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View Full Version : Hilton Only or Extend Stay On-site??


lgazz
07-08-2003, 07:50 PM
Brand new to the site...lots of great info!
I've just started planning a family trip w/my husband and 2 sons (4 & 6 yrs) for 2004 (Feb or Easter).
It's been 15+ years since I went to Disney as a teenager! I see that things have changed!!
Many comments recommend staying on-site, but I know NOTHING about the accomodations!
I have earned 2 or 3 free nights at Doubletree Guest Suites in WDS or Hilton in WDW Resort. Are these the "official" Disney Resorts I read about???
Of course, I'm not going to pass up FREE accomodations, but I was interested in opinions on whether I should spend the $$ to extend the stay on-site at a different Resort as well, or should I go off-site to a (less expensive?) near-by vacation home? and stay there for an additional week.
Any experience with either of the hotels I mentioned?
Any comments whether I should plan for mid-Feb or April (Easter)? Weather is a consideration, but crowds are also a concern.
Any help is appreciated!!

Trekker
07-10-2003, 08:34 AM
I'm going to move this to the Orlando hotels and attraction board for you - you should get more responses there as the hotels you mention are not official Disney resorts.


BTW - Welcome to the DIS!

BibbidiBobbidiBOO
07-10-2003, 09:55 AM
We have stayed in the downtown Disney area and now stay only at WDW resorts. We LOVE staying in the middle of it all. Never leaving WDW is wonderful, and with 2 little ones, going to Extra Magic Hour at the MK is great. For us, the ease of transportation(monorail resorts or bus OR we drive our car and park for free as a WDW resort guest), and the theming of the Disney resorts is worth the $$. The deluxe resorts are often closer to the parks and offer a balcony and inside corridors, the moderates are more spread out, have a food court and beautifully themed landscapping. Check out some of the pictures online. http://www.bruceandkris.com/ is one great site.
We have always got a discount rate too at Disney resorts. Keep your eyes on mousesavers. Hilton, as of now, is the only hotel to offer the EMH besides the WDW resorts. This is subject to change of course.
I do know that Easter week is one of the highest crowd seasons and rates are higher and often not discounted at the WDW resorts at this time. I am not sure if your date in Feb is a holiday weekend but it would still be considerably less crowded than at Easter.;)
Keep reading the resorts board and the Orlando board, as well as the Theme Park board and you can get a better feel of what you want. Enjoy planning and welcome to the DIS. :D

kellympmo
07-10-2003, 09:57 AM
Igazz,
Welcome to the boards!!
As to your questions, I have heard good things about the Hilton. And you can't pass up free stuff, right?? I think I would consider extending your stay so that you can experience one of the resorts actually run by Disney. The Hilton and Doubletree are not actual Disney resorts. Although, I think the Hilton does allow you to get the early entry privilege that Disney on-site guests enjoy.

As to the Disney resorts, you will not believe the difference it can make. We stayed off-site when I was in high school and it was ok, but not something I thought I would need to do again without kids. My husband & I went in 2001 and stayed at the Beach Club and absolutely loved it. So much to do, we could go back to our hotel in the afternoon and swim and then walk at night over to Epcot, MGM and the Boardwalk. The Disney transportation system is unbelievable (something to think about if staying off-site). The theming of the resorts is great, very different from your run of the mill hotel stay. It's just an interesting feeling. We loved it so much that we went again in 2002 and stayed at the Beach Club Villas and are booked for the Boardwalk Villas in September.

The Disney hotels are more expensive than other hotels you could stay in, however, you are paying for the full Disney experience/convenience. Additionally, there are Disney hotels to fit most budgets (value, moderate, deluxe and home away from home). The www.wdwig.com site does a great job of detailing each resort and distinguishing between the Disney run resorts and the other resorts at Downtown Disney and off-site. You will want to take advantage of the good pricing codes that come out that will make staying at these resorts less painful financially. You can use the mousesavers.com site to help you figure out what discounts are available for your time period or it is also helpful to contact one of the travel agents that specialize in Disney travel. They can book you in at the best rate right now and then switch you if a better rate comes out in the meantime. I have used small world travel and others on these boards have used dreams unlimited travel. They do their business mostly through email.

As to the time of year to go, I vote for February! I hear that Easter is just crazy busy and February is pretty light. If you can swing it, early Feb. might be better because I think that it is still value season and would thus be cheaper than late Feb.
Good luck!:D

3for Me
07-10-2003, 12:21 PM
Igazz,

My DH and children (6,4 and3 at the time) stayed at the Hilton in March. This was our first time off-site. My husband's company develops Hilton Hotels and they are therefore Hilton owner's. We got a GREAT owner's rate that we just could not pass up and had a one b/r suite with an addtional adjoining room for $120/night. Obviously, the Disney rates were MUCH higher.

That having been said, we enjoyed the experience FOR THE PRICE - however, there is something - alot actually- to be said for the Disney feel not being there. It is a convention hotel - not a lot of kids - and although you can buy park tickets, E Ride tickets, and Disney merchandise in a little shop there it just was not the same thing. The employees at this shop were not helpful or polite and had no tolerance for children.

As owner's I have to say I was somewhat disappointed with responses I got to (minor) problems, as well. However, the room was well appointed very clean, etc... The consierge level had great snacks, beverages and what not.

Here is my advice...

Take the free nights for the FIRST part of your stay and ONLY if you have a car or will rent one - otherwise FORGET IT - the bus transportation has LONG delays - also to go to EMH you better be there (waiting for bus) at crack of dawn or you wait ONE HOUR for the next one - and no one knows this - not even the consierge - believe me!

For the second half of the trip transfer to a Disney Hotel - you will likely NOT be disappointed.

I can tell you that we can pretty much get this owner's rate any time we want it and we are staying at the Poly in October for one week. Hope this helps!

stacy6552
07-11-2003, 02:17 PM
After three great trips at 3 amazing Disney resorts (OKW, WL, ASM), we were very disappointed by our stay at one of the DTD, "official" wdw (non-disney) resorts. The pixie dust is worth every penny even at the all-stars. Stay at Disney.