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Old 12-06-2012, 04:40 PM   #1
Walkentall
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Family of 6--resort or offsite?

My boyfriend and I just decided today that we'd like to take our four kids (ages 14, 9, 7, and 6) to WDW the last week of May 2013!! I am estatic and can't wait to start really planning. I've been to WDW twice, when my son (the 7 year old) was 2.5 and 3.5. I meticulously planned each trip. Both were trips added onto the end of work conferences, so we stayed onsite at the Beach Club. We tried the Disney Dining Plan the second time, which I actually really enjoyed because it took some of the stress out of the equation.

Back then, it was just me, my son, and my ex-husband, which was a much different situation than I have now with me, my son, my boyfriend, and his three darling kids (oldest is a girl, other two are boys, none of whom have been to WDW before). For this trip we are looking at 5 or 6 nights (so 4 or 5 days in the parks). On a short trip like this, I think we are really going to be pressed for time to see as much as possible, so although a condo would be awesome for saving money to cook meals, etc., I'm not sure it will be worth it. I haven't come up with a budget yet, because I don't really know what is within the realm of possibility, but right now I'm hoping for about $5k for the whole family, including the two day drive there and two day drive back. We are fine with a value resort if we end up staying on the resort.

So, what do you experts think? What is our best option? Do we stay a day or two longer and get a condo and plan on cooking, or do the dining plan and stay at a value resort? Is my budget anywhere close for either option? Since this will be a first for three of the kids, I so badly want to make this an awesome experience!

Steph
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Old 12-06-2012, 05:44 PM   #2
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A Value Resort Suite, with 4 day base tickets and the Dining Plan would be less than $5,000 for a 5 night stay so your budget is very doable. You might also check out the Cabins at Fort Wilderness, the kids would love it and you'd be a short boat ride away from the Magic Kingdom
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Old 12-06-2012, 06:14 PM   #3
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We LOVE staying offsite. We stay at Windsor Hills and it's a 5 minute drive to the main gate. I have timed our trips and it takes us less time to drive to the parks than it does for us to wait for Disneyworld buses. It really does NOT take any more time to stay offsite than it does to stay onsite.

We stay in a 3 bedroom townhouse (www.5mins2disney.com) with a private pool, for around $110 a night. It is better accomodations than a value resort, for sure. We eat breakfast in the townhouse, pack snacks for the park, are able to do laundry at night, etc. We take breaks during the day and find it lovely to have a pool of our own to use. We love staying offsite!
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Old 12-06-2012, 09:15 PM   #4
VAfamily1998
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Honestly, the 14 year old girl will want her privacy, so if staying off site will get you more space, I would go for that.

We are a family with 4 kids, and most of our trips have been off site. My kids still experienced PLENTY of "Disney Magic!"
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Old 12-07-2012, 06:23 AM   #5
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Another vote for offsite. Much more room, and you can eat a whole lot cheaper offsite. Even if you don't want to cook a lot yourself, you can do Subway, Burger King, and a lot of other places much cheaper than WDW QS. And that' snot even mentioning buffets or other restaurants.

We love Windsor Hills--they're a more expensive offsite option, but it's a family favorite. We rent a house for ~$1000 for a week. 4BR/4BA, it's a real treat for all my kids (DD17, DS15, DD9, DS6). DD17 loves having her own room with Tv/VCR, and especially her own bathroom. DS15 loves having a PS2 with plenty of games (free with the rental). We put the little two into a shared room--a big treat for them, at home my boys share. All four of my kids love the private pool--it's their favorite thing. These kids can't agree on whether the sky is blue, but they all agree that the pool is the best part of vacation!

Now, you can do offsite (and even WH) cheaper by going the condo or townhouse route--nothing wrong with that. We find we like a house to spread out in.

Although I refuse to make elaborate meals on my vacation, it's great to have a full kitchen available. I make quick breakfasts, snacks, and a few simple meals, like chicken caeser sald using the packaged salad and pre-grilled chicken strips (although the house has a grill, and we sometimes do burgers or grilled chicken on it). My oldest says that it doesn't feel like vacation until she smells the break-and-bake cookies!

We prefer a house that isn't overtly Disney-themed (personal preference), but if you check out the hosue rental sites, you can find ones that a very elaborate, with Princess, Cars, Mickey, or Toy Story themes in the kids' bedrooms. Some also have amazing playrooms for younger children. It's at least worth your time to see what's available offsite.
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Old 12-07-2012, 06:41 AM   #6
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Another option would be to rent from a DVC owner. A 2 bedroom villa may be doable and will give you plenty of space and close proximity to the parks.
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Old 12-07-2012, 07:15 AM   #7
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We're a family of 6 getting ready to go on our first trip as a family. Our kids are younger (9, 7 , 4 and 2) so we're going to stay onsite at POR because this be the only time we'll be able to do it (room capacity is 5 but the 2 year old doesn't count). I'm pretty sure we'll stay off site next time because there aren't a lot of options that don't cost a fortune onsite. It definitely seems like you get more for your money off site, but we wanted to experience staying onsite for our first visit.
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Old 12-07-2012, 09:17 AM   #8
Celestia
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We are a family of 6. We prefer onsite for the experience but have had many offsite trips too. We have stayed at 3 of the values, POR, POFQ, OKW, AKL and have enjoyed them all. We also enjoy Windsor Hills and it is very easy to get on and off property. We are DVC owners now but we don't always have enough points for what we want to do and sometimes we end up adding dates at the last minute and then we can't get the availablity so we end up staying offsite for a few days. For our next trip we are staying 3 nights at Bonnet Creek before we move over to AKL. The nights at BC were very reasonable and I am looking forward to trying out that resort. We prefer Kidani house at AKL because the extra bathroom is great with four kids!

I checked the points for the last week of May for a couple DVC places to give you an idea. If you stayed May 26 - May 31, Su - Fri (Fri&Sat are more at all WDW resorts, DVC or otherwise-so if you swing your trip so not to be those days you can save) it would take the following points:

AKL - 2 BR Standard view - 175 pts (abt $1925-$2100)
AKL - 2 BR Savannah view - 215 pts (abt 2365-2580)
AKL - 2 BR Value (Jambo house only) - 150 pts --- this is for information only because there is not availablilty, Value rooms go super fast.

OKW - 2 BR - 185 pts

You can easily buy points for $12/pt and can often find them for $11/pt. If you are lucky you can stumble across $10/pt, but those seem harder to find these days unless someone is close to the end of their use year.

For comparison, for the same dates:
Art of Animation family suite - $1738
All Stars, 2 rooms - $1232
POR, 2 rooms - $2116

There is a starting point for thinking about your budget. If you stay at a Value or Mod then you will have guaranteed connecteing rooms as all four children are under 18yrs.

Good thing about DVC - space, kitchen, washer and dryer (very easy to pop a load in at night and go home with clean clothes!)

One thing to keep in mind - WDW discounts - you may want to check the historical data as to discounts for that time period and when they are usually announced. We don't travel then so I don't have any idea, but that could make staying in 2 rooms that much more attractive and also help with thinking about where you might want to stay.

Also - if staying offsite and comparing cost remember to include the price of parking into your nightly rate.
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Old 12-07-2012, 09:23 AM   #9
Marionnette
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Celestia View Post
If you stay at a Value or Mod then you will have guaranteed connecteing rooms as all four children are under 18yrs.
This is not necessarily true since there are two adults in the group who could each stay in one of the non-connecting rooms. Connecting rooms are not guaranteed.
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Old 12-07-2012, 09:52 AM   #10
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OP, I think that Celestia gave you a great jumping off point by researching pricing and availability at the DVC resort for you. If you choose to go that route, make sure that you explore both the positives and negatives involved in renting points. Many people are surprised to learn that full payment is expected at the time that the reservation is confirmed in the "renter's name" and that most DVC owners are not inclined to refund your money if you cancel at the last minute (which is 30 or less to DVC owners).

You might also want to keep an eye open for any promotional offers that Disney comes out with for your dates. The current discounts run through March 22 and must be booked by 12/31/12. I would not expect any discounts for late May to be announced until after the booking window for the current offer has closed. If Disney comes out with a "kids stay, play & dine for free" promotion, you might do better with an onsite package than if you were to stay offsite.

At the very least, you can expect to spend about $1500+ for 5-day base tickets for your group. That would be by purchasing from an online discounter and not from Disney. Buying directly from Disney would be $1600+ for the same tickets.

Don't forget that you will pay $14/day to park if you decide to stay offsite. Onsite guest can park at the parks for free.

Food and souvenirs are your real wild cards. You can spend a lot on character meals and high-end table service or you can eat breakfast in the room, pack a lunch for the parks and order pizza delivery for dinner. You can tell the kids 'yes' to everything they see in the gift shops or limit them to one item with a maximum dollar value.

One caution would be that once you start planning, you will want to add things on that you didn't know existed. And before you know it, you're spending double what you first thought you would budget!
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Old 12-07-2012, 10:08 AM   #11
Celestia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marionnette View Post
This is not necessarily true since there are two adults in the group who could each stay in one of the non-connecting rooms. Connecting rooms are not guaranteed.
We have had many trips to WDW booking two rooms with two adults and 4-6 children. Every single time I have been told and our reservation confirmation has stated in writing, "Guaranteed Connecting Rooms". Honestly, every time I have been a little worried because people always post on this site that it isn't guaranteed so I ask everytime and double and triple check! haha! Every time they say it is guaranteed if it is the parents and the children. I have never had a problem and we always travel at the busiest times with most of our trips being Christmas and Thanksgiving weeks with only a couple summer trips thrown in.

That being said, Disney can always change the way they do things...
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Old 12-07-2012, 03:08 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucifie View Post
We're a family of 6 getting ready to go on our first trip as a family. Our kids are younger (9, 7 , 4 and 2) so we're going to stay onsite at POR because this be the only time we'll be able to do it (room capacity is 5 but the 2 year old doesn't count). I'm pretty sure we'll stay off site next time because there aren't a lot of options that don't cost a fortune onsite. It definitely seems like you get more for your money off site, but we wanted to experience staying onsite for our first visit.
I thought room capacity was 4, plus one under 3?
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Old 12-07-2012, 05:11 PM   #13
Marionnette
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Missy13d69 View Post
I thought room capacity was 4, plus one under 3?
POR has rooms with a "Murphy bed" that can accommodate a smaller child. These replaced the trundle bed rooms in Alligator Bayou. Those rooms have a capacity of 5 plus one "under 3" in a pack 'n play. It would be very crowded, but it would not exceed the room capacity.
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Old 12-07-2012, 06:41 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marionnette View Post
POR has rooms with a "Murphy bed" that can accommodate a smaller child. These replaced the trundle bed rooms in Alligator Bayou. Those rooms have a capacity of 5 plus one "under 3" in a pack 'n play. It would be very crowded, but it would not exceed the room capacity.
Ahh. I had never heard this. Thanks.
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Old 12-10-2012, 08:21 AM   #15
Walkentall
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Wow! Thanks, everyone, for the awesome feedback. I looked at some condo/home rentals in the area, and I was shocked at how inexpensive they are for a week. The week I've chosen is the last week before "high" season, so that helps, but even the first few weeks of June don't seem very expensive. We paid double that for a beach house at Dauphin Island last summer. In any event, I think I'm almost sold on staying offsite. I'm sure I'll have many more questions as I continue planning the trip!

One more question--where do I go to look into a DVC rental?

Thanks again!

Steph
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