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Old 10-23-2009, 10:30 AM   #16
robinb
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I have to disagree that staying offsite is cheaper. It seems like a nobrainer to pick a $220 house over staying on property but not when you run the numbers. The house with tax will be about $245 per night. Parking is another $14 per day which brings the cost of the house up to about $260 per day. Compare that to about $400 per day at Pop and the difference is $140 per day to feed 15 people on vacation. Now, I'm sure that the OP can feed her creator less at home, but Leftovers and "brown-bagging" it for lunch at WDW for that many people could be problematic.

There are advantages to a home even though it may cost more when all is said and done. There is more room to stretch out, more bedrooms, more privacy, a private pool, a full kitchen and washing facilities, etc. But there are advantages to staying onsite too. Her family consists of a lot of older kids. They will want the freedom to come and go more freely by bus than being attached to the family because of transportation issues.
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Old 10-23-2009, 10:39 AM   #17
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Madforthemouse - as far as the give a day, get a day promo - I thought that somewhere I had read that only eight people per household could participate - do you happen to know if that is correct?
I think that is correct but it only applies to those who are age six and over, so that leaves out your 2 and your 4 year olds. Maybe you could break the remaining 13 of you into two "family" groups? Especially since two of your children are over 18?

The 20 year old and the 19 year old could be their own group. Then maybe you could have the five other teens as your family and your dh could have the 11-6s as his group.

Good luck to you! I hope that you have a truly magical time!
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Old 10-23-2009, 10:47 AM   #18
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Her family consists of a lot of older kids. They will want the freedom to come and go more freely by bus than being attached to the family because of transportation issues.
I couldn't agree with this more. We have some older children who really appreciate the freedom to hop on a bus and go where they want to go. Also, do you really want for everyone to have to leave in the big van and drive 25 minutes to the rental house just because Suzy-Q age 6 is vomiting? It is so much easier when one parent can hop a bus a take Suzy-Q back to the resort for some rest and let everyone else stay and enjoy. Been there, done that...

The number one reason we stay on-site these days is to give our older children some freedom and independence. DSs23,21,19, 17 want to go stay at Epcot for EMH? No problem! Dad and I go back to the resort with DSs12 and 6.
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Old 10-23-2009, 11:33 AM   #19
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I have to disagree that staying offsite is cheaper. It seems like a nobrainer to pick a $220 house over staying on property but not when you run the numbers. The house with tax will be about $245 per night. Parking is another $14 per day which brings the cost of the house up to about $260 per day. Compare that to about $400 per day at Pop and the difference is $140 per day to feed 15 people on vacation. Now, I'm sure that the OP can feed her creator less at home, but Leftovers and "brown-bagging" it for lunch at WDW for that many people could be problematic.

There are advantages to a home even though it may cost more when all is said and done. There is more room to stretch out, more bedrooms, more privacy, a private pool, a full kitchen and washing facilities, etc. But there are advantages to staying onsite too. Her family consists of a lot of older kids. They will want the freedom to come and go more freely by bus than being attached to the family because of transportation issues.
You make valid points. Both onsite and offsite have their advantages and each has to be considered for their strengths and weaknesses.

You have to keep in mind that Free Dining is limited to stays of 10 days or less. The OP wants to stay for 2 weeks, which would necessitate a split stay and the purchase of additional tickets. When you consider that they would have to purchase at least one additional 1-day MYW base ticket for each member of the family except the 2yo in order to get free dining for the second reservation, it adds over $900 in additional costs to their stay. That's some serious jingle.

The 15 people in this family would need at least 3 rooms at POR or 4 rooms at a value resort. Rack rates for values during the traditional free dining period would run $82-$92/night (weekday vs weekend) before tax for a std room. That's $328/night for 4 rooms. POR would be $447/night for 3 rooms. Before taxes, not including weekend rates. Tickets not included. If you were to take into consideration what it would cost to dine onsite, 3 meals per day for 2 weeks, then I would agree that you cannot beat the free dining vs. a room discount and paying OOP for food. But I'm sure that even with eating QS meals and buying convenience groceries, the OP can spend less than $100/day on average to feed the family while staying offsite. Naturally some days will be more than others but the non-park days would be considerably less.

And you have not factored in the gratuity that is automatically added to TS bills when a party of this size is involved. That comes right out of pocket and is an expense that free dining does not cover.

Another consideration, parking fees do not become a factor if the OP has one adult AP for every vehicle that they are driving to the parks. AP holders park for free (as of right now). So it might be worth the cost of APs vs the price of 10-day passes to get at least one to save on the parking costs and other benefits.

I'll be the first to agree with you that packing picnic lunches for the park and cooking dinner for a crowd while on vacation is not fun. But the OP wanted to know how cheaply this trip can be done and I'm just offering an alternative idea. I thought that perhap she was not aware that it is possible to bring outside food into the parks.
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Old 10-23-2009, 11:40 AM   #20
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I think that is correct but it only applies to those who are age six and over, so that leaves out your 2 and your 4 year olds. Maybe you could break the remaining 13 of you into two "family" groups? Especially since two of your children are over 18?

The 20 year old and the 19 year old could be their own group. Then maybe you could have the five other teens as your family and your dh could have the 11-6s as his group.

Good luck to you! I hope that you have a truly magical time!
Children under 3 do not need tickets, so that just leaves the 4yo without a chance to earn a free ticket.

The FAQs state that in addition to the person enrolling online, "up to a maximum of 8 additional" household members can qualify for the free tickets. So there are 9 total out of the 13 remaining family members who can do the volunteer work and get a free pass. That's still a significant savings if it can be done.

If the family lives under 2 roofs (as some blended families do), then they could possibly manage to get free passes for everyone by using the two different addresses.
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Old 10-23-2009, 11:45 AM   #21
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You have to keep in mind that Free Dining is limited to stays of 10 days or less.
I thought it was changed to 14 days last year?
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Old 10-23-2009, 11:47 AM   #22
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You have to keep in mind that Free Dining is limited to stays of 10 days or less.
We just came back from 14 days of free dining.
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Old 10-23-2009, 12:10 PM   #23
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We just came back from 14 days of free dining.
That's what I thought. Thanks for clearing that up.
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Old 10-23-2009, 12:33 PM   #24
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You make valid points. Both onsite and offsite have their advantages and each has to be considered for their strengths and weaknesses.
We are 100% agreement there!
Quote:
If you were to take into consideration what it would cost to dine onsite, 3 meals per day for 2 weeks, then I would agree that you cannot beat the free dining vs. a room discount and paying OOP for food. But I'm sure that even with eating QS meals and buying convenience groceries, the OP can spend less than $100/day on average to feed the family while staying offsite. Naturally some days will be more than others but the non-park days would be considerably less.
$100 per day will not even cover a SINGLE QS meal for a family of 15!

Quote:
And you have not factored in the gratuity that is automatically added to TS bills when a party of this size is involved. That comes right out of pocket and is an expense that free dining does not cover.
The Value resorts have QS DDP only, so no I did not factor in tips for TS meals .


Quote:
Another consideration, parking fees do not become a factor if the OP has one adult AP for every vehicle that they are driving to the parks. AP holders park for free (as of right now). So it might be worth the cost of APs vs the price of 10-day passes to get at least one to save on the parking costs and other benefits.
But then you need to add the price of an AP into the equation. It's more than DOUBLE a 10-day non park hopper at $520. Even when you subtract the free parking benefit they are spending nearly $200 MORE for each AP. The other benefits don't make up that difference, IMO.

Quote:
I'll be the first to agree with you that packing picnic lunches for the park and cooking dinner for a crowd while on vacation is not fun. But the OP wanted to know how cheaply this trip can be done and I'm just offering an alternative idea. I thought that perhap she was not aware that it is possible to bring outside food into the parks.
Yes, you can picnic. I almost always pack a PB&J for my fussy DD to eat. BUT ... as someone who pays for my CS meals I would request that if they do picnic they not sit at the CS tables if it's busy.

Of course, they can also bring one of these:


I couldn't believe they would let that family into AK with that thing but they did ! On a more serious note, they can bring a smaller cooler and store it in stroller basket. Heck, I would even bring a stroller for the 4-year old so they could bring two coolers.
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Old 10-23-2009, 01:03 PM   #25
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Robinb - love the picture!! I'm not computer savy enough to know how to pull individual quotes off of the board and incorporate them into my responses. but I can certainly see that there is pros and cons to both staying on site and off site. I didnt' realize that you could take anything other than maybe a couple of munchies into the parks so that would be an option. And I promise that we won't sit on paying customers seats. Seriously, I am really enjoying getting all these ideas and I'm going to keep crunching numbers to see what will work out the best.
I'm thinking the older guys would love the freedom of being onsite as I can see them getting thru the parks much more quickly than my dh and I could with the younger set. I don't know if that would be doable tho as normally my gang is back in school by the time free dining starts and I don't think we could stay onsite without having the free dining. If I could get free dining, I would actually be willing to back off to a 10 day trip.
Madforthe mouse - We are all at one address. They are all mine and his together and even the oldest is still living at home. I thought that it was eight total, tho, so that is still one more person than I thought I could volunteer. If we can get most of the adult passes discounted, maybe I could try undercover tourist or somewhere for the other passes? Thanks again to all.
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Old 10-23-2009, 01:12 PM   #26
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Our family isn't as large as yours (we're only a family of 6) and we would not consider staying onsite for any reason other than free dining. If we're paying for our meals, then we stay offsite.
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Old 10-23-2009, 01:16 PM   #27
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Just a note on the give a day get a day, while I think that the idea of the promotion is wonderful I don't really see it's value for a family like yours that wants to stay for a long trip. The cost to add one more day onto a longer theme park ticket is peanuts. So instead of buying 10 day one park expiring passes you could buy 9 day one park expiring passes. I don't have the exact number in front of me but I beleive the difference is cost between the 9 and 10 day is about $2 even times 15 I don't even think it's worth the paperwork to get the free days in the give a day get a day.
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Old 10-23-2009, 01:19 PM   #28
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Quote:
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I thought it was changed to 14 days last year?
Quote:
Originally Posted by neatokimmo View Post
We just came back from 14 days of free dining.
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Originally Posted by Gr8t Fan View Post
That's what I thought. Thanks for clearing that up.
I stand corrected. Maybe I'm thinking of the Oct-Dec free dining from this year? Or maybe it was one of the PINs I got? One of them had a minimum of 3 nights and a maximum of 10.
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Old 10-23-2009, 01:53 PM   #29
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if You can't go during free dining (which used to be limited to 10 days) then the house would work fine for you. The in-home laundry would be a real advantage for such a large family. We do about laundry about 3 times in 2 weeks but there are only 3 of us!
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Old 10-23-2009, 02:10 PM   #30
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Just a note on the give a day get a day, while I think that the idea of the promotion is wonderful I don't really see it's value for a family like yours that wants to stay for a long trip. The cost to add one more day onto a longer theme park ticket is peanuts. So instead of buying 10 day one park expiring passes you could buy 9 day one park expiring passes. I don't have the exact number in front of me but I beleive the difference is cost between the 9 and 10 day is about $2 even times 15 I don't even think it's worth the paperwork to get the free days in the give a day get a day.
The "give a day" promotion is great, if you aren't booking a package. The birthday passes were upgradable, so hopefully these will be as well. If they are, you could upgrade those tickets to longer tickets and get credit for the price of a one day ticket towards your new, longer ticket. If you are staying on site and booked a package, you won't be able to do that as you can't combine two tickets (your free one and the one-day base you had to buy for free dining) into one.

Even if the tickets are not upgradable or they want the free dining package, they could still use it to get a day 11 for the older ones and have it be a pool day for the little ones and a parent if they are doing the free dining package.
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