Hard time selecting a place to stay....help!

Discussion in 'Disney Resorts' started by 4leobeans, Jan 10, 2017.

  1. 4leobeans

    4leobeans Mouseketeer

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    I am in the early stages of planning a September 2017 trip for our family of five. We want to stay on site due to the ages of our kids (9, 7, 4 at time of travel).

    We've stayed at POR (Royal rooms) and the cabins at FW.

    I was thinking Art of Animation this year, but as I'm pricing it out, it's turning out to be more expensive than I expected. We plan to get the dining plan, and of course would have fingers crossed for free dining. I realize it's free QS at a value, and I would upgrade to the regular plan (extra $60/night). I posted an earlier thread asking about the family suites at either of the value resorts, and really appreciate the advice from folks on this board!

    Assuming we were lucky enough to get FD, there's only about a $400 price difference between AofA, The villas at Wilderness Lodge or a garden wing room at The Contemporary.....:ssst:

    Where would you try and book? The Contemporary looks beautiful for me, less sure if the kids would like it....
     
  2. AshleeH

    AshleeH DIS Veteran

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    Personally, I refuse to pay the prices for AoA suites. Granted, we always stay Deluxe, but they are priced out so close to the Deluxes, why not just upgrade completely?

    I've stayed at both Wilderness Lodge villas and the Garden Wing in Contemporary (on the same trip, ironically lol!) and Contemporary is my favorite by far. But there are some reasons for this:

    1) Location. You can't beat it. I don't care what hotel you mention - Contemporary/BLT will always be the clearcut winner on location.
    2) My kids loved staying in "the monorail hotel" even though our wing wasn't actually in the tower.
    3) My husband and I loved not being stuck relying on Disney transportation for our trip. The year before we stayed here we got stuck in MK for two hours after closing, waiting for a monorail.
    4) The room we stayed in (2 bedroom) was very large and spacious and we got to watch the electrical water parade every night from our living room.
    5) Wilderness Lodge is a pretty hotel, but we live 20 minutes from this type of "theme", so it didn't feel like a vacation for us (probably won't be an issue for you).
    6) WL villa was very choppy in layout and I wasn't impressed with it. And even the balcony looked out over other hotel rooms - I don't like looking out my window and seeing someone staring back at me!

    The only things we liked about WL was that it is a very pretty area (even if we do live next to an identical version of this area) and we liked the boat access to MK, but even that can't beat walking to MK. The boat was very reliable though - we've waited much longer for a monorail than we have for the boats!
     
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  3. AMusicLifeForMe

    AMusicLifeForMe Mouseketeer

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    It depends on what you are wanting to do most. I would base your decision based on the location and which park you think you will be in the most. I know you mentioned the Contemporary. You really can't beat the location. It is a 5-10 minute walk to the Magic Kingdom. It is also on the monorail loop and you can transfer to the EPCOT monorail at the TTC. Wilderness Lodge is a boat ride away from the MK. If you plan on spending a lot of your time at EPCOT, the boardwalk resort area is a quick walk over to the International Gateway entrance to World Showcase. Those resorts also have boat transportation to Disney's Hollywood Studios. If you want to stay at AofA, I will say that I've seen the line for the busses very long for that resort at the end of the day. I don't like waiting for busses, so my family will probably stay on the monorail loop or the boardwalk area whenever we go back. That is since the wait for monorail is usually short, and we spend most of our time at MK and EPCOT.

    I just want to give a tip on the dining plan. We have used the dining plan before and realized we paid more to get the dining plan than if we would have if we just paid out of pocket. I would recommend to price out what you think you "might" get at the restaurants you get reservations for, and see if the price will be worth it for you. We haven't gotten the dining plan since for that reason.
     
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  5. Nancyg56

    Nancyg56 DIS Veteran

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    I think that your best value would be at a resort that sleeps 5 in the room. You could stay at a Deluxe resort, and I bet the kids would like the Beach Club, or choose a moderate like POR or CBR. If free dining is offered, in your case it would probably be a better discount than a RO discount, and you would have the regular plan. I am not sure if the value on a Deluxe would match the RO discount, that would depend on what is offered.

    When you cost it out, look at the meals you want to take the kids to. If you plan character dinners, the DDP will pay off. If not, and your kids don't like TS meals, the plan may not be a good one for you.
     
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  6. VAfamily1998

    VAfamily1998 DIS Veteran

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    What size unit would you be getting at Wilderness lodge villas? I really think a full kitchen is a HUGE plus and can be a great money saver, possibly even surpassing the value of "free dining."
     
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  7. momof2halls

    momof2halls Mouseketeer

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    Our first trip, 3 years ago, we stayed at AoA in a Cars suite. We loved it, it was perfect for our first trip with our boys being 4 and 7. The resort really immerses you in the movies and validates that you are at WDW. The price of course is not desirable. When we went last year we received an awesome deal at the Contemporary in the garden wing. Truthfully, this resort does not scream Disney other than the monorail. The boys were 9 and 6, they didn't seem to mind that there were not life size characters everywhere and they were fascinated by the Monorail. We all loved being able to walk to MK. Honestly, we could very easily be a Contemporary only family now. And might i add, its worth the extra $400. I doubt that we will ever stay at AoA again, but am glad that we were able to experience it once. I would not hesitate recommending AoA to anyone, its a beautiful resort and we had no issues there at all. We drive down and have never used the Disney bus system so transportation is not a priority for us. We did of course use the monorail to travel to Epcot while at the Contemporary, which was awesome. No worries about either resort you pick, you cant go wrong with either of them in my opinion.
     
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  8. Mousemommy1

    Mousemommy1 DIS Veteran

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    We are a family of five and have stayed at both the Contemporary and Art of Animation. We really did love the room that our Nemo Suite offered and there is really nothing that we didn't like about it at all. BUT, for $400 more to be on the monorail and in the MK area, I would absolutely choose that . The Contemporary was not our favorite resort but the walk to MK is an awesome perk for sure, and we found the room to have plenty of room for us.
     
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  9. 4leobeans

    4leobeans Mouseketeer

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    @AshleeH, thanks for your comments. It really helps to have the impression from someone who has been there. No, it wouldn't feel too much like home for us, unless it was covered in rocks and snow :laughing:

    @AMusicLifeForMe , we will likely spend two days at MK and Epcot, and one day at the other two parks, so a MK area resort is appealing. I did find a dining plan calculator where I put in where we'd like to eat (not what we'd eat though), which suggested that OOP might be around $2000....we like to eat well, lots of desserts and character meals :thumbsup2

    @VAfamily1998 , only the standard villa. I assume because of the construction, it's coming up fairly inexpensive. I didn't look at other types of rooms. We had a kitchen at the FW cabins, which was very nice

    @momof2halls and @Mousemommy1 , it's great to hear....my inclination is to try the Contemporary simply for the proximity. I think my son would love watching the monorail too!

    Many thanks to everyone for your comments!
     
  10. Laundress

    Laundress DIS Veteran

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    This year we are trying the Contempory. The timesaver of being so close to the park was an big factor. easy walk back to the hotel during busy times
    the excitement of the Monorail inside the hotel was a big plus for my children.
     
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  11. Nancyg56

    Nancyg56 DIS Veteran

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    I cannot speak to the Villas, but I can comment on the convenience of the CR. For $400 I would choose that in a heartbeat. Honestly, with the boys I probably would want the VWL< they would love the boatride, and it is a stunning resort!
     
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  12. loves to dive

    loves to dive DIS Veteran

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    As usual, I'm going to be the odd man out and suggest you look at one of the Epcot resorts. If you can get Contemporary for only $400 more I can't help but think you can get one of those for less. My reasons.

    #1 I'm not fond of any of the monorail resorts just because they force you to rely on the monorail to get to Epcot, it can be slow and is often delayed. Oddly enough we find the buses faster and easier. I realize at CR you can walk to MK so that gives it an edge over the other two but you also have the options of the boats with the other two so the whole Epcot thing is a the stickler for me.

    #2 I just don't like the look and feel of the resort, I've stayed there, concierge floor even, and just didn't like it. I just reminds me too much of a convention center and can be a little confusing to get around in.

    #3 The Epcot resorts tend to be less, you are in walking distance of two parks (Epcot and HS) and if you must, can take the dreaded monorail over to MK. The BC/YC is a great resort with a pool that seems to appeal to the little ones (my son is grown now but he did enjoy it when he was little).

    I would not spend the price they ask at AoA. Yes the suites are cute and the grounds are cute but when it's all said and done, it's a value resort and I can't make myself spend deluxe prices for a value resort.

    You might also think about a room at POR on the bayou side. They have a little pull out bed so two kids could sleep together and the little one on the pull out. Price wise, it's probably going to save you more money.

    I wouldn't use the on line price calculator, it just uses average numbers and doesn't really come close to what your actual costs would be. If you want the dining plan for convenience go for it. If you are trying to save money, I really would look at menus and be honest about what you would actually order and do the math. Sometimes it saves money, sometimes not so much, it depends on how your family eats.
     
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  13. Nancyg56

    Nancyg56 DIS Veteran

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    Oh shoot, if we could throw the Epcot resorts in the mix, I would totally look at the Beach Club as an option. I would toss AofA right out for all of the reasons you and others have suggested, and would then price all of the rest of the Deluxe that we were interested in, and then compare that cost to two moderate, and see what works best.

    As to the DDP, I also throw the online calculator out. I price the TS meals we would choose, add the snacks I know my family always wants, and see what is left. For us, after the TS meals I know if the DDP is a value. IF the OP was choosing character meals for the family, I bet her plan would be worth it. If not then that old spread sheet would be brought out. 'There I s a lot to be said for spending a little while studying menus, honestly evaluating how the family likes to dine and what they generally order and how the parents react to snacks and beverages for the kids, and then doing the math.
     
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  14. bluezy

    bluezy DIS Veteran

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    We've stayed at AoA three times and I agree that it's expensive. However, for our family, it's the best option even though when traveling as a party of 5, we could stay at a Deluxe for about the same amount of money. But there are things the suite offers that aren't available in a single deluxe room and we're willing to pay the extra cost for those things. The first (and most important to us) is two bathrooms. Our "kids" are teens and young adults so basically we have 5 "adults" in the room and 2 bathrooms is a necessity for us. Even with 2 bathrooms, there are times that someone is impatiently waiting to get into one of them. The next most important thing to us is that there is a separate master bedroom. Our kids like to stay up late and I like to get up early. With 2 separate bedrooms/sleeping areas, we can all be happy and not disturb the others by keeping our normal routines. We also like the extra space in general in the suite. Before AoA opened, we always had to get 2 rooms at a Value resort (we have 5 kids -- the older ones don't always travel with us anymore -- so we've made several trips as a party of 7) and it's nice to now not have to worry about having connecting rooms when we travel as a party of 5 or 6. With a suite, we know we're all under "one roof". There are plenty of nook areas to store luggage, hampers, souvenirs, etc. in the suites to store all of our "stuff". We can easily get our luggage, hampers, etc. in out-of-the way spots to preserve the open feel of the suite. There are 2 full dressers in the suite which allows at least 4 of us to put all of our clothing away (I take a hanging sweater holder to use for any clothing that doesn't fit in the dressers). We eat breakfast in the room every day so the kitchenette is a nice bonus for us. There's plenty of storage space in that area to neatly stow all of our snack and breakfast foods. The microwave is handy for popcorn and heating up leftovers and heating water to make oatmeal in the morning. We also like the location of the suites within the actual resort. We've been in the Lion King suites twice and Nemo once. We were always literally a minute or so away from the food court (we use the refillable mugs *a lot* on our visits so this is important to us. It's one of the other big drawbacks to us with staying at a Deluxe resort - most rooms are quite a hike to the beverage stations.) and just a few more steps to the bus stops. We've found the bus service at AoA to be very good on all of our trips. I can count on one hand the number of times we waited more than 15 minutes for a bus either to a park or back to AoA and the vast majority of waits were under 10 minutes (we ride the buses at least 4 times per day during our 7-8 day stays). There will be long lines for nearly every resort at the end of the night at any particular park but we've found the buses for AoA to come frequently and the line moves quickly. The other bonus is that if the Pop Century line is shorter or their bus comes first, we can hop on that bus and walk back to AoA from there. In fact, we purposely do that at least one night during our stay as the walk across the bridge at night is lovely.

    All that being said, in your case, I would probably strongly consider staying at a Deluxe resort for your upcoming trip. And my main reason (and this might sound odd) is because of the ages of your kids. I think when our kids were that age, it would have been much easier to put 5 of us in a standard room as opposed to a suite. We would have been fine with 1 bathroom and the kids would have been more agreeable to sharing a bed. At the ages my kids are now, they do not do well when sharing a bed with one of their siblings. They're all restless sleepers and will constantly wake each other up during the night. They will share beds in the hotels for the drive down to Disney and back home again, but once we're there, everybody needs their own bed or air mattress. And since you plan to spend most of your time at MK & EP, being at a monorail resort will be very convenient as will being able to walk to MK if you choose to.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2017 at 4:22 PM
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  15. 4leobeans

    4leobeans Mouseketeer

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    Although everyone is so helpful, you all are not helping me make up my mind :rotfl2:. With the Cdn$ being so much lower, the price basically increases by a third, so a $500 room becomes $700....so I had to draw a line somewhere. I'm actually thinking we'll check out the bounce back offer and maybe we can make another trip next year. Disney has a lot of places for us to try out!
    @Nancyg56 , lol!

    @bluezy , thanks for your thoughts.....I feel similar, in that the kids would loooove the theming at AofA, but the space isn't the most important factor yet...

    I think I'll basically wait and see what offers Disney comes out with over the next few months. And we'll truly be happy with whatever we end up at it sounds like! I'm booking the Contemporary, but definitely keep an open mind. It's so helpful to hear everyone's comments and suggestions!
     
  16. Nancyg56

    Nancyg56 DIS Veteran

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    I follow the offers too. I wish I could just travel exactly when I want and stay whereever I want to stay, but I just refuse to pay full price. I honestly do not think you will regret the CR, and if something more interesting pops up, you can make a change!
     

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