Where to stay for first time visit.
My family (me, wife, 6yr old, 7 yr old) live in Australia are going to WDW in September 2013 for 9 nights. We are in the process of oragnising our accommodation. We originally thought we would just stay at one of the Value Resorts and could secure a room for approximately $1250. I have since found out about DVC and renting through, for example, David's Vacation Club Point Rentals.
Upon checking the points calculator and equivalent dollar value, we can get a 'value' studio room at Animal Kingdom for $1209, standard studio room for $1391 or savannah view studio for $1742. Studio rooms at the other deluxe resorts run from $1326 to $1807. I'm just seeking views/opinions on whether it's worth the extra money (or in some cases similar/less money) to stay at one of the deluxe resorts. I've read where 'first timers' don't spend a lot of time in their room or at the resort but I figure if you can stay at a deluxe resort for the same cost as a value resort it would make sense to do that right ?
I expect with most of the DVC accommodations linked with deluxe resorts that you are close enough to all the amenities and there is no real 'disadvantage' of staying in a DVC room at a deluxe resort.
Any opinions, views, recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Also if anyone has rented through David's Vacation Club Point Rentals, please tell me about your experiences.
We have rented DVC points before, and it was great. The major downside of renting points is that you lose all your money if you have to change your plans or cancel. You can buy separate travel insurance to cover some expenses. When we looked into travel insurance, we actually wouldn't have recovered enough money to make it worth it to us. With a regular Disney reservation, you can cancel fairly close to your trip should you need to and not lose the money. In addition, the DVC owner making the reservations has to give Disney all the information. You can't call and change your magical express reservations or dining plan on your own.
I haven't used David's, but I would be very comfortable buying from him.
Here is a good summary about renting DVC points.
I am assuming that the value resort rate you mentioned is rack rate? You will be traveling at a time when discounts are typically offered. You might be able to secure a discount (when it comes out) for a moderate resort for less than a DVC studio rented through David's, in case you are at all concerned about the fact that DVC rental through him is non-refundable. For 9 nights, I would much prefer a mod over a value resort, because of the additional amenities like a pool slide.
However, if you are comfortable making the commitment to DVC rental, I would go for it.
I think the OP is referring to the Value category of DVC rooms available at Jambo House. In that case, OP, you need to move quickly. As an owner at AKV, I know those go quickly. But I do think that renting DVC is worth it. It is nice to be able to escape from the crowds in the parks and be comfortable...especially when you have traveled so far from home. If you want to rent a specific DVC category for 2013, I would act fast!
Welcome to the DIS boards!
After several years of staying at moderate and value accommodations, I purchased DVC. I rented points at Saratoga Springs before I purchased. There is a definite difference between the value/mod resorts and DVC deluxe resorts. So I would not hesitate to recommend a DVC stay.
But I agree with what other's are saying. Those stays are non refundable and you would have a horrible time rescheduling if you had to cancel within 30 days. A regular resort stay is much more flexible in the event that you need to reschedule.
September is the lowest month of the season, so there will be definite discounts. One that is typically associated with September is "free dining" For the value stay is includes the quick service dining plan and for the mod stay it includes the "regular" dining plan.
There are also room discounts during September, so you should not pay rack rate.
I personally think the moderate level resorts are perfect for a first stay. They have just the right level of amenities. However, because of low crowd levels during September the value resorts won't be at capacity and can be a very nice stay as well.
It's a tough decision. No, you won't be in your room a lot, but you do want to be comfortable and relaxed when you are there. Plus a 9 day stay will definitely require some down time.
I also want to add that I find the standard view villas at Kidani and AKL to offer a great experience and still be very affordable. There are plenty of general viewing areas which allow you to experience the animals every day. So, in that respect I personally would not hesitate to book standard view.
Good Luck with your decision.
I am also from Australia, and leave for our second trip in one week! I have been a lurker here for many years and on other Disney sites.
If this is your first trip as you learn more and more your plans will change, a trip to WDW from Aus requires a lot of planning. Getting a locked in arrangement now is not a good idea.
With Disney if you book now and a special comes up you can change your plans with NO penalty (book through Disney not a TA). I have changed my plans so much and saved thousands. Free dining, 35-40% off offers come up all the time. Being able to change plans at no cost is a huge bonus. Look at the mousesavers site for a history of past specials offered by Disney - no guarantees but it helped me. All the above people are correct there will be specials in September if you time it right. We have stayed at moderates and deluxes for way less than the full cost of a value.
Last piece of advice book your meals early if travelling in September - its weird I know but you have to do it. There is likely to be a free dining offered around then and the good stuff books up fast.
Consider these resorts value: POP, AoA, moderate CBR, POR, deluxe AKL, WL
unless you really like animals I would suggest you look at WL as the ferry to MK is a bonus.
Thanks everyone for your tips and advice. I'm starting to fell overwhelmed at all the possibilities but am getting there thanks to all your help.
Hi OP. I think renting points is a good idea but wanted to make sure you were aware that in a DVC studio you will ny have one real bed and one pull out sofa. I have found the pullouts to be just fine but others take issue with them. I certainly think a 6 and 7 year old would be just one but wanted you to be aware if you weren't already. For your first time renting points David's is the way to go.
For 9 nights, I don't know if I would want to stay in a value resort room. Room discounts will likely come out and I agree with a previous poster that a moderate resort might be great for you all.
Ask lots of questions. The people on these boards will be quite helpful.
Our 1st trip we stayed at AKL, just a regular pool view room. I thought AKL was perfect for a 1st timmer!
AKL is wonderfully themed, immerses you into all things Disney and we had wonderful CM's to make our visit very special.
My favorite memory of our 1st trip was sitting on our balcony with an adult drink, discussing with my DH our highlights of the day and our plans for tomorrow, while the kids slept.
Having a balcony or patio for us is a deal breaker, we need that extra space to hang out while the kids sleep. Now having teens the extra space is still needed! We were not in our hotel much that 1st trip, but we did take break every day. We did not miss having a Savannah view room, there are plenty of public areas to view the animals.
Consider using a grocery delivery service, if you are not renting a car. We love using gardengrocer.com to have beer/wine, snacks, breakfast items, water and gatorade. This saved us a ton of money and time in the AM having breakfast in our room. Bell services will store the groceries and refrigerate any perishables for you until you ck into your room. Then they will bring your groceries to your room.
We also order a welcome basket from Disneyflorist.com. You can personalize items, we added personalized Mickey Mouse ear hats for all of us to be added to our basket. The kids loved all the treats and we like using the collapsible cooler to keep items cold.
Have a great trip!
value room are value because they are smaller than a regular studio. so would suggest a standard studio at Jambo house. Jambo house is part of AKL and it has restaurants and a quick service.
Kidani is AKV and it only has a restaurant. both have gift shops with groceries.
a standard studio at Jambo house was only pool view - pool view works great because you are closer to the quick service and restaurant than most of the savannah views. As well as the buses. there are some now that were savannah views - they got a lot of complaints so they are now standard also.
at jambo house you would be on the fifth floor - so you have access to the free laundry for DVC and their guests - just be sure to bring your key/ID - the place is kept locked. the laundry is near the standard pool rooms.
you will have a microwave, toaster. coffee maker, plus under the counter refrigerator in the studio.
now AKL is pretty far from the MK - but it is not to bad to studios or even Epcot.
the other DVC resorts are BWV, BCV, OKW, SSR, VWL and BLT.
they are building one at gf now.
for the mk BLT and VWL are the best. BLT also works for Epcot.
BCV is the best for Epcot.
BWV is the best for Studio.
both have a boat that works just fine if you don't want to walk.
Disney usually offers the Free Dining Plan in September. I would wait until Mar to make any firm plans.
I have been doing the same as you, comparing costs. Studio vs Suite vs 2 studio with a connecting door vs a villa etc. I think we ruled out DVC only if free dining is not offered.
If you stayed with DVC, you would not be entitled for the Free Dining Plan.
And Mar is usually when Free Dining for Sept would be announced.
A note to remember, if your staying at a value resort during Free Dining dates Value resorts you would get the Magic Your Way Quick Service Dining. You can upgrade it to the Magic Your Way plus Dining for less than $20 per adult per night and less than $6 per child per night. Upgrade at least 3 days prior to arrival. (It nice to have table service once a day).
As a first time visitor, planning is key as you know. I think DVC rental is great, but not for a first timer. You will have much more flexibility by booking thru disney and then changing that reservation (free) when you get a discount, which you will likely get, like free dine plan or even a % off. In addition, my reccomendation is to go moderate booking, the amenities over value,(multi pools, and more resort type versus, one pool, less amenities, less eating options, more crowds (usually lots of families with tons of kids go value) Its nice to be able to enjoy the resort for a day and have options while doing that which you can do at a mod)..
It can feel overwhelming to plan, and to have so many options but t really is worth teh effort as your stay will be smoother...
First choose a resort level, then a resort, look at the resorts themselves...do you like a certain theme, etc..would you want to be closer to a certain park that youd frequent more?
Then take a look at the calender for park times, get an idea of what parks on what days and plan meals..Do you like three meals a day...or perhaps a lite breakfast at the resort, quick serve/counter at lunch and a sit down for dinner, the meal plans are wonderful IMHO, takes the stress away, when planned ...
The resorts are so very different ...so Id first choose that and go from there. Best of luck and ask away, so many helpful people on the Dis..
I don't think anyone has mentioned, if you rent points - you won't have regular hotel service. There will be one visit from housekeeping half way through your visit.
I have DVC, we love Kidani and Jambo house.
But I do think staying somewhere like Coronado is best for the first visit, unless you can get a 1 bedroom unit (that has a bedroom, living room, full kitchen, pullout couch and non-value have two bathrooms) through point rental for a similar price as a moderate. And that is quite possible, but it is more complicated.
Good luck. No matter what you end up with, it will be a wonderful trip. 9 days means you won't have to rush through the parks.
Yes, planning a wdw trip is way more involved then a regular vacay! I would feel safe with David's, he gets good reviews.
Renting points is a bit different, no daily housekeeping for one, and toiletries aren't replenished daily either. I think every 4th day?
And you get 1 queen bed and a pull out sofa which when open I hear takes up much of the space.
AKL is amazing, we stayed there last aug in a regular room with 2 queens.
As mentioned in Sept there are either room discounts or free dining that comes out.
For your first trip, because it is so involved, I would book with a Disney Authorized Vacation Planner. There are many on line agencies that are very good. There is the one who sponsors this site, Dreams Unlimited, also Ears to You, Magical Vacations, to name a few. The bonus of booking with a Disney specialized TA is that they know the moment WDW puts out promos and will automatically apply it to your reservation, saving you money! And they can walk you thru planning, giving you great suggestions. For a first trip I highly recommend this. But ONLY a Disney Specialized TA. I have used one the first few trips, now mostly I book myself, but am using a TA for Aug trip.
Deluxe resort is definitely better then value or moderate but renting DVC points got its down sides, one is no refund option. For me it would be a huge no no. For the first visit I would recommend moderate resort, esp. that you may come across some sweet deals for your dates. Why moderate, because it is your first visit and you will spend a lot of time in parks so why to spend more for deluxe, but you will need some good rest at night after all this walking and moderates are more comfortable then values. Moderates have bigger then value rooms and some got queen beds. You may also want to take a break a day or two and moderates are more relaxing then value with more options. I stayed at CBR and CSR, both are amazing.
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