Discussion in 'Orlando Hotels and Attractions' started by 3ls, Aug 10, 2012.
First question is where to stay with family of 3. On or off property? Do I need to rent a car?
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On! To experience the full magic I think it's best to stay on property. Immerse yourself in Disney Then you won't need to rent a car. Takes the stress away of driving. Where to stay on property depends on budget and how much theming you want.
What kind of vacation are you thinking of? Disney and Orlando have tons to offer, so it would help to narrow down what you are looking for.
Only you and your budget knows what you want.
A few things regarding a car rental.
1) If you're staying offsite, you need a car. Just to get around. No ands, ifs or buts. You need a car.
2) If you're staying onsite, and you don't want to be tied down to Disney dining (including Downtown Disney), then you need a car. And Disney dining can get expensive.
3) If you're staying onsite, and you want to go to Universal or Sea World for a day, then you need a car.
4) If you're staying onsite, and you don't plan on leaving Disney grounds, then you don't need a car. However, keep in mind that traveling to and from the parks or DTD by car is probably quicker than Disney transportation (only exception, MK).
Good luck. Personally, with just three, I'd probably go with a Disney value resort. They aren't too much more expensive than a nice hotel room.
My thoughts exactly! I really recommend staying onsite!
We're staying in January at Pop with 4 people for 14 nights (!) and we'll rent a car, but just for half the trip (to do off-site shopping, Universal, IoA, Sea World...) and the rest of the trip remain only at WDW with no car.
we stayed on site..Saratoga Springs and really enjoyed it..had a car too as it's a must if you want to do anything that is non disney..Sea World etc
For a first visit I would definately recommend staying on site. Its up to you as to how much you want to spend for the hotel. They offer everything from value accomodations to villas. How long will you be staying?
If you are staying on property, you really dont need a car. You can use Disney transportation to get around everywhere. Some people like to have their own vehicle. If we drive to FL, then we use our vehicle at times, but also use WDW transportation. If we fly down, then we dont spend extra money on a rental and soley use WDW transportation.
Give us some more information (dates, child age, flying or driving, etc.) and the Disers can help you out better
Not true, we stayed offsite last year, without a car. Used hotel shuttles to Disney, Seaworld and Universal, and taxi for everything else. Saved a lot of money.
There are public buses, and if you don't want to use buses there are taxis, that will cost less than renting a car if you don't go to many times.
Not true, many off-site hotels offers complimentary transportation to Seaword and Universal
Wow....lots to think about, lol. There is my husband, myself and our daughter who will be 7. We are flying and will be there for 2 weeks. If we stay onsite, should we think about dining plans? We are going in Feb.....so excited. How far is sea world and universal from DisneyWorld? Thanks by the way for all the info!
If we stay at the Pop as suggested and get a king bed, s there room for a cot?
We stayed at POP 4 years ago. Not in a king room, but in a room with two doubles. We moved the table to the other side of the tv, and we were able to fit a rollaway bed (cot) along the wall.
We stayed for 6 nights and really were not in the room much at all. It was a tight fit, but it worked perfectly for us. DH, me and DS10(at the time). You could call POP and see if a rollaway will fit in a king room - I had read at the time that it would not. But you should call to see.
My only concern for you is that your trip is much longer, and you may miss having a little bit of living space - like a couch. Or maybe you won't. Every family is different.
Staying onsite is great though - no need to worry about driving. Just hop on a bus wherever you need to go.
Regarding the dining plan, we got a room only discount and paid out of pocket for meals. It worked great for us, but we at breakfast in the room, counter service for all meals, except one character meal - Chef Mickeys breakfast. Again, it depends on your family.
Enjoy your trip!
For our first few family trips we stayed on site. It did add to the experience. But then we "graduated" and haven't missed it at all. Our trips evolved from a Disney trip to an Orlando trip and we are totally happy with that. We stay in the timeshares now, enjoy the sun and all they have to offer, save lots of money, and hit the parks maybe for a single day. But as the other posters have said, there is no wrong answer. It all depends on what you are looking for. Good luck.
I would recommend that all "first timers" stay on site. I think it's the way to go until you familiarize yourself with Disney. Your first visit to all of the parks generally involves more time seeing the parks because you want to see everything.
Staying off site will take away some of that time as there is more involved in transport. Once you are a Disney afficienado and you don't need to do everything in the parks, you can take a different pace.
I have become a big convert to staying offsite. Mainly because my *kids* are now much older, they usually bring someone and purchasing two rooms is pricey. Plus, I've grown to love some quiet downtime on some of the evenings and the vacation homes give me that. But if it were just me, my spouse, and one child, I probably wouldn't feel the need to do that.
The other issue is the length of your trip. Two weeks is a LONG time in a hotel. But if you are good travelers, not an issue. I have dietary issues (and that's all I'll say) that get to me if I eat 3 meals out. If I have a good solid breakfast prepared by my own hand each morning, I do great. Two weeks in a hotel would wreak havoc on me!!! But many years ago I could have done it.
The dining plan gets mixed reviews. If you don't want to budget for food and want to know exactly how much you will spend before you go, it's the way to go. If you aren't big eaters, financially you will do a lot better paying for food out of pocket.
I don't know what your budget is for accommodations. I do know that two full weeks is hard in just a hotel room. For me, even with just the 3 of you, I would think you may want a kitchen or kitchenette, as well as laundry room or facilities close by.
For our first (well, many) few trips, we stayed on Disney property. I liked the most the convenience of not needing to drive. If you are coming from another country, this is especially convenient.
That being said, that does not rule out the Downtown Disney hotels, as they have a great bus system to take you to the Disney parks very easily. They also are walking distance to the Downtown Disney shopping/dining area (and Disneyquest) as well as Crossroads shopping center, which has many mid-price restaurants and some liquor/grocery store (Gooding's which I do not like really anymore, as they're super overpriced and don't carry a good selection).
You can also look into the Swan and Dolphin, which are, in my opinion, in the best location on Disney property. You can walk right next door to the Boardwalk and Epcot and Disney Hollywood Studios. You can take the boat launch to Epcot and DHS. They have a wonderful pool (that you may or may not use in February). But, it is a hotel room.
You can also look into renting Disney Vacation Club points, and get a one bedroom villa at the Boardwalk Villas or the Beach Club Villas. Do some research, and you may find them appealing. A full kitchen (and you can order groceries from Garden Grocer) and a washer/dryer in the room. Yeah!
We have outgrown staying on property, as we've been so many times that we'd rather have the space of a Marriott Condo nearby and drive. We like a lot of space, and only spend maybe half days at the parks now. I'd love to share any info I can with you - just PM me!
Kind of a tough call due to the length of your trip. Also not entirely sure what you guys will enjoy doing or your budget for the trip.
To answer your one questoin... SeaWorld and the Universal Parks are about 20min away from Disney, just up I-4.
Despite my love for being offsite and the freedom a car gives me, As your first trip, and a small family, I'm tempted to tell you to stay onsite if just to avoid the need for a rental for the 2 weeks, or the need to learn and familiarize yourself with the surrounding area. (Disney is big enough, no need to force an information overload learning more around the area).
A couple possibilities for you might be to look into renting DVC points for a stay in a small DVC unit. It'll give you a bit more space than a value room to spread out, plus a kitchen area which you can use to prepare breakfasts in the AM before visiting the parks, or to store and reheat leftovers. It might help make the longer stay more bareable than a full 2 weeks stuck in a small hotel room.
Another thing that might be worth considering if you think you'd want to check out the Universal parks, would be to start your visit onsite at Disney, and then for the last 2-3 nights jump over to onsite at a Universal Resort (You'd either need to rent a car for the move, or get a taxi). Then you can relax around the Universal parks and their REALLY nice hotels.... plus get a change of scenery from your Disney stay.
As someone mentioned previously, We are more than willing to help provide ideas and suggestions to plan your first Disney/Orlando trip... It just takes a bit better idea of what you are wanting to get out of the trip, when you are planning on going, and what your budget looks like (Small? medium? large?) so that we can give more tailored suggestions to suit your needs/desires.
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