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Why would anyone stay onsite at a WDW Resort anymore?

Would you consider staying offsite during a future trip to WDW?

  • Yes, it would be my first time after many onsite stays

    Votes: 17 12.9%
  • Maybe, but there is still a lot to love about staying "in the bubble"

    Votes: 27 20.5%
  • Yes, but I already always/mostly stay offsite

    Votes: 16 12.1%
  • Yes, and it will be my first trip

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • No, I love WDW resorts and staying in the "bubble" is still worth it

    Votes: 59 44.7%
  • No, it will be my first trip and I want to experience WDW to the fullest

    Votes: 1 0.8%
  • Other...

    Votes: 12 9.1%

  • Total voters
    132
  • Poll closed .

hsisthebest

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
This is in response to questions on the "offsite hotels, dining shopping" Forum about why people would ever stay offsite.
With the recent changes (and some longer term changes) to "guest experience" at WDW Resorts I am having trouble understanding who still wants to stay onsite. Here are my top 10 reasons against staying onsite at WDW:

#1 Cost: still probably the highest factor. Especially for larger families. You can stay at an offsite condo with a private movie theater and pool for less than half of a DVC room/rental. Regular hotels are less than 1/3 what Disney charges. Staying offsite gives us thousands more dollars to spend at parks/experiences or just keep the money.

#2 No Magical Express- the "Disney Bubble" no longer starts at the airport.
#3 Severely reduced Extra Magic Hours, or whatever they call them now. Really, what will you get done in 1/2 hour early entrance unless you can sprint from attraction to attraction. Offsite guests will still be able to make early morning dining reservations and get into parks early to strategically position themselves for rides
#4 Genie+ vs. Fastpass plus- resort and non-resort guests can now book at the exact time (vs. Fastpass plus 60 vs 30 days) (*there is an advantage for onsite guests for individual LL of 7am vs park opening)
#5 Waiting for resort buses- getting to and from offsite resorts is really only a disadvantage at the MK when you have to take a tram + monorail/boat. Even then, you get through security at the TTA and can walk right into the park when you arrive.
#6 No more free Magic Bands
#7 Resort food: if you stay "in the bubble" and must rely on your resort or Disney buses, you are missing out on great food all over the Orlando/Kissimmee area and must eat at the glorified cafeterias of the resorts or pay exorbitant prices at sit-down restaurants
#8 No free parking: Even if you rent a car to get to a resort from the airport, now you have to pay for it- while some offsite places do this as well, it is no longer a bonus for staying at a WDW resort
#9 "Disney Bubble" - the cost of this experience continues to grow- we loved the "bubble" and did it exclusively for 15 years. But staying at a nearby resort (non-WDW) is still pretty fun if it is themed at all. Our youngest kids didn't really even notice the difference- you are still in the Kissimmee area with all the Disney/Uni Billboards and resorts galore.
#10 WDW decline- Looking at the overall decline of WDW guest experience (see the numerous posts on wdwmagic). People post on this site and others that they want to do something about the state of WDW and the guest experience- they still love Disney and hope it will change and aren't ready to abandon WDW all together. Wouldn't one way to vote with your dollars be to stay offsite?
 

Tony the Tigger

Well-Known Member
Because we needed another thread of the exact same topic.

This is all subjective. People should realize others do not share their current circumstances - and circumstances change.

There was a time we had no choice but to stay off property. We couldn’t afford to stay onsite and still pay for a 4 day Florida resident ticket (which was like $110 at the time.)

That’s how broke we were. That’s life. We always had a good time. Some offsite 192 hotels were hit or miss, but we were hardly in them and aren’t snobs.

Eventually, staying onsite became an occasional treat or splurge - in moderates or pop century.

Now, it’s the norm, and deluxes are a splurge (with increasing frequency.) We still often stay offsite on arrival day to save a few bucks, but that is becoming less worthwhile as well after some bad experiences. What we put up with in our 30’s, we no longer have to tolerate.

Many people never use Magical Express, have their own cars, don’t eat like you, don’t buy souvenirs like you, etc.

We all do Disney our own way - for a time - and that can change as we and our families grow. We add nicer resorts, meals, tours, experiences. (Or the opposite if we fall on hard times.)

if it’s no longer worth it for you, then so be it. Appreciate the time(s) you had there. Some people never get to go, or never stay onsite.

If you want to make it work, you’ll make it work. If you want to complain, you’ll complain.
 

JIMINYCR

Well-Known Member
Nope... I'm staying onsite. My choice of staying at a Deluxe vs a Moderate may be a decision I'll have to make, but onsite still holds enough for me to make it worth the money. Some of your point I'm in agreement with and some not. But theres not enough to sway me away.

Cost... I enjoy the resorts and I am willing to save for what I want. Going by price isnt always the best choice to go by. Ive stayed at more pricier hotels and gotten less and stayed at less costly places and had better stays. Some folks say go cheaper off site because after all how much time is spent in your room? I'd prefer being onsite in the bubble. It makes a world of difference to me as to how the trip feels and how it goes.
DME... We drive now so DME isnt a factor. I believe when it was rolled out it wasnt meant to be a permanent feature? I may be mistaken about that. I agree it was a great perk and helped get trips started and it should have continued. But when I travel other places no one else gets my luggage to my hotel. I'll arrange an Uber and get to my resort faster than waiting for the bus to reach my resort. Many guests are doing just that.
EMH... Yes I hate seeing those disappear. I think onsite should get you a perk that those offsite dont get. Getting extra time in that gives you a jump on the crowds makes a huge difference.
Genie+... Agree, Again onsite should get some advantage here. My opinion on this is still out because I havent had to use it yet.
Buses... I enjoy the WDW transportation. It has only failed me a few times over the many trips Ive been on but overall it has been efficient and saves me from driving while on vacation. Some bus drivers are extremely entertaining. When Im dead tired from an all day park, I dont want to drive anywhere.
MB's... Not a costly item. Irrelevant to my decision of a resort stay. Less people are relying on them anyway. Its a fun trinket to have.
Food... There are some great menu items and onsite restaurants to choose from. You have to be wise and see what your options are. And anyone could Uber offsite for meals if they choose. Fairly inexpensive to travel off property. Again the cost is built into what I'm budgeting for on a trip.
Parking... Again I agree. This shouldnt be an added cost when you are paying for a stay onsite. But again, many hotels I stay at do charge a parking fee, as does the airpots I fly out of.
Disney Bubble... Its all about what adds to each individuals experience. Theres enough there and with having some great CM interactions that would not come from an offsite hotel that makes me want to be onsite. Going back from the parks on Disney buses and relaxing, still in the world, again adds to my experience.
WDW decline... I agree Disney is in a state of change. Some I think is for the better, some the worse. I accept the fact that for those who object firmly enough, they should stay away. But the tolerance and limits each person has is different and I'm not at the point yet to stay offsite or stop taking trips back.

There are many great places offsite to stay and for many families that definitely is the best option they have to get a Disney trip in. But reality is that the numbers of people booking trips with onsite stays remains high. Unless insanely huge numbers of guests walk away, Disney wont be affected or hurt to the extent to offer a change. The in comparison of off site guests staying away ant the onsite booked rooms is small. Your vacant room only opens up a spot for someone looking for a resort stay.
 

Vegas Disney Fan

Well-Known Member
The only reason I’d consider offsite is the loss of DME, if I end up renting a car I can stay anywhere, including Uni.

That said there are not many hotels that have grounds comparable to the on-site hotels. (Although the Hilton is tempting). The rooms may be nicer offsite but we love wandering around the Port Orleans grounds, love the boat to Disney Springs, and love the ambiance… that’s currently worth the added cost to us.
 

Wendy Pleakley

Well-Known Member
#1 Cost: still probably the highest factor. Especially for larger families. You can stay at an offsite condo with a private movie theater and pool for less than half of a DVC room/rental. Regular hotels are less than 1/3 what Disney charges. Staying offsite gives us thousands more dollars to spend at parks/experiences or just keep the money.

Staying offsite and funneling the savings into the parks anyway doesn't hurt Disney nor does it send a message.

#2 No Magical Express- the "Disney Bubble" no longer starts at the airport.

There will still be Mears buses. At $15 a head it's a downgrade, but not a make or break factor for me at least.

#3 Severely reduced Extra Magic Hours, or whatever they call them now. Really, what will you get done in 1/2 hour early entrance unless you can sprint from attraction to attraction. Offsite guests will still be able to make early morning dining reservations and get into parks early to strategically position themselves for rides

In the past because EMH was generally one park per day, so the majority of resort guests shifted to one park in particular. For that reason, it was often a strategy to avoid EMH. By having early entry at each park every day, I will personally be more inclined to use it.

By all accounts, the evening hours are a better perk now that they are exclusive to deluxe resorts. A plus for some, a minus for others.

#4 Genie+ vs. Fastpass plus- resort and non-resort guests can now book at the exact time (vs. Fastpass plus 60 vs 30 days) (*there is an advantage for onsite guests for individual LL of 7am vs park opening)

The same as it used to be. Some people will appreciate less advance planning, some won't.

A bit of a downgrade for resort guests overall. The 60 days plus length of stay meant I could get a FP to something like Flight of Passage but day guests often couldn't. Note, however, that those harder-to-get FP choices are now behind the ILL paywall. Obviously many people loathe the paid ILL but regardless, it means that the advance booking wouldn't be as advantageous as it once was.

#5 Waiting for resort buses- getting to and from offsite resorts is really only a disadvantage at the MK when you have to take a tram + monorail/boat. Even then, you get through security at the TTA and can walk right into the park when you arrive.

Still a major onsite advantage. Many offsite shuttles run on a restrictive schedule. Every hour for example. Want to go to the MK? No need to check a schedule. Buses run every 20 minutes or so. Go where you want when you want without needing to plan.

Rental cars are an alternative but incur additional fees, and many people enjoy not having to deal with any sort of commute while on vacation.

#6 No more free Magic Bands

They were optional anyway. A downgrade, but I was never really attached to my generic blue band.

#7 Resort food: if you stay "in the bubble" and must rely on your resort or Disney buses, you are missing out on great food all over the Orlando/Kissimmee area and must eat at the glorified cafeterias of the resorts or pay exorbitant prices at sit-down restaurants

At WDW, time is money as the saying goes. I don't want to spend a lot of time outside the bubble. I visit Orlando for theme parks, not great food. For me, a food focused trip would be a different type of vacation, and not in Orlando (that's not a dig at Orlando food. I don't know what it's like. I just don't care. Not why I go there).

#8 No free parking: Even if you rent a car to get to a resort from the airport, now you have to pay for it- while some offsite places do this as well, it is no longer a bonus for staying at a WDW resort

No argument here.

#9 "Disney Bubble" - the cost of this experience continues to grow- we loved the "bubble" and did it exclusively for 15 years. But staying at a nearby resort (non-WDW) is still pretty fun if it is themed at all. Our youngest kids didn't really even notice the difference- you are still in the Kissimmee area with all the Disney/Uni Billboards and resorts galore.

Some people do notice a difference. This is a matter of personal preference, but it's kind of odd that you would do something for 15 years and then suddenly wonder why others do the same. Some people think Disney gives less value than it did in the past. Some people don't. I lean toward split stays with Universal now, because I get better value there in some ways, but I'm a long ways away from shifting away from Disney completely.

#10 WDW decline- Looking at the overall decline of WDW guest experience (see the numerous posts on wdwmagic). People post on this site and others that they want to do something about the state of WDW and the guest experience- they still love Disney and hope it will change and aren't ready to abandon WDW all together. Wouldn't one way to vote with your dollars be to stay offsite?

It's certainly one way to send a message, but a better way to vote with your wallet would be not to go at all. A few people staying offsite means nothing if everyone willingly pays for Genie+ and After Hours and holiday parties and other upcharges. They'll get that revenue, and then some, in other ways.
 

Animaniac93-98

Well-Known Member
Still a major onsite advantage. Many offsite shuttles run on a restrictive schedule. Every hour for example. Want to go to the MK? No need to check a schedule. Buses run every 20 minutes or so. Go where you want when you want without needing to plan.

Rental cars are an alternative but incur additional fees, and many people enjoy not having to deal with any sort of commute while on vacation.

WDW is so spread out it's impossible not to have some sort of commute on vacation. Even if you're at a Deluxe hotel that's close to one or two parks, it's a chore to get somewhere else using Disney transportation.

I took a bus from Disney Springs to Contemporary two years ago. Stopped at Wilderness Lodge on the way. I'd say a good 45 min or more once you factor in the wait. Hardly a selling point for using Disney transportation as Uber, Lyft or Mears would have been faster (though cost extra).

The kind of hassle free, immersive, Disney theme park vacation people are championing in this thread actually describes staying at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel or the Disneyland Hotel in Paris more than anywhere on WDW property (the closest being the EPCOT resort area).
 
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Wendy Pleakley

Well-Known Member
WDW is so spread out it's impossible not to have some sort of commute on vacation. Even if you're at a Deluxe hotel that's close to one or two parks, it's a chore to get somewhere else using Disney transportation.

I took a bus from Disney Springs to Contemporary two years ago. Stopped at Wilderness Lodge on the way. I'd say a good 45 min or more once you factor in the wait. Hardly a selling point for using Disney transportation as Uber, Lyft or Mears would have been faster (though cost extra).

The kind of hassle free, immersive, Disney theme park vacation people are championing in this thread actually describes staying at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel or the Disneyland Hotel in Paris more than anywhere on WDW property (the closest being the EPCOT resort area).

I meant commute in terms of driving oneself, but getting around the world is definitely an issue sometimes.

I try and schedule any side trips, to another resort for example, to match my plans for the day.
 

Weather_Lady

Well-Known Member
My "other" answer: probably we'll be offsite, yes, especially after our first quasi-offsite (Dolphin) stay a few months ago provided comparable amenities, equally convenient proximity, no extra transportation expenses, and a room cost savings of several hundred dollars, when compared with a Disney hotel. The only thing that would entice us back to a Disney-owned hotel would be an enormous discount-type offer (the kind Disney doesn't seem to offer anymore, though).
 

belledream

Well-Known Member
I find immeasurable pleasure being in the Disney Bubble and would find that really hard to give up. I would rather offset the costs in other ways: QS over TS, no designer MagicBands over here, and I’m 100 times happier with pictures than a souvenir shirt. Yes, many things have indeed changed, but so has my mentality and my life. Yes, there are reasons to feel upset or disappointed, but overwhelmingly, I feel like once I finally get to go on vacation after practically 3 years, I just want to ~*let it go*~ and be happy. I love me a good deal as much as the next person, but I can’t win them all, and in this case, I don’t want to.
 
Staying at CR Atrium Level next summer. Staying there is a big plus for me and hubby since we are 71 and walking to MK is great. We are bringing my son, DIL, and 6 year old granddaughter for her first time. We've stayed off site before when we were younger, but we now we fly in and we would have to rent a car.....no thank you!
 

Lirael

Well-Known Member
With the constant price increases, and the decrease in amenities for onsite, I might go offsite for the first time next visit. I'll crunch some numbers, and if it turns out using uber (I dont drive) to and from the parks every day is cheaper than staying onsite, I might just do that.

I do like strolling around the nice resorts, but I can still take a day to do that while staying offsite anyway, and I'm not the type to leave the parks for a midday rest, so offsite wouldn't impact me that much
 

eliza61nyc

Well-Known Member
My answer is very easy.

I don't determine my vacations by the all mighty dollar. If I did I wouldn't go to Disney in the first place.

Next there is a reason why they say Location, location location. Why do you think millions of people spend crazy amounts of money to live in NYC. I live in Center city Philadelphia, my property taxes are over 1000 bucks a month. Yes I'm fully aware that if I moved to the suburbs I'd get more house, less taxes but Im a city gal, I want to live in the city.

May I ask a question? why do people here assume that if you stay on site you have no clue about offsite options? I've been going to disney for 20 years now. I am a whiz at google. I am fully capable of researching what is available off site.
I chose to stay onsite because that is where I want to be.
We have done offsite twice, it sucked. we did not like it. So how am I saving money if Im on vacation wishing I was some where else?
 

Cowboy Steve

Premium Member
The OP makes some very valid points. Honestly the only way I will probably be staying on property in the future will be at Fort Wilderness. I absolutely loved our stays at Port Orleans French Quarter - without a doubt my favorite of the moderate resorts. But the cost is just getting too much for our budget. If you think about how little time you actually spend in the room (other than sleeping)... yikes. Having celebrated the 15th anniversary of my 40th birthday this year (I stopped counting at 40) I find myself enjoying the casual laid back homey feeling of staying in an RV at the campground. We get to bring our fur babies! Which is great as it kinda forces us to take a break mid day to check on the pups. My days of hitting the parks right at rope drop and staying until they kick you out that night every day of our stay are over.

What is really disappointing is the loss of the DME. For us the 'bubble' experience actually began once our flight was in the air. Deplaning and walking straight to the DME bus without having to touch our luggage was fabulous. So relaxing and convenient! When Disney first rolled out the MDE concept I thought wow... how incredibly smart it was! Here were my thoughts on it at the time:

1) Significant reduction in vehicle traffic on the property. This saved on infrastructure wear and tear. Literally thousands fewer cars daily.
2) You are pretty much trapped on the property. If you don't have a rental car, you are less likely to leave the bubble and spend your money elsewhere.
3) The illusion of the service being free. Sure the cost was rolled into your resort 'package', but it felt free.
4) Generally speaking, universally loved by all that used it. Families would arrive at their resort relatively energized and ready to hit the ground running!

I can remember the varying levels of frustration/angst associated with arriving at MCO, finding your luggage, working your way to the car rental counter, waiting in line at said counter, finding your car, driving to the bubble, finding your resort, checking in, then lugging your bags to your room. It was exhausting! I would arrive at the room somewhat exhausted and grouchy. It was a great deal for the rental car companies... people (like me) lined up to rent a car you would probably only use a couple hours over the entire week - mainly the drive to and from the airport. The rest of the time it sat in a parking lot generating revenue without moving! I've never had kids... and I can only imagine what it was like trying to do all that with excited young ones anxious to get to Disney.

Apologies... I got a little long winded there!
 

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