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Old 01-29-2013, 04:18 PM   #16
melliemelo
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We love Windsor Hills and don't feel like we are missing anything. It's close to the parks and we don't mind driving 10 minutes. The space, kitchen, and having a washer/dryer are worth staying offsite for us. All the conveniences of home! It's so nice to get up, make a pot of coffee, make a quick hot breakfast and we are set to start the day. We are heading there next week for the 3rd time. I priced staying onsite for comparison and it was double what WH is for less.
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Old 01-29-2013, 05:22 PM   #17
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We used Disney gift cards for all our purchases when we stay offsite. That way if they are lost it's not as bad as losing a credit card. If you keep the original gift card receipt you can get them replaced at guest services (we kept that, along with our ticket receipts, in the glove compartment.)

You can still use Disney transit for park hopping. This is especially nice when going between MK and Epcot, just catch the monorail.
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Old 01-29-2013, 05:32 PM   #18
Jill in Chicago
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Remember that in the summer you will sweat right through all of your clothes and underwear. If you go home swim/shower you will not want to put those clothes back on for the evening. Pack accordingly and you can also take advantage of the washer and dryer.

Plan one evening that you don't go back to the parks in the evening. Instead have a super easy dinner (pick up pizza....) and go sit by the pool and relax.

Also in the heat powder your feet, then socks and then sneakers. the powder helps absorb the sweat.

We went in October and it was in the 90's every day. We did a sit down, air conditioned lunch every day. This does not have to be expensive. You can share dinners.... Or 2 people can order a salad and split an entree...... The air conditioning really helps your body cool down.

Order a fun fruity drink, and then when there is only ice left, fill it with water for a refreshing second drink that doesn't taste like the Disney water.

Don't haul a ton around the parks. Just take breaks, sit down and enjoy a cool drink. Or bring powder packets of lemonade to put in the free water. I went to the parks every day (son in teens and DH) with only my tiny camera bag that you wear on your arm: dental floss (I always get stuff stuck in my teeth.) one band aid, credit card, carmex, and tissue.

In the heat you don't need to bring any snacks. When you get hungry sit down and share something. Again, not that expensive when you share.

Put down towels in the car. The seats are blistering in the heat. Also the towels are great if you go on the water rides.

Always do the water rides at the end of your trip so you are not walking around in sticky clothes. That water ride at AK gets us drenched every time.

Do not over buy snacks and drinks for the off site rental facility. You will not be there to eat that much. Really think it through and buy accordingly.

For the rental bring those squares of dishwasher detergent just in case they don't have any, and pack up some dry/powder laundry detergent and Bounce sheets, again, just in case. Also bring soap for the bathroom. Yes most rentals provide all of that, but you never know and it's one less trip to the store. Also some ziplock bags to put any kind of leftovers in.

Really know your skin and decide if you truly need to reapply suntan lotion, and haul the lotion to the park. We put the lotion on at the rental house, and we are good all day. (I'm a fair skinned, fair eyed blond. At the beach yes I reapply, at the park don't have to.)

Parking. Take a photo with your phone of where you parked, or write it down.

Make photo copies of your tickets. DH left mine at a Fast Pass booth by accident, and it made it soooo easy to get new tickets.

Don't know if you have time to go to the waterparks but they are so much fun! They are gorgeous with rides from tame to OMG!
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Old 01-29-2013, 05:36 PM   #19
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We like both on and offsite. I actually find offsite more relaxing (usually) - the main reason - the food court (or lack thereof). At the end of a LOOOONG day at the parks with the family getting off the bus hungry - the last thing I want to do is bring everyone to the LOUD an crowded food court. I LOVE being able to go back to a condo/house - let the kids unwind in the pool there OR just veg in their own rooms - And sit back and open a bottle of wine and use a real wineglass to enjoy a glass or two.

Other tips are good - go to NON - magic hours park.

One of my favorite offsite tips is to get the phone numbers of a couple of takeout places (chinese, pizza, subs) between your offsite place and put them in your phone. When everyone is tired and on the way out to the parking lot to leave - Call and order ahead and then grab it on your way home. Quick, easy and everyone's eating right when you get 'home'.
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:18 PM   #20
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That's what I love about DVC... All the benefits of staying onsite, yet the comforts of a suite: full kitchen, laundry, etc...

Windsor Hills looks nice! If I had a family of 6, I'd probably have to consider it.

But... I don't think I, personally, would LOVE a Disney vacation where I can't either walk or take a monorail to a park. I'm not sure it would be worth it. I did stay at Omni Championsgate for a conference a few years ago and looking back, I consider that a Florida trip, not a Disney trip...although we did go to parks two of the four days we were there.
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Old 01-29-2013, 07:56 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by estherhead View Post
As for advice, we like to order food while still in the parking lot from Outback or Pizza Hut and pick it up on our way home. It's cheaper than onsite and even cheaper because you don't have to pay the servers or for drinks. Then we eat around our table at Windsor Hills. We do this at least 2-3 times a trip.

We also buy a bunch of ham and cheese and bread and chips as if we were going to pack lunches. We never do actually pack lunches but when you go in the summer and it's SO HOT sometimes you don't want hot food You just want a sandwich. So it's cheap and easy and actually more pleasing.

Sherbeth Road is good for AK and Blizzard Beach. We usually take the main way to Epcot, DTD, and DHS. MK is kind of the same either way.

It's not a terrible idea to buy a cardboard screen thing for your front window. Your vehicle will get so hot the steering wheel will burn your hands when you try to get home.

Also, on your grocery store list put lidded, disposable cups. That way you can make and take your own coffee and just throw away the cup.

And if you like taking a break midway through the day, do it. We've found it's almost quicker to be offsite for breaks as the buses run less often midafternoon. If you get there at rope drop you will often be close to the front and can easily walk or ride to your car and be home in 15 minutes vs. the 30-40 a bus can take with waiting and other bus stops.

Have FUN!!!!
I think these are Excellent pieces of advice. We have done these same things.

Don't be afraid to take a break midday even though you are offsite. We never do when we go in February and we thought taking breaks was a silly waste of a park ticket until we went in June. We could only handle the heat until midday and then we had to go back to the resort to swim and shower and nap. We would head back to the park around 5:00-6:00 and stayed until close.
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1st Trip Dec 2002 - Holiday Inn Nicki Bird, 2nd Trip June 2004 - Fantasy World Villas, 3rd Trip Feb 2006 - Windsor Palms, 4th Trip Feb 2007 - Regal Palms, 5th Trip Feb 2008 - Solana Resort, 6th Trip Feb 2009 - Windwood Bay, 7th Trip Feb 2010 - Grand Reserve, 8th trip Feb 2011 - Grand Reserve, 9th trip Feb 2012 Grand Reserve, 10th trip April 2012 Disney Land - Castle Inn and Suites, 11th trip Feb 2013 Grand Reserve, 12th Trip Feb 2014 Grand Reserve
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:46 PM   #22
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For me the real difference between on-site and off-site is that off-site you aren't surrounded by as many reminders of Disney as you are on-site. However, don't kid yourself, those places off-site depend on Disney for their business and reminders are everywhere. Also the big thing is the huge savings of money offsite not only for lodging but for meals as well. Off-site you don't have to make reservations 6 months ahead and you can choose whatever you are in the mood for that day, not 180 days ago.

Where you are staying it is an easy drive to any of the Disney parks, everything is well marked and organized. I am convinced that I can get out of the parking lots and to my hotel much faster then waiting for a bus or transportation to an on-site location and I am not packed in with 60+ sweaty, smelly, tired other folks. Jump in the car and in just a few minutes the AC is cranking away and you are not rubbing elbows with people you don't even know. I know it's quicker because I not only have stayed on-site, but I have had friends that stayed On-site while we stayed Off. We left got to the car drove back to the hotel and were in our room before they even got a bus from the park.

In a way it is more exciting because everyday you get to drive under the Welcome to Walt Disney World sign coming on property. You get that feeling of anticipation of entering a place that you love over and over again. Let's face it all you are doing, primarily, is using your room to sleep and shower in.
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:22 PM   #23
hookedonears
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Originally Posted by scotty s View Post
My how plans change! Originally my wife and I were taking our daughter to Hawaii in July for her 17th Bday....But, now we have decided to make it a Disney vacation for several reasons. Turns out our son was able to get vacation at the same time so he and his girlfriend also want to come with us AND we are allowing our daughter to invite her best friend to come along as well. Since I can't afford to fly us all to Hawaii and after tossin around many vacation ideas, our daughter is set on Disney. Her best friend has never been to DW so she is really excited to share the Disney magic with her!
With that said...this will be our 1st time staying off property and the wife and I are a little worried Disney won't have the same feel as our previous trips. We have rented a 3 bdrm Townhouse at Windsorhills. We plan on doing 2 days at US (1st time) and 4 full days at Disney with park hopper tickets. After the last Disney trip during the summer months (June) we said never again....Now we're gonna be there June 29th - July 6th. I can just imagine how hot and humid it will be!!
In the past we have always done the DDP amd obviously that is not an option for this trip....
Any tips or advise for us "off property" newbies would be greatly appreciated!!
Unfortunately, we've stayed off property 3 times, and to us, there was a big difference in the experience that we had. It just didn't seem to be the same and the magic was diluted in some kind of way. A big part of it, was having to drive a car and park in giant parking lots. It’s always nice riding the Monorail home after a long day at the parks. That being said, even though we were off property, we always had a great time.
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:24 PM   #24
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Unfortunately, we've stayed off property 3 times, and to us, there was a big difference in the experience that we had. It just didn't seem to be the same and the magic was diluted in some kind of way. A big part of it, was having to drive a car and park in giant parking lots. It’s always nice riding the Monorail home after a long day at the parks. That being said, even though we were off property, we always had a great time.
My problem is that one of my favorites rides at WDW is the ferry. The last time we didn't have a car we made a boat trip to the Polynesian and walked to the T&TC to take the ferry back. This was fun by the way.

We always have a car now onsite or off so hotel location is more irrelevant for us.
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:30 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by MichiganDVC View Post
That's what I love about DVC... All the benefits of staying onsite, yet the comforts of a suite: full kitchen, laundry, etc...

Windsor Hills looks nice! If I had a family of 6, I'd probably have to consider it.

But... I don't think I, personally, would LOVE a Disney vacation where I can't either walk or take a monorail to a park. I'm not sure it would be worth it. I did stay at Omni Championsgate for a conference a few years ago and looking back, I consider that a Florida trip, not a Disney trip...although we did go to parks two of the four days we were there.
This is us as well and we are a party of 10. We get a 2 bedroom for DD and her family, then 2 one bedroom villas for us and DS. we have 3 kitchens, and 3 sets of laundry equipment, not to mention 4 bathrooms. I can understand why others stay offsite but buying DVC made it affordable for us to stay onsite. Sounds like there is something for everyone nearby. We also get rental cars and do most of our meals in Kissimmee, lots of great restaurants with great prices.
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Old 01-31-2013, 03:23 PM   #26
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I can understand why others stay offsite but buying DVC made it affordable for us to stay onsite.
If price is a factor, then there is just no comparison. I can get a 3 bedroom condo 15 minutes away for $800 a week. The dues on the points a aone would be that much, not to mention the buy in cost.
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