Cost difference off-site vs on-site?

Discussion in 'Hotel & Accommodations Reviews' started by alcie27, Aug 15, 2011.

  1. karinbelle

    karinbelle DIS Veteran

    Oct 3, 2004

    Where did you find your condo? We're staying at Windsor Hills, and for an October trip it's a little more than that.

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  3. ccgirl

    ccgirl DIS Veteran

    Jun 25, 2009
    HI are some of my recommendations. Also, I would to to and see what they have available. They have a ton of places that you can get gift certificates to for a fraction of the price.

    Off the top of my head…bb kings restaurant (in outdoor outside shopping mall ) live music most nights and still ok w kids if you go for and earlier dinner (5:30) this mall also has several other restaurants that we would have gone to – in fact we did, the copper canyon, very good food and drinks (I have the drink menu in my dining room it was that good) they specialize in rotisserie chicken. It’s right next to wonderworks (giant upside-down building) on international drive. Bennihana also on international dr. joes crab shack was ok but I’m not big on the giant pot of steamed shellfish (drinks were good) my baked stuffed fish was good. My sister and family really like giordano’s (very deep dish pizza) several locations.

    We liked Denny’s for breakfast (when we went out) not fans of ihop’s selection

    Gotta love Happy Hour in Florida. We don't have that here in MA.
  4. Our 2 Princesses

    Our 2 Princesses DIS Veteran

    Apr 23, 2005
    Thank you so much for your suggestions! :goodvibes We will definitely try out I know I saw Giordano's on there before.
  5. ccgirl

    ccgirl DIS Veteran

    Jun 25, 2009
    You're very welcome. There are also the restaurants at Citywalk at Universal...Margaritaville, Emeril's (expensive but beyond delicious). If you don't mind chain food Carrabba's is good as is the Outback Steakhouse. What ever you do...stay away from Angel's Seafood!
  6. Bellamouse

    Bellamouse DIS Veteran

    Jul 8, 2011
    Sorry I just saw your post now (don't get updates anymore for some reason?).

    Anyway, I found it through There were lots to choose from.
  7. Tinkerbellah

    Tinkerbellah Mouseketeer

    Aug 9, 2011
    good point.:thumbsup2 The free dining is a tempting reason to stay onsite. Some of the condos even have private pools!!! That is very tempting as well.
  8. ccgirl

    ccgirl DIS Veteran

    Jun 25, 2009
    Just wanted to comment on the bolded. You cannot take a bus from DTD to the parks, only the resorts. They stopped this because so many people were trying to avoid the daily parking that they stopped that bus route.
  9. Stereo

    Stereo Earning My Ears

    Aug 24, 2012
    We priced it and with the free dining onsite- we couldn't beat it. The cost of the tickets plus food was more than spending $100/night- which is the price we were looking to beat was set at. But we are only a family of 4, so if you are splitting it, it may be worth it. Also, bring food vs. eating at the parks on the dining plan, will save tons of money.
  10. auger

    auger DIS Veteran

    May 5, 2009
  11. davinakb

    davinakb DIS Veteran

    Oct 5, 2007
    Another vote for off site - though again, all depends on your trip and what you want. If you want all Disney, all the time - and need all the transportation, EMH, WDW perks, then sure - look for the best package, dining deal you can find. Sure it'll be great.

    In our way, we can actually afford 'more' Disney this way - longer trips, fewer but nicer signature meals on property, etc. We usually get great deals on condos/houses, for whatever size group we have; if we're 4+ people then that extra space, bathrooms, the laundry, Internet, the kitchen all make it totally worth it. We usually drive, or Priceline a car. The car gives us more time, not waiting on transportation, and as mentioned, freedom to go off property. We save money both on food (groceries and/or dining) and shopping - always at list one visit to the Premium Outlets for clothes, even Disney souvenirs. :)
  12. MomTo5MickeyLovers

    MomTo5MickeyLovers Earning My Ears

    Feb 4, 2012
    For ua, having 5 kids and driving down, it's completely worth it to stay off-site. We need a condo, no question about it. even Disney's biggest accommodation, which is expensive, isn't "large enough" for our family, according to Disney. I refuse to pay for 2 rooms!!! So off-site for us, which is fine. Still very fun and magical!
  13. LovinD

    LovinD Earning My Ears

    Sep 9, 2012
    I have to say, I just absolutely do NOT get how many Disney fans insist that staying onsite is the only way they would consider going to Disney. A Disney vacation in any form is expensive; I have only stayed on-site one time and would not do it again.

    I don't feel like I need to be in the Disney bubble 24/7 to have a fun and magical Disney vacation. I agree that the Disney hotels have great theming, but I find that my family can get a suite in an off-site hotel for MUCH cheaper and get tons more space. I guess I would rather spend less money on lodging and be able to afford more days in the parks overall.
  14. shalom

    shalom DIS Veteran

    Mar 7, 2010
    I love the Disney theming, but most of that is in the "public spaces" rather than in the rooms, so I can enjoy it while visiting the shops and restaurants. Mind you, I generally hate staying in resorts with shops and restaurants that encourage offsite visits. :upsidedow I like to stay someplace pretty quiet. I think a lot of the "Disney magic" is just the energy of the many mostly-happy people gathered there, which is great if that kind of energy energizes you, but not so great if you're an introvert and it gets to you after a while. :crazy2:

    Not being a rides person, I like the Disney resorts almost as much as I do the parks. Plus some of the pools tempt me, and then there's the resorts that offer activities not open to outsiders, like the Wanyama Safari at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, which I'd like to do sometime. So I can relate to the people who like to hang out in the Disney resorts and just revel in the ambiance and opportunities. What amazes me is the number of "on-site onlies" who are commandos, in the parks from dawn to dusk. Except for the MK, staying offsite will often mean less transportation time, and how much impact can the great theming have when you're never there? :confused3

    A fair bit of impact for some, I'd guess, but I also suspect some "onsite onlies" just haven't realized what they're giving up staying onsite. ;)
  15. At World's End

    At World's End DIS Veteran

    Jul 27, 2010
    I kept track of every dollar spent during our last trip and compared it to staying onsite with free dining. Here is my comparison. I STILL get enticed by " free" dining, and the " Disney magic" arguments, but in the end, I want more than a double bed and a single bathroom. Maybe someday we'll stay onsite, but I think it would have to be a split stay onsite a few days, then offsite a few days. I can only take so much "togetherness!"
  16. 4HppyCamprs

    4HppyCamprs DIS Veteran

    Apr 8, 2009
    We are staying offsite this trip. We are staying at a DownTown Disney Hotel. We will be driving regardless of accommodations. No Dining plan regardless. Free parking at both hotels. Free Shuttles at Both Hotels.

    Tickets are 100.00 more in the package from Disney versus UT or Disneystore gift shop in hotel. $1388 Disney Store $1358 UT for our family with mousesavers discount.

    POR is where we were booked 1211. for room.
    Best Western LBV is two queens and sleeper sofa for 718.00 with AAA discount.

    So nearly 600.00 in savings makes the offsite choice easy for us. We will pay 10.00 a night for a fridge. so subtract 50.00 from the savings.

    If we decide to drive to a park we would have to pay parking fees.

    If we were flying we would not stay offsite as the car rental would eat into potential savings. If a room discount was available or free dining we would not have switched. But for this specific trip it makes sense to stay offsite.
  17. akadada

    akadada Doin' It All for My Baby.

    Nov 13, 2010
    We usually stay offsite.

    On a per squarefoot basis (all costs assuming Moderate or better as your benchmark), you're better off offsite. Value seems fairly priced to offsite assuming a Disney discount.

    If you're looking at one or two bedroom, it's no comparison.

    We consistently stay offsite in a 2BR or 3BR condo, equal or better living environment. For example, I quoted a 3BR at Floridays for end of year: $1,500 for eight nights. 2BR Villa via DisBoard or Dave's rental about $3700 to $3,900. . . yikes!

    Even if I cut out the car, which we would never do, it's still $2,000 more expensive.

    All that said, because I was fortunate enough to be raised by parents who took us to Disney all of our young lives, and stayed on site, I am illogically biased to onsite even though the onsite quality has severly fallen apart over the years. If I wanted a hotel room only, I would still pay more, but I would do it at the dolphin or swan.
  18. jsmla

    jsmla DIS Veteran

    Mar 19, 2001
    I make 5-6 trips a year, most solo, so I do need to watch my costs. DH and I usually take one on-site "blow-out" trip during Free Dining but here is a cost breakdown of my last solo off-site trip and an estimate of my upcoming one at Pop Century.

    October Off-site Trip

    Gas $200 (I drive-it's roughly 700 miles each way but I am a nervous flyer.)

    Bus pass $16 (I like an adult beverage or two in the evening and prefer not to drive. Wyndham Cypress Palms has excellent Lynx service to Disney-the main focus of my trip.)

    Parking $0 (Free at condo and at WDW with my AP)

    LODGING $234 (I bought four.)

    (This was a two bedroom unit which would sleep up to 8 at no extra charge. A few years ago I booked a similar condo for one of our kids' spring break and for the six of them their lodging costs were around $30 per person for the WEEK. Prices have gone up a bit since.)

    MEALS/SNACKS $80 (out of pocket)
    Food in parks $50 (Disney gift card I purchase at our supermarket with spare change) On my most recent trip I spent it on lunch at the Be Our Guest and tastings at the Food and Wine Festival.

    Grocery Shop at Whole Foods (milk, yogurt, fruit, veggies) $30

    All other is food brought from home. I don't usually purchase anything extra for the trip but pull from my pantry and freezer. I freeze dinner leftovers as single-serve meals and stock my pantry with staples when they are at a significant sale, usually with a coupon. I also bring things that would otherwise spoil while I'm gone. For instance I paid $.50 for the box of whole grain pasta I packed and $1 for the package of whole wheat pita bread. The potato, cheeses, cereal, bread, peanut butter, garlic and trail mix were all things that were left over from the week prior to the trip.

    After I arrive at the condo I cook the pasta while I'm unpacking and settling in and store it in the fridge for later use. I also wash and store all of the salad fixings. Daily I'd estimate that I spend around 15 minutes preparing breakfast and packing a lunch in the mornings. Dinner timing depends on the cooking times of various items but most things just need to be popped into the microwave. It takes me maybe a minute to rinse my plate and pop it into the dishwasher. At any rate I'm pretty sure that it's less time than it would take to get to a restaurant and wait for a table (or in the line in the case of quick service) if I were eating out.

    Here's a list of what I ate on my last trip, it's fairly typical:


    Brownbag Lunches
    Pasta salad with parmesan, broccoli, tomatoes, olives, peppers/grapes
    Peanut butter/whole wheat/apple
    Spicy homemade red pepper hummus/pita wedges/carrots/cheese/apple
    Veggie sandwich (hummus/broccoli/tomato/cheese) on whole wheat

    Macaroni and cheese/black-eyed peas/sliced home-grown tomatoes
    Bean burrito/salad
    Pasta with veggies (broccoli, carrots, spinach, tomato), garlic and Parmesan
    Baked potato topped with lentil chili and cheese/salad
    Large salad with cheese and assorted veggies/toasted parmesan pita wedges
    Black beans/rice/salad

    Trail mix
    Peanut butter/celery

    Total: $560


    Upcoming On-site Trip

    Round trip air New Orleans to MCO $308 (this is high due to Mardi Gras and the Super Bowl)
    Magical Express to Pop Century $0

    7 nights at Pop Century with Annual Pass Discount and QSDP $895
    Garden Grocer order (beer, Diet Coke, breakfast items) w/tip $75

    Total: $1278

    So, a $718 difference. My off site trip was less than half as much as my upcoming stay at Pop, even if I were to pretend I'm driving and subtract that difference. I did have to do a minimal amount of cooking and tidying up but that's something I'm willing to do if it will get me to Disney twice as often :-)

    -I don't count my park admission because I have an AP.
    -I suppose I should account for the food I bring from home but have no idea how since most of it is leftovers. Maybe I should add an arbitrary $100 to my off-site total, just don't know. At home leftovers tend to lurk around in the fridge until I end up pitching them. DH does not eat salads or cook at all so a lot of the produce and things I take would go bad by the time I return.

    So, anywho, that's my (kinda rough) take on it!
  19. Jacquie668

    Jacquie668 Mouseketeer

    Jan 17, 2013
    My boyfriend and I are pricing cost estimates for on-site vs off-site and are finding the little fees like parking or resort fees really add up. For us, a party of two, a value and/or moderate on-site resort with the standard dining plan (free parking for our car), with tickets and park hopper is actually cheaper than what we are finding off-site and close to Disney.

    However, that is not counting in any specials or what not though, we are just getting estimates to help us plan. I am finding paying for food, little fees, and mostly parking adds up so quickly so right now it looks like on-site is more cost effective for us. Saying that I think if we did deluxe it would be way too expensive to stay on-site, so we are really looking at POR to stay, as there is a jump in price there beyond moderate.

    We also are bringing our cat, so we have to board her at the Bestfriends Pet Care, which is another fee for us and are driving down from NJ, so all in all it seems like we are probably going to be fine and under budget staying on-site. I do think though if and when our little family grows it would be more cost effective to stay off-site. Plus if we say wanted more room space or were visiting other attractions in Orlando, well then on-site would be a no-go for us.

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