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View Full Version : Stay at NICE condo near WDW, or onsite?


mommy2boysaz
03-30-2006, 09:58 AM
Hi! I'm new and posted for the first time yesterday. My DH and I and our 3 kids are planning a trip for next fall ('07) and it will be our first. I got great feedback on options for onsite places to stay that accomodate five, on my post yesterday. I am wondering what you experienced mouseketeers would do, though, if you had the option of staying at a nice condo near WDW? We own timeshare points and could stay at a 3 bdr. condo with full kitchen - very nice! - for basically free. I've read so much about the inconvenience of trying to get to and from the parks every day that I'm leary of staying off site now. Our kids will be 3 1/2, 8, and 10 by the time we go, so naps would be nice for our youngest.
The other issue is that we'll be flying in and will need a rental car if staying off site. I don't know if we'd need one or not if we stay on site. We do want to go to Sea World, but that's about it except for disney.
Help is much appreciated!! :wave2:
Britte

tinkerbeth
03-30-2006, 10:11 AM
I would absolutely stay onsite. We stayed off-site in Orlando a few weeks ago and I will never do it again. Until my kids are big enough for Universal and then I will stay onsite there! :)

Some people don't mind the driving but I find Orlando traffic a nightmare. I dont' mind a bit waiting for the busses and I like being able to have a drink when I'm at a restaurant. (dh and I are really sticky about not driving after even one drink so this works out well for us....)

You will get varried opinions but for me, it's on site all the way. :)

Beth :tink:

pinkminnie
03-30-2006, 10:16 AM
IMHO staying onsite is the only way to go. Growing up, my family visited Disney and stayed offsite. The places we stayed were really nice, but once we stayed onsite I vowed to never go offsite again. Nothing beats parking your vehicle and never getting in it again until you leave. Also, you never feel as if you leave the magic of Disney. I had always heard people say that, but until I experienced it I didn't know what they meant. Unless you intend to spend a lot of time in your condo you should try onsite. We only go back to the room for a shower and sleep so we have never needed more than a nice room. Good luck in making a decision. :banana:

Lilo312
03-30-2006, 10:53 AM
The only way to do Disney right is to stay on site. :sunny: When I traveled with my parents we would stay off site to save money. But as a kid you never see it that way. All I remember was that I was always very tired and cranky, never got to use the pool and why mom, why can't we eat at a resturant inside the park! :sad2: Sadly, I don't remember if we actually had fun. I probably did but that's not what I am remembering. Now that I'm older and visiting Disney with my own family (DH, DS, DS) we only stay on site. We did stay twice at a downtown disney hotel to save some money. With their bus system, we were close enough to return each day for a nice cool dip in the pool and naps for the little one. But I wanted to be closer to the magic. So this year we rented dvc points and got us a studio at The Beach Club Villas.

Anyway...if you're concern about value, check into the All Stars or the seven downtown disney hotels or renting dvc points. IMO, staying on site is worth every dime spent.

3for Me
03-30-2006, 11:23 AM
There are other considerations for staying on-site as well. You mentioned one, which is the expense of having to rent a car. In addition, you will have to deal with going to the rental desk when you arrive, and worry about returning it on your fly-out day.

I don't know if you were considering using the dining plan, but this is not an option if staying off-site. (Obviously)

I think the rest time will be important to you and really, by the time you get in your car, drive back to the condo, rest, etc... you may not feel like going back to the parks.

Also, I have to say, that if this is your first trip, you want it to be truly magical, and the way to do that is by staying on-site. That way, you get the "whole experience".

We tried off-site once, and I am still bitter - even though it was much less expensive...that is not what I remember, I remember wishing I was on-site the whole time. :sad2:

I hope this helps! Good luck!

mommy2boysaz
03-30-2006, 11:37 AM
OK, OK, I think you've all convinced me! :rolleyes:
Thanks for all your advice! I do want this vacation to be special and as "stress free" as possible.

Lilo 312, I just began looking into renting dvc points. Where did you rent yours, if you don't mind my asking? Did you already stay with your rental points? How was your experience with that? Thanks for your help.
:goodvibes

rejobako
03-30-2006, 11:39 AM
I suppose I'll chime in with a mild dissent. If money is a concern, and if you can indeed trade points and stay in a nice off-site "for free", then I would suggest you could get a lot more out of your vacation by staying off-site. Disney charges premium dollars for their properties, especially their "home away from home" choices. If the timeshare condo you are considering is a nice property and close to Disney as you suggest, then they likely have a shuttle service available. If not, you could rent a big sedan for a week and still spend less money than you would renting a 3 bedroom at the Boardwalk for a single night.

To be sure, there are a few bells and whistles available for those who stay on-site that you give up when you're not on Disney property. But when you consider what you could do to augment your vacation with a small portion of the money you would save on accommodations -- food, entertainment, dinner shows, souvenirs, an extra day at the parks, etc. . . . . offsite is the way to go, in my opinion. And quite frankly, some of the offsite choices, like Marriott's Grande Vista, for example, have amenities and activities that equal or actually exceed what you get from a Disney condo property.

When you factor in the extra room of a big 3 bedroom condo and the cost factor, I can't imagine staying on-site just for the convenience of a slightly shorter shuttle ride to the parks --- sure, you get to charge things with your room key card --- is that really so much more convenient than whipping out your Visa?

mommy2boysaz
03-30-2006, 11:47 AM
Actually, I did just find out that our timeshare place does offer free shuttle service to the Ticket and Transportation center at the park. She says the resort is less than 10 min. from epcot. (Behind epcot?)
:confused3

hercamore
03-30-2006, 11:53 AM
OMHO, this ia a no brainer.

You are getting a nice 3 br condo close to disney for nearly free. Go for it. You say you are interested in a fall vacation. Disney won't be as crowded as other times of the year, less traffic, etc. Rent a car, go to SW, spend the $$ on nice meals.

There are some beautiful condos in the area with less than 10 min drive time to parks.

What is the name of your timeshare?

I would also post this question on the Orlnado Board, where many dissers can yoou give more info on your timeshare.

herc.

kizmac
03-30-2006, 12:27 PM
Hi! I'm new and posted for the first time yesterday. My DH and I and our 3 kids are planning a trip for next fall ('07) and it will be our first. I got great feedback on options for onsite places to stay that accomodate five, on my post yesterday. I am wondering what you experienced mouseketeers would do, though, if you had the option of staying at a nice condo near WDW? We own timeshare points and could stay at a 3 bdr. condo with full kitchen - very nice! - for basically free. I've read so much about the inconvenience of trying to get to and from the parks every day that I'm leary of staying off site now. Our kids will be 3 1/2, 8, and 10 by the time we go, so naps would be nice for our youngest.
The other issue is that we'll be flying in and will need a rental car if staying off site. I don't know if we'd need one or not if we stay on site. We do want to go to Sea World, but that's about it except for disney.
Help is much appreciated!! :wave2:
Britte

ONSITE for sure not even a question in my mind. We have done many offsite trips up until last year. We stayed at POR because of the free dining offer and NEVER EVER again will I stay offsite. The whole vacation experience was just sooooo different. I loved it!

HarryLeg
03-30-2006, 12:33 PM
If you can afford to stay onsite, do it. I wouldn't go if I couldn't stay somewhere onsite. I go to WDW to be surrounded by the magic and for me that includes not having to drive in or deal with the outside world. Our family refers to our trips as our 'Disney Vacation' and it if we stayed off site it would just feel like we went to Orlando and visited Disney.

vhoffman
03-30-2006, 12:48 PM
We've stayed both onsite and off site. Our best trip by far was when we stayed onsite on the monorail, at the Polynesian. Actually, we didn't really do much at the Poly other than sleep and some meals, however, it was the location that made the trip for us. Just being able to hop the monorail and wisk off to the parks really made the trip. We stayed at a DTD hotel, which was ok (much cheaper) however, we did have the hassle of rental car, driving back and forth, etc. Our worst stay by far, however, was onsite at the Wilderness Lodge. The main problem with that stay was the transportation--waited forever for busses, boats, finally ended up taking taxis just to save time. And WL isn't cheap!

So, my advice as an experienced Disney visitor is--either stay onsite at a monorail resort, or, if you stay onsite at any other resort rent a car to have more transportation options. Our next trip (coming up in 3 weeks :Pinkbounc ) we are staying offsite at the Sheraton Vistana Villages, mainly because we got a great deal and can't pass it up. However, for your first time at Disney, do shell out the extra bucks and stay onsite, preferably at a monorail resort. Disney is huge, actually overwhelming. Until you've been there a few times and have your bearings you really don't want to be hassling with traffic and driving. There is something to be said for the "magic" While you're onsite, everything is a different world. Its like the outside world has disappeared. Then,k you get in your rent car and head for your offsite accomodations. Suddenly, the real world encroaches on your reality. You see gas stations, McDonalds, grocery stores, all the usual stuff of everyday life. Suddenly, you're not in the magic anymore, you're just driving down a street. There's a big difference between being "at" the magic and "in" the magic. You feel like you've left someone else's party, not staying at your own.

Like I say, this trip we're staying offsite because we can't pass up an essentially free stay. However, we've been there before and know more what to expect. Plus, we're trying to save some on this Disney trip because we have a 17 day trip to Hawaii coming up in June! Actually, we're planning on another short trip to WDW in Dec, probably just three nights, but we plan to stay at a monorail resort for convenience and the atmosphere.

So, for a first time, stay onsite, you won't regret it!

tortoni
03-30-2006, 12:49 PM
We are a family of 5 and we've done it both ways as well as splitting our time. We usually stay off site at one of the Marriott condos for the first half of our trip. This gives us the extra room, washer/dryer and the option to do off-site stuff. (Yes, there are other things to do and good restaurants that are not Disney!). Then we stay on-site at an Epcot resort or one of the Monorail resorts and go total Disney. We find this to be a good mix, even on short hops.

vhoffman
03-30-2006, 12:52 PM
Oh, sorry....just read through your post again. You have 3 kids--that makes it a little hard to cram all into one hotel room. Perhaps you do need to consider a condo. Still, staying onsite is worth it. Are you familiar with the DVC Vacation Club forum on this board? Great place to rent points and get a much cheaper (not cheap--cheaper) stay. Good to read over. There again, transporatation can be a hassle if not on the monorail (none of the DVC places are on the monorail). You might want to still consider renting a car. Good luck and you've come to the right place to plan a great vacation!

abner1776
03-30-2006, 01:10 PM
With 5 of you, you may want to look into the Disney Vacation Club resorts since they have 1,2 and 3 bedroom villas and you can rent points from DVC members for less than 1/2 the price of a cash reservation at the vacation club resorts. The resorts are all deluxe resorts and you get all of the bennies of being on-site including ME, dining plan, early and late admissions, etc.
On-site is the way to go if the $$$ are not a big issue.

Anewman
03-30-2006, 01:41 PM
If you were paying full price I would say ONsite, but since you are using your points that would be the smart choice.

I own DVC so you know I like ONSITE, but if you offered me a free OFFsite trip I would take the savings and splurge on all the extras.