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Old 09-16-2012, 07:27 AM   #1
magic kingdom park
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Hotel on the way to Disney

We will be stopping half way on our way to disney. My question is will we get a better room rate to book ahead or to just kind of play it by ear and when we get tired of driving find a hotel then.
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Old 09-16-2012, 07:33 AM   #2
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I'm a big fan of naming your own price on Priceline.com! I do it a week to a few days ahead of time and always get a great price for a nice hotel. Once got a Holiday Inn (near Disney, on a Saturday) for $35, then got a free upgrade to a family suite on check in!
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Old 09-16-2012, 07:35 AM   #3
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Oh and if you can get the Priceline app, you can look for hotels around you and book it right before you are ready to stop for the night.
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Old 09-16-2012, 07:44 AM   #4
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How does priceline work. Are there any catches. Seems like I looked at this before but didn't understand completely.
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Old 09-16-2012, 07:45 AM   #5
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When I would drive long hauls I would pick up an Interstate Guidebook at either the welcome center or a restaurant near the State Line. We would figure how much further we were going to go that day and my wife would start looking for locations along the route and see what they were offering. Then we would make a call to the chain's reservation office for the one we decided on..
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Old 09-16-2012, 08:06 AM   #6
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We book ahead...not only do I know the rate but I also know that I have a room reserved somewhere at a designated stopping point. We have had to drive for miles once when there was a convention around where we decided to stop...there were no rooms available at each place that we stopped. For us, we have always been able to get the best rate online. Another time that we were traveling, I found a hotel/rate by googling on my phone. We stopped and I went inside the hotel to secure a room and the rate was $15 higher. When I mentioned that the online price was different, the reply was that if you booked it online or through the 800 number then the price was lower. I walked out to my car, called the number and booked the room. Then I walked back in to the lobby and checked in with my confirmation number. It was a little annoying but I did save $15.
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Old 09-16-2012, 09:41 AM   #7
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I like to know in advance since we ended up overpaying once. If you can book a Priceline on the way when you know where you want to stop that would be your best bet. We once stopped at 3 places once and had to pay over $100 for a dumpy place (they saw us coming! Midnight and they know you're tried). Taking with someone else when checking out about how bad the place was, we found they paid $45.
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Old 09-16-2012, 10:06 AM   #8
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The only catch I've found with Priceline is added 'resort fees'. For example, I booked a Raddisson in Kissimmee for $65 in June. There was an added resort fee...I think it was $16/night. It openly states the extra fee on Raddisson's website, but the fee was not added on to my Priceline charge (they charge your card right away when you name your own price). I was charged the resort fee at check out. Not a huge deal, just an added charge that I wasn't expecting. Never had this happen at any other hotel, but since this Raddisson was a hotel with a large pool, restaurants, etc, they have the extra fee. When you name your own price, you select the star-level you want, but you don't know the name of the hotel until your bid is accepted. Used this about 15 times and have been happy all but once! The bad experience was in a 1.5 star hotel in Miami....our fault for settling for such a low star-level...not pricelines fault!!
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Old 09-16-2012, 11:20 AM   #9
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We're in the same camp as Cheshire Figment. Those coupon books at rest stops have GREAT deals. There's always a few hotels at each exit in the books, so if one is full you can usually get into another one. We drive until we are about an hour short of being done, then I break out the books and find the exits coming up in the next hour. We call ahead and see if rooms are available. Never had a problem and we make the trip 3x/year.

All that aside, though, if we were traveling with young children, I think I would make planned hotel stops!

If you are going to plan, you can book a few different ones at 30 min. intervals, after you pass your halfway point. Just be sure to check the cancellation policy. That's why I wouldn't Priceline - just book through the hotel websites.
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Old 09-16-2012, 11:37 AM   #10
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We have never booked ahead. We drive until tired and then stop and check prices. We like to see the area where the hotel is located and the condition of the hotel itself. For security reasons, we never stay at any hotel without a lobby, secured entrance. (in other words, we do like our room door to be exposed to the outside...I guess we watch too much drama tv)
We have never had any issues with finding a room. We decide when we stop, what the $ limit will be and then negociate if rooms are available. Last year we drove straight through to Orlando (from Northern VA) and used the hotels.com app because we were familiar with the downtown area hotels and booked the Hilton for $99.
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Old 09-17-2012, 05:27 PM   #11
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We never book ahead because we are driving with little kids and can't be sure where we will end up. If the kids sleep or are quiet, we want to keep driving. If they are cranky, we may want to stop early. We use the "Along the I-75" book which lists the hotels at each exit (also gas stations and restaurants) and is updated annually. We stop at an exit with several hotels, in case one is full, and usually look for a place that includes breakfast, which saves us a little money and time.

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Old 09-17-2012, 06:55 PM   #12
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The drive down, we always book our room ahead of time at the same hotel/interstate exit in Cordele, GA. We get a good price on-line, know the place is new, clean and quiet, and has a great breakfast spread. We know almost to the minute when we will arrive. The next day we are at WDW by 1-2 PM well rested and ready to start our vacation.

The return drive we use the Coupon Books. That way if we want to leave WDW earlier or later, we aren't locked into a set driving distance. A lot less pressure and more enjoyable.
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Old 09-17-2012, 07:26 PM   #13
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We always book ahead because (1) there are a limited number of hotels I will consider and I like to know what my choices and prices are in advance and (2) we prefer a room with 2 beds + a sofa bed and (3) once we were in a situation like the PP - midnight and couldn't find a room anywhere over 2-3 exits due to something - a convention, holiday, can't remember. That night was a nightmare and we ended up with 4 of us sleeping in a king bed!

Now we have gone enough that we know where we generally like to stop and we know which hotels we like, so I just book one of those and we fit ourselves to the planned stop. If it's before we really wanted to stop driving for the night, so be it, and if it's a little further, we just push ourselves to get there.
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Old 09-17-2012, 10:27 PM   #14
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We always go with Priceline ahead of time. I've gotten lots of great deals and I've never been charged a 'resort fee' from the hotels we've stayed at. I've had to use the hotel coupon books a bit in the past, but the part I hate is that you cant check reviews, etc if you are on the road. Those books do have a website where you can look in advance. travelcoupons.com hotelcoupons.com

Hope that helps... Maybe pick out a few along your trip that you would be ok stopping at if needed and so if say... "The kids are good now, but if they are fussy in an hour we can stay at X-hotel" Priceline's app is great, too. We've used that last minute on road trips as well and had great luck.

Good luck in whatever you decide
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Old 09-18-2012, 08:55 AM   #15
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We stop half way on the drive down and the stay at a hotel near Disney (drive it in two days but stay the second night outside Disney). We like to check in to our resort super early the first morning then we have the whole day to play... We also use the coupon books but at this point we know the hotel prices by heart so we just call and ask them for the price that we know will be in the book. This way we can make reservation in advance and not have to worry. All of our reservations are already made for Christmas of this year (both directions) and at the discounted coupon rate. If you like you can look in the "red book" as we call it and see the prices in each area. They are accessible via the web.
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