dryer cycles per wash load. Packets of Tide detergent (1 load) and Bounce fabric softener sheets (2 loads) are sold for $1.25 each. The Guest Laundry is open from 8:00 am to 11:00 pm.
There is a small counter used as a folding area and a change machine to give you quarters for the machines. The one thing I found to be quirky was the placement of an ice cube machine in the laundry room. The area was very clean and well lit.
Inside the gated pool area between the four buildings is a kid's pool and a hot tub as well as the main heated pool. The big attraction at the pool is the 70 foot long Cobra Slide which got a big "thumbs up" from all the kids I asked including my own. Towels are provided at the pool. There are no lifeguards on duty but there is a Sheraton employee there staffing a small booth where you can buy assorted sundries like sunblock and coverups. You can also rent inflatable toys there. Small tubes rent for $3 per hour or $5 for the day and animals (dragon, whale, etc) rent for $8 per hour or $12 for the day. The Sheraton employee carries a whistle to maintain order on the slide or to enforce any safety rules. But parents should be aware that the person does NOT watch the pool all the time as a lifeguard would.
There is a new pool bar called The Monkey Bar. It is open from 12 noon to 6:00 pm daily. It serves light lunches as well as a full service bar. There is also a specially marked telephone near the pool where you can call in your drink order to the Zanzibar Lounge after 6:00 pm.
Also just outside the gated area is a small child's playground
The pool is open from 8:00 am to 11:00 pm daily. The Cobra Slide is open from 9:00 am to dusk.
I found all the staff members I dealt with to be very friendly and helpful. I did not encounter any "attitude" from any of them. I got the impression that they were genuinely trying to make my stay there the best it could possibly be.
There is a Winn Dixie supermarket very close by should you require food from there.
Having no car or transportation is not a handicap when you stay at the Sheraton Safari. But be aware that the traffic in the area can be quite heavy at times making crossing the streets a definite adventure. But if you can navigate your way through the traffic, you are in easy walking distance of the following restaurants:
|Pizza Hut (next door)||Chinese food (next door)||Sizzler|
|Tony Roma's||Steak 'n Shake||The Ale House|
|Macaroni Grill||Shoney's||Dunkin Donuts|
Slightly further away (about 1/4 mile) in the Crossroads Shopping Plaza but still within walking distance:
If you have a car, about 1/2 mile down SR 535 at the Vineland Avenue lights is a Golden Corral, Bahama Breeze, Longhorn Steakhouse, and Landry's.
And of course, there is always Casablanca's, the Sheraton's own restaurant open for breakfast and dinner daily. In the busy season, a breakfast buffet is offered ($8.99 per person, children 10 and under eat free when accompanied by a paying adult - limit two free children). My daughter was 12 and 13 when she ate there with us and we were never asked her age. We were not charged for her meal. You can also order off of the regular breakfast menu if you like. Items on the buffet include:
|Scrambled eggs||Western style eggs||Sausage|
|French Toast||Breads for toasting||Assorted pastries|
|Assorted muffins||Selection of single serve Kelloggs cereals||Fruit bar|
The breakfast buffet also includes all the coffee, tea, milk and orange juice you can drink. Breakfast is served from 6:30 am to 11:00 am. We found the food to be quite good as compared to many of the other breakfast buffets around.
Lunch time finds Casablanca's closed but The Monkey Bar at the pool has light lunch fare available.
Dinner is served at Casablanca's from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm daily. Once again, they allow one child 10 and under to eat dinner free with a paying adult (limit two free).
Sheraton Safari Room Service menu - August 2005 BREAKFAST: Served from 6:30 am until 11:00 am Thirst Quenchers Fresh squeezed Florida orange juice 2.75 Tomato, V-8, pineapple, cranberry or apple juice 2.50 Regular coffee, decaffeinated or hot tea small pot 5.50 Large pot 6.50 Soft drinks: Coke, Diet Coke or Sprite 2.50 Safari Entrees Continental Breakfast 6.00 Choice of orange or grapefruit juice , a basket of three assorted pastries With coffee, hot tea or decaffeinated. Light Safari 8.00 A beautiful display of freshly sliced seasonal fruits and berries served With fruit yogurt. American Heritage 7.00 Two eggs any style, breakfast potatoes, toast, and your choice of Bacon, sausage or ham. Kenya Tradition 8.00 Corned beef hash topped with two poached eggs, served with breakfast Potatoes and your choice of toast. The Sahara 9.00 Two poached eggs over Canadian bacon, on an English muffin topped With Hollandaise, served with breakfast potatoes and fresh fruit. The Kilimanjaro Omelette 8.00 A three egg omelette with a choice of three: Swiss cheese, cheddar cheese, Bacon, sausage, ham, mushrooms, tomatoes, bell peppers, or onions. Served with breakfast potatoes and toast garnished by a warm apple Fritter. King of the Jungle 7.00 Thick egg bread grilled to a golden brown and topped with butter and Fresh strawberries. Queen of the Jungle 7.00 Three fluffy pancakes topped with whipped butter Prince of the Jungle 8.00 A crisp, thick Belgian waffle with sliced bananas and strawberries. The Mighty Serengeti 10.00 Steak and eggs: a 6 oz. New York strip with two eggs any style, breakfast Potatoes and your choice of toast. Sides Toast or English muffin 2.00 Breakfast meats 2.95 Muffin, croissant, Danish 2.00 Fresh seasonal berries 3.95 Bagel and cream cheese 2.50 ½ Grapefruit or cantaloupe 3.50 Assorted cold cereals 3.50 Grits (plain or with cheese) 2.50 With fruit 3.95 Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal 2.50 Assorted fruit yogurt 2.95 KIDS FIRST BREAKFAST Junior Hunter Breakfast One egg, breakfast potatoes, bacon & toast 3.50 The Little King One French toast sipped in egg batter & syrup 3.50 The Little Prince One crispy Belgian waffle with syrup & butter 4.00 The Princess Two pancakes with syrup & butter 4.00 The Safari Adventure Cereal: Ask what selections we have today 3.50 A 17% service charge, applicable taxes add a $2.50 per room delivery charge will be added to your bill. ALL DAY DINING Served from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm APPETEASERS Stuffed potato skins 6.95 Five potato shells loaded with melted sharp cheddar, topped with crumbled Bacon and served with sour cream. Wings that Zing 8.00 You get nine of our hot and spicy wings - hotter than the Sahara itself! Served With celery sticks and blue cheese dressing. Moore's Mozzarella Sticks 8.75 A half dozen gooey mozzarella sticks served with marinara sauce. Chicken Quesadilla 8.50 We take two flour tortillas and load then with grilled chicken, pepper jack Cheese, green chili peppers, sweet roasted red peppers, sour cream and Salsa. SOUPS French Onion Soup 4.50 This tantalizing broth is chock full of the sweetest caramelized onions, topped With a crisp parmesan baguette and melted provolone cheese. Seafood Chowder Cup 5.99 Bowl 6.95 THE PIZZA PARTY A 16 inch pizza pie with two toppings 15.95 Extra toppings .50 Comes with a pitcher of Coke, Diet Coke or Sprite. Choose from Pepperoni, sausage, peppers, onion, ham, mushrooms, black olives SALADS Caesar Salad 7.99 Add chicken 9.99 Add shrimp or Grouper 12.99 Our hearty Romaine salad is tossed with Caesar dressing and parmesan Cheese, then garnished with homemade croutons and tomato wedges. Safari House Salad 5.99 Add chicken 7.99 Add shrimp or Grouper 10.99 Mixed assortment of our fresh garden greens with tomato and cucumber. Serengeti Fruit Salad 8.95 We arrange Florida's best pickings and serve them with your choice of Low calorie cottage cheese or yogurt. IN BETWEEN BREAD All sandwiches are served with your choice of french fries or chips Philly Cheese steak 8.99 Fresh Italian bread loaded with thinly sliced beef, smothered with Sautéed onions and topped with melted provolone cheese. Mozambique Club 8.25 A triple decker turkey club stacked with bacon, lettuce, tomato and Mayonaisse on toasted white bread. Grilled Breast of Chicken 8.99 Boneless breast of chicken grilled and topped with pepper jack Cheese on a Kaiser roll. Reuben Pastromi Sandwich 8.99 In between marble rye sandwich bread we load pastromi, swiss cheese, Sauerkraut, and Thousand Island dressing. Tuna or Chicken Salad Sandwich 8.25 Made fresh daily and served on your choice of bread with lettuce, tomato & pickle. CASABLANCA BURGERS The Old Fashioned Burger 9.25 Topped with cheese, lettuce, tomato and pickle. Served with French fries. The Sahara Burger 9.99 Three strips of bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato and French fries. DINNER OUR BEST STUFF New York Strip Steak 23.99 A juicy center cut steak grilled to your satisfaction and topped with Brew City. Choice of baked potato, garlic mashed potato, French fries or rice. Filet Mignon 24.99 With sautéed mushrooms and served with a cream béarnaise sauce. Choice of Baked potato, garlic mashed potato, French fries or rice. Fresh Catch of the Day 15.95 Blackened or grilled, served with fresh vegetables and your choice of baked potato, mashed potato, french fries or rice. Pasta Primavera 12.95 Bow Tie pasta tossed in a roasted garlic and extra virgin olive oil with grilled zuchini, red pepper, carmelized onion, artichoke hearts, sugar snaps, asparagus and asiago chips. Fried Chicken Dinner 13.95 Mashed potato, garden vegetables and butermilk biscuits, HAPPY ENDINGS Peanut Butter Silk Pie 5.50 Incredibly rich peanut butter mousse piled high on a layer of fudgy chocolate. Garnished with chopped peanuts, drizzles of melted chocolate and Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. Banana Split Pie 5.50 Mousse of fresh ripe bananas & cream spread onto a layer of rich dark chocolate. Topped with pure whipped cream. Coconut Rum Custard Pie 5.50 Creamy old fashioned egg and cream custard laced with dark rum and loaded with moist, grated coconut. Florida Key Lime Pie 5.50 Caramel Apple Pie 5.50 Deep dish baked apple pie swirled with rich caramel and topped with Vanilla ice cream. Chocolate Loving Spoon Cake 5.50 Chocolate cake layered with a very rich chocolate ganache. Haagen-Das Ice Cream 4.99 Strawberry, chocolate, vanilla, or cookies and cream ADD A SCOOP OF ICE CREAM TO ANY PIE 1.00 CHILDREN'S DESSERT MENU KIDDIE CONCOCTIONS Freeze Willy 3.50 Strawberry and pina colada mix blended with ice cream. Barney's Purple Passion 3.50 Raspberry ice cream and a splash of grenadine. The Cookie Monster 3.50 Vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup and Oreo cookies. KID'S MENU The Zebra Burger 5.50 The stripes on this burger are from our grill. Safari Chicken Nuggets 5.50 Animal shaped nuggets. Choice of honey mustard, BBQ sauce Or sweet and sour dips. Served with French fries & a drink. Mac and Cheese 5.00 Served with a drink. PB&J 4.00 Served with chips and a drink. Grilled Cheese Cheese Sandwich 4.00 A double grilled cheese sandwich. Served with chips and A drink. Serengeti and Meatballs 5.50 Spaghetti and meatballs served with chips and a drink. Pizza Just For You 5.50 Your choice: extra cheese, pepperoni or sausage. Fruits R Us 4.00 Fresh Florida fruit. Served with sherbet and a drink. A 17% service charge, applicable taxes and $2.50 per room delivery charge will be added to your bill.
Sheraton Safari offers free bus service by Bethany Transportation to all four Disney parks. Transportation is provided to Downtown Disney by reservation only. The schedule as of August 2005 is:
|Departures from hotel:|
|Magic Kingdom||Animal Kingdom||Epcot||MGM||Downtown Disney**|
|7:50 am||7:50 am||8:55 am||8:55 am||12:15 pm|
|9:55 am||9:55 am||11:05 am||11:05 am||5:00 pm|
|12:10 pm||12:10 pm||1:35 pm||1:35 pm||8:00 pm|
|3:25 pm||3:25 pm||3:25 pm|
|4:35 pm||4:35 pm|
|Returns to hotel:|
|Magic Kingdom||Animal Kingdom||Epcot||MGM||Downtown Disney**|
|2:15 pm||2:30 pm||4:00 pm||4:15 pm||5:15 pm|
|3:45 pm||6:20 pm||5:15 pm||8:00 pm||8:15 pm|
|5:00 pm||8:15 pm||*9:25 pm||12:30 am|
|6:35 pm||10:10 pm||*11:10 pm|
|*Applies only with late park closing times.
**Advance reservation necessary for Downtown Disney.
When leaving the parks, please meet your bus in Lane #32.
The bus to the Magic Kingdom also stops at Animal Kingdom. The bus to Epcot also stops at MGM Studios. To make reservations for the Douwntown Disney shuttle, call extension 1063 from your room or 407-239-4342 from outside the hotel. For wheelchair accessible vehicles, call extension 1063 from your room or 407-239-4342 from outside the hotel at least 24 hours ion advance.
|Pay-Per-Trip Shuttle Services|
|Destination:||Cost Per Person (Round Trip):||Depart hotel at:||Return to hotel at:|
|Florida Mall||$13.00 pp R/T|| 8:05 am
|Universal Studios||$12.00 pp R/T|| 8:05 am
|Prime 1 (Belz) Factory Mall||$13.00 pp R/T|| 8:05 am
|Wet-N-Wild||$11.00 pp R/T|| 8:05 am
|Sea World||$ 9.00 pp R/T|| 8:05 am
|Orlando International Airport Shuttle:
Every hour on the half hour from 7:30 am to 7:30 pm.
Cost is $17.00 per person one way (two person minimum).
Reservations required at least 4 hours in advance.
The Sheraton Safari abides by the Sheraton Service Promise:
"If you're not satisfied, we're not satisfied. Sheraton's Service Promise ensures you'll have a great stay or we'll make it up to you with an instant discount, points in our rewards program - or even your money back. All you have to do is tell us or dial '0'."
I found that this really works. When we first went to our room in 2003, we had a problem getting the TV to work. We called the front desk and reported it, then went exploring the hotel for about 20 minutes. When we returned to the room, the TV was fixed and we got a phone call from the Front Desk apologizing for the problem and offering us our choice of two free buffet breakfasts (value: $15.90 plus tax), 500 points in the Starwood rewards program, or a $15 credit on our hotel bill. We were impressed. Oh, we took the breakfasts!
In 2004, they had to get hotel security up to unlock my room safe as the previous guest had left it locked using their preset combination. I was once again offered the points or the fifteen dollar credit but this time the third option was two free drinks in the bar. I took the points this time.
Phone: 407-239-0444 • Fax: 407- 239-1778
If you have recently stayed at the Sheraton Safari and found something I didn't cover or something that has changed after I wrote this, please feel free to email me at email@example.com with the information and I will update the page. I would also be happy to add your Sheraton Safari comments or experiences to the web page.
The family and I are about to embark on a two week break in Orlando. We have selected the Sheraton Safari as our chosen hotel (one of the suites sounds nice) and I just wanted to thank you for the very informative review you had taken the time to prepare on the Web.
- Richard H., London U.K.