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View Full Version : Are we REALLY missing out if we don't stay in a resort?


adoptivemomx2
02-08-2012, 08:38 AM
Or does it turn out a hotel is just a place to sleep?

We've been looking at all the cool resorts outside of Disney (and there are some bargains out there!), but we're thinking of just staying at a chain hotel (in a family suite at the Fairfield Inn Buena Vista Lakes) instead. Here's why:

1. Whenever we travel we stay at a Fairfield Inn because they are the same wherever we go...we know what to expect.

2. Their beds are SO comfortable.

3. They are always clean.

4. The service is consistently good.

5. They offer a free breakfast.

6. The family suite offers the kids thier own space, beds, and t.v.

7. We're going to be running around all day...really the room is just to sleep.

8. Even though we're planning on fixing some food to take with us to the parks, I can't imagine I would turn on a stove or oven (I'm on vacation!). The small fridge and microwave seem plenty.

9. Maid service is included.

10. Internet it included.

11. Three pools, but nothing fancy. (But we have 2-3 days of water parks planned)

12. They have a small food court with a pizza hut, etc.

13. About $75 a night.

Am I REALLY depriving my family (Two adults/Two 9 year-olds) of something special if we don't don't stay at a 2BR/2BA condo with a water park, etc? For a little more money we could get a condo, but I'm thinking KNOWING something will be comfortable/clean is better than taking a chance on someplace I've never been. I do want to give my family a memorable experience. Opinions, please! :)

isla bonita
02-08-2012, 08:56 AM
After reading your list I think you have answered your own question. it is what you are use to and you are never disapponited.

If you feel you could throw caution to the wind then try something different and have that a part of your holiday.

I try to mix things up with my kids to see whats out there. We syay in a rental home but I am starting to try one night at other places so they get to try it but I don't have to give up my holiday.

Beccabunny
02-08-2012, 09:30 AM
I don't think you're depriving your kids at all. If you're going to the water parks, you certainly don't need elaborate pools and water parks at a resort. You've found an economical way to enjoy your Disney vacations. If everyone one is happy and having fun, stick with what you know. Over the past few years, due to DD's medical issues, we have had to have a full kitchen. Because she tires easily, we can't spend all day in the parks. We have to schedule in lots of down time, so a condo or townhome makes sense for us, and we really enjoy that extra space. Still, I look at the great rates people are getting on hotels in the area and sometimes find myself wishing that would work for us.

Beemitchcowski
02-08-2012, 10:00 AM
I don't think so...your kids are probably still at the age where they associate any hotel with being on vacation..and since you have stayed at several Farfield Inns and thats what you feel comfortable with...why not? The Disney Waterparks are AWESOME! I would look into any extra costs that they might have not included in the base rate (like parking at the hotel) so there are not any suprises. Good luck and ENJOY! :)

bcinohio
02-08-2012, 11:11 AM
We stayed offsite for the first time in 2010. We rented a house and are renting the same house this summer. I was a little scared when we first booked after reading on here that you will miss so much. It was great. We love WDW but being able to have a whole house to ourselves and not hear doors slamming in the late night it was great. It was the best sleep we ever got on vacation. I don't think we missed any of the "magic". We are looking forward to it in June. Just 20 more weeks to wait:banana:

I think you will have a great time!!

kkandaj
02-08-2012, 11:15 AM
I don't think you're depriving your kids at all. If you're going to the water parks, you certainly don't need elaborate pools and water parks at a resort. You've found an economical way to enjoy your Disney vacations. If everyone one is happy and having fun, stick with what you know. Over the past few years, due to DD's medical issues, we have had to have a full kitchen. Because she tires easily, we can't spend all day in the parks. We have to schedule in lots of down time, so a condo or townhome makes sense for us, and we really enjoy that extra space. Still, I look at the great rates people are getting on hotels in the area and sometimes find myself wishing that would work for us.

This. We NEED the kitchen because of food allergies. We need lots of space because our kids are young and they nap/go to bed early. We need down time because they can't go, go, go all the time. Hopefully DS will grow out of his food allergies and when our kids are older, we could stay in a hotel.

I don't think you are depriving your children at all. They are going to DISNEY WORLD!!! Honestly, any kid that is getting to go to WDW is not being deprived with their vacation. Have a great time!

adoptivemomx2
02-08-2012, 11:22 AM
I don't think you are depriving your children at all. They are going to DISNEY WORLD!!! Honestly, any kid that is getting to go to WDW is not being deprived with their vacation. Have a great time!

SUCH a good point LOL. Y'all are making me feel much better about this! Thank you!

swilshire
02-08-2012, 11:32 AM
Everyone has their own vacation style and if you're happy, that's what is important. I don't even like to stay in a regular hotel room when alone. We get a Residence Inn or Homewood Suites even when stopping for an overnight. We like the sofa and chairs instead of just a bed. We prefer not to sleep all in the same room, so a separate bedroom is nice.

When we stay in a 2br condo, the boys can sleep late and I can get up early without waking them to putter around the kitchen or read on the sofa. If they want to stay up late and watch television, I shut my bedroom door and leave them to it.

The only thing missing is the free breakfast and daily maid service. I don't have maid service at home, so I don't really miss that. We just stop at the store for a few breakfast items and we can eat in our pjs on our own schedule.

The other part of it is the activities at the resort. We can't do commando style theme parks day after day without wearing ourselves out. We tend to go to a park every other day and enjoy other things on the alternate days. Some of the resorts, particularly the DVC ones, are vacations without ever seeing a park.

Sheila

Sugar Jones
02-08-2012, 11:43 AM
Not at all! All your reasons for staying at a hotel are vaild and make total sense to me.

And my kids would be upset if stayed somewhere that seemed like a house or a home. They get excited just staying at a hotel :lmao:


I am on the other end and trying to convince myself that I don't need to stay on site and would just as happy staying offsite in a hotel and saving some money........;)

jeff968
02-08-2012, 12:03 PM
Well, you paint a good picture but will you really have NO downtime? That is where the resort excels. We now spend our week in Florida with 80% downtime and 20% parks so with so much time spent at the resort we want a great place. The Marriotts and Hiltons are fantastic with great pools, so much to do, food on location, quiet, and beautiful, all within steps of your room. That's our ticket.

kathy884
02-08-2012, 09:14 PM
Ton of great choice in Orlando and what you want to do is one of them. // And no your kids are not being deprived. Have they expressed a different preference??

We go to Orlando a great deal, there are so many great deals out there, and we typically like to mix things up. Our favorite for value is a condo timeshare resort rental from an owner. We like to try different ones (so many good ones). Note, though, we only do a park every other day, so spend quite a bit of time at our resort meaning resort ammenities and space (balcony / kitchen / large common areas) have a greater importance for us. We travel with exended family too, so larger common areas for hanging out are wonderful. For little mini stays where we are just crashing out, we've done hotels like Hilton Garden Inn, etc.

Have a fantastic time. // There is no right or wrong place to stay, and Orlando rocks! // Do what you are comfortable with. If you don't want to go the condo route, don't -- why bother if that's not what you are looking for, and it's easier to do something else that you'll be very happy with that has some things the condo doesn't.

dennise
02-09-2012, 07:22 AM
We have never stayed on site, but have visited the resorts. We don't spend a lot of time at our hotel so fancy pools don't really mean a lot, but with children they are nice. Clean, comfortable, safe and the free breakfast are important to us. Love having my bed made and towels changed daily, I do it most of the year so this is nice. Just going to disney is the main treat, especially for children. We ususally only do 1-2 parks per trip and find lots of other things to do.

greenclan67
02-09-2012, 08:09 AM
I did a house the first year, and kind of felt like I was missing the "vacation" part. That being said, I can't stand being in a motel for a week with my 2 kids. I just need 5 mins of seperation sometimes, and love that they can go to bed, (as they don't go to sleep well in the same room, we like to watch TV or read in bed) I love doing condo rentals through owners, and don't think I would go back now! I am renting a 2 bdrm at Cypress Point for 13 days, it works out to approx $65/night, we have breakie in our PJ's, eggs, bacon, toast, whatever, sometimes we spend a whole day at the resort and have lunch on the patio or down by the pool. This resort is very close to most restaraunts in the Crossroads section, so we can walk if we want. Close to parks, and we find it the most relaxing type of vacation for us!! We get a resort, for less then a room, and kids have space to move around, eat with real dishes and relax! It is whatever works best for you!

PrincessBrianna
02-09-2012, 08:33 AM
unless you have the money to stay at the nicer Disney resorts like AKL, Contemporary, etc... I personally think it's not worth the money at all. The convenience really doesn't make up for it in my opinion. I usually stay at Marriott Grand Vista (we have a timeshare there) or Hilton Grand Vacation Suites, both are absolutely GORGEOUS and the last time I went, the 1 bedroom suite with king bed, sofa bed, full kitchen, jacuzzi, and balcony was cheaper than a pirate room at port orleans- we went from the HGV to Disney POR and I can tell you, it was SOOOO disappointing. It was basically a motel room decorated with pirate garb. I recommend staying somewhere else.. HGV has shuttles to disney r/t for $9. Worth it in my opinion. The grounds are prettier, both places are just basically "Classier" than the Disney value places.

That being said, I've stayed at the nicer Disney resorts and they are gorgeous, but you definitely pay for it.

Save some money and stay off-site. Both the places I mentioned have TONS of kid stuff to do but are still way more "grown up" friendly, and are just more relaxing for sure.

brucerob62
02-09-2012, 08:56 AM
stay onsite and pay less than $100 a night..try Wyndham Bonnet creek..on disney property..without the high price...free shuttles ..awesome place..I get fireworks view everytime..try it..you wont miss disney prices..and not worth it..in my opinion..I paid $80 a nite last november for a 2bd condo..so sweet..being able to sit on the balcony and watch illuminations fireworks..and could see wishes in the distance ..will be back...kids loved it

Beemitchcowski
02-09-2012, 09:11 AM
I did a house the first year, and kind of felt like I was missing the "vacation" part. That being said, I can't stand being in a motel for a week with my 2 kids. I just need 5 mins of seperation sometimes, and love that they can go to bed, (as they don't go to sleep well in the same room, we like to watch TV or read in bed) I love doing condo rentals through owners, and don't think I would go back now! I am renting a 2 bdrm at Cypress Point for 13 days, it works out to approx $65/night, we have breakie in our PJ's, eggs, bacon, toast, whatever, sometimes we spend a whole day at the resort and have lunch on the patio or down by the pool. This resort is very close to most restaraunts in the Crossroads section, so we can walk if we want. Close to parks, and we find it the most relaxing type of vacation for us!! We get a resort, for less then a room, and kids have space to move around, eat with real dishes and relax! It is whatever works best for you!

I agree with what Greenclan67 says...We went last September and stayed at Windsor Hills in a townhome...really enjoyed our stay...LOVED having some separation from the kids (especially at night!)...but it did feel kinda sorta not "vacationish"...HOWEVER...it was our first family vacation to Disney/at this level.....AND I think when I did all kinds of research before this trip....which included talking to people that have only stayed onsite (these people are DVC members so they stay at the really really nice places...;) )....I think I was thinking about it too much..and kept thinking that we were missing out.:confused3

BUT....Our children loved it...My 6 year old is actually disappointed that we are not going back to the same place this upcoming trip. HE LOVED having the splash pool...My suggestion is that if you can get a townhome rental at a really reasonable rate...do give it a try...your kids would probably love being able to swim in the pool (not sure how good of swimmers they are..but the pool is just over 3 ft deep) while the adults are grilling.:thumbsup2

I've also heard really good things about Bonnet Creek (thats where we are staying in May)..If you check redweek or EBay..I've seen some really good deals lately. We went through Vacaton Upgrades are are getting a good rate because of the dates we are traveling! :) We are renting a car but I think we may try the shuttles just so we can get our own opinion on them. :)

Also, its a good thing that you posted this question on the "Orlando" side of the Disboards..if you posted this on the Disney Resort side..they would be telling you that you could get a room at POP for almost the same price as an Orlando Hotel...and then you get shuttles/free parking/magic hours...yadda yadda..We of course have never stayed at those...we have thought about it...but basically its a Motel with fun theming (which isn't bad....BUT you can always go there to walk around (not use the pool)..and see how you like the atmosphere...:thumbsup2

greenclan67
02-09-2012, 09:36 AM
I agree with what Greenclan67 says...We went last September and stayed at Windsor Hills in a townhome...really enjoyed our stay...LOVED having some separation from the kids (especially at night!)...but it did feel kinda sorta not "vacationish"...HOWEVER...it was our first family vacation to Disney/at this level.....AND I think when I did all kinds of research before this trip....which included talking to people that have only stayed onsite (these people are DVC members so they stay at the really really nice places...;) )....I think I was thinking about it too much..and kept thinking that we were missing out.:confused3

BUT....Our children loved it...My 6 year old is actually disappointed that we are not going back to the same place this upcoming trip. HE LOVED having the splash pool...My suggestion is that if you can get a townhome rental at a really reasonable rate...do give it a try...your kids would probably love being able to swim in the pool (not sure how good of swimmers they are..but the pool is just over 3 ft deep) while the adults are grilling.:thumbsup2

I've also heard really good things about Bonnet Creek (thats where we are staying in May)..If you check redweek or EBay..I've seen some really good deals lately. We went through Vacaton Upgrades are are getting a good rate because of the dates we are traveling! :) We are renting a car but I think we may try the shuttles just so we can get our own opinion on them. :)

Also, its a good thing that you posted this question on the "Orlando" side of the Disboards..if you posted this on the Disney Resort side..they would be telling you that you could get a room at POP for almost the same price as an Orlando Hotel...and then you get shuttles/free parking/magic hours...yadda yadda..We of course have never stayed at those...we have thought about it...but basically its a Motel with fun theming (which isn't bad....BUT you can always go there to walk around (not use the pool)..and see how you like the atmosphere...:thumbsup2

Thanks, we have also stayed at Bonnet Creek, and really liked it!!!! If we were doing Disney, we would def go there. As much as Cypress Pointe is not as upscale as Bonnet Creek, I really like the location better (just down from crossroads on Apopka Vineland) it's not as busy as the disney traffic area. I love the feel of Bonnet Creek though, and probably spent 4 days of vacay, just hanging around the resort at the pool parties and so on! YOu will love it!

Brian Noble
02-09-2012, 10:18 AM
It sounds like your current take works for you. If so, great! I can tell you why I really prefer a condo, but if these features don't matter to you, then they don't matter. There is no way in which you can be "depriving" your children in the process of taking them to WDW!


Separate sleeping spaces: I need to have a door between where the parents sleep, and where the kids sleep. They still nod off earlier than we do, and I actively resent having to pretend to be sleeping in a dark room while that happens. The "kid suite" setups that some places use aren't enough, because you can't close off the spaces.
Multiple bathrooms: speaks for itself, especially with a teenaged girl.
Kitchen: we don't "cook" per se, but it's nice to have breakfast on real dishes with real cutlery, and have some people eat while other people are getting ready. Makes the mornings a lot simpler. Also---the blender comes in very very handy...
Washer/dryer: Allows us to pack lightly and/or not worry about whether or not we have exactly the right number of shorts vs. jeans, etc.
Resort-style pools and amenities: we tend to take mid-day breaks, especially important in the warmer times of year, and we enjoy being able to spread out in our unit and enjoy the nicer pools, pool slides, mini-golf, etc. that many of these resorts have.


Many of your other features are met here too. The beds are comfortable, they are cleaned very well on checkin, many offer free internet service, many have a CS-like location (and some even have a TS-like location). You don't get daily maid service, but we don't really miss it. We don't wash towels (or, even make beds) every day at home. We can do without on vacation.

zippermom
02-09-2012, 04:22 PM
We have spayed off-site and on-site. The best time to stay on-site, imo, is when they have free dining promotion with your stay. I have a big family and the free dining has allowed us to have several vacations that we would not have been able to afford otherwise! Also, when your kids are older you may find that the free transportation is great because it makes it easy for teens to head out on their own!
One of the things you may not know is that you can go to a Disney hotel just for the restaurant! We have enjoyed eating at O'hanas and Whispering Canyon even though we never stayed at those resorts.

We have enjoyed every trip to Disney! My kids never complained about any place we've stayed and they were just as thrilled with Disney wherever they slept. Have fun!! :thumbsup2

greenclan67
02-09-2012, 04:34 PM
We have spayed off-site and on-site. The best time to stay on-site, imo, is when they have free dining promotion with your stay. I have a big family and the free dining has allowed us to have several vacations that we would not have been able to afford otherwise! Also, when your kids are older you may find that the free transportation is great because it makes it easy for teens to head out on their own!
One of the things you may not know is that you can go to a Disney hotel just for the restaurant! We have enjoyed eating at O'hanas and Whispering Canyon even though we never stayed at those resorts.

We have enjoyed every trip to Disney! My kids never complained about any place we've stayed and they were just as thrilled with Disney wherever they slept. Have fun!! :thumbsup2

Have you ever went to O'hanas and ate then watched the fireworks on the beach? We are doing a non-disney trip this year, and would like to take the kids to watch the fireworks. Is it hard to do, or is it easy peasy?

MouseGirl
02-11-2012, 12:23 PM
We did this a few years ago after our dinner at O`hanas, and it was a great way to end the evening before driving back to the house we were renting offsite. The kids loved it!

Lisa71
02-11-2012, 02:07 PM
I LOVE staying on property!! That being said, it is always good to have your own space..and it looks like you got a great deal. Stay on property "someday"..Have a great time!

2Pirates2Princesses
02-11-2012, 02:14 PM
OP, I understand where you are coming from and based on all the points you listed in your first post, it sounds like the chain hotel suite would better fit your vacationing style. My family is in a similar situation as we are considering a non-Disney Orlando vacation this year. We love our stays at hotel chains like the Residence Inn and Staybridge Suites where we get free breakfast, housekeeping service, a full kitchen, and a separate living room and bedroom for our shorter trips that are only a few days long; but the option of getting a 2 bedroom condo at Windsor Hills or Bonnett Creek with our own washer/dryer and more space for a much lower rate makes the hotel brands we trust and are accustomed to seem less attractive for an Orlando based vacation. We don't spend a great deal of time in the pool while on vacation since that is something we do a lot at home in the summers, so resort style pools wouldn't be a deal breaker for us. DH really likes the idea of having the housekeeping service and free breakfast that we get with the hotel suites even though I am leaning more towards the condo. So for us, I guess the deciding factors are going to be the length of the trip, the transportation factor, and how much down time we really plan on having back at the room. Good luck in whatever you decide :thumbsup2

kapoof
02-11-2012, 02:30 PM
The only time we stayed off site was at dtd Hilton, we got to stay for free because of dh points. We liked the pool and comfy beds but that was it. We ended up moving to the poly after 5 days of trying to like it. We won't stay off site again, we have enough points to stay at the Waldorf Astoria but we just enjoy being at a Disney resort, to us it is a big part of our vacation.

shalom
02-12-2012, 08:13 AM
Have you ever went to O'hanas and ate then watched the fireworks on the beach? We are doing a non-disney trip this year, and would like to take the kids to watch the fireworks. Is it hard to do, or is it easy peasy?

Easy peasy. :) So easy that, if it's a crowded time of year, there'll be crowds. :p But unless you want a chair or something (which IMHO should be left for people staying there anyhow), not a problem at all. Pick up a Dole whip and stroll out the back, veer to the right around the pool, and there you are!

greenclan67
02-12-2012, 08:39 AM
[QUOTE=shalom;44005344]Easy peasy. :) So easy that, if it's a crowded time of year, there'll be crowds. :p But unless you want a chair or something (which IMHO should be left for people staying there anyhow), not a problem at all. Pick up a Dole whip and stroll out the back, veer to the right around the pool, and there you are![/QUOTE

Will I be able to park there without a dinner ressie? I tried getting one, and obviously it is to late out for me in March! Is it long to wait for dinner? I have never tried a dole whip, so where do I get one!?

spiceycat
02-13-2012, 12:05 PM
would go with the Polyn or CR - at Polyn the Kona Cafe it is cheaper than O'hana.

the CR the wave - it is on the first floor - so be sure to finish before the fireworks. then go to the 4th floor - outside area - pass the gift shops - if you get there early you can sit down. otherwise it is standing.

spiceycat
02-13-2012, 12:09 PM
to the op - a vacation is what you make it.

yes the other stuff is nice - but you know what your family needs.

I stay in studios alot. but mostly travel solo or with one other person.
if a hotel room is what you need then it will work. but some condo (especially in this market) are actually cheaper than hotel rooms.

look around - especially offsite and see about getting a deal.

here is parent website of the Dis - their travel agent
http://www.wdwinfo.com/wdwinfo/resort.htm

with a kitchen you can eat more in your villa and don't have to pay Disney or even offsite prices for food. Florida has no tax on groceries.

torinsmom
02-18-2012, 10:53 AM
The Emerald Island condo we are staying at is less than the hotel you mention. We are staying for 8 nights for $560 inclusive of tax and cleaning. Emerald Island is a gated community very close to the parks(7-15 minutes depending on the park) We have stayed there before and you can see the clubhouse/pool from the condo. It is 3 beds/3 baths, and has everything we wanted. I don't find a hotel(even a Disney one) comfortable, with everyone being crammed together, one bathroom, and noise from other rooms. I like to be able to park and walk right into my place vs. dealing with walking all over a resort and then climbing stairs to get to my room. I also like to be able to do laundry so I can pack light and go home with clean clothes, and being able to cook if I decide to do so.

http://www.vacationhomerentals.com/vacation-rentals/Kissimmee-Florida-vacation-rental-townhouse-proID-42665.html

Last year, we had 8 people, so we rented a 5 bed/4bath Indian Creek pool home. It was maybe 1-2 minutes from Emerald Island, so still close to the parks. It was $800 for 8 nights inclusive of everything and the kids had a private pool and game room.

http://www.vrbo.com/229838

shalom
02-18-2012, 06:42 PM
Will I be able to park there without a dinner ressie? I tried getting one, and obviously it is to late out for me in March! Is it long to wait for dinner? I have never tried a dole whip, so where do I get one!?

Unless it's super busy, you'll be able to park there without a dinner reservation. I believe they do close the resort to off-site guests without a reservation when it's super busy, but the only times I've heard of it happening it was Christmas or New Years.

You can get serve your own Dole Whips at Captain Cooks, the quick serve on the ground floor. :thumbsup2

famousmockingbird
02-20-2012, 01:13 PM
Honestly, I think all of the options have their pros & cons. For us, we like condos because we like having the kitchen and the opportunity to do laundry before we go home, but that's not everyone's cup of tea. We have actually stayed at the Fairfield you are talking about and it was fantastic. It is clean and nice and the food court down stairs is very convenient. It's super close to WDW property, so it is totally possible to pop back over to the hotel for a swim or nap in the afternoon.

AshleeH
02-20-2012, 01:48 PM
As others have said, it's what is appropriate for your own family. We love staying on property for the amenities offered, but my parents have never once stayed in a WDW resort and if they go with us this year, they will stay off site while we're at Bay Lake.

For us, the #1 priority is not depending on Disney transportation. We drive to the other parks, but that walkway to and from the Contemporary is gold for us! After getting stuck in a massive crowd exiting MK for hours one night and staring longingly at the Contemporary the whole time, wishing we had stayed there, it's more than worth the extra cost for us. We're not really pool people, we're park people, so it's always perfect for us.

In your personal situation, as long as the pros outweigh the cons, then that's all that matters. And really, your kids will have no idea what they're missing (same piece of advice for not going commando at the parks - it's impossible to see everything and you'll never know you missed it). I didn't stay in my first WDW hotel until two years ago and I had no idea it was what it was, so I'm hooked now, but as a child I don't even think I realized WDW offered their own hotels because I was so excited being in the parks!

englishteacha
02-22-2012, 11:47 AM
We stay at a basic condo development that has a basic pool. Just having a pool feels like vacation to me! On non-Disney trips we've stayed at basic motels like Super 8s or Howard Johnsons, and that was fine, too. I think the hotel you described sounds fantastic. I won't pay oodles of money for a fancy resort. I'd rather stay somewhere clean and affordable, and be able to travel more often!

jpdeg99
02-23-2012, 01:52 PM
It really depends on you and yoru family. We have stayed offsite (Westgate condos) and on (at an All-star, Port Orleans and Contemporary). You save a ton of money staying offsite. Our next trip, we will probably stay offsite. Holiday Inn Downtown Disney has great ratesa and seems nice. But, I am afraid that we'll miss that little bit of extra disney magic we get onsite.

As for resort vs hotel, we prefer resorts. But, my kids are young, and we do not wake up, and hit the parks all day. Our room is not just a place to sleep. We usually spend a fair amoutn of time in it, and don't do the water parks.