- Name: KOA Orlando SE / Lake Whippoorwill
- Dates of stay: December 4-18, 2017
- Location: 12345 Narcoossee Road, Orlando, Florida 32832
- Type of campground: Private – KOA
- Cost: $75/night plus tax typically, we paid $60.75/night for 2 weeks with weekly rate and KOA ValueKard discount for a FHU deluxe pull through site.
- Additional fees: none
- Stay limit: none
- Accepts mail / packages: Yes.
- Cell reception: AT&T robust 3 bars, adequate for video streaming
- Website: https://koa.com/campgrounds/orlando-se/
- Pros: Immaculately kept facilities, friendly staff, many amenities / activities
- Cons: cost (unless you stay a month or more), typically tight commercial campground-size sites
Many of the campers I’ve spoken to don’t like KOAs because of their perceived value (or lack thereof). It’s true that the cost is substantially higher than many other options for a site that is fairly tight. We chose this KOA simply because it was the closest campground to our Orlando house where our son lives. There’s just nothing else suitable that is anywhere nearby. We had stayed here on our way home from New Orleans when we originally purchased our rig and had a good experience. So back we came, for two weeks this time.
After the ginormous site we had at Alafia River State Park, the smaller site here at the KOA seemed much tighter by comparison. But the size was adequate for our rig, and typical of commercial campgrounds. Our row was never full during our stay, so we didn’t feel over-crowded. And since a cold front blew through during our stay, we didn’t sit outside in the evening anyway, it was too chilly!
Thanks to the numerous friendly and hard-working workcampers here, the landscaping and facilities are immaculate. The amenities include a pool, hot tub, boat / fishing dock, dog park, showers/restroom, recreation hall, KOA store, and large coin laundry facility. You can rent canoes or play ladder golf or horseshoes. Trash is picked up promptly, right from your site. The campground wi-fi is decent, sufficient for email but not intended for video streaming. However, our AT&T signal was so good here, we were able to actually stream movies on Amazon Prime.
This KOA offers a full calendar of activities. During just our two weeks here options included: Bingo, Zumba, yoga, Bible study, Movie night, Game night, Line dancing, water aerobics, a pot luck, Christmas Cookie exchange with Ugly Sweater Contest, and a holiday pet parade. And don’t forget the every Saturday all-you-can-eat Pancake breakfasts for only $4! Activities appear to be reasonably well-attended due to a significant percentage of repeat seasonal residents that have bonded into kind of a seasonal “family”. It made for a nice, homey atmosphere. It should be noted that this is advertised as a Christian owned and operated facility and alcoholic beverages are not to be in evidence at any time.
Being on the south-east edge of Orlando means that everything you need is close by. Shopping and dining options are available literally across the road from the KOA park, including WalMart, Sam’s Club, and Starbucks. The theme parks are only 30-40 minutes away. There is no lack for things to do in the area!
Bottom line: It’s pricey, but may be worth it to you if you are able take full advantage of the amenities and activities. However, I checked the monthly rate, and it was much more reasonable at $865/month plus metered electricity. That brings the nightly cost down into the $30/night range, less than half the short term rate!
This park can be a destination in itself with all of the things to do. However, Jeff and I over-scheduled ourselves, with 8 theme park days crammed into a two week stay! Between that, and spending time with our son, we really weren’t at the campground all that much. I did have the opportunity to play Bingo, where I won 3 times! That was pretty awesome. We also participated in the Friday night line dancing, which was a hoot.
We will likely come back again, primarily because of its location. But next time, I will allow more time to simply enjoy all that this campground has to offer.