Floridays vs onsite?

Discussion in 'Orlando Hotels and Attractions' started by MousetersInc, Dec 29, 2018.

?

Which is worse?

  1. Driving into the park

    18.2%
  2. Sleeping in one room

    81.8%
  1. MousetersInc

    MousetersInc Mouseketeer

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    TLDR, central question: Which is a bigger pain, dealing with the logistics of getting into MK from 10 mi away, or all sleeping in the same room?

    Long version:
    First Disneyworld trip for our family with two DDs, 7 and 9. We're thinking about a 6-day 5-night stay for spring break, starting March 24, driving in from NC (so we'll have a car). I'm debating between staying in a Disney resort vs the Floridays Resort. I've come down to this central question, setting aside all other differences like 60 day vs 30 day FP+ window, or EMHs, or even the savings: which is worse, getting into the park or stepping on each other's toes? The options are:
    1. A "Magical Family Memories" package w tickets, at Animal Kingdom Lodge in a room that has a queen plus bunk beds. Leaving food out of the equation, this is $3,800.
    2. A 2-bedroom suite at Floridays. Adding tickets, this will be $2,600.
    I'm having a hard time with the decision. We really enjoy having a wall between us and our girls. Hotel stays when we cram into one room in the past have added tension to a trip. It's great to close a door and not hear them fight over nightlights or wake up before we planned to in the morning and hum to themselves. It's great to get dressed without taking turns one by one in the bathroom, or for that matter have two bathrooms available. Disney villas, even renting DVC, can't touch that Floridays price, so for us a Disney property means one room.

    On the other hand, it looks to me like trying to get the benefit of reduced crowds at MK opening involves a lot of stressful logistics--get to the parking lot, tram to ticketing, monorail or ferry to park gate, stand in line waiting for gate opening, yank the girls' arms off hustling to the rope to head for 7DMT, wait again for rope drop, dislocate arms again to be at the front of the line--or if you fail in any of these, you're in a 1-hr line after all. We spend all year herding the cats into a morning routine, saying "hurry up or we'll be late." Doing it over the course of an hour, with such high stakes, sounds like a recipe for a bad time. Staying at a Disney property at least knocks the first few steps off.

    I could frame this decision as: Imagine I'm staying in the bunk bed room in Jambo house, and somebody comes up and says, "I can offer you a 2-bedroom room for $240 less per night; the catch is you have to drive in to the park." Would I jump for it? Or is driving in such a nightmare that, after a morning of that, if someone says "I can offer you a bus right to the gate, for $240 extra per night, and you have to cram into one room," would that be worth it?

    NB as I understand it parking and getting into AK, Epcott, or HS is easier, so I should also probably post a separate thread, "how many of our 5.5 days would we want to spend in MK?" We're assuming not getting park hoppers this trip--and that's also another question, "are we making a terrible mistake without them."

    Finally, I suppose we could do something crazy like two nights in The Contemporary and the rest of the time Floridays, but that might be too weird...
     
  2. achang2001

    achang2001 Mouseketeer

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    I don’t think that driving to the parks is that big of a deal. Staying onsite you wait for a bus and that can be time consuming. That’s my personal opinion. Have you looked into renting a timeshare at Wyndham Bonnet Creek or one of the Marriotts? That may be closer than Floridays and just as cost effective. Having a car will save you on dining as you can have a quick breakfast in the room and dine out at nearby restaurants.
     
    bigbabyblues and MousetersInc like this.
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  4. Upatnoon

    Upatnoon DIS Veteran

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    Floridays may be a fine resort, but the location isn't as good as many others for a Disney vacation. Floridays is closer to Seaworld.

    If you want space, Wyndham Bonnet Creek would be the closest option, as it is next door to the Caribbean Beach resort. For prices, look on ebay to see what reservations are renting for. You can take the Minnie Van service from there to MK.

    You could also stay at the Doubletree near Disney Springs, get more space and bus service and a 60 day FP window.

    If you want space in a Disney resort, you have to pay a huge premium.
     
  5. Yarbogash

    Yarbogash Mouseketeer

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    I’d take the space every time. Disney transportation can be very unpleasant. Driving to the parks in your own vehicle is typically the fastest way to get there. Even to MK. By Disney bus I’ve spent 45 minutes going from AKL to AK.
    Floridays is a great resort. You will not be disappointed. If you are really concerned about the drive Uber to the contemporary and walk from there. You’ll still come out ahead on price.
     
    halfpintpeggy likes this.
  6. Klayfish

    Klayfish DIS Veteran

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    You couldn't pay me to have all 5 of us stay in one hotel room on property. No way!! We love staying offsite, driving into the parks is no big deal whatsoever. I know people rave about the "bubble" of being on property. I don't buy into it, and would say that we have a bubble too, it's just much bigger than WDW property.
     
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  7. BuffaloJim

    BuffaloJim Mouseketeer

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    What I would do...

    Stay at Animal Kingdom. It’s a gorgeous resort and I personally think staying “Inside the Magic” is worth the $1200. Yeah, it’s a lot of money, but if this is a once-in-lifetime trip, you have to stay on Disney property.

    Send 2.5 days in MK, and one day each in the other parks. Don’t do Park Hoppers. Get to the parks before they open, spend as much of the day there as you want, and then head back to AKL.

    Enjoy yourself whatever you choose.
     
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  8. kaykels

    kaykels My happily ever after began on Castaway Cay

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    Did you try renting points from the DVC rather than through Disney ? I always stay at AKL as a first choice in a 1 bedroom villa at the Jambo house (main hotel). If you rent points from a Disney vacation club owner it’s is SUBSTANTIALLY cheaper than going through Disney. You can do it right here on the DisBoards. Go to DVC RENT/TRADE
     
    charmed59 likes this.
  9. achang2001

    achang2001 Mouseketeer

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    Being a DVC owner, I checked availability for your dates. Literally nothing for Studios and 1BR available at SSR only. You’re looking at $2800-3k on a 1BR rental for those dates
     
    MousetersInc likes this.
  10. HopperFan

    HopperFan "It's a bug-eat-bug world out there, princess."

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    Your first visit .......... then you won't know any different between the two. Stay offsite.

    Not sure your numbers include parking each day at the parks but that is still a huge savings that could cover lots of meals.

    You already have BIG preference for sleeping in two different rooms and it sounds like not getting that space could make or break your trip so I would just book off site, get up early and get to the parks. Other than MK, parking early in morning at the other parks is a breeze, and at Epcot and maybe DHS (depending on how fast they finish bus depot) you could park closer than the buses drop off. Even MK is not really a big deal and can be faster to drive than take a Disney bus.

    Personally we have found the last few years that driving to parks is much better than Disney buses, often shaving off an hour at park peak hours. July I drove past the outlet malls (behind Floridays) from MK parking lot, and DS was catching bus to POP. We traveled 20 minutes and theirs bus experience took 1.5 hours. I wouldn't blink at staying off site. Floridays is a great shot in to Disney Parks going International South and turn on World Center Drive. It's even doable to mid day breaks.
     
  11. millmom

    millmom Earning My Ears

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    Space is important for us, we all like our own space for down time, we’ve stayed at Floridays and loved it. Was pretty painless driving to Disney and although you do have to pay to park we thought it worth it for flexibility.
    What ever you pick enjoy x
     
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  12. BostonEd

    BostonEd I'd rather be skiing.

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    I'm usually a fan of HopperFan, but I majorly disagree here. Precisely BECAUSE it is the kids' first visit, you should stay onsite. Yes, having space is great. But the wow factor staying in a place like Animal Kingdom Lodge, compared to an ordinary timeshare like Floridays? No contest. I think those bunk rooms all have at least a partial savanna view, and a balcony. The balcony can act as an extra "room" to get away from the kids. Sorry, but no contest... AKL!

    Getting to MK from AKL is not as bad as you have heard. Spend two days there.

    Probably not worth getting park hoppers in your case.

    PS: I'm not an onsite snob. Last trip was to WBC. But given your fact pattern, if you can afford it, go with the AKL.
     
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  13. HopperFan

    HopperFan "It's a bug-eat-bug world out there, princess."

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    I'm wounded ... :duck:

    Don't get me wrong, I have close to 140 onsite stays, AKL is one of my favorites and can't be compared to anything in this country. I'm staying onsite in a few weeks. We are a family of five and have no issue cramming in one room with one bath or even a cruise ship cabin ............ but I try to step back and read what their concerns are and what I think might work best for them.

    The issue here is the OP wants two rooms, not just to sit while the kids are getting to sleep ... but so they can sleep in when the kids are up, and to have two bathrooms. They state one room has made previous trips stressful. Disney is already stressful, why add to it?

    We really enjoy having a wall between us and our girls. Hotel stays when we cram into one room in the past have added tension to a trip. It's great to close a door and not hear them fight over nightlights or wake up before we planned to in the morning and hum to themselves. It's great to get dressed without taking turns one by one in the bathroom, or for that matter have two bathrooms available.

    Once you stay onsite it can be very very difficult to move offsite as we read here often. If at this point in their life they really need the space or it could impact their stay and they have never stayed onsite ... then I personally would be for peace and harmony. When the kids get older maybe one room won't be so stressful.

    Staying onsite will not alleviate some of the stresses they listed like pulling on kids, hurrying to rides, waiting in some lines ... I mean once you have your FP+ EVERYONE is even in the parks. As far as getting in to parks right now only MK has the advantage of transportation. If you arrive early to a park you will be parked closer than the buses at DHS and Epcot and AK will be only a few extra steps.

    Again, LOVE AKL and IF ... IF the OP thinks they can have a stress free trip in one smaller than average deluxe room and one bathroom, and the money is no issue ............ go for AKL, it's an awesome resort. I could cram in the room, I have a few times. I don't know how much this space will impact their sleep and downtime ... only they do. I know people who have gone and stayed onsite because they felt they had to, come back disappointed and felt overcharged and say they won't go back. Maybe their trip would have been better offsite. There is NOTHING wrong with staying offsite if that is what works for you.

    My mantra that I try to remember when I respond to questions ...

    "There is no right way or wrong way to do Disney, just what is right for you!"
     
    ClapYourHands likes this.
  14. kathy884

    kathy884 DIS Veteran

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    For budgetary reasons I almost always stay offsite -- what I can get offsite vs. onsite is just so much nicer with my budget. And the timeshare condo places are really nice in Orlando. There is so much competition that they really keep them up, and there is really good value for the dollar. I haven't stayed at Floridays, but I have heard others mention it favorably. For nice accommodations and space, it fits the bill for you easily.

    All that said, Animal Kingdom Lodge is beautiful and very authentic (like a high end African resort). It's a really special place where you feel like you are in an entirely different world (a unique experience at one of Disney's deluxe hotels). The grounds are stunning. At night there are fires going with story teller. You can get night googles for looking at the animals at night. The lobby is stunning. The food while pricey is really good, some of the best at WDW. So it's really do you want to stay in one room and pay extra for this experience with your family.

    There isn't a right or wrong answer. I typically pass on AKL as it doesn't fit my budget. But this is definitely not an Apples to Apples comparison. Bottom line for me is that I love Disney deluxe (it's my favorite). But I only do it when someone else is paying and have only done Disney deluxe three times. Most of my many trips to Orlando have been offsite in places like Floridays, and I was happy with accommodations and had a great time.

    I don't find the buses to be that bad. I also think driving in Orlando is easy/peasy, and parking at the ticket and transportation center and then doing boat for monorail to the MK isn't that bad either. Getting uber or lyft in Orlando is easy/peasy too. I'd stay one place the whole time.

    Sounds like you are doing your homework and don't sweat it to much. Just go with your gut. The thing is for me, neither driving the 10 miles or sleeping in one room is a pain.
     
  15. MousetersInc

    MousetersInc Mouseketeer

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    Thanks all! I mentioned in another post we wound up splitting the difference. We're spending 4 nights in Wilderness Lodge for easy access to MK and then moving to Doubletree Suites to expand our personal space for less $, but still preserve our FP+ window for last days of the trip.
     
  16. BostonEd

    BostonEd I'd rather be skiing.

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    If at all possible, take a day off while you're at the WL. It will be worth it to just hang out there for a day.
     
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  17. MousetersInc

    MousetersInc Mouseketeer

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    Yeah, besides various afternoon breaks, we're planning to make our Hollywood Studios day a half day and come back, play in the pool, maybe bike or paddle, and go to California Grill for dinner. Maybe see the evening outdoor movie, roast marshmallows.
     
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  18. Smittolis

    Smittolis DIS Veteran

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    My suggestion is to do both... seems like you did that! So congrats. I'm not sure why more people don't do it, its not that much work and can often get the best of everything. My family much prefers onsite but likes to stay for 2 weeks, that amount of time at the Poly or the like would be cost prohibitive, so we always try and do a split stay to help offset costs but also give us better access to some of the parks. Staying offsite but relatively close to the parks often gives better access to the parks than the onsite transportation. It also means you can take more gear and 'pop back' to the car in an emergency or for food breaks etc... We often keep a cooler in there with drinks and snacks etc... to recharge and refuel. However, we use disabled parking so it is much closer to the parks. Using this parking often gets you closer to the park than the buses do!

    I think the mindset of giving yourself space (seems like that is a priority) for part of the trip but also having onsite time for full immersion of the Disney experience is a win win.
     
  19. kathy884

    kathy884 DIS Veteran

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    Sounds great to me. Can I come? Enjoy!
     
  20. hertamaniac

    hertamaniac Give me 95 degrees everyday

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    We have stayed at Floridays at least 10X and are local. We do it for staycation trips for the space, pool and proximity to the parks. So for our purposes, it works perfectly well. We also will bring groceries to take full advantage of the kitchen. Also, having in-room laundry capability is another plus.

    They do offer shuttles, but I found it too restrictive. There are also some wonderful hole-in-the-wall eateries close by.
     
  21. Captainkidd76

    Captainkidd76 Mouseketeer

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    We stayed at Floridays for 2 nights last week when our flight got cancelled. The room was nice and spacey, but didn't care for how far away our room was from the main pool area. We were in building F and it was a haul. Our view was also less than stellar. There was a wait each time we had to go to the front desk. Location was fine as we weren't doing any parks those days. Just rented a car and did some stuff on I-Drive. For us, as much as we love Disney resorts, we would stay offsite going to Disney before staying offsite at Universal.
     

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