Anyone else feel that there's an enormous difference in quality

Discussion in 'Disney Resorts' started by Masonmj84, May 17, 2018.

  1. Masonmj84

    Masonmj84 DIS Veteran

    Jul 28, 2011
    between the following two types of vacations:

    1. On-site stay (prefarably at deluxe or at least moderate level). Parks from RD to about 1 pm-ish. Resort/pool from about 1 pm-sh to about 5 pm-ish. Dining is mostly table service (and preferably at the signature level for most dinners).

    2. Off-site stay. Parks are typically done commando style (RD to closing). Dining is mostly counter service, brown bag, or off-site.

    To me, there's just no comparision between these two types of vacations and I continually tell people who have only experienced the second type that they don't know what they're missing.

    That being said, I realize that there are two huge caveats here:

    1. The first type of vacation tends to be substantially more expensive than the second type (especially, if you don't own or rent DVC and have a large family). Many people just can't justify that expense.

    2. Different strokes for different folks. Some people just love the parks and would honestly rather spend the whole day in them (as opposed to going back to a hotel in the afternoon).

    I also think that some people err toward commando style because they feel that they need to get their "money's worth" out of those expensive tickets (and, as alluded to above, getting your "money's worth" is subjective).

    People also often understandably err toward staying off-site for a number of reasons, particularly more lodging for the buck (and the larger the group size, the more this tends to be true), especially if they're planning to visit more than just Disney on their vacation.

    But, having experienced the second type of vacation growing up and having experienced the first type of vacation in recent years, for me, the first type of vacation just blows the second type out of the water. In fact, I'd probably never go to WDW again if limited only to the second type of vacation.
    Ngwira, pld5, sweetyk83 and 11 others like this.
  2. happymommy

    happymommy DIS Veteran

    Jan 8, 2006
    Yes, I agree. I've been 30+ times, and my sister in law just went for the first, and likely only, time, with her husband and their 7 year old son. They stayed off site, only did 3 days morning to night, drove to and from the parks, and hated it all. She complained that they ate "hamburgers and hot dogs" and it was so expensive. I'm like, I never eat that crap at Disney! If she had asked me, I'd have told her how much decent dining is around. Oh well.

    We go often, so only do a few hours, usually afternoon to evening. We mostly stay on site, but after my last trip I refuse to give Disney any more money for that so will do Swan or Dolphin (that's a LONG story).

    I like a nice resort. Relaxing in the morning on a balcony or in bed with my coffee to wake up, having a few nice meals, taking my time, it's a fun vacation. We always find such yummy treats along the way, and yes drinks are pricey at Disney, but they are everywhere on vacation destinations! We bring a few drinks to the pool if we so desire.
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  4. Hopefully

    Hopefully DIS Veteran

    Nov 3, 1999
    I totally agree. If I cannot do type 1 I delay my vacation and save until I can. I would rather not go than to do type 2 and I love Disney
    Ngwira, Lisann, Arielfan98 and 7 others like this.
  5. quandrea

    quandrea DIS Veteran

    Jun 24, 2010
    I also agree. Been over 75 times and own dvc. We went in January with friends who had never been. They were pack it in, get your money’s worth types. We’d spend half days with them and then head back to swim, relax in Community Hall. We would go back out for a nice meal, maybe a few more rides, maybe not, or a cruise around Epcot. They were okay with splitting up. No one in my family wants the morning til night trip.
    Lisann, mister morrow and happymommy like this.
  6. DisneyMommyMichelle

    DisneyMommyMichelle Always Dreaming...

    Jul 10, 2005
    Definitely but we do a mix of the 2. We stay deluxe, club level but still rope drop, in order to ride everything in 1 park and then head to the second park to ride whatever we can get in line reasonably and have a table service lunch. We head back to the resort around 3 and stay for pool, lounge stuff etc...and head out again around 7 for our fastpasses and a late dinner and we stay until park close.
    pld5 likes this.
  7. loves to dive

    loves to dive DIS Veteran

    Aug 21, 2011
    While I like to stay on site, I don't think either type is better or easier or right. It is possible to do #1 while off site, especially if you have your own car. You could even park for free in the parks if you had an AP. There are plenty of people who do #2 and stay on site. It isn't an either/or type of enjoying WDW.
  8. MaC410

    MaC410 DIS Veteran

    Apr 29, 2015
    My wife and I aren't spend time at the resort type people but we could never see ourselves staying off property. We love the feeling of being closed off from the real world by staying on property. When picking which resort our most important thing is location. We love staying in the Epcot area because to us nothing beats being able to walk into Epcot or take a boat to HS. Being able to skip taking a bus to two of the four parks and being able to simply walk to our favorite park is so important to us.
  9. maxiesmom

    maxiesmom The Mean Squinty Eye Works

    Jul 6, 2004
    I do like being on site. But, if off site was the only way I could go, then I would stay off site. I haven't found off site to be a lower quality trip, just a different sort of trip.
  10. happymommy

    happymommy DIS Veteran

    Jan 8, 2006
    Yes, we've done off site a few times. For different reasons. Sometimes we get an Interval International "getaway", so can't turn down $300 for a week for a villa. That way I did me and the kids for 15 nights for about $2,000 including rental car, villas, and tickets (used Marriott points for gift cards back in the day which I used to charge to the room). We cooked in a lot, and did the parks at our leisure.

    We did our off site trips same as on site.
    Texans_loyal likes this.
  11. MakiraMarlena

    MakiraMarlena It's a big black fish to you

    Mar 28, 2005
    It depends on what you determine to be quality. Some guests consider quality time to be spent in the parks, not at hotels, pools or restaurants. They would be fine with an offsite stay.
  12. lookame

    lookame DIS Veteran

    Aug 21, 2011
    I really don't see one knd of trip superior to other. I've have relaxing trips staying off site with resorts that have a full kitchen and a balcony. During these stays I don't eat everything at Disney, I vary where I eat and sometimes I eat at the resort. It doesn't mean that my vacation off site is less superior.

    Can I ask where you believe staying at a value resort would fall into your two scenarios?
  13. danielocha30

    danielocha30 DIS Veteran

    Jul 10, 2014
    Why being offsite equals to you no breaks or no deluxe dining? I have stayed offsite and done it, being onsite definitely makes easier to go back a forward to the hotel, but I have no issues taking breaks while offsite. Honestly with today prices there is little value at Disney resorts. Extra magic hours events are being sold as a separate event, everyone can book ADR 180, having those 10 days in advance can’t do much for hard to get restaurants, parking not free anymore, and realistically, there are better priced deluxe resort offsite where luxury is real, unlike Disney version of deluxe. I have seen people staying onsite and bringing all kinds of food with them into the park.
  14. juuuliebeth

    juuuliebeth Mouseketeer

    Apr 30, 2018
    I have definitely done "Commando Style" on site, but have to say I favorite Value Resorts for that over Deluxe. AoA is perfect for going to the parks from sunup to sundown. You get the convenience of on site transportation and EMH, but aren't paying for luxuries you won't enjoy. I'm staying in a Tower Room at the Contemporary for my next trip and have a whole Contemporary Evening planned with dinner at CA Grill and watching the fireworks. I also have more downtime planned than ever before, with mornings planned out and afternoons free for whatever I feel like doing. A healthy mix between 1 and 2 is probably where I fall.
    Timshar2, Dumbo777 and Texans_loyal like this.
  15. Minniesgal

    Minniesgal DIS Veteran

    Mar 29, 2013
    We prefer to stay onsite but not eat onsite. We now tend to cook a fair bit and eat offsite, really not a fan of the quality of Disney dining these days or the dumbed down menus especially at Signatures. We do 2 or 3 then done.
  16. robinb

    robinb DIS Veteran

    Aug 29, 1999
    It's not binary: either (1) or (2). There is an in-between that is perfectly comfortable. I have stayed offsite a number of times and have never gone commando and we never brown bag. We do usually eat at CS no matter where we stay because I can't stand to pay WDW prices for mediocre TS food.

    This is us:
    3. On-site stay in DVC studio or off-site in multi room condo/timeshare/house. Parks from RD to about 2 pm-ish. Resort/pool from about 2 pm-ish to about 6 pm-ish. Dining is usually CS for lunch and dinner so we can enjoy the parks at night and not spend all our time eating at a TS. We do make special ADRs and always enjoy California Grill, Yak & Yeti, and Spice Road Table every trip and we also maybe one other TS meal.
  17. porschegrl

    porschegrl DIS Veteran

    Feb 25, 2009
    OP, I think your whole post can be distilled down to:

    As my family has gotten older, and having been to WDW several times now, we prefer a more leisurely mix of park time and on-site deluxe resort time. Our way is the best way for us, but it isn't for everyone.
  18. happymommy

    happymommy DIS Veteran

    Jan 8, 2006
    I gotta agree. When we stay off site (haven't in a while), we still enjoy our resort. Never paid for parking. Long stay (15 nights) we didn't do parks daily, but did Disneyquest a few times, water parks like 2-3 hours each (only did one time at each; it was late August and storms rolled in and we are lazy so didn't get out till afternoon, thankfully I had radar app so we go to the car before storms hit and all the folks were scrambling).
    msb578 likes this.
  19. bryanb

    bryanb DIS Veteran

    Sep 10, 2013
    I've had plenty of fun trips off-site and on-site. As you say, different strokes for different folks. Truth is, you can come up with an unlimited number of scenarios in addition to the two offered here! I've stayed offsite in pretty nice hotels (for no more than the cost of a standard Disney Value resort room), and didn't miss out on eating in great restaurants or relaxation time.

    My co-worker is planning a family vacation. His vision is to rent a cheap AirBnB nearby, pack some snacks and bottled waters, and go to the parks from open to close. And the cost savings means he can vacation more often. His view is that you can eat at nice restaurants anywhere, but what you can't get at home are all of those world famous attractions and shows. So why sit around waiting for table service meals? I don't think I would enjoy how he vacations at all. But is it a lower quality experience? I think he would argue no... and he wouldn't be wrong either.
  20. CynBeth

    CynBeth DIS Veteran

    Apr 17, 2011
    We always are onsite (we stay at a different mod or deluxe each time) and are at the parks from open to close. We are a small group of adults that visit every few years and don’t have kids. The others have food allergies so we pretty much eat every meal TS and find the time spent at lunch and dinner is when we relax and recharge.
    Coach Holden likes this.
  21. Mackenzie Click-Mickelson

    Mackenzie Click-Mickelson DIS Veteran

    Oct 23, 2015
    The OP's post is very limiting and comes from a point of imprinting what they have experienced and assuming that others vacation that way. There are so many other ways that people vacation onsite or offsite.

    We stayed off site in 2011 and were the same vacation style as 2017 with the exception that being onsite we utlized EMH (which enough people on the Boards swear they won't use so that's a YMMV thing). We never ate offsite nor brown bagged it when we were offsite. But on the other hand offsite or onsite TS is not a priority to us. I did decide I wanted to try TS in 2017 but being onsite had no bearing in that and while all 3 of our meals were great they were not a make or break aspect to our vacation.

    If nothing else the only thing I can see for the OP is their vacation style has changed and shifted over time. Nothing wrong with that but certaintly doesn't mean that people who don't stay onsite who don't stay at the Deluxe level who don't go back in the afternoon as opposed to being in the parks commando style, who opt to bring food in or go outside for food or those who eat QS or those who eat TS or a mix, etc are having a lower or higher quality experience. It's all very individual.

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