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Why do you stay off site?

Padraig

Well-Known Member
Just out of interest, and for those who have stayed offsite, how good are the shuttle buses at these places? We're from the UK and neither myself or my wife fancy driving, and I was wondering what the transportation from external hotels tend to be like. I.e. how often do they run? Are they reliable? Do they run late into the night, etc?
I've yet to rent a car in Orlando. Quite a few Downtown Disney Hotels have or share a free bus service. I remember Holiday Inn stopped at three or four hotels along the way. It was never crowded though and was decent enough in terms of times IIRC every hour in July/August.

Hilton Bonnet Creek/Waldorf Astoria have an excellent (free) bus as well that runs every half hour during high season. Downside is you won't be walking to Downtown Disney from here.
 

RobUK

Active Member
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Thanks Padraig. Really worth taking that on note - very helpful. By the sounds of it those hotels aren't much different to Disney hotels, except they've not got any Disney trademarks yet are probably cheaper and provide breakfast.
 

kingdon777

New Member
We always stay at 4/5 star hotel and rent a car and stay for about 7 or 8 days. This allows us to enjoy all that Orlando/Florida has to offer. We look at our vacation as a "Florida" vacation, not just a Disney vacation. While visiting MK is the highlight of our vacation, we also enjoy Universal, GatorLand, the beaches, excellent restaurants and save money at the same time. And when we are tired and just want to sleep in a comfortable bed, the 4/5 star hotels surely do this the best!
 

LauraRose

Well-Known Member
I stay off property just because money. I'm staying this trip in a Disney neighbour hotel near Downtown Disney which is £1159 for the two weeks.Then with the two 14 day ultimate tickets it rounds up to £1709 this still doesn't include the flights. All star movie resort was over 2 grand with no meals involved. Our hotel includes breakfast and has a microwave and refrigerator in the room so we can store cool snacks for breakfast we could take on the go. When travelling from the UK we simply can't afford to stay in Disney, also we want to visit universal.

Not to mention i'm currently not working (trying and failing, sixth form keeps getting in the way) so right now it is only my boyfriend covering everything, hopefully i'll be working by then though.:rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:

Also love some on the restaurants first time staying off international drive though!
 

Blufusion

Member
The reason I stay off site is for the time of year we go during the off season in December. My partner works for Marriott and we just stayed at The Marriott World Center for $40.00 a night. And we didn't even go to Disney went to Kennedy Space Center. But next big trip we will take is probably in 2 years for my BD will have the funds to stay on property. Haven't decided where? Contemporary or Port Orleans. I have wanted to do this kind of trip since I started going in 1982. This will be my final trip for a while. We have lived here in Florida for 10 years now and only have been 3 times in those 10 years just one park each time. I love Disney and you do get the extra perks. But it does cost money. Even with the Florida rates. For the cost of just staying at the Contemporary Resort for 5 days at the Florida Residents rates. We could stay at the JW Marriott near SeaWorld Drive and just drive over and just do the parks. The cost of the room for 5 night and that is not a Tower Room at the CR. But just a regular room without the passes is $2500.00 that's a lot of money. For the cost of what the rates will cost us at the JW Marriott for 7 days plus tickets to Universal and a 4 day pass to the World it would still be less than just the room rate. I love Disney but their prices have gotten out of hand. I understand you are paying a premium to stay on property and all the perks of that. I want to do the ultimate trip for my 55th bd and plan on doing it. I have health problems and it may be the last big bucket list trip. But I better win the lottery 1st.
 
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Blufusion

Member
I just wanted to respond to the original question. Why off-site? For us, money is not a factor; we just want the best possible vacation. And the off-site hotels are SOOO much nicer. Not even a comparison.

After staying at the Grand Floridian, we decided to experiment with the off-site experience and stay at the Ritz Carlton. We will probably never go back to a Disney hotel. The only advantage of the Grand Floridian was the monorail access to MK. That's it.

We pay more for an offsite hotel because the Disney hotels are just not that nice (imho). It is shocking to me that people will pay $700 night for what is essentially a 3.5 star (maybe 4) hotel. Just for monorail access? And there is no transportation advantage for any other park, other than MK.

Everything at the Ritz Carlton was better. The rooms, the food, the spa, the service, the pool (it shares a pool with the Marriott, which has an amazing lazy river). In short, if you are looking for luxury or pampering, or relaxation in addition to the parks experience -- off-site is the only way to go.

But what about convenience/proximity to the parks? If you rent a car (which we do), it is just as easy and fast to get to every park. Although the monorail hotels have an advantage on getting to the Magic Kingdom -- the advantage is quite slight. When we go to the Magic Kingdom, we get breakfast reservations at the Contemporary, so we use its parking lot for the day. And voila! Now we have monorail access to our car (although you can also easily walk to the car), bypassing the TTC.

Now that FP+ advance reservations are available for Disney resort guests, that may offer an additional advantage for Disney hotels. But I'll see how our trip next month goes using the kiosks in the park. I doubt FP+ will tempt me to stay at a far inferior hotel, in my opinion.

As a side note, the Grand Floridian is possibly the noisiest hotel I've ever stayed in. Like sleep-defying noise.
As I mentioned in my earlier post that my partner works for Marriott We have stayed at the JW Marriott next to the Ritz as well and we had full pool access at the Ritz and the other ammenties. I rather have the extra money to go out and eat a decent meal and for the extra fun around the area. There is more to Orlando than just Disney. Ducking now. Also depending on the time of year usually December We get half off of the associates rate. This December 2014 . The rate per night would have been $60.00 a night at the JW Marriott.
 

BigRedDad

Well-Known Member
We just got back from a 7 night stay at WBC. This was the first offsite stay in a very long time. Here is my experience.

Cons:
1. No EMH. This is not a big issue 4 of the days, it was mornings for 1 hour. Not really worht it for the 3 nights with 3 extra hours. We usually avoid the morning EMH parks. In the end, this is not really a con.

2. No use of pools at Disney resorts. This is a general rule that you can only use the pool at YOUR resort. However, there are so many people at the pools, they would never know or check except Stormalong Bay. You can determine how much of a con this is for you.

3. Transportation. This requires your own car and an AP. AP gives you free parking. Some places have a bus. WBC has a bus that cost $6 per day per person. However, the positive with having your own car, you are at parks MUCH FASTER!!!

Pros:
1. Savings: The accommodations and amenities were as good or better than WDW. It is also at a minimum of 50% off of Disney Value. We had a 2BR Deluxe suite for $500 for 7 nights. This was a 60% savings from our reservation for Pop Century.

2. Disney not in your face the whole time. This could be a con for some as well though. It was nice to be away from it for a short period of time.

3. Full kitchens. Cooking on vacation may not be something one wants to do, but when you see the money savings, it is easy. If you plan to leave the parks for pool breaks or naps, getting a meal ready for an early dinner is easy. There are grills, stoves, ovens. This savings alone can be at least $100 a day for a family of 4. Add in breakfasts in the room and packed lunches, you have tremendous savings.
 

TamaraQT

Member
Well it looks like this thread has been revived so I am jumping back in. Today I ran the numbers for our upcoming Orlando 2015 vacation. We are going for 10 days and will be spending 3days/3nights onsite at Disney. At least that is the plan so far. Yes, I prefer off-site but I ran the numbers and here is what I got:

On-Site: 7/29-8/01
All Star Movies resort, 3day tickets w/hopper(2adult 1child), and Disney Dining Plan (1QS, 1TS 1snack) total price per Disney website $1916.59.

Off-Site:
3day ticket w/hopper (undercover tourist) $1030.30, Parking @ 15/day, 3nites @ Radisson hotel $300 ($240+ $20/day resort fee), 3 Table Service meals(Dinner) $450($60(2)=$120 +$30(1)=$150/day) 3 Quick Service (Lunch)$105($35/day). I didn't include the cost of breakfast because it isn't factored into dining plan either. So cost to stay off-site $1930.30. (****** $13.71 more than Disney*******)

So it will cost $13.71 more to stay off-site in a basic hotel room vs. onsite at Disney value resort. So I think its a fair comparison. We will have a rental car so we will have free parking for staying onsite. And this time I plan to use the rental car and NOT Disney buses. For the other 7 days we are in Orlando we will stay at a timeshare property to enjoy the surrounding area. As I have stated previously, we go to Orlando for more than just Disney so the savings of $13.71 is irrelevant. It just gives my DD9 3 full days and nights to be immersed in Disney magic, and then 7 days and nights enjoying other things in Orlando. The dates are NOT definite yet, but it is a good start to compare. We can only travel in July/August so I don't expect Disney or other properties to have a significant price jump or drop to cause me to change my mind but we will see. I will do my 3 days at Disney and will still have 7 days of Orlando/Kissimmee, and Lake Buena Vista to look forward to after we are done with Disney. Last year we went to Clearwater Beach for the first time so I am hoping to return there for a day again. There is so much to do in Florida that I cannot justify giving Disney more than 3 or 4 of my 10 vacation days....but as I always say, that's what works for me and my family. We need MORE than just Disney.
 

TamaraQT

Member
We just got back from a 7 night stay at WBC. This was the first offsite stay in a very long time. Here is my experience.

Cons:
1. No EMH. This is not a big issue 4 of the days, it was mornings for 1 hour. Not really worht it for the 3 nights with 3 extra hours. We usually avoid the morning EMH parks. In the end, this is not really a con.

2. No use of pools at Disney resorts. This is a general rule that you can only use the pool at YOUR resort. However, there are so many people at the pools, they would never know or check except Stormalong Bay. You can determine how much of a con this is for you.

3. Transportation. This requires your own car and an AP. AP gives you free parking. Some places have a bus. WBC has a bus that cost $6 per day per person. However, the positive with having your own car, you are at parks MUCH FASTER!!!

Pros:
1. Savings: The accommodations and amenities were as good or better than WDW. It is also at a minimum of 50% off of Disney Value. We had a 2BR Deluxe suite for $500 for 7 nights. This was a 60% savings from our reservation for Pop Century.

2. Disney not in your face the whole time. This could be a con for some as well though. It was nice to be away from it for a short period of time.

3. Full kitchens. Cooking on vacation may not be something one wants to do, but when you see the money savings, it is easy. If you plan to leave the parks for pool breaks or naps, getting a meal ready for an early dinner is easy. There are grills, stoves, ovens. This savings alone can be at least $100 a day for a family of 4. Add in breakfasts in the room and packed lunches, you have tremendous savings.
I wish I could get WBC for $500 for 7 nights. If that were the case I wouldn't even have to think twice of the benefits of staying off-site. I prefer off-site, but the way the numbers worked out for us on-site made more sense. But after reading your post, I decided to run the numbers again for 7 nights off-site, 3 days of park tickets, 3 table service dinners(important for DD9) and 3 QS meals. The cheapest I can get WBC for a week in July so far is $1200. So even if I factored in WBC @$175/day, Disney on-site at value resort is $141. Doesn't feel like a fair comparison when you consider space and amenities such as a Washer/Dryer and kitchen. So now you have me thinking again :joyfull:
 

JasonDeyoung

Well-Known Member
Use to stay off site but it just after awhile didn't make sense for me. With the discounts Disney offers me and the convience it just makes more sense to stay on property. I know a lot of hotels off site are usually cheaper and if you were to go else where like universal or sea world etc it'd make sense. But with what discounts I get it's cheaper for me personally to stay on property
 

officialtom

Well-Known Member
We stayed off site during our very first trip in 2003. It was okay, but we constantly felt rushed and disconnected from WDW... it was always such a struggle with kids to get up, eat, jump in the rental, and speed off toward Disney to try to beat the crowds. Back then, it was also frustrating for us (as non-Floridians) because it was before cars/phones has GPS maps, so we were constantly getting turned around and half lost just trying to find restaurants or shopping.

Since then, we've always stayed on property and we'll never stay off-site again! You absolutely can't beat living inside the WDW bubble. No worries about food, rental cars, traffic, shady service, or anything at all. Life in the bubble is grand.
 

Nossit

New Member
The last time my wife and I went was in November. We are love saving money because we are teachers and like to travel nearly all summer. Since it was cooler, we decided to try to camp. I have a huge 12 by 18ft tent that has its own screened in front porch and is nearly 9 feet tall. We stayed at the KOA for 5 nights and it was the most fun we've ever had for a disney trip. It was 42 dollars a night which made ours entire stay (food, tickets, and all) roughly 1200 dollars. Now we have enough saved to go on our yearly summer cruise.

The only sketchy thing was that on the last day, a tornado warning came through. There was no tornado but there was a ton of rain and wind. We just threw the tent in the trunk and shut it when it really hit. If we were at the park when this happened I would be major worried.

I compared this to the cheapest king bed room at all of the resorts and it save us about 400-500 bucks. I told my wife that I'd probably do this again, I would just have a sort of exit plan in this case.

So to answer your question, I stayed off site to save money but from now on, I'll stay off site because we love camping (and FW is usually booked up).
 
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John C. Shepherd

Active Member
We stay off site cause of cost, don't tell me stay at value resort. We want a 2 bedroom villa onsite with 7 people it isn't cost effective. I am saving over 1000 dollars by staying offsite. So we are paying 780 dollars offsite compared to 2400 on site to accommodate us, there is no question on what is fitting my needs and allowing me to do other things.
 

jensenrick

Well-Known Member
Hilton Bonnet Creek/Waldorf Astoria have an excellent (free) bus as well that runs every half hour during high season. Downside is you won't be walking to Downtown Disney from here.
I just LOVE the Bonnet Creek Hilton! First, like you said, the buses SUCH a pleasure compared to Disney buses- everyone has a comfortable seat, disney movies playing on the tv screens overhead (but not too loudly) and quick!

Second, the amazing views! We always get a resort view, and it's spectacular. The lazy river area, with the wonderful pool bar, is wonderful for feeling rejuvenated. We are pampered from the moment we arrive, and it truly feels like a luxury resort. Yet it's often cheaper than a Disney moderate.

There are so many lovely little touches. I love opening the curtain in the morning, to see the view of the gorgeous golf course and DHS in the distance- and each morning, there is a surprise. The staff spells out some lively greeting, like "beautiful day" in towels on the deck chairs before anyone is awake. Or the time we asked about the quickest way to get to the Waldorf Astoria (for the decadent Chocolate and Champagne Tasting they were having that evening), and were immediately whisked off by staff member who drove us right to the door of WA on a golf cart. I can't say enough wonderful things about this truly top notch resort hotel.
 
We stay off site cause of cost, don't tell me stay at value resort. We want a 2 bedroom villa onsite with 7 people it isn't cost effective. I am saving over 1000 dollars by staying offsite. So we are paying 780 dollars offsite compared to 2400 on site to accommodate us, there is no question on what is fitting my needs and allowing me to do other things.
Same here: cost. We have 8 people to house during our vacations and it is significantly cheaper to rent a home that is Disney themed than to stay onsite. I think we paid 1100 for a 5 bedroom. Next year we would really like to stay onsite, but Disney's options aren't looking good.
 

Seabasealpha1

Well-Known Member
We've only ever stayed off-site. We'd love to stay on property at some point, but the expense it just kinda high. I'm very utilitarian about it too. For what some of these rooms cost per night, I can cut that price in half and blow that money going to the parks for more days, going to more attractions around Kissimee/Orlando etc. We can do an 8 day trip to Florida for under 3,000 bucks and that's My wife, two boys, and myself. That includes like 5 days at Disney, a day at Sea World, dinner at Medieval Times, dinner/shopping at Disney Springs, Kennedy Space Center, and a jaunt over to Madeira Beach for some beach time...flight, car, and accommodations, groceries, meals, etc...

I just try to squeeze vacation time for all it's worth. Especially the Disney parts...

Not that I don't want to stay with Disney at some point...just not right now with both of us having graduated from college less than five years go and with two little boys...
 

BiffyClyro

Well-Known Member
Better value for money, nicer hotels and not just going to FL for Disney. We have had 3 bedroom apartments and decent living spaces for the price of a standard Disney hotel. Stayed in a Disney hotel twice and didn't rate it at all really. Great to access the parks but don't miss waiting in line for buses at the end of a long day and the rooms weren't very spacious.
 
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