Will I regret staying offsite?

Discussion in 'Disneyland (California)' started by jrtoastyman, Jan 10, 2014.

  1. emacat

    emacat Polishing up my ears

    Apr 3, 2010
    We've stayed both on and off site. You have to remember that DL and WDW are very different. Staying offsite at DL, I can still be to the park in under 10 minutes. The walk is very beautiful (at least from the Hojo). Staying on-site is fun, but you'll have a great time either way, the walk is not that much shorter, and the vibe all around is great.
    We did have tickets to the ART bus when the kids were younger, and that was great after a long day. You may wait for a few minutes, but if you are a WDW regular, you'll find the wait is far less than any time we had there, getting from park back to hotel.
    I think of it this way. Staying at Port Orleans Riverside at WDW, it took me 20 minutes to take the river to DD, a minimum of 20 minutes to get to a park on the buses, and 7-8 minutes just to get to dinner at our resort from our room. I can get from off-site hotels in 10 minutes, on-site in 5-8, and use monorail and train with ease to move quickly through DL. Whatever way you'll go, even off-site, it won't take you long to get there.
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  3. mikedoyleblogger

    mikedoyleblogger DIS Veteran

    Feb 11, 2013
    This! So true. We always stay at HoJo, up Harbor. Once we got ART passes, but we used ART (which was really convenient) for a grand total of two trips in five days. The walk was even shorter than waiting for ART.

    Last May we stayed at Pop in WDW. At WDW, we never knew when a bus would come or have room for us, either at the hotel or at the parks, and the walk to the bus stop from our room was long, too. It just felt like staying onsite at WDW we wasted *so* much time that you just don't waste at DLR staying offsite.
  4. briggscreek

    briggscreek Mouseketeer

    Feb 10, 2010
    We usually stay onsite at the DLH or PP, but we stayed at the Tropicana in December and I think it will be a long time before we stay onsite again. For the price difference, it just isn't worth it to us. We stay in the parks all day and don't typically use the pools though. I thought I'd miss the walk through Downtown Disney, but the shorter distance more than made up for it to us.
  5. sherilaine

    sherilaine DIS Veteran

    Feb 22, 2013
    Not trying to hijack but just have to ask the question to all of you who say you easily stay off site at DL but would never want to at WDW. If it takes 20 minutes to take a bus or boat to the parks from your onsite hotel - then how much of a disadvantage is staying off site and driving to the parks?

    I have never been but am just curious. Is it to be in the Disney "bubble" type atmosphere, is that the main reason or is there a bus you have to then take even if you drive and park?

    It just sounds like even onsite in WDW is a hassle.
  6. Blue32

    Blue32 DIS Veteran

    Mar 21, 2012
    I agree with you. It must be for the "bubble". When we went to WDW for a conference and stayed a couple extra days onsite for visiting the parks, I did not get a real sense of the Disney "bubble". If we go back for a longer stay, I will strongly consider staying offsite there as well. The WDW resorts are very nice but still overpriced. You can find a lot more space that is just as nice or nicer near WDW for less money. Driving yourself seems like less of a hassle than Disney transportation at times.
  7. crystal1313

    crystal1313 DIS Veteran

    Sep 25, 2012
    I think it has a lot to do with your mindset. If you are used to the "Disney" bubble and expect to find something similar staying offsite, you might be disappointed.

    If you go in with the attitude knowing that your offsite experience will be different than staying onsite, I think you will be fine!

    We've done both. We have a blast no matter where we stay. Do we miss certain aspects of staying at a DLR hotel when we are in a motel, sure, but we deal and still make magical memories with our family. Do we slightly cringe paying the high prices while staying at the DLR hotels, yes! But we still have a good time:) We always struggle with the decision to stay on or off site. If money was no object we would go all the time and stay on property, but that is not the case for us. In the end, we remember the trip at the parks and the awesome memories we made with our kids more than where we stayed at.

    I think you will have a fantastic time no matter where you choose to stay. Have a great trip!
  8. jrtoastyman

    jrtoastyman Purveyor of Fine Latex Products

    May 22, 2011
    I'm sure there are a bazillion posts on here that lay out the advantages of staying onsite vs. offsite at WDW and I won't rehash those here, but on the transit front, there's really a significant difference between staying on and off-site that has nothing to do with transit time. If you're staying onsite at WDW, you could have a variety of options for how to get from place to place -- bus, monorail, boat, walking -- that don't involve you personally getting into your car, dealing with traffic (which can be substantial), parking, etc. For that reason, even when I do have a car at WDW, I tend to use Disney transportation most of the time.

    The Magic Kingdom provides a great example of the difference. If you're staying offsite, you:

    1. Drive through traffic and park your car
    2. Probably take a tram to the monorail or boat
    3. Wait in line for the monorail/boat to take you to MK
    4. Ride to MK
    5. Enter the park.

    At the end of the night, you reverse this process to leave, except you do it with tens of thousands of other people trying to do the exact same thing.

    If you're staying onsite and use Disney transportation, though, the bus drops you off near the park entrance and you walk in. If you're staying at the Contemporary (which is where we normally stay for this reason alone), you can walk to and from MK in about 8-10 minutes. Walking by throngs of people standing in line trying to leave at the end of the night is the very definition of schadenfreude.

    Also on the transit front, if you don't have a car and you're staying onsite, you don't have to worry about getting to and from the resort (Magical Express shuttle service). That can be a money saver if you don't plan on leaving the resort or otherwise need a car.

    I do think there is something to be said for the "bubble" effect at WDW. I tend to be completely oblivious to what is happening in the rest of the world while I'm there (whether or not that is a good thing is a debatable point, I'm sure). It's been quite a while since I stayed off-site, but I don't recall having the same experience at that time. I do know that there are tons of people that go to WDW and stay off-site and have a wonderful time, but for me, now that I'm accustomed to staying onsite -- where everyone you encounter is either on a Disney vacation or a CM -- I think an off-site trip would feel like it was missing something.
  9. mikedoyleblogger

    mikedoyleblogger DIS Veteran

    Feb 11, 2013
    Jrtoatstyman really nailed it. Onsite at WDW you're already "inside" the Disney transit system. Offsite at WDW, you have to commute to WDW before you can access that system. If you're only hitting one park that day, it isn't so bad (unless that park is MK). If you hop, you still have to get back to the park where you left your car before you can commute back to your hotel. You're probably adding at least an extra half an hour each way from your hotel if you stay offsite. (Again, even more if you're headed to MK.)

    Since you asked in terms of a comparison of DLR and WDW, you can also look at it like this. DLR and Anaheim both try to make it as convenient and easy as possible for off-site guests to have access to the parks, since most guests stay offsite. WDW does the opposite. The convenience factor is packed heavily in favor of on-site guests.
  10. tarheelalum

    tarheelalum DIS Veteran

    Jan 16, 2013
    We always stay off site. To me, staying at one of DL hotels is a waste of money.
  11. BayGirl22

    BayGirl22 DIS Veteran

    Apr 23, 2012
    I don't think you'll miss it. Just go in expecting it to be different from WDW and you won't be disappointed. The logistics, as described above, are really so different. And the DL resorts are not as immersive as those at WDW IME.

    That said, we stay on site when we go. We like the Disney quality in the hotels, we like having the extra hour in the morning, we like all the special Disney touches and the extra pixie dust from the cast members. To us its "worth it". Another factor is that my DH and I both travel for business and are somewhat used to nice hotels, we know we wouldn't get the same quality we are used to from a HoJo or Ramada. So on vacation its worth it to us to splurge on the hotel. Just like at WDW we very much enjoy the "quality" of a Deluxe vs a Budget. Its hard to quantify the difference and it doesn't matter at all to some people, but we appreciate it and are willing to pay for it. (We camp too, we know how to rough it, but on a hotel vacation we like the niceties.) So much of it is personal preference and what is worth it to YOU.

    For our first trip as a family I stressed over all the off site and on site options. Even had a rating system for all the different features. Ultimately we chose to go with DLH and loved it. Had we ended up at HoJo I think we would have had a very different experience but still great vacation. This trip we have the budget to stay at GCH so we are. We'll have 2 non-park days at the hotel so I feel we'll get our money's worth (helps its 25% off at that time). We are fortunate we can make that choice right now but if we couldn't I'm sure Disney would still be magical.
  12. gokdog

    gokdog Mouseketeer

    May 31, 2011
    We have done both, but prefer to stay onsite.

    With discounts both public and AP, we have stayed at PPH for really close to the same price as offsite, but as many people have pointed out, staying at PPH or Disneyland Hotel is not closer than the closest offsite places. It is a different walk for sure and less glamorous, but still roughly the same.

    Now when you wanna splurge a little, nothing and I mean nothing beats staying at the GCH, especially with my preference of a Downtown Disney overlook view that gets you to either park in 2-3 minutes.
  13. ludari

    ludari DIS Veteran

    Dec 4, 2010
    I don't think you will regret staying offsite especially if you are close enough to walk to the parks. I am a DVC owner and as much as I like to stay on property the majority of my trips are spent staying offsite because they are no vacancies at VGC using my points. I make sure that I stay at a hotel within walking distance and my only regret would be the lack of not having that extra magic hour before the parks opens to the public.
  14. Mr Snappy

    Mr Snappy Kansas DisneyLand Junkie

    Jun 12, 2012
    100% agree.

    Ignore anyone who tells you the "Only way" to do it is to stay onsite. If you want to spend insane amounts of money on your room and somehow feel you have a more "magic" vacation, that is fine, but I wish people would be honest about what they are doing. It's really not my business how they spend their money and I am glad they are happy, but when people pass on advice and indicate that staying on property in Anaheim is the "Only way to do the resort" it gets me a little cranky.

    I want to be clear about this for those who truly don't know. The Disney Resort Hotels are NO BETTER than many of the fine properties in the area. They have one advantage and one only...proximity to the main gate. If this is worth paying 2X-5X what you would pay for a similar quality hotel a block or two away, than staying onsite is right for you.

    I also agree that this advice is completely reversed for WDW. We don't stay anywhere but onsite in Orlando, the advantages simply outweigh the premium price we pay.
  15. Aladora

    Aladora DIS Veteran

    Aug 22, 2011
    We stayed onsite the first time we took DS to DL and even though the trip cost more than my first two cars added together, I don't regret staying at the DLH. But, even though I don't regret spending a lot of money that first trip, we have chosen to stay offsite for the next four trips.

    For me, it all comes down to how I would rather spend the money. By staying at an offsite motel we are able to go from one trip a year to two. I also like how close the offsite motels are, walking back for an hour to rest in the afternoon is no problem at all.

    I really doubt you will regret not staying onsite, especially if distance to the park is a priority for you. There is no way to beat room to park entrance in less than 5 minutes, unless you are lucky enough to get one of the DtD GC rooms.
  16. BayGirl22

    BayGirl22 DIS Veteran

    Apr 23, 2012
    I agree with your first paragraph, its not at all true that on site is the "only way" to have the full DL experience and I told the OP that they will NOT regret staying off site.

    But I would like some clarification on the bold. I've looked in detail at the hotels that are within 1-2 blocks of DL and I haven't found any (maybe the Sheraton?) that are same tier as DLH and GCH. I wouldn't consider them "similar quality". I'm not arguing they are a lower price and you can save a lot of $$ with equal convenience, but as I posted one reason we stay on site is because we enjoy top tier hotels (Deluxes in Disney speak). Can you enlighten me which off-site hotels on Harbour have the same level of features and service as DLH and GCH? Some of the features/service I'm thinking of:
    - Multiple themed pools with water slides and cabana service
    - On site spa services
    - Child care center/kids activities
    - Extra service touches by staff ex. we had micky/minnie cookies and a pitcher of milk left in our refrigerator on our check in night by a particularly sweet CM
    - Variety of on site restaurants and room service
    - On site entertainment in lounges, lobbies, bars, etc.

    I know these features don't matter to some people and to others they are not worth paying for. That's a perfectly valid perspective. The hotel industry has developed many tiers to serve different people, Disney just chose only to target the higher tiers at DLR. I just don't think its a fair argument to say you aren't getting anything more for your money (besides proximity) by staying at the GCH vs. the Ramada. I don't see an off site option to stay at a high end, top tier hotel with these services/features AND be within easy walking distance of the parks. If there is please enlighten me so I can research more for our next next trip.
  17. Califlove

    Califlove Mouseketeer

    Apr 6, 2013
    This all comes down to what type of hotel you're comfortable in. I've been in the Ramada Maingate visiting friends and found it subpar for my liking. We have stayed at the GCH and the DLH and have not regretted it. Its such a personal decision. I like saving money but not so much that I'm willing to stay somewhere I don't love. I would stay at the Sheraton park but it's further away than I'd like to be. There is a definite difference in quality b/w the on site hotels and the ones on harbor. It just depends what you're comfortable staying in. So, it's really a never ending discussion.
  18. BayGirl22

    BayGirl22 DIS Veteran

    Apr 23, 2012
    This is my point. There's no "right" place to stay because it depends on your personal preference. I think a better way to position the decision for WDW vets is to compare it to the Deluxe/Moderate/Budget options at WDW. If you limit your off-site options to within easy walking distance of DLR then you can remove the logistical challenges of WDW from your comparison.

    Onsite at DLR there are only Deluxe's. Offsite are closer to Moderates or Budget (maybe Sheraton Park is Moderate+ but it is a further walk). If you are happy at WDW in a Budget or Moderate then you will be happy offsite. If you prefer the extras you get at a Deluxe and can afford that, then onsite may be worth considering. No one would argue that those staying at a Budget at WDW will have a bad trip. But most who choose to stay at Deluxes at WDW see the value they are getting over a Budget, even when you remove the logistical advantage.

    (I'm sure someone will jump in and say that WDW Deluxes are overpriced or not worth it, but that's not really the point here. It's about knowing what you are getting and choosing what will work best for you.)
  19. Judy from Boise

    Judy from Boise <font color=teal>Watch out – might take away your Moderator

    Aug 24, 1999
    another factor for off site is the ability to pay with loyalty points and have it be "free" I have done this a few times with Hilton. There is also no real reason to not combine a few nights at each. The real factor for the onsite to me is if you plan to swim a lot. All 3 of the on sites have great family slides, and in season pool food and beverage service.
    If you don't plan to swim(and use those slides) it is harder to justify the cost of onsite.

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