How to do Disney off-site?

Discussion in 'Orlando Hotels and Attractions' started by Stefien Quix, Aug 13, 2018.

  1. Stefien Quix

    Stefien Quix Mouseketeer

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    This is probably answered in an FAQ or a blog somewhere, but I haven't really found what I'm looking for Googling it or searching the forum. But I won't be offended if your response is just "See link here".

    So, this is more future-planning. In about a month, I'm going to be doing a sorta split-visit where I'm going to be at a timeshare nearby with my family doing mostly nothing but hanging out at the timeshare's pool. Then we'll be leaving the timeshare early to stay on-site (at Pop Century) for a few days while we do Disney.

    I've been to Disney a few times. I've even done things similar to above a few times and every time, when we did Disney, we did it on-site.

    Partly because of the "inclusiveness" that being on-site provides (debatable I understand) but also partly because getting to/from Disney intimidated me. I worry that instead of a half hour bus ride to Disney, I'll be looking at, at least, 15 minutes of traffic, then, at least, 15 minutes of getting to and being parked. Then another, at least, 15 minutes to a half hour of waiting for a shuttle to take us to the entrance of the park. All of which feels like it would/could be stressful way to kick off a "magical vacation".

    And I feel like while we're LEAVING the park, I can probably at least double the amount of time all this will take.

    Factoring all that in, while trying to consider getting to WDW early enough to do a rope drop for a ride sounds super stressful.

    A few of the timeshare locations offer shuttles, but a LOT of them do not and of the ones that do, most of them charge for them. I don't LOVE the idea of prioritizing my location based on who offers a shuttle and who doesn't, but maybe I should?

    But using our timeshare would save us a LOT of money, so I feel like I should try to find a way to make it work while not making our vacation stressful, since that's absolutely something a vacation shouldn't be.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Duck143

    Duck143 DIS Veteran

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    How about renting a car? You can still stay offsite and not be at the mercy of an offsite shuttle service. It doesn't take that long to drive into Disney and traffic is never really an issue. With the money you save by staying offsite, a rental car won't cost that much and gives you so much freedom.
     
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  4. Stefien Quix

    Stefien Quix Mouseketeer

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    Renting a car absolutely is an option! I talk about my concerns for it in the middle of my post. I'm glad to know that traffic won't be a concern! But what about once we're in the parking lot? How complicated and/or time-consuming is the process from there?
     
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  5. Stefien Quix

    Stefien Quix Mouseketeer

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    @Duck143 side note: is that a Phoenix Anna? If so, that's awesome!
     
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  6. Magical2017

    Magical2017 Mouseketeer

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    We have stayed on and offsite, but mostly onsite in recent years. We don't like driving in Orlando, but after reading the advice and opinions on here, we decided to book a one bedroom offsite (we leave next week). We rented a car. We have never had trouble with Disney transportation and did not care about long bus rides because we didn't have to drive. We just chatted. However, driving gets you there just as fast. Sometimes faster. If we don't enjoy it, we will use Uber or Lyft next time.

    We do like that POP has buses dedicated only to POP and no other stops. The buses for POP are pretty far back from the park entrances. When we stayed deluxe they were closer, but POP always seemed to be dead last. Still, we enjoyed that aspect of Disney transportation.

    The jump in price from a standard room to a one or two bedroom onsite vs off is significant. For future trips, our family will want one and two bedroom units for longer stays, and can only travel during school breaks. We can do a lot with the two or three thousand we will save on a one bedroom offsite versus a Disney equivalent. For shorter stays, I would consider onsite again.
     
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  7. Magical2017

    Magical2017 Mouseketeer

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    MK parking takes you to the ticket and transportation center. From there you take the monorail to MK.

    All other parks have good signage and you park and can walk or take a tram to the entrance.
     
  8. danielocha30

    danielocha30 DIS Veteran

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    I have never waited more than 10 mi for a tram at the parking lot. When offsite do always get your own car, buses are usually scheduled to pick you way to late in the morning and too early in the afternoon. Yes Disney buses are easier but driving your own car won’t take as long as you calculate
     
  9. kokomos

    kokomos Mouseketeer

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    If you rent a car You would be surprised how quick and easy it is. When we get there b4 park opening we park so close we don’t even need the tram. Even if you ride tram it’s quick. The only park that takes a while is MK because you have to also take the ferry or monarail. Or there is the option Of parking valet at the contemporary and walking to MK 5 minute walk. Park closing is a mad house no matter if you use Disney transportation or drive but if you have a car your Guranteed a seat in your car. I haven’t used the offsite busses but this trip we plan to Uber everwhere from Bonnet Creek.
     
  10. Klayfish

    Klayfish DIS Veteran

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    You absolutely would want to rent a car. Do not rely on a hotel shuttle, I think you'd find that a horrible experience. We're dedicated off site people and would never stay on site. We always have our car, and that's what works for us. We'd be miserable relying on WDW buses, we like to go where we want, when we want. Parking is no big deal at all. MK takes a bit longer because you need to get the ferry or monorail, but for us that's part of the fun too. The other 3 parks are super easy.
     
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  11. Duck143

    Duck143 DIS Veteran

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    It's really not complicated or time consuming. We've driven in a ton of times and I enjoy not having to rely on anyone for our coming and going. We have had PPO and done rope drop and those times are almost easier because there are less people in the parking lots and on the roads. You typically can park closer to the entrances when you show up early and then you can walk to the gate instead of having to jump on a tram. All in all, I would think that waiting on shuttles would be much more frustrating that renting and driving.
    Yes, my Phoenix Anna!
     
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  12. Magical2017

    Magical2017 Mouseketeer

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    I forgot you could ride the ferry!
     
  13. Rjw615

    Rjw615 Mouseketeer

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    Its even easier if you are going to rope drop, generally get somewhat closer parking at the TTC to where you can walk to the monorail or ferry and not have to rely on the tram and traffic will be lighter as well most days.
     
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  14. Stefien Quix

    Stefien Quix Mouseketeer

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    What about leaving? Is it a madhouse with cars backed up for miles as everyone tries to leave at the same time? I'm envisioning every concert I've ever driven to, but worse, lol.
     
  15. Klayfish

    Klayfish DIS Veteran

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    No, not at all. You'd be amazed how efficient it is to get out. The exits are more like highway on ramps...traffic flows nonstop out of the park. Even after MK fireworks, once you get to your car you will flow right on out with zero wait. You may, however, have to wait for the ferry or monorail. After evening fireworks, they will back up. The line moves quickly, but it looks daunting.

    The one and only park where we ever got "stuck" like post concert traffic was HS. That only happened once, and it was partly our fault. We were parked toward the front and were leaving after fireworks...during Xmas to NYE week, the busiest week of the year. I tried to pull forward toward the bus lane and it narrowed down, we got stuck. Sat there a good while. Had I just cut across an aisle or two, I'd have been fine (but by time I realized that, I was trapped). But even that was isolated...one time out of at least 100 visits to HS over the years.
     
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  16. disneysteve

    disneysteve DIS meet junkie

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    You've already gotten great responses but I'll just add in my agreement. We stay offsite all the time. We always drive. Getting in and out is no problem at all. Quite honestly, it is typically faster to hop in our car and drive to our offsite accommodations than it would be to wait for a Disney bus and get to an onsite hotel. One timeshare we've stayed at several times is literally a 4-5 minute trip from the entrance to Animal Kingdom. I've timed it.

    You definitely should have a car. Don't depend on the shuttles. They tend to run on very limited schedules and just aren't conducive to coming and going when and where you want.

    The Disney parking trams run constantly. You will rarely wait more than a couple of minutes. And at Epcot, AK, and DHS, most of the time we just walk from our car to the front gate. Even at MK where you park at the TTC, we sometimes walk rather than wait for the tram if we are parked close enough.
     
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  17. Stefien Quix

    Stefien Quix Mouseketeer

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    Thanks everyone! You've got me considering canceling my current on-site reservation and just renting a car to travel from the timeshare we're staying at! I'm a lot less intimidated than I was before.
     
  18. ZellyB

    ZellyB DIS Veteran

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    Just one more data point for you. We love having a car at Disney. Very easy to drive where you are going. Traffic is rarely a problem once on Disney property. Depending on where you are staying and time of day, the surrounding roads and traffic can get bad (Irlo Bronson for example), but still usually quite manageable. Honestly the only time we get into much traffic is usually going to or from Disney Springs. The parks are incredibly easy to drive to and if you are rope-drop people as already mentioned, you'll certainly park close (usually close enough to walk in and not mess with the tram). We think driving is far superior to Disney transportation.
     
  19. disneysteve

    disneysteve DIS meet junkie

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    One thing to keep in mind with offsite, and even onsite really, is that no hotel or timeshare is close to everything. Disney property is huge - 43 square miles, about double the size of Manhattan. Think about how long it takes to travel from one end of the city to another. Disney isn't as congested as NYC but you get the point. So just make sure you take a look at a map and see where you are staying relative to where you are heading each day and plan accordingly. It might be a 5 minute trip to Animal Kingdom but a 30 minute trip to Epcot and 45 or so to Magic Kingdom.
     
  20. Stefien Quix

    Stefien Quix Mouseketeer

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    Thanks! Yeah, according to Google Maps, my timeshare is about 15-16 minutes away, depending on traffic. About 4 miles on the I-4 and nearly 3 miles on Epcot Center Drive.
     
  21. Klayfish

    Klayfish DIS Veteran

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    We have stayed in at least a dozen different condo/townhouse resorts (some multiple times) over the past 10 years, all around WDW...mostly along Rt. 192. Frankly, the times are relatively similar...it just depends which "side" of WDW you're on. If you're on the west side, it's a quicker ride to AK...on the east side it's quicker to HS or DS/TL. However, it's not a gigantic difference. For example, when we stay on the west side, we can hit AK parking lot in 15 minutes, but even to get to HS only takes maybe 22.
     
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