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Old 11-26-2012, 10:21 AM   #1
Earning My Ears
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Staying offsite

I have planned to stay on site Disney property but I am now debating on possibly staying offsite. We will have our own vehicle and will not utilize Disney transportation (my hubby will not ride with anyone else) so that is not a benefit for us. Tell me 1) why stay off property vs on property as well as 2) what is your favorite off site place to stay and why. We are a family of 4... One of which is a 2 year old. We will be traveling jan 31 through Feb 4.

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Old 11-26-2012, 11:13 AM   #2
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Windsor Hills for sure-- We have stayed on site and

love the off site much better. We have always stayed in a townhouse but next visit plan on staying in a condo. The only reason is to be closer to the clubhouse pool
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Old 11-26-2012, 11:18 AM   #3
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We stayed on-site last year and I was kind of disappointed. Don't get me wrong, the cast members and mouse keeping were awesome as were the resort grounds, but I felt like I was paying an arm and a leg for a room that I would consider a $60 motel room. This next trip we are staying off site in a three bdrm condo. We get a kitchen and a private pool and still be saving over $1000.
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Old 11-26-2012, 12:20 PM   #4
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more room for your money - look at Wyndham bonnet creek or another timeshares. get a 1 or 2 bedroom if you can.

you can cook (don't have to) and save money that way - even if you don't want to cook - you can get fully prepared meals at Publix - get heat them up.

or just get the meat and go the vegetables fresh.

Florida has wonderfully fresh vegetables and fruits.

also stay onsite - but lately just a night or two in a 7 day stay.
Pat J

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Old 11-26-2012, 01:43 PM   #5
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We just stayed offsite for the first time last month. I love onsite, but DH wanted more space...and we were traveling with my Dmom. We booked a 2BR deluxe unit ($837 for the week) at Bonnet Creek and loved it. It is really on property (right next to Carribean Beach) and was so easy to get around. We also drove our own van (except for one morning that I took the shuttle...not a fan of that!)everywhere we went.
We ventured off property for a few meals and to get groceries. Bonnet Creek was lovely and spacious and we will most likely stay here from now on...unless WDW gives us an offer we cant refuse
8/87-Disneymoon, offsite 7/92-DD's 1st trip 2/94-Land/Sea, Dixie Landings 10/99-offsite 4/03-CR tower MK view 11/05-POP 12/06-WL 1/08-POP, DD's Grad Trip 3/09-Poly 5/10-BLT, 1BR 6/11-POP 10/12 Bonnet Creek 6/14-Bonnet Creek/2 nights at AOA
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Old 12-02-2012, 03:36 PM   #6
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We are staying offsite for our Christmas trip and I was wondering whether you had any tips? Transportation and parking, particularly.

We will have our own car, this is our first trip to DW and therefore have absolutely no idea what to expect

We have a 5-day hopper and are planning on doing MK, HS, AK & Epcot. We got our tickets from AAA.

Thanks in advance!
Christmas 2012 - Disney World
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Old 12-02-2012, 04:09 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Northernlites View Post
love the off site much better. We have always stayed in a townhouse but next visit plan on staying in a condo. The only reason is to be closer to the clubhouse pool
please excuse my ignorance, but what's the difference between townhouse and condo?
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Old 12-05-2012, 01:49 PM   #8
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We will NEVER stay onsite again
We stayed at Emerald Island and I have to tell you I was a nervous Nellie! We have only gone a few times and we have stayed at Wilderness Lodge and Port Orleans..don't get me wrong they were nice...but staying in a rental home with our own hot tub, heated pool, theater room, our own ensuite bathroom, huge kitched and a game room...it was AWESOME!
I thought the drive to the parks would be the downer...IT WAS THE BEST. WE were not stuck on a bus with cranky kids and parents for 1/2 hour as the bus made it's few stops at the resorts, we were able to walk right to our cars get in and GO! Driving was super easy in the area and there were so many other things we were able to see by not being just on site at WDW.
I guess you could say I HIGHLY recommend renting a villa or townhouse!
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Old 12-05-2012, 02:57 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Daisydd77 View Post
1) why stay off property vs on property
The big perks of staying onsite are driving, EMH, and getting the dining plan. We'd drive either way, and the Extra Magic Hours don't excite us much because you have to either get up earlier or stay later to take advantage of them, and they usually put you in the busiest park. We'd probably like them better if we Park Hopped, but we're too lazy.

I'm not overly enthused about the DDP because I hate being tied down to ADRs, and I think it's likely too much food. The kids aren't enthused about the dining plans because it's not enough food -- they love SeaWorld's plan because they can nosh all day. Maybe we'd like the Disney plan better if we could trade in the meals for bunches of snack credits.

The big perk of staying offsite, at least for us, is you get a lot more space for a lot less money. We also value the full kitchen -- even if we never use it otherwise, we much prefer having a quiet breakfast in the unit. Having a full kitchen and a nice dining room makes our day start out right.

Depending on where you stay, you can also get a much quieter unit than the average onsite noise level. Pretty much all the onsite hotels have a pretty high energy level, and part of that is just noise -- kids loudly having a good time, music everywhere you go, parties at the pool with lifeguards on the loudspeaker, boathorns or buses reving up in the morning that you can hear from some rooms, etc.

Some people find that kind of thing energizing and all part of the Disney Magic. Other people find it outright annoying either from the git go (bus noises) or within a few days as they get more tired and worn (boathorns, happy kids). There are plenty of places to stay offsite that are pretty high energy, but if you're looking for quiet, it's easier to find offsite.

For me, most of the "Disney magic" is the theming, and while that excites me enough I'd love to stay onsite sometime, it would be on a trip where we're onsite for a while, then we'd move somewhere quiet to recover.

Originally Posted by married2mm View Post
please excuse my ignorance, but what's the difference between townhouse and condo?
I don't know if it's the official difference, but around here a townhome may be attached on either side, but you never have anyone above you and you always have direct access to the street and sometimes even an assigned parking space right by the unit. And that's the definition used in the TS systems we've used (all two of them with townhomes ).

Condos, OTOH, are like apartments in that you may be above someone and have someone above you, your door may open into a common corridor and you may have to walk a fair way to get to your car, etc.
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Old 12-05-2012, 09:38 PM   #10
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We have done plenty of both, but we have stayed offsite for the past 7 or 8 years at Bahama Bay Resort. Very large condos, nice pools and landscaping, and a low price. You get a real kitchen, laundry, 2-3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 2 balconies, etc for less than $100/night.

However, for our January trip we are staying at POR. The Play/Stay/Dine offer, free ME airport ride, no parking fees, and no gas made the total cost of an on-site stay less than off-site.

It's a trade-off between more space vs on-site convenience/ambiance.
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Old 12-05-2012, 10:05 PM   #11
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We own DVC and another timeshare, and we love staying offsite and onsite.

So far we have only stayed at Marriott Grande Vista offsite, but are open to others.

For us the biggest pro to staying on site is that we don't need to be on the same schedule. I am a more commando, and DBF is more lay by the pool and go with the flow. He can meet me when he wants to.

We have also never run into problems with other guests like we have at Grande Vista. I think this is based on the sheer amount of staff around at Disney, so loud obnoxious behavior is dealt with by staff, not byguests.

But...the biggest pro for staying "off campus"...is the peace. Disney can feel intense. Off site is more relaxing for us.

This is our experience, not true to everyone. Next trip I am hoping to stay at OKW...it feels like it will be the best of both worlds.
Previous Trips to WDW: Offsite (1980, 1996, 1997, 2008); SSR (2005, 2008, 2010, 2011); BWV (2009, 2010, 2011,2012); WLV (2010); AKL-Jambo (2011); AKL-Kidani (2011); BLT (2012) Upcoming: 2013 BWV (2) and AKL-Jambo

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Old 12-05-2012, 10:44 PM   #12
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also stay both and there is one thing you forgot Dan - at least for me.

views - Disney has some really great views - OKW, AKL, and my favorite BLT.

love looking at the MK....

anyway offsite is generally cheaper and you have more control.
Pat J

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Old 12-06-2012, 11:20 AM   #13
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We just finished our first on site stay since 1995! We have stayed offsite in various hotels, condos, and townhouses. Our last 2 stays were in Windsor Hills townhouses with 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, and a splash pool out the back door. Staying on site was kind of a let down. I love the Disney atmosphere, and Animal Kingdom Lodge was very nice, but we felt crowded in a 1 bedroom villa. We had 3 boys with us ages 10, 11, and 14. They all slept in the living room. We also really missed the splash pool. Last year the kids would just go out and jump in the pool whenever they wanted, and they did most mornings. This year they had to wait until we could walk them all the way to the pool, and we only made it down 2 times.

We plan to try the Boardwalk next time, but we may end up back in Windsor Hills eventually. So much more space for less cost. We don't use Disney transportation, we prefer to drive. I guess if you used their transportation that would be a big benefit.
Me DH DS14 DS13
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Old 12-07-2012, 12:36 PM   #14
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I like having my own car, and we always drive down anyway. But, if you take out transportation concerns, the huge benefit to offsite is WAY more space for less money.

We've stayed at the Buena Vista Suites. It was right across from the gates and we got into the parks in no time at all. The kids LOVE driving under the signs everyday. You can usually find a discount for them through MouseSavers. Once you subtracted the discount and added the daily park parking fee, it was about the same price as a Value resort. However, for that price we got a Suite with a separate living room w/ pull out couch, lounge chair, plus small kitchen table with 2 chairs. The bedroom alone was larger than a Value, plus we had the living room on top. It also came with a mini-fridge and microwave (at the time the Values did not). It also came with a full (not Continental) morning breakfast. We saved so much on food by filling up on a big breakfast before going to the parks. We'd then eat lunch late and usually just snack or split a meal for dinner since we'd had lunch so late.

We've also stayed at a Windsor Hills condo. 3 bedroom 2 bath that we split with my parents. They had a room, we had a room, and the kids had a room. Plus a living room, dining area, and kitchen. We never cooked, but did have some milk and breakfast foods to eat in the condo. Had lots of space for WAY less than 2 values. Also had a washer/dryer which was a plus for that trip b/c my 4 month old soiled at LEAST 2 sets of clothes each day. I don't know what happened that week with him, but I did a lot of laundry. I'm an overpacker, and I would have run out of clothes for him mid-week, not to mention his soiled stuff would have been very nasty if not attended to promptly. I was glad I wasn't stuck in a hotel laundromat. Took a tad bit longer to get into the parks, but still not bad at all. We regularly beat my cousin who was staying onsite and taking the buses (we had fun comparing times).

If it were just 2 adults, fine. But, with kids, I just like to have more room. We might be tempted to stay onsite for free dining or another great deal, but the space would be a big adjustment.
me dh ds (8) dd (6) ds (2)

A few trips as a kid, first in 1979 last in 1991.
Trips with dh and our kids:
April/May 2008 - Buena Vista Suites
March 2011 - Windsor Palms
February 2013 - Disneyland!! TR in progress!

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Old 12-07-2012, 12:56 PM   #15
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We are staying offsite right now. Unless you staying in a condo, my main dislike is the laundry facilities or lack of. Also, you don't really feel like you're at "Disney" I feel that if you are going to Disney you should experience the Magic. If you're taking a vacation in Orlando, then that's something different.
(DH)(Me) (DD):artist(DS)

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