Mind Boggled! Where to Stay?!

Discussion in 'Disney Resorts' started by nik76, Mar 13, 2013.

  1. nik76

    nik76 Mouseketeer

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    I've been to DL. This will be (if I can wrap my mind around it) a first DW trip. I've always pushed off the idea of DW because it just seems so... Big! Now that I'm ready to go for it I have no idea where to stay.

    I'm fairly certain on-site is best. We won't have a car. DL planning would just be, which hotel is budget-fitting and well reviewed. DW?

    What are the advantages of an official Disney resort over a non?

    If advantageous enough, are the value resorts comfortable or are they motel-6ish? Well, nicer than that, but you know what I mean (I hope).

    If value resorts are comfortable, which one is best? Most central, cost of food?

    If they are lacking, what resort the next step up is best?

    If the non-official ones are just as good, which ones of those are best location and food value-wise?

    Should we book through Disney or a Disney agent over ala carte on our own?

    My head is spinning...:eek:
     
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  3. tinkbyday

    tinkbyday DIS Veteran

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    Let me give this a try lol....


    Best advice I can give is just to relax - the planning is the best part, but it can stress you out if you try to take it all in. Chances are you will go back again and anything you missed out on this time, you will can hit the next time around.
     
  4. trishadono

    trishadono DIS Veteran

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    First : read all the value resort threads. Take a day or two off then retread. Then ask some questions but most info is in the resort thread.

    I have stayed at all the values, mods and all but 3 of deluxe. My heart still has a soft spot for POP. They really have great cast members and location is better than AllStars. I have 8 trips there and my last was just 11/12. It really feels disney there. We also like the ASMovies mainly due to Dalmatians. Youtube and allears.net are great sources too. Allears has menus for all resort and park restaurants which is handy. I keep link in my bookmark on my phone and use all the time! You might want to check mods too, sometimes only a little more to go up.

    If you do your homework you will be well prepared and have a magical time . So sit back, relax and enjoy the planning.:goodvibes
     
  5. jhryb

    jhryb DIS Veteran

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    I would suggest that you find a local travel agent who specializes in Walt Disney World Vacations. I am emphasizing specializes because not all travel agents know Disney. Make sure that they have been to WDW many many times (ask them to name the resorts that they have stayed at). Verify that they will book directly through Disney so that if promos come along then they can switch you to the lower priced promo. Make sure that they do not charge a service fee for changes. A great Travel Agent can save you hours and hours of research because they know the questions to ask you. They can help you pick the best resort for your family, they can help you book all of your meals and they can answer all of your questions. It is really hard to answer all of your questions with simple answers because other questions need to be asked (and a TA can do this)
     
  6. PKT531

    PKT531 Mouseketeer

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    Hi I grew up going to DL staying off site little places across the street which fine for DL.

    Now I live near WDW and staying on site is a must. I have stayed at all levels. While I love deluxe, moderate and value were just fine, too. If you are on a strict budget, value is great. I'd rather stay at a value than a fancy off site luxury hotel.

    I like pop century. For moderate we loved port Orleans French quarter.
     
  7. pepe of ohio

    pepe of ohio DIS Veteran

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    Best suggestion, look into your pocketbook, figure basic meal expense for numbered days ( for us, dining plan is a gyp) then figure your ticket expense ( number of days etc)

    Now you have what's left in your budget for accommodations , value, moderate and deluxe...

    We're not value people, yes it's motel 6 with huge icons in your face.... Moderates a step above .... Recommend highly...

    Deluxe, it's how we like to vacation... Cost the most but hotel style, subdued themed but over the top theme, great.....

    Don't let alot of threads lead you into renting a car, ( Disney transportation works fine ) dining plans are expensive, over priced and over rated, and a resort is more than a place to shower and sleep ( spend some time at the resort and pool and relax and soak up the Florida sun....
     
  8. rebelzrule

    rebelzrule Earning My Ears

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    Don't let the previous post lead you into thinking you absolutely shouldn't rent a car, pay for the dining plan, or consider a value resort. It completely depends on your family and situation.

    We have been the last three years for the week after Thanksgiving, where the crowd is minimal. We have never rented a car, and yes, the Disney transportation is fine. That being said, I will be renting a car this year. With two young children, boarding the Disney busses after a late park night, while trying to carry sleeping kids and fold up strollers all while the bus has standing room only is manageable, but less than desireable. The thought of loading strollers into a trunk, and putting the kids in the back seat sounds very appealing. Further more, early breakfasts, or offsite visits to other theme parks are much more convenient with a rental car.

    As for the dining plan, we have gotten the free dining plan offer each of the last 3 years. I have saved my receipts for comparison sake, and for us, the free dining plan absolutely saves us money. Mainly because of the fact that we have small kids and hit a lot of character meals.

    As for the resorts, we usually stay in the moderates, so I can't comment on the calue resorts, but we actually only shower and sleep at the resorts. We are in the park from opening to closing, including EMH, so by the time we get back to the resort, all we do is sleep.

    My only point is that there are no absolute answers. You have to consider your family and what you like to do and what you are comfortable with.
     
  9. disneynut11

    disneynut11 Mouseketeer

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    Ok, here I go...
    We have stayed at POP and All Star Music.
    They are a step up from a Motel 6, but small and nothing lavish.
    Considering we do not spend a lot of time in the hotel room, it is perfect for us. Also my daughter loves the theming and LOVES the pools at the values.

    In my opinion, All Stars is preety far out in terms of location. It is quite a hike on the bus to MK. We prefer POP because it is centrally located.

    This summer we will be staying at AOA in The Little Mermaid section. AOA is located near POP.

    I would suggest the following...

    Make a budget.
    Decide if you are doing the Dining Plan or not.
    Look at the pictures of the resorts and read reviews
    Decide if it is worth it for you to pay more for a moderate or deluxe and where
    your family will be happiest!
    Good luck! Happy Planning!
     
  10. vicb

    vicb DIS Veteran

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    My family has done six trips to WDW over the years, we have never once rented a car! We have always stayed on site, usually deluxe but have stayed at CSR and Dolphin. We find the Disney transport very good, only a few bad incidents in all those trips. Part of the vacation atmosphere for us in to not have to worry about driving, directions and parking. At times we have used cabs if we needed to get to a dinner reservation at a resort but there is always a free alternative.

    However I can not stress enough that I would personally never stay off site! We love the evening emh's and used morning emh's when our kids were young. That alone is worth staying on site IMO.

    Also we have never used dining plans or free dining. Free dining has not usually been available during our trips and we prefer room only discounts if we can as it seems to be a better savings for us. Also, all that food seems overwhelming and I don't like to worry about feeling like I have to be using all the credits etc...

    Good luck.
     
  11. nik76

    nik76 Mouseketeer

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    As always, this site is invaluable.

    Do the details that it's husband and me and 2 7-yr old boys traveling during October change any opinions/advice?
     
  12. goodferry

    goodferry DIS Veteran

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    That would change everything for me, personally. I am going to tell you how we go to Disney and it's completely opposite of some of the replies you have gotten

    1. Resort- You will hear a lot that "it's only a place to sleep" well first of all you need to actually be able to sleep. If there are 2000 kids in the pool screaming at the top of their lungs as you and your husband cling to each other in a double bed is how you sleep, I would go with a value resort. If not I would move on to at least a moderate. Look over the pricing and see which category of resort you can afford and then start narrowing it down from there. Personally I think Wilderness Lodge is a great value for you, one queen size bed and bunkbeds would be perfect.

    2. Transportation- Disney transportation is ok, a rental car is better. No one will ever convince me spending an hour each way getting to Downtown Disney and back is better than spending 15 minutes each way in a car. Having a car also eases some of the pressure of travelling. If we forget sunscreen, need medicine, whatever, it's not a big deal to hop in the car and go. We like renting with National and using their Emerald Aisle. You pay in advance, show up at the airport, pick your car and go. We bring our own GPS and find navigating the property simple.

    3. Dining plan- I wouldn't necessarily say they are all a bad deal, but it does depend on how your family eats and if you are willing to plan out some reservations. We travel with teenagers who eat pretty well, so having a dining plan has actually saved us money, but it's definitely not for everyone. Take a look at some menus and pricing and see if the dining plan would suit you.
     
  13. nik76

    nik76 Mouseketeer

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    So, um... Going from park to park at DW is a little more than going from Disneyland to Disney California?
     
  14. rebelzrule

    rebelzrule Earning My Ears

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    I agree very much with goodferry. I think the details of the family do make a difference.

    As I said, I have never stayed in a value resort, so I can't comment, but getting two queen beds instead of doubles has been a deciding factor in us choosing moderate resorts.

    I also agree that renting a car would add some value and convenience which is why we are going to try it this year. The only thing I could see that might throw a kink in the system is that soemtimes we go Cape May for breakfast, walk to Epcot, and then walk to Hollywood studios after lunch. I probably would just take the Disney Bus that day.

    I also think more information about how your family likes to vacation would make a difference too. We like to be in the park as much as we possibly can and feel like we are getting the most for our money. If I want to lounge around a pool all day, I can do that at home. Therefore the themes of the resort, and pools, activities, etc. aren't a big deal for us. Plenty of people like to take their vacation slow and easy and hang around the pools. I would think resort selection would matter more in that case.

    Do you like to stay in the park all day, or head back to your room for lunch or a nap or whatever? Renting a car could be more convenient than waiting for busses. Again, we have never had any real problems with busses, but you will have to wait 20-30 minutes in alot of cases for a bus to come. Not a huge deal unless you are trying to plan an afternoon nap. 30 minute wait at the park, and 30 minute wait at the resort to go back to the park start to add up.

    Do you like to eat sit down meals or character meals? Or just eat quick service meals? Or go back to the hotel and eat? That would affect whether the meal plan would be valuable for you or not.

    You say the site is, as always, invaluable. I'm not a big poster, but have found a lot of useful information on this site over the years. No one can really give you a 100% effort, just tell you what they do and make recomendations based on their situation.
     
  15. rebelzrule

    rebelzrule Earning My Ears

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    Correct, going from park to park is very different than at DL. You don't just walk across a courtyard. In most cases, they are a 10-15 minute ride away from each other (Except Hollywood Studios and Epcot, which are about a 10 minute walk.
     
  16. Dis703

    Dis703 DIS Veteran

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    Never been to DL but the parks in DW are spread out. You can't walk from one to the next, you need a car or bus.
     
  17. LWQuestie

    LWQuestie I'm the Rocketeer!

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    Yes. Here's a link showing Disneyland to California Adventure.

    Here's another link showing Hollywood Studios to Epcot.

    And the last link shows Magic Kingdom to Animal Kingdom.

    You really have to approach Disney World like visiting a new city. It's very large and much different to visiting Disneyland.
     
  18. tinkbyday

    tinkbyday DIS Veteran

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    From what I responded, no - but for your decision on where you want to stay and whether you want the dining plan or not, yes.

    I think the most important piece for you right now is your budget - that will be important in choosing your resort. The resort prices, even for a value, are pretty high as are the park tickets. I would recommend signing up on the Disney website and do a little playing around on there with your dates and hotel choices - I've heard quite a few people received a pin code after doing so (myself included). Also, order a DVD, that also may help.

    If you don't know yet, a pin code is a discount offered to you specifically - they are non-transferable and may be offered when other discounts aren't.
     
  19. GrandCalifornian

    GrandCalifornian Can't Wait To Go Back

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    We live near DL and visit a few times a month on average, and WDW is just a different world. It still amazes me how spread out everything is, and how to get from park to park you might be on a bus at freeway speed for over 10 minutes. That would get you out of Orange County from DL!

    While the size can seem overwhelming, it makes it an awesome destination. We go and spend 9 days or more immersed in Disney, and don't visit anywhere off property. We just love being surrounded by Disney and treated the way that Disney treats their guests.

    As far as resorts go, we obviously enjoy staying onsite. Even with that being a given, you still have a wide variety of choices, based mainly on how much luxury you are willing to pay for. It is all about compromise, and what features are "worth it" to you. Even within a category of resort there are different prices, amenities, and location options.

    We tend to spread our time out among all four parks and Downtown Disney, so location doesn't matter too much because close to one park is far from another. With that being said, we do love having different transportation options and the ability to get to a park relatively quickly. We do the Disney transportation, and don't rent a car. We enjoy the resort areas so much that we consider the time navigating through them to just be part of the fun of the vacation, even though they don't require a park ticket to visit.

    Overall, you will have the chance to have a great time at WDW, with a lot of different ways to customize your vacation to higlight the things your family enjoys most. While it can be overwhelming at first, it can wind up being a whole lot of fun. :thumbsup2
     
  20. mmmears

    mmmears DIS Veteran

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    Welcome! We go to both DL and WDW and you are right in that they are very different. WDW is the size of a small town -- it's not possible to walk to most places. There are buses, monorails, and boats to transport you from your resort (if you stay on property) to the various parks.

    I think the first thing you have to do is figure out what kind of resort you want (value, moderate, deluxe) and what you can afford. Then we can help you narrow down your options even more.

    Unlike many families on the DIS here, we don't spend most of our time at the MK (and neither do our friends IRL) since we frequent DL enough that we want to see the other parts of WDW that don't exist out west (Epcot, AK, and DHS). Knowing what parks you plan to visit can also help you pick your resort if you want a place that is more conveniently located to specific areas of WDW. It's not like DL where the GC is super close to both parks and you can walk to everything.

    It doesn't compare at all. Mostly you can't walk at all and you should plan on at least 30 mins to get from the front of one park to another (using Disney transportation).



    It may seem overwhelming at first, but there is a wealth of info on these boards and lots of people who will be happy to help you. There is a dedicated thread for each resort, also, so that's a good place to start as soon as you have an idea of how much you would like to pay. The photos are really helpful, too. Most of the WDW resorts are themed, and hopefully there will be one that is well-suited to your family.

    Good luck with your planning! :goodvibes
     
  21. chocovrdmicears

    chocovrdmicears DIS Veteran

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    Step 1. Set a budget. This is THE most important part of planning a Disney vacation. Don't think more $$$ will equal a better vacation. We have done Value trips and splurged on Deluxe trips - loved them all. Be honest with yourself. How much are you comfortable spending on a Disney Vacation...then.

    Step 2 - Pick your resort. From Value to Deluxe Club Level...everyone on this board has a favorite. You need to decide if a Value, Moderate or Deluxe fits your budget.There are plenty of options in all 3 levels. Don't forget - it is still waayy to early for Disney to release promotions for the Fall - so the prices you are looking at are full price.

    Step 3 - Decide what kind of tickets do you want. Are you a 1 Park per day kind of person or do you prefer the flexibility of hopping? Add this $ to your total.

    Step 4 - review the menus and play around with the numbers before you decide on the Dining Plan or not. Tons of people eat very well for much less than the price of the Dining Plan - others swear by it. You have to run the numbers and see what works best for your family. Add you food budget to your total.

    Step 5 - To rent a car or not ....Again ...tons of people use Disney Transportation happily - others wouldn't go unless they could rent a car. Depending on what appeals to your family and what your budget looks like- check the transportation board here for codes/rates.

    HTH.:goodvibes

    p.s - we are a "Deluxe resort, Park Hopping, love the Dining Plan and always rent a car" kind of family.
     

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