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Old 04-25-2013, 08:48 PM   #16
Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina
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Originally Posted by KTSMOM View Post
no going to the grocery store, no watching the news.
Both completely optional even if staying offsite. We have stayed offsite now on several trips, and not one property forced us to keep up on current events or cook our own meals.
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Jan. 2009....onsite at POR: all 4 Disney Parks
Jan. 2012....offsite on I-Drive: Universal Studios, IOA, SeaWorld, & Discovery Cove
Aug. 2012...Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa: Aquatica, Discovery Cove, and more
Dec. 2012...onsite at SW! Christmas week at SeaWorld, Aquatica, Gatorland, airboats, & holiday fun
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Aug. 2013....Sheraton Vistana Resort: Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, Cocoa Beach & more! **August 2013 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3167818

Aug. 2014.....SVR, SW, DC, AQ, TL, Daytona & MORE! **August 2014 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=51863899


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Old 04-25-2013, 09:18 PM   #17
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If you're concerned about missing the magic, but want to save money, I'd try Wyndham's Bonnet Creek. I believe you can get a 2 BR condo there for less than it costs to sleep five onsite, and when staying at Bonnet Creek you're "inside the gates" -- it's right off Buena Vista Drive, beside Disney's Caribbean Beach resort.

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I've also noticed the 192 (or at least up where we stayed) looks a bit tired now and lots of things have closed leaving empty buildings, not particularly nice to go past every day.
"Offsite" covers a much broader spectrum than onsite, IMHO. It goes from "nice as Disney but cheaper for the same space and amenities" to "right nasty, who cares if it's cheap" to "better than Disney's best, for less!" Some offsite places are as close to all four parks as the onsite average, although only Epcot has any technically offsite hotels within walking distance (Swan and Dolphin, which are cheaper than Disney). Other offsite places are a fair drive away from WDW. And so on.

Personally, I don't like the drive in from 192, except from Vacation Village at Parkway, which is in a nicer-looking section than much of 192, plus it is so close there isn't much between it and WDW. I think the drive in from S. International Drive and World Center Drive is pleasant; I suspect there are strict local ordinances regarding signs and parking lots, which makes it tougher to find stores and gas stations when you want them, but also makes it prettier. Much of that area isn't landscaped, but the naturalized bushes and palms along the sides of the road are different enough from what grows closer to home that it definitely feels like vacation.

Staying on International Drive on the other side of SeaWorld, however, means your best route in is I-4, which is typical city driving with a vengeance! And it's a longer drive, to boot. But that's where a lot of the people who've told me, "I'd never stay offsite" think of as "offsite." In some cases, because that's where they stayed, the one time they ventured offsite!

Plenty of people who will only stay onsite also say they'll never stay at this or that onsite resort again; even when it comes to onsite, sometimes you have to find the right fit. Offsite offers benefits you can't get onsite; more space for less money is at the top of that list, but it isn't the only thing. Some other possibilities might be your own private pool, or a resort with a true lazy river, or onsite canoeing, or nature trails, or an enormous pool with a double slide the kids can race each other on. I agree with whoever it was who said that we make our own magic, but for some families, there are some offsite resorts that offer a little help.
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Old 04-25-2013, 10:01 PM   #18
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I've done it both ways, my trip 3 weeks ago was off site but in a condo instead of a hotel for the first times, and I can honestly say I will be hard pressed to go back onsite again, heck, I will be hard pressed to go back to a hotel room again after having the space we did in a condo!
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Old 04-25-2013, 11:07 PM   #19
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I love offsite. We get 2 tvs, free wifi, free breakfast and I can get a suite that sleeps all us without getting two rooms. That is priceless. We is a family of 5 now.
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Old 04-25-2013, 11:39 PM   #20
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We are staying offsite at a two bedroom condo at Windsor Hills for our upcoming trip. We almost booked a room at POFQ until I discovered the condos. We were in awe of the space. We still have a napper and our oldest gets over stimulated easily, so a quieter location was a good fit.

And I am looking forward to a full kitchen, laundry and a lanai. I am envisioning a glass of wine in my hand while I relax on that lanai at the end of the day, while my boys sleep in their separate beds. Peace and quiet and no need to go to bed when they do? Priceless.
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Old 04-26-2013, 09:02 AM   #21
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We stayed at Poly last Oct and are considering going back to Disney the week of June 7-15, 2014. We have found options for a family of 5 to be limited without spending a ton. DH mentioned looking at staying off-site but I'm afraid that we would lose some of the "magic". However, it looks like we could stay in a bigger place for much cheaper.

Thoughts?
my next trip is offseason and i found a deal as a timeshare owner for less than $200, tax included, for 7 nights in a super nice 2BR/2Bath villa...over 1000 sq ft. (that's less than $30 per night.)

stayed in the same resort last year - the interiors were beautiful (granite countertops and flat screen tvs) and it was only an 8 minute drive to the epcot parking lot.

now that exact deal is rarely available, but the savings can be significant for staying offsite. that pays for a lot of magic on the dining side...and allows for extra trips this year...
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Old 04-26-2013, 09:11 AM   #22
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To us "Magic" is being able to send the kids off to their own bedrooms if they even think about bickering. We get one nice, expensive vacation a year and I can't imagine spending it crammed in a tiny room with ONE bathroom and kids grumping at each other. And honestly the trek to your car if you stay onsite is really bad. Offsite villas and townhomes usually have parking right in front of your home.
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Old 04-26-2013, 09:28 AM   #23
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EDIT: Sorry, I didn't read carefully enough

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Old 04-26-2013, 10:19 AM   #24
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You lose the magic of being in a 314 square foot cynder block room (Disney Resorts are exempted from the Geneva Convention)

You lose the magic of waking early and not trying to wake anyone else, walking to the food court to haul back breakfast, so the family can sit around on (uncomfortable) beds

You lose the magic of walking a 1/4 mile to wait for a bus that's going where you want to go, and hoping there will be free seats for the kids

You lose the magic of wearing semi-wet swimsuits every evening

You lose the magic of eating the same food as served in the park

Private pools and lanais, fully stocked kitchens, multiple bathrooms with multiple showers, separate sleeping rooms (with doors), washer/dryer, wi-fi, parking at your door can never replace the magic

Our stay at CSR is what prompted us to purchase Wyndham points!
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Old 04-26-2013, 11:21 AM   #25
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We're considering staying at Staybridge suites LBV. My husband liked the idea of more space but then said, "But there's no theme..."
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Old 04-26-2013, 11:54 AM   #26
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I've had a variety of trips to WDW in my life, going as a child, a teen, a single adult with my sister, and now as a parent. Let me see if I can describe what I think you mean by focusing on my two recent trips I did since becoming a parent.

We went as a group of 7 in Dec 2009 (I was pregnant with our 4th and my parents came along). We stayed ON SITE, but in a Tree House Villa for 1 week. I actually consider this to be more like an offsite trip. We rented a car, and drove to get groceries, and from park to park. I used the buses a few times and found them very inconvenient compared to driving.... one night after Epcot closed and half our group had already left with the car, my Dad and I timed it and it took exactly an hour from us leaving the gate to the door of the villa using the buses. Another night we drove, and it was only about 15 minutes. That being said, it just didn't feel like "a Disney trip" that I experienced as child, fully immersed. We loved having the full kitchen, separate bedrooms, etc. There were definitely many many good things about it... it just wan't the same.

One year later, my mom and I took just my two older kids, who were 4 and 6 at the time and we got an awesome deal on a studio at BLT, and we ended up being upgraded to a 1BR, MK view. It was a steal, really. We only went for four days and only went to EP and MK. No car rental, on the dining plan. Didn't stay long enough to need to do laundry. It was an awesome trip and was really "Disney" to me.... fully immersed.... we could walk to MK... only ever did that or the monorail. We still had a kitchen but only used it for cereal for breakfast; didn't really need it... still had the separate rooms (Mom and I on king, boys on pull out couch in family room). Loved watching Wishes from the room. Mom and I said we totally ruined all future trips because nothing could ever live up to staying there. From the "Disney" standpoint, this trip was more what I prefer.

Fast forward now to 2013. We are trying to plan a trip for this fall/winter that will be my mom plus the 6 of us. There is no way we can afford BLT 2BR. I've read about renting points on the board and am not sure I feel comfortable doing that (the threads about renting at WBC seem more straightforward). Plus for BLT, I would think you have to book way ahead and I can't commit that early. If I stay anywhere except for BLT I would want to rent a car and just drive park to park because I really not happy taking the buses. So at that point, it is more like our THV trip... and then really, why not just stay at WBC for wayyyyy less. Which is likely what we will do.... we're still in the early planning stage.

But yeah, I do long for a fully immersed trip.... there IS something about it when it works out for your stay. I just have too big of a family, and at the end of the day, I think it's much better to have the space to spread out, separate bedrooms, extra bathrooms, kitchen, laundry, etc.
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Old 04-26-2013, 12:36 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by daytondisney View Post
You lose the magic of being in a 314 square foot cynder block room (Disney Resorts are exempted from the Geneva Convention)

You lose the magic of waking early and not trying to wake anyone else, walking to the food court to haul back breakfast, so the family can sit around on (uncomfortable) beds

You lose the magic of walking a 1/4 mile to wait for a bus that's going where you want to go, and hoping there will be free seats for the kids

You lose the magic of wearing semi-wet swimsuits every evening

You lose the magic of eating the same food as served in the park

Private pools and lanais, fully stocked kitchens, multiple bathrooms with multiple showers, separate sleeping rooms (with doors), washer/dryer, wi-fi, parking at your door can never replace the magic




That actually sums up my kids' position. They were excited by the idea of staying onsite right until they saw the displayed Beach Club unit and realized how small it is. Then they started thinking of all the things they'd lose out, staying there...


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I just have too big of a family, and at the end of the day, I think it's much better to have the space to spread out, separate bedrooms, extra bathrooms, kitchen, laundry, etc.
I think there are different kinds of magic. As demonstrated in that thread Gina linked to, the price of Disney magic changes substantially when you've got more kids/a larger party. Right now, we've got the magic (and the luxury) of being able to vacation with all our kids.

In time to come, we'll be vacationing with one kid at a time or by our selves or with only a couple grandkids -- at that point, we'll have the magic of staying onsite... buuuuut miss the magic of more space, easier transportation, traveling with the tribe, and so on. IMHO, visiting Disney is magic, either way.
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Old 04-26-2013, 01:57 PM   #28
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Where ever you stay will have its own plus and minus on or off site. Try off site you may really like it. I don't see it as all one way or another. Sometimes we stay off site sometimes on site. All have been great vacations.

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Old 04-26-2013, 03:05 PM   #29
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I think there are different kinds of magic.
Exactly...even amongst the immersed.

Being immersed in a suite at a Disney Deluxe is a lot different than being immersed at a Disney Value. And staying offsite in a chain motel is a lot different than offsite in a Disney-themed WH pool home.

As an avowed off-siter (since my initial on-site stay at CBR), I'd do mrsr2ro's BLT stay in a heartbeat - for the right price. But double what I pay for a pool home, van and parking isn't that price.
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Old 04-26-2013, 07:30 PM   #30
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Don't think that there has ever been a trip where we have not been on-site for at least part of the trip. We have had the best of both worlds - Disney Villas either through my sister who owns DVC or a timeshare exchange into a week at a DVC. Usually we visit Disney with that sister and sometimes extended family. The last time my immediate family (3 kids now 14, 11 and 6) was all in one hotel room was a 3 night stay at Coronado Springs before my youngest turned 3. We got free dining and then moved over to AKLV Kidani for a family reunion. All 5 of us were in a studio there while the other family members had a 2 bedroom villa. We spent much of our non-sleeping/non park hours in their bigger unit. That trip we used Magical Express and did not rent a car and went to the parks almost every day. Typically we will have some days where we will just spend time at the resort and Downtown Disney and the outlet malls. Last summer's trip was only 4 nights on-site followed by a week at Marriott's Harbour Lake. We were at the Disney theme parks for the days we were on-site and visited Universal Studios, Typhoon Lagoon and spent time at the Marriott resort and outlets that last week. Contemplating another trip in early June. If we go it will have to mostly be off-site (I am thinking of Homewood Suites) and I might tack on 1 or 2 nights on-site Disney (either the Dolphin or POR) because my son can't miss the extra magic hours at night at the Magic Kingdom. On-site is just too pricey and I am trying to get excited about free breakfast and the extra space!
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