Category: timeshares

It’s funny how Branson reminded me of two of North America’s raciest cities – Las Vegas and New Orleans – because Branson is far from racy. It’s rather the opposite and unquestionably driven by pure-hearted religious forces. You’d be pretty hard pressed to find the seedy side of life in this small, wholesome Missouri city. There are massive churches everywhere – primarily Baptist and Methodist. No casinos. No chicken ranches (brothels.)

Yet, Branson is filled with neon lights and endless stage show entertainment reminding the visitor of nights ‘on the strip’ in Las Vegas. (Perhaps it was more so because we visited during the holidays and Branson is very big on Christmas and Christmas lights.)

a salute from the Santa at Branson Landing

But the fact that you can find performances going at any hour of the day, and free spontaneous entertainment at any eating venue in the city … really reminded me of New Orleans and made me pinch myself several times throughout our week-long visit.  Just where were we, and how did we find ourselves in Branson?

It was my husband’s choice. We take turns choosing vacation destinations and Branson was his choice. He’d heard there was good live entertainment at reasonable prices. And he was right! I’m told there are 100 choices for live entertainment daily in this tiny city of just 10,000 permanent residents. It’s no surprise that Branson hosts approximately 8 million toe-tapping visitors each year. There is lots to do, and much of it won’t cost you a bundle.

Country music is prevalent, with a heavy dose of gospel thrown in. With music greats like Elvis Presley and Ray Charles having gotten their start in gospel, it’s no surprise that Elvis and Ray Charles impersonators are big draws in Branson. We took in the “Legends In Concert” show at the Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater. It was fabulous! As a huge fan of Alan Jackson, I especially enjoyed the performance of Doug Brewin, who didn’t miss a beat in his well-executed tribute to Alan Jackson!

Performers from the Legend of Kung Fu Show

We also enjoyed the Legend of Kung Fu production, which featured a troop of 65 dancers and acrobats from China who had performed during the Bejing Olympics and were definitely worldclass. (Click on the link to see online video clips of the production.) Reg and his friend Neil really liked the intimacy in the smaller “Little Opry Theater” used for the Tribute to Marty Robbins (which they thoroughly enjoyed) while I ate chocolate at a local chocolate shop. Yes, I found some terrific chocolate in Missouri! Stay tuned to a future post for that.

Wyndham Branson at the Meadows Resort

We had the pleasure of staying at the Wyndham Branson at the Meadows resort as I am a Wyndham timeshare owner. It was a terrific facility, and thanks to reviews on Trip Advisor, I had requested a top floor suite which gave us great views of the Ozark Foothills and lessened any noise from neighbouring suites. The atmosphere at the resort was very laid-back, just like the rest of Branson. No high pressure sales tactics like we’d found on our previous Wyndham stay in Orlando.

Please join me back here the week of December 19th for more on Branson and our taste tantalizing exploration of Missouri.

Sorry for the delay in posting. We’ve been having a tremendous discussion about inspiration over on my writer’s blog and I’ve been somewhat distracted.

For this post, I’m bringing you back across the pond and to Florida.  I love Florida! The sun, the surf, the birds.  Have been there many times over the years and have always enjoyed making new discoveries. This trip was no different. We spent a week in Orlando (hadn’t been there in a number of years) and then went on to enjoy 3 days on Fort Meyers Beach. I’ll take you there in the next post. But for now … we’ll focus on Orlando and the highs and lows of our visit.

The lows? The weather was one. Located in Central Florida, Orlando is about 3 hours north of Fort Meyers Beach. So the weather there can be considerably cooler than you’ll encounter in South Florida. And we happened to visit in January, during a cooler and wetter-than-normal week. So as much as it was nice to be away from the cold and snow of Manitoba, the Orlando weather didn’t do it for me.

The other low? The sharks! No, these ones weren’t in the water. They can be found circling unsuspecting visitors at the timeshare property where we were staying.

We loved the Wyndham Cypress Palms. It’s a fantastic resort. But it’s part of the Wyndham Vacation Resorts family of properties. We were there on a “free” certificate we received when buying into the Wyndham Grand Desert in Las Vegas in December, 2009.

The Cypress Palms is newly reburbished. Our king suite was gorgeous, with granite countertops, a jacuzzi tub, screened-in lanai overlooking the man-made lake, and a convenient location in Kissimmee on Highway 192. We had plenty of space and were thrilled to be spending a week there for the price of an expensive dinner.

We were invited to a 45-minute “member services update” by the Wyndham people. I didn’t see any harm in that as I admitted to not fully understanding the timeshare program in which I was an “owner.” Nearly 4 hours later, we were walking out of there having doubled our investment in the program and now owning a share of the Wyndham Cypress Palms.

Why did I do it despite the warning from dear husband, Reg? Because I fell prey to the sharks posing as “member services reps” and believed they were making recommendations based on what was described as “my best interest.” I had been had. Fortunately Visa’s assistance helped me get out of that deal. Contract cancelled. I should get myself a t-shirt saying  “Shark attack survivor.”

Why am I telling you this? To protect you from scammers. Don’t be trusting like me. Keep your guard up. Trust your intuition. If your spidy senses are tingling, they might be trying to tell you something. Walk away before your regret is as big as your bank account is small.

Marketplace had a super show on CBC last night showing just how easily the average Canadian is taken advantage of by the super scam-man. They usually have a friendly face and disposition. They ALWAYS have an offer which is “good for today only” and try to cause you to act before you’ve thoroughly thought things through. These are warning signals that are trying to save you from the aggravation I went through. Don’t ignore them!

Using the Toastmasters sandwich method of evaluations, I’ll close with a positive. I do enjoy Orlando. There are many worldclass attractions to experience, it’s not too difficult to navigate the highways (even for a small-town gal like me) and for the most part, the weather is palatable.

beautiful white heron at Gatorland

We really enjoyed a visit to Medieval Times (jousting, lords and ladies all while you enjoy a knightly feast) and Gatorland (lots of alligators and birds in a pleasing, fairly natural environment.)

A recommended property to stay at is the Peabody Orlando. They have sweet, happy ducks. No sharks.

%d bloggers like this: