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auprincess
07-11-2012, 10:18 PM
Our next trip isn't even on the books ~ but I am really considering staying off-site. It will be our first time as a family of 5 (well, a family of 5 over the age of 3), and I am just having a hard time justifying the cost of staying on property (but it's not out of the question).

So, my question is ~ where do I start in looking for a good off-site place to stay? We will drive, so buses/shuttles to the parks aren't a big deal. I would like to be close to the parks (what are those places around Downtown Disney)? I don't really care if it is a hotel or a condo ~ but I would like something that is at least the same size of the deluxe rooms (if it is a hotel). We are on vacation, so while a fridge and a microwave are a must, a full kitchen is not. And I'd love to have something with a nice pool (my girls would love a slide)!

Any suggestions ~ I've started looking and it just seems overwhelming. Thanks so much!

alice99
07-11-2012, 10:26 PM
Many of the timeshares have weekly specials.

I got a 2 bedroom at Vistana for 89$ per night, just by doing an online search.

Good Luck!

PS - I could never justify spending the $$ to stay on-site either.... I went from being an off site visitor ... to being a DVC owner.

Also, maybe you should look into renting DVC points while doing your off-site comparison. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Spunky946
07-12-2012, 03:14 PM
We have stayed at the Hilton Grand vacations club at Sea World. It's beautfiul and right across the street from Sea world and 3 or 4 exits from disney world. Right now most dates in the fall are $134 per night for a 1 bedroom King size suite with a sofa bed. it has a kitchen, huge bathroom plus a living room, dining table and porch.

We loved havig the extra space. We were looking to go in Jan/Feb but may now go in Dec to get the rate. They also have a 2 bedroom suite.

ExpatDisneyLover
07-12-2012, 03:30 PM
There are so many good options around. I've also booked Sheraton Vistana for round $90/night. The Vistana has a few pools to choose from - and a whole lot of activities for kids going on all the time. I can't remember a slide at the pool in my section - but I seem to remember a big inflatable wet slide there somewhere - anyway - may be check it out to see what they have.

I think any of the Hilton Grand Vacations Clubs would be a good choice - and either of the Sheraton properties (Vistana or Villages) - again you'll have to check each for the pool/slide.

Wyndham Bonnet Creek has a pirate ship pool so they might have a good slide and are basically on Disney property!

I also love the Hilton Bonnet Creek and Waldorf Astoria - basically on Disney property - but no slide at either though the Hilton has a lazy river pool.

DisneyAndRedSox
07-12-2012, 03:54 PM
My DD loves Marriott Harbour Lake. It is small and has 2 pools, all units are only a few minutes to the pools.

conniehar90
07-12-2012, 04:15 PM
Windsor Hills! We always rent from www.disneyneighbor.com. Great rates, beautiful units and a nice pool (has a slide). Nice and close to the parks ( 10-15 minute drive)

Rosebud123
07-12-2012, 06:49 PM
Wyndham Bonnet Creek!!! Approx $120 a night for a gorgeous 2 bedroom with a balcony, full kitchen, w/d, etc. Several pools, 2 slides, 2 lazy rivers on site, as well as mini-golf, volleyball, etc. Closer to the parks than many of the official WDW hotels.

It's right next door to Caribbean Beach resort, so you never leave the WDW "bubble" unless you want it.

We stayed offsite for the first time (in my adult life, anyway!) last April and I don't think I could ever go back to onsite again!! At least as long as WBC is around....

Check out all the threads on here about it....

Grog
07-14-2012, 11:47 AM
Welcome to the dark side ;)

nessz79
07-14-2012, 01:37 PM
Windsor Hills!

mikkiwikki
07-14-2012, 08:43 PM
Welcome to the dark side ;)

Right!!
...Once you turn to the dark side.....
..... you can never go back...:darth::chewy::ewok::yoda:

Maniacal Laugh...Maniacal Laugh...
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/84/Evillaugh.ogg

:rotfl2:

Chelley00
07-14-2012, 08:47 PM
Welcome to the dark side ;)


And don't tell anyone you stay offsite. It starts a riot :rotfl:


We usually stay in a rental house (vrbo.com is a good place to start, or try Windsorhillsrents.com) This time we are trying Wyndham Bonnet Creek.

Grog
07-14-2012, 08:58 PM
And don't tell anyone you stay offsite. It starts a riot :rotfl:


We usually stay in a rental house (vrbo.com is a good place to start, or try Windsorhillsrents.com) This time we are trying Wyndham Bonnet Creek.

Especially on the Theme Park boards. If you don't worship at the altar of the mouse 24/7 you're obviously some kind of heathen, fit only to go to Six Flags, Vegas, and other "lesser" destinations :rotfl:

We're tentatively planning a trip for around this time next year and Wyndham Bonnet Creek is at the top of my list so far. I like what I've seen and read about it.

mikkiwikki
07-14-2012, 09:56 PM
And don't tell anyone you stay offsite. It starts a riot :rotfl:




:thumbsup2:flower3:;) If only they *KNEW* what they were missing

mikkiwikki
07-14-2012, 10:00 PM
Especially on the Theme Park boards. If you don't worship at the altar of the mouse 24/7 you're obviously some kind of heathen, fit only to go to Six Flags, Vegas, and other "lesser" destinations :rotfl:



:lmao: agree with the general sentiment around -offsite frequenters...
Basically My family can never go back on-site...for what Disney asks - We get 3 bedrooms + many more facilities for the same price as a VALUE at Disney. AND EMH are NOT a draw at all....No 'bennie' there for our family

auprincess
07-15-2012, 09:46 PM
Thank you so much for all the suggestions!! I am definitely going to check these out! I have a lot of time to decide (no trip on the books ~ probably not until 2014 ~ boo).

A big reason we liked staying on property was to do the dining plan, but with the price increases, we really might as well pay for food out of pocket; and we are a family that likes to eat a sit down meal, but would be happy with just 3-4 during a week trip. I also like the idea of the EMH, but with young kids we won't be utilizing them in the evening and since we live in the central time zone, we don't use them in the morning either. Looks like I really may be heading over to the dark side, lol!

goodfood4ursoul
07-18-2012, 03:46 PM
We just booked a $59 King suite at Orlando Courtyard Suites near All Star Movies/Music resort.
We had been looking at the room only discount for this fall were quoted $69 a night for a room at AMU with no guarantee of a fridge or anything.

Orlando Courtyard Suites has a full kitchen, bedroom, living room, bathroom, etc.

We don't plan on spending that much time at our hotel, just want to be able to make breakfast and pack a lunch to take to Typhoon Lagoon all week and have some room to unwind at night.
We've done the other parks numerous times but Typhoon Lagoon is our happy place...:cloud9:

We're getting the annual waterparks and DisneyQuest passes ($130 pp) and plan to drive down 2 more times in the next year for budget "save our sanity" trips :rotfl:

4HppyCamprs
07-19-2012, 08:35 PM
We are also newbies to staying "off site" and while we have enjoyed "onsite" we just cant justify paying the same price to stay in a two bedroom suite as to stay cramped in POR with 1 room and 3 adults and 3 children (1 infant). The big draw before was the dining plan and we rebelled and went sans dining plan last time. We spent the same as we would have to purchase the dining plan but ate what we wanted. The dining plan has really really become limited in what you can order snack wise. Anyways since we are newbies as well I am watching this thread :)

momfeez
07-20-2012, 10:19 AM
We just booked a $59 King suite at Orlando Courtyard Suites near All Star Movies/Music resort.
We had been looking at the room only discount for this fall were quoted $69 a night for a room at AMU with no guarantee of a fridge or anything.

Orlando Courtyard Suites has a full kitchen, bedroom, living room, bathroom, etc.

We don't plan on spending that much time at our hotel, just want to be able to make breakfast and pack a lunch to take to Typhoon Lagoon all week and have some room to unwind at night.
We've done the other parks numerous times but Typhoon Lagoon is our happy place...:cloud9:

We're getting the annual waterparks and DisneyQuest passes ($130 pp) and plan to drive down 2 more times in the next year for budget "save our sanity" trips :rotfl:



We always stay off site...I can't justify paying so much when we are in the room/at the hotel for such a short time. I thought I had seen every hotel in and around WDW. I was wrong....so going to check this out for our next trip. :thumbsup2 I can't believe what you get for the price! :woohoo: Thanks for the info!

aoffhaus
07-20-2012, 08:36 PM
I am a newbie to staying offsite too. I will be staying at Bonnett Creek in Feb 2013. I am looking forward to the extra room without the extra cost!! My only concern is that we will not be on the dining plan. Those of you who have done this before, did you notice a difference in what you spent money wise on food? We will be eating breakfast at the condo before we go to the parks.

4HppyCamprs
07-21-2012, 09:54 AM
Again we are offsite newbies but we did go without the dining plan on our last trip. I ordered Garden Grocer to be delivered to the POLY and we ate out when we felt like it. We have some favorite restaurants that we did not want to miss. What we found is that we did not save any money by going sans dining plan (we did not try to though) but we purchased what we wanted and only what we wanted. If we wanted a Rocky Road caramel apple then that is what we got. On the dining plan that was a no go. We also found that we actually broke even with what the purchased dining plan would have cost.

That said if you have had "free" dining in the past you are likely going to notice the cost. We had free dining our first two trips and you do get a amazing amount of food. Plus you just hand over your card and there is no need to settle up for real cash.

All that said my family once again prefers to go without the dining plan where ever we stay.

alice99
07-21-2012, 10:49 AM
I am a newbie to staying offsite too. I will be staying at Bonnett Creek in Feb 2013. I am looking forward to the extra room without the extra cost!! My only concern is that we will not be on the dining plan. Those of you who have done this before, did you notice a difference in what you spent money wise on food? We will be eating breakfast at the condo before we go to the parks.

I tend to spend less $$ when I am not on the dining plan.

We eat breakfast in the room.... Or skip breakfast and have lunch at 11 when counter service opens.

I eat differently, last time without dining plan I got a bowl of soup and a small soda for lunch.

I saved calories and $. No desserts, as I am full by then anyway.

Bonniec
07-21-2012, 11:01 AM
My only concern is that we will not be on the dining plan. Those of you who have done this before, did you notice a difference in what you spent money wise on food? We will be eating breakfast at the condo before we go to the parks.

When we stayed at Bonnet in January, we got a TIW card for the restaurants. We live here and this was the first time we had ever ate at the TS restaurants. I think if you eat a lot of TS, it will hurt you to not have a TIW or dining plan.

That being said, I wouldn't recommend all thoses TS places to friends visiting unless they had been to WDW a LOT. Because it takes SO much planning and time to get there. We normally visit the parks weekly and do not do TS. You just get more done that way. So I will give you my tips based on how we normally eat.


1. First, Bonnet Creek has full sized kitchens. You can eat breakfast there, or come back for lunch and a break, etc. They also have grills so you can have a little BBQ.

2. We generally don't like to eat a lot at the parks. The heat gets to us and we just aren't hungry. I don't know how people do the dining plan, honestly.

3. When we do eat in the parks, we mostly snack. Disney has great snacks if you know where to look. Plus it doesn't slow you down waiting for ADRs. Check out the Disney Food Blog and search for snacks. My favorites are Disney cupcakes, sandwiches from the bakeries (about $6 for a huge sandwich), egg rolls, dole whips, fruit, and pretzels. Any bakery is a good value.

4. Ice water is free from all vendors.

5. There are a few CS we will eat at when we want to sit down and have a rest. I often will just get a kid's meal because it's a decent amount of food and I can get a small soda when I want something more than water. Sometimes I'll get a bigger meal and share with my little one. AT MK, Columbia Harbour House is great and the upstairs is usually empty with AC. Sunshine Season's at Epcot is great (though I usually like to eat in the World Showcase).

aoffhaus
07-21-2012, 02:40 PM
Where do I find the Disney Food Blog? that is a great idea, to eat those types of snacks and I had no idea about the sandwiches in the bakery! Thank you!!:thumbsup2 Oh and we have neve had free dining in the past, so maybe we wont notice that much of a difference!! Hoping so anyway. We do plan to eat breakfast in the room, and maybe a dinner or two. Eating mostly counter service and a couple of table service....Ohana's and Be Our Guest if we can get a ressie. We will see!!

Bonniec
07-21-2012, 03:35 PM
http://www.disneyfoodblog.com/

ranman1973
07-22-2012, 01:25 AM
Our next trip isn't even on the books ~ but I am really considering staying off-site. It will be our first time as a family of 5 (well, a family of 5 over the age of 3), and I am just having a hard time justifying the cost of staying on property (but it's not out of the question).

So, my question is ~ where do I start in looking for a good off-site place to stay? We will drive, so buses/shuttles to the parks aren't a big deal. I would like to be close to the parks (what are those places around Downtown Disney)? I don't really care if it is a hotel or a condo ~ but I would like something that is at least the same size of the deluxe rooms (if it is a hotel). We are on vacation, so while a fridge and a microwave are a must, a full kitchen is not. And I'd love to have something with a nice pool (my girls would love a slide)!

Any suggestions ~ I've started looking and it just seems overwhelming. Thanks so much!

Sounds like we have a lot in common. I have a family of 5 and am looking for exactly the same accommodation.

dbrn
07-22-2012, 07:00 AM
We chose a condo at Windsor Hills for our vacation to Disney last December and loved it! It was cheaper than a room at one of the values, and so spacious and comfortable! My kids loved it, and even opted to stay at the resort for our last day instead of one more day of Disney (blasphemy, I know). We had plenty of space, so everyone could have a little time & space to themselves (I greatly underestimated the importance of this when trip-planning). There were toys, games, and puzzles stocked. The pool was very nice. The condo was decorated with some Disney touches, too.

I worried that it was going to cost of tons of money not having the dining plan and that we would be disappointed without Disney transportation, but neither of those was the case at all. The restaurants my kids enjoyed the most were off-site, and we found that we weren't all that hungry while at the parks - I don't think we would have eaten our money's worth with the dining plan. It was a very quick and easy drive to and from the parks, and we did take Disney transportation once from TTC to Animal Kingdom; that part was easy. The transportation back took FOREVER, standing room only, on the bus. It was then that I decided that even if we stay onsite in the future, we'll drive to the parks. I don't think that will be an issue though.

Even now, my kids say they miss the condo. An off-site trip is different then on-site, but for me, it wasn't less magical. The time relaxing in the condo was the most magical part of the vacation for me! I didn't realize how little time I take to just relax while at home.

I hope you have a great vacation, whatever you decide.

Bonniec
07-22-2012, 07:49 AM
we found that we weren't all that hungry while at the parks - I don't think we would have eaten our money's worth with the dining plan

This is us. I've learned that it's the heat. As soon as we get out of the heat and into the AC for a good 30 minutes, suddenly everyone is famished. In the winter, we eat a lot more in the parks because we are hungrier. This is the first year I've had the full APs and not the seasonal and the parks are just crazy hot. Even keeping misting fans and drinking of ton of water isn't enough. Not only do we not want to eat, we have to make sure to find AC often, even if it's just getting into a shop.

I don't know how people follow touring plans this time of year. I definately would never eat all the food on a dining plan.



ETA: I highly recommend Bonnet Creek. We stayed there off site in January. I got a 4 bedroom presedential suite for $185 a night off ebay. I have a trip report somewhere. But we had our own bedrooms, full kitchen, jacuzzi tubs, etc. The place is on Disney property and does have buses to Disney. But it is a timeshare so you have to rent it through people. It was amazing.

mikkiwikki
07-22-2012, 10:01 AM
Thank you so much for all the suggestions!! I am definitely going to check these out! I have a lot of time to decide (no trip on the books ~ probably not until 2014 ~ boo).

A big reason we liked staying on property was to do the dining plan, but with the price increases, we really might as well pay for food out of pocket; and we are a family that likes to eat a sit down meal, but would be happy with just 3-4 during a week trip. I also like the idea of the EMH, but with young kids we won't be utilizing them in the evening and since we live in the central time zone, we don't use them in the morning either. Looks like I really may be heading over to the dark side, lol!

AGREE totally that the "Standard DDP" - (Dining plan) in 2005 was really too good to pass up for my family..
As a result - we stayed on site exclusively...but over time they have really nickle and dimed it to death...in 2005 anything on the menu...PLUS TIP and appetizers AND desert! were included in the PLAN. Now they have removed everything but desert (WHICH we rarely eat anyways) AND...started doing things like turn lecellier LUNCH into a 2TS restaurant starting 2013..etc...you get the gist but the last time I used the dining plan I kept a spreadsheet of how much we would have paid OOP for each meal, and it really wasnt a good deal for our family. SO the edge of the DDP is lost on us...
ESPECIALLY - because there is this thing called OPPORTUNITY COST...in economics...that I believe applies
"Opportunity cost is the cost of any activity measured in terms of the value of the next best alternative forgone (that is not chosen) activity" My boiled down summation - the forgone food choices that you cannot enjoy ...cannot be underestimated.
If you pay OOP you have total flexibility of what you eat and when. Think about all the time people spend trying to find how to stretch their TS/CS/Snack credits. That time is a COST that you cannot recover. DDP is not that flexible (anymore)

Also lost on us is the supposed benefit of EMHs...We never used them.
When I have 3 bedrooms for the price of one...there really is no comparison in your vacation experience. not to mention NOT using the disney transportation (buses) ...is a real stress reducer for us. :hippie:

mikkiwikki
07-22-2012, 10:07 AM
We are also newbies to staying "off site" and while we have enjoyed "onsite" we just cant justify paying the same price to stay in a two bedroom suite as to stay cramped in POR with 1 room and 3 adults and 3 children (1 infant). The big draw before was the dining plan and we rebelled and went sans dining plan last time. We spent the same as we would have to purchase the dining plan but ate what we wanted. The dining plan has really really become limited in what you can order snack wise. Anyways since we are newbies as well I am watching this thread :)

You have been paying attention...! See my previous post as well. I personally feel that disney tried to HOOK everyone on the DDP back 2005. AND
....LIKE a slow cooked frog..(You know the analogy re: you put a frog in a pot & slowly turn up the temp...happens so slowly - the frog doesnt notice and jump out of the pot until its too late..I HAVE never done this BTW lol)
.....Many people that have been religiously using DDP ..
really do NOT realize that it has lost so much value since 2005...:worried:

We loved DDP in 2005. Its no good anymore. AND I can stretch my food budget even further in a condo

mikkiwikki
07-22-2012, 10:26 AM
We chose a condo at Windsor Hills for our vacation to Disney last December and loved it! It was cheaper than a room at one of the values, and so spacious and comfortable! My kids loved it, and even opted to stay at the resort for our last day instead of one more day of Disney (blasphemy, I know). We had plenty of space, so everyone could have a little time & space to themselves (I greatly underestimated the importance of this when trip-planning). There were toys, games, and puzzles stocked. The pool was very nice. The condo was decorated with some Disney touches, too.

I worried that it was going to cost of tons of money not having the dining plan and that we would be disappointed without Disney transportation, but neither of those was the case at all. The restaurants my kids enjoyed the most were off-site, and we found that we weren't all that hungry while at the parks - I don't think we would have eaten our money's worth with the dining plan. It was a very quick and easy drive to and from the parks, and we did take Disney transportation once from TTC to Animal Kingdom; that part was easy. The transportation back took FOREVER, standing room only, on the bus. It was then that I decided that even if we stay onsite in the future, we'll drive to the parks. I don't think that will be an issue though.

Even now, my kids say they miss the condo. An off-site trip is different then on-site, but for me, it wasn't less magical. The time relaxing in the condo was the most magical part of the vacation for me! I didn't realize how little time I take to just relax while at home.

I hope you have a great vacation, whatever you decide.


:thumbsup2 agree with everything you stated! :wizard:
But maybe we all should SHHssh! ;-)
IF TOO MANY people catch on about the DDP ..Disney will increase its prices even MORE ..
They will have to recover those lost revenues somehow...lol

mikkiwikki
07-22-2012, 10:30 AM
ETA: I highly recommend Bonnet Creek. We stayed there off site in January. I got a 4 bedroom presedential suite for $185 a night off ebay. I have a trip report somewhere. But we had our own bedrooms, full kitchen, jacuzzi tubs, etc. The place is on Disney property and does have buses to Disney. But it is a timeshare so you have to rent it through people. It was amazing.

For comparison - we will be staying in a 3 bdrm at WH for 89.00 a night.(not a presidential suite)

7165red
07-22-2012, 05:24 PM
We have been renting villas for the past 4 yrs, and love it, can't go back to hotel rooms. We have stayed on site but during xmas the prices are over the moon.

VeeHam
07-22-2012, 08:13 PM
For comparison - we will be staying in a 3 bdrm at WH for 89.00 a night.(not a presidential suite)

Please excuse my ignorance but what does WH stand for? Thanks

asmit4
07-22-2012, 08:42 PM
Please excuse my ignorance but what does WH stand for? Thanks

Windsor Hills- it's a popular place to rent townhomes and huge houses with game rooms, disney themed kids bedrooms :)

pattibehan
07-22-2012, 08:46 PM
Welcome to the dark side ;)

:rotfl2::rotfl2::rotfl2:

ilovezach33
07-22-2012, 08:50 PM
Our next trip isn't even on the books ~ but I am really considering staying off-site. It will be our first time as a family of 5 (well, a family of 5 over the age of 3), and I am just having a hard time justifying the cost of staying on property (but it's not out of the question).

So, my question is ~ where do I start in looking for a good off-site place to stay? We will drive, so buses/shuttles to the parks aren't a big deal. I would like to be close to the parks (what are those places around Downtown Disney)? I don't really care if it is a hotel or a condo ~ but I would like something that is at least the same size of the deluxe rooms (if it is a hotel). We are on vacation, so while a fridge and a microwave are a must, a full kitchen is not. And I'd love to have something with a nice pool (my girls would love a slide)!

Any suggestions ~ I've started looking and it just seems overwhelming. Thanks so much!

A vacation home sounds like a great option for your family. 3+ bedrooms, a private screened in pool, a full kitchen, etc. for maybe $150/night? Some homes also have a private jacuzzi and sometimes a game console (PS3, Xbox, etc.)

Just google "Vacation homes near disney" and a site should pop up listing each one, as well as reviews.

auprincess
07-23-2012, 05:00 PM
I've been out of town for a few days and love coming back home and seeing all the action this thread is getting!! Lots of suggestions, so thank you!!

I am still a bit worried about dining ~ I know it will be a bit hard to swallow paying for those expensive buffets out of pocket, but really, I know with the DDP I'm already paying for them anyway ~ just before our trip. Maybe with all the savings we'll be doing I can convince DH to go in 2013 instead of waiting until 2014!

hcoker1
07-24-2012, 08:40 AM
Thanks for all of the info about staying off-site. We are staying at Windsor Palms for the first time this March Break and booked it from one of my parents at school. (I was leery to book and not know what I was going to get. I KNOW these people are clean-freaks and it will be great). Having only ever done the DP in the past I am a bit worried about food costs but we will eat breakfast in the condo. A PP mentioned that the buffets are pricey, I think we will avoid those TS and get regular sit down reservations instead. Our son is now a "Disney adult" but would much rather order off the kids menu, hopefully paying OOP will allow that.
Now to find a car rental.....

auprincess
07-24-2012, 11:38 AM
Thanks for all of the info about staying off-site. We are staying at Windsor Palms for the first time this March Break and booked it from one of my parents at school. (I was leery to book and not know what I was going to get. I KNOW these people are clean-freaks and it will be great). Having only ever done the DP in the past I am a bit worried about food costs but we will eat breakfast in the condo. A PP mentioned that the buffets are pricey, I think we will avoid those TS and get regular sit down reservations instead. Our son is now a "Disney adult" but would much rather order off the kids menu, hopefully paying OOP will allow that.
Now to find a car rental.....

Have you looked at allears to see the menus/prices? I played around with it a little last night and some of the buffets weren't too bad. Pricey, yes, but not as bad as I thought. I hate to not have any character meals, b/c my girls are still at the age where they love to see them and it is nice to avoid having to wait in line to see them by doing character dining. Breakfast and lunch was less expensive than dinner, so we'll probably opt for one of those meals when we do them. Crystal Palace and Tusker House are two that I seem to remember costing around $30.

Bonniec
07-26-2012, 05:40 PM
I will say this too, there are a lot of good off site places to eat in Orlando.

I got the TIW card for our week in January and it was the first time we ate at all the stable service places at Disney. I'm glad we got to do it once but we haven't used it since then. The food was good, but so are restaurants outside of Disney and we usually spend about half the cost. Don't get me wrong, I loved them all and the theming was great. It's just hard to stomach paying so much for a family of 5.

Before our year is out we will probably do Chef Mickeys and O'Hanas again. And I kinda wanna go to Sanaa just so I can get some more naan bread. The signatures are a bit out of our range. Maybe this fall when my twins are off to college *sniff*.