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Old 01-02-2014, 07:38 PM   #31
jperrot1
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It's worth it. Deluxe Resorts make it very magical. Moderates are absolutely fantastic.
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Old 01-02-2014, 08:10 PM   #32
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It's worth it. Deluxe Resorts make it very magical. Moderates are absolutely fantastic.
I agree, but OP is trying to decide between a condo and a value. I would hands down pick the condo. I have a friend who has three kids and always stay in an offsite condo, and they have a great time. We always stay onsite, but we can afford a deluxe so I think that makes a difference.
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Old 01-02-2014, 08:22 PM   #33
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I agree, but OP is trying to decide between a condo and a value. I would hands down pick the condo. I have a friend who has three kids and always stay in an offsite condo, and they have a great time. We always stay onsite, but we can afford a deluxe so I think that makes a difference.
Well this worries me a bit! We have always stayed in nice condos/townhouses right outside the gates at Windsor Hills, but we are choosing to stay onsite for the first time ever in March. We booked a value because we needed a family suite, and because I think my kids will love AOA! Hope I'm not making the wrong decision!
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Old 01-02-2014, 09:48 PM   #34
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Well this worries me a bit! We have always stayed in nice condos/townhouses right outside the gates at Windsor Hills, but we are choosing to stay onsite for the first time ever in March. We booked a value because we needed a family suite, and because I think my kids will love AOA! Hope I'm not making the wrong decision!
I have stayed offsite, in value resorts, moderate resorts, and in deluxe resorts. Honestly, I prefer to stay in a value resort. We don't spend that much time in the room anyway. Pop Century is our favorite mainly because of the food court and the buses only run to that resort. We have stayed offsite twice and have thoroughly regretted it. I would rather delay my trip by a couple of months and save up the extra money needed to stay on site than to be outside of the immersive Disney bubble. But that's just my opinion.....you have to choose what is best for your family.
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Old 01-03-2014, 12:01 AM   #35
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It is a great experience and it is so close.
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Old 01-03-2014, 12:36 AM   #36
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As some that can drive down for the day their is a very big difference from being on-site vs off-site. The feeling of being in the bubble is very true. Just this past trip we were there 8 nights 9 days at the GF. On the drive home my fiancé (who had never stayed on site prior to this trip) had me stop at a store for her to use the bathroom. She came out saying "that bathroom was not Disney the real world is dirty and blah" lol It is hard to justify some of the prices especially at the places we stay on site but it feels like night and day vs staying downtown or on I-Drive compared to on the Seven Seas Lagoon.

My best advice stay on-site one time and you'll be hooked.
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Old 01-03-2014, 08:38 AM   #37
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I'm really starting to think we need to stay onsite! At least give it a try one time. We could only afford value but I'm ok with that. I was thinking AOA resort.
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Old 01-03-2014, 09:57 AM   #38
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OK we went for the first time first week in December 2012- we stayed offsite at Super 8 for $30ish a night- this year (our 2nd trip ever) First week in December 2013- we stayed onsite at POP Century (12days we were there) the cost was average $140/night- we did the DDP and a lot of character dining, photopass+ also.

Not to be flamed but we had a HORRIBLE experience at our resort! We had mold in our room (a lot of it) Called on the phone and all they did was bleach the spot- still was there though! Housekeeping was HORRIBLE, they never took our garbage out for 4 days- beds were never made- top sheet blanket was bunched in a ball either thrown on bed or the floor- weird dirty towels on bed that we did not use (like they brought them into our room and left them on bed?) then they decided to take the bunched up blanket and we only ended up with two thin sheets for the rest of our stay!

So for me if we ever go back- I would stay at the $30/night and rent a car- and save the money- because we got better room service and also was treated better at the Super 8 then at POP Century!

But the plus side at staying at Resort- I really enjoyed just hopping on a bus and getting to the Parks- but that benefit- still does not out way the horrible experience we got and we were ignored!

DDP- you could take it or leave it- we did do a lot of character Dining- but the DDP- is a lot of food- if we do decide to go back- we will probably not want to do the DDP- we will probably just pre buy gift cards or put it on a credit card at the time of dining- we did not save money on the DDP- but it was nice and convenient just to touch our magic bands to their scanner and it be deducted off our meal plan- but again- we would of saved money on not doing the DDP.

It is up to you to decide what works best for your family- we decided to go "all out" and stay onsite, DDP, PP+- we had some great experience- but the resort stay was one of the worse experiences we have EVER encountered!
It just might of been a fluke - but when paying $110 more per night- it was really disappointing! We could of saved- $1210 just on that!

Also if staying the first week in December- it is pretty light crowds with most walk on rides, but some might be a 20-40 minute wait. Plus if staying onsite that week usually has POP WARNER- cheer and football kids age from 7-12? staying onsite- which could put a stress on some people- that really didn't bother us at all- other than they were cheering up and down the parks- which was just annoying- but not a big deal.

Sorry for long post. I do hope you enjoy what ever you decide- this was just our experience with staying onsite verses staying offsite and the same time of year.
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Old 01-03-2014, 10:14 AM   #39
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Every time we go as a family we stay on site. Whenever i go with a school group, we usually stay offsite.

I will tell you that whenever i stay offsite, by the time we get inside the front gate, i am absolutely spent. The stress of getting everything ready in the car, finding the park, waiting to park, riding the tram in from the parking lot, and then getting in the park is just stress that i don't want. Not to mention that at the end of the day when you are tired, you have to then drive yourself back.

When you stay onsite, all of this is taken care of by the disney bus that drops you off at the FRONT OF THE PARK and then picks you up to take you back "home".

Everyone is different. For my family, staying onsite is a must. We usually do a value or a mod as well.

If you can afford it, do it, but don't stress it if you can't pay for it. You will still have a great time.
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Old 01-04-2014, 01:51 AM   #40
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We have been staying onsite for the past 19 years. This years trip, we are seriously considering staying at one of the hotels near downtown Disney. The reason that we are considering a change is because the service has seriously declined at the Disney Resorts. Housekeeping is okay, but not as good as it use to be and the bus service has gotten really slow. Disney has trimmed down their staff too, too much and the result has not been good. They charge too much money for the service that has been given the past few years. We have not made our decision yet, but an off site hotel is definitely in the running.
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Old 01-04-2014, 07:06 AM   #41
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We have always stayed offsite at Windsor Hills. We make sure to get a themed room for the kids and it has always felt quite magical. Now I've never stayed onsite, but we have stayed in many hotel rooms in our time and even now that my kids are older--11 & 13-- it's not a ton of fun to be in one room together. That extra space, laundry machines, private pool (in the bigger units at WH) are awesome! I don't like to cook on vacations, but we almost always eat a quick breakfast at home before hitting the parks. Driving is easy peasy and quick; no waiting for buses. The $15 a day for parking and a rental car if you need it--we don't because we take the auto train down--is still cheaper than staying onsite.

Maybe if you have stayed onsite first it's hard to go offsite, but if you have enjoyed your offsite experiences I wouldn't worry about sticking with that.

Having said all of that, we are heading down next month and staying at a 2br at OKW only because we swapped a timeshare week. So it's actually less expensive than offsite. We shall see if it's that much better of an experience
But paying OOP for a 2 br DVC wouldn't be feasible for us normally.
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Old 01-04-2014, 08:15 AM   #42
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We have been staying onsite for the past 19 years. This years trip, we are seriously considering staying at one of the hotels near downtown Disney. The reason that we are considering a change is because the service has seriously declined at the Disney Resorts. Housekeeping is okay, but not as good as it use to be and the bus service has gotten really slow. Disney has trimmed down their staff too, too much and the result has not been good. They charge too much money for the service that has been given the past few years. We have not made our decision yet, but an off site hotel is definitely in the running.
I agree. Housekeeping is definitely hit or miss. I had bad housekeeping once at GF and then an excellent housekeeper the last time. SSR's housekeepers aren't very approachable. Poly has nice housekeepers but they didn't clean well IMO. BC and AKV have the nicest housekeepers and our rooms were always spotless.

With that said, if it gets to the point where the service at the resorts don't match up with the price we won't return to Disney (onsite, offsite, parks, etc). There are other places our money could be spent. But so far I'm still on the Disney train.

Oh and we've only had long bus waits at AKV. The resort is perfect but that's a huge negative for us.
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Old 01-04-2014, 09:43 AM   #43
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I'm really starting to think we need to stay onsite! At least give it a try one time. We could only afford value but I'm ok with that. I was thinking AOA resort.
Lemonears, I wanted to make a suggestion for another value resort--we have found that AOA is extremely crowded now because it is so new and very popular. When we were there in November, the food court was absolutely crazy, and I can't imagine dealing with that with four little ones.

The first value I took my children to when young was All Star Movies-I thought this resort was extremely immersive, especially for young children, because of the giant movie icons. (We always stayed Toy Story with the giant Buzz and Woody.) From what I remember, the food court was good too. Take a look at this on Disney's website and see what you think!
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Old 01-04-2014, 10:23 AM   #44
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I personally wouldn't stay in a value no matter the size of our party. They don't meet our needs. Each family is different, so you need to look at what type of places work for you. Now I see you are a family of 6, so I wouldn't stay on site at all. We are a family of 5 and don't do hotels unless it is just a couple of nights. Not enough space for us. When we are on vacation even in a place like WDW we need space to spread out. (I notice people always say when at WDW we are hardly in the room, but no matter where we vacation we aren't really in our room. We are out exploring whatever the place has to offer.) When the kids are asleep or getting up we like the rest of the family to feel they can still have fun and not tip toe around in pitch black to accomidate the ones in bed.

We stayed in a beautiful WDW themed home just minutes from the parks(closer than the values) and never felt like we were missing a thing. We ate on site almost every meal. Didn't feel obligated to cook or clean. Yes, we paid to park. We actually valeted our car at the closest resort rather than park in the mass chaos at each park. At the Contemporary we could just walk right in to MK. It was super easy. We did a ton of activities at the resorts. The only on site perk we missed were the pools, but our house had a private pool and another large pool with waterslide. Look at some of the houses close to the parks. Bonnet Creek, Windosr hills etc. I would really research where you stay. A house or condo is a great choice. I know some won't stay off site, some won't stay in values or mods. Every family is different and what works for one might not work for you. For us we need luxury and space in a hotel or vacation rental. The place I stay in needs to be as nice or nicer than my home or it doesn't feel right. That may not be the case for another family. Figure out exactly what you need/want and then see if the properties or resorts offer that. Just b/c you are off site doesn't mean you are compromising or missing out on something(unless you feel you are).

ETA: I have been onsite several times before all the kids and I feel no different off site than on. I know that is personal, but unless you do both you will never know if that is true for you. If you are at the parks, at the resorts enjoying all activites what is the difference if you hopped onto a bus to get there or your car. I feel no stress hopping in my car with my packed bag and I wouldn't feel any stress hopping on a bus/monorail/boat with my bag either.

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Old 01-04-2014, 10:48 AM   #45
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Well this worries me a bit! We have always stayed in nice condos/townhouses right outside the gates at Windsor Hills, but we are choosing to stay onsite for the first time ever in March. We booked a value because we needed a family suite, and because I think my kids will love AOA! Hope I'm not making the wrong decision!
I would look at the pictures and size of the room. It is 565 sq feet, so half of what you are used to in a typical 2bdrm WH condo. Have you visited AOA on any of your trips? We went to check it out on our last trip and the kids didn't really seem to care, but I know other kids go ga, ga over the themeing. I think b/c of how we typically travel they would be unhappy in a room that small for a week and the themeing wouldn't make that con worth it. I also know that one of the beds is actually the table in the room and the pool is just basic, no slide. Those are all cons for us. I would just be sure your family is OK with that. They are used to more space and ammenities, but the theming may win out for them. If they are excited to experience the resort, then it will work out.
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