I just can't see paying almost double to stay on site…WDW yes…DL no

Disney Dreams

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Mar 10, 2006
I keep hearing " if you want the full Disney experience " is that a Calif thing? Or a Disney sales pitch? When we went to WDW we stayed at Polynesia because you can ride the Montreal to the park. And staying off site was just to far out. When you say i find it worthwhile for me and my family could you tell me why? I even heard a guy call people outside the park RIFF/RAFF..If you want to deal with the riff/raff walking to the park then do so, its not for me? To me its just a place to sleep and let the kids play in the poor mid day and then back to the parks. I really don't understand when you say "In general. if you asking the question you're better off staying off site " Is that sort of saying " if you need to ask the price you really shouldn't be looking at buying this "? I would use that same line when i sold out my time share hotel on Ambergris Belize and most of the time it worked….lol…Because most of the time non of them could afford it so i guilted them into buying it. Oldest sales pitch in the world….But if i can see some value in paying more then double…IM IN!
You really can't even put Hojo's and the GCH in the same sentence if you are making honest comparisons. You say that to you it's a place to sleep. That's the key, in my opinion. To many, a hotel is much more than that. When I go on vacation, a hotel is not just a place to sleep. It is part of my overall experience when I look back on my vacation experience. The amenities offered, the service received, the "feel" of my home for the week... It is all part of my vcation experience for us, it is NOT just a place to sleep. It is so much more. If you don't view a vacation that way, you will not see the value.
 

AngiTN

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 7, 2011
I keep hearing " if you want the full Disney experience " is that a Calif thing? Or a Disney sales pitch? When we went to WDW we stayed at Polynesia because you can ride the Montreal to the park. And staying off site was just to far out. When you say i find it worthwhile for me and my family could you tell me why? I even heard a guy call people outside the park RIFF/RAFF..If you want to deal with the riff/raff walking to the park then do so, its not for me? To me its just a place to sleep and let the kids play in the poor mid day and then back to the parks. I really don't understand when you say "In general. if you asking the question you're better off staying off site " Is that sort of saying " if you need to ask the price you really shouldn't be looking at buying this "? I would use that same line when i sold out my time share hotel on Ambergris Belize and most of the time it worked….lol…Because most of the time non of them could afford it so i guilted them into buying it. Oldest sales pitch in the world….But if i can see some value in paying more then double…IM IN!
The bold below sums it up for us. A Hotel on vacation is more than a place to sleep. It's part of our vacation. I put a lot of research in to where I choose to stay, be it at Disney or elsewhere. Most of the time when we take other vacations I opted to stay at a B&B vs. a traditional hotel. Because I never go on vacation looking at a hotel for just a place to put my head. When we are traveling for other reasons (usually to attend a football game) is when I pick as just a place to sleep

You really can't even put Hojo's and the GCH in the same sentence if you are making honest comparisons. You say that to you it's a place to sleep. That's the key, in my opinion. To many, a hotel is much more than that. When I go on vacation, a hotel is not just a place to sleep. It is part of my overall experience when I look back on my vacation experience. The amenities offered, the service received, the "feel" of my home for the week... It is all part of my vcation experience for us, it is NOT just a place to sleep. It is so much more. If you don't view a vacation that way, you will not see the value.

I don't understand it either. Of course , to each his own. The Grand Californian is what gets me. 400-500 a night, yikes! For that price, this "Disney Bubble" I hear about would have to include more than a feeling for me.
We pay $400-$500 a night at WDW. So paying that at DL was just what we are used to. It wasn't a lot to us. We did it by choice, fully and with the complete knowledge we could stay cheaper off site. Same way we pay that at WDW when we have the full knowledge we could stay at a Value for considerably less.
 
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Canuck16

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 12, 2014
Not worth it for us either. We can stay in a nice hotel offsite with only a 15-20 minute walk to the park for substantially less than the Disney hotels. We would rather use that money for some dining experiences or tours instead.
 
  • maltdizzy

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 10, 2013
    Now i can see it at WDW but not Disneyland.
    Why?

    i can't see paying almost double to stay on site when most of the time is spent away from the hotel?
    At WDW you're away from your hotel (in distance especially!) so much more/further than at DL. At DL you can hop back to your resort in a relative flash. At WDW, unless you're literally at MK and are staying at CR/BLT, you're doing more than just walking back to your resort room.
    I side with the OP on DL vs WDW. The point is the off-site hotels at DL offer similar access to the parks (near identical compared to the DLH and PPR), often with better amenities, for a much better price. Plus you still have access to DTD, the hotel restaurants, etc.

    At WDW, off-site, with the exception of Bonnet Creek, are up to 10 miles beyond the park resorts and require additional transportation and/or parking fees. Yes, there are many WDW resorts that are too inconvenient for their cost (PO and CBR for example).

    I believe the OP's point is about value, not price. At DLR, the on-site hotels offer less value and more diminished returns. It's not about being able to "afford it" or "justify it," it's about fiscal prowess.

    WDW offers a lot beyond the parks...golfing, fishing, one hotel can offer enough to fill a day, etc. It's truly a inclusive vacation resort that you can enjoy without ever going to a park. DLR...doesn't. Thankfully, LA/OC is a far more exciting and interesting place than Orlando/CF with more to do beyond Disney, so the whole area becomes a resort. Tiit-Ti, Don the Beachcomber, and Trader Vic's have been area options long before Trader Sam's opened at DLH.
     
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    mr.bungle

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 5, 2008
    I like WDW better because you feel more removed from "civilization". I'm local and have only ever stayed down there one time at the Grand CA hotel. It was nice but not worth the cost. Wilderness Lodge on the other hand... I'll stay there in a heartbeat! I spent more time there as well.
     

    Aladora

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 22, 2011
    I don't understand it either. Of course , to each his own. The Grand Californian is what gets me. 400-500 a night, yikes! For that price, this "Disney Bubble" I hear about would have to include more than a feeling for me.
    We've done both onsite and offsite. DL twice, GCH once and offsite the other five trips. I managed to get a smoking hot deal for the GCH this February, less than $230/night so I jumped at the chance to stay there!

    Was it worth it at $230/night? You betcha! But for our family, being able to go twice a year is more important than staying onsite although if I could have found a rate even close to what I got in February, we would absolutely be staying onsite! The early entry into DCA and the ability to send DS to Pinocchio's workshop while DH and I enjoy a grown up dinner makes it worth it for our family.
     

    DizMe

    Here we gooooo...
    Joined
    Jun 4, 2007
    I keep hearing " if you want the full Disney experience " is that a Calif thing? Or a Disney sales pitch? When we went to WDW we stayed at Polynesia because you can ride the Montreal to the park. And staying off site was just to far out. When you say i find it worthwhile for me and my family could you tell me why? I even heard a guy call people outside the park RIFF/RAFF..If you want to deal with the riff/raff walking to the park then do so, its not for me? To me its just a place to sleep and let the kids play in the poor mid day and then back to the parks. I really don't understand when you say "In general. if you asking the question you're better off staying off site " Is that sort of saying " if you need to ask the price you really shouldn't be looking at buying this "? I would use that same line when i sold out my time share hotel on Ambergris Belize and most of the time it worked….lol…Because most of the time non of them could afford it so i guilted them into buying it. Oldest sales pitch in the world….But if i can see some value in paying more then double…IM IN!
    I didn't mean that to sound condescending, it's just that this topic comes up sooooooo frequently and I've seen all of the arguments many times so I know that the value of staying on site boils down to a few key things:
    *is the hotel just a place to sleep? Do you feel that a resort atmosphere is something important enough to pay extra to get or a waste of money because you won't be spending any time at the hotel??
    *is the cost going to be such a budget burden that you'll regret it?
    *will you constantly be thinking about what you could have done with the money you spent on a resort hotel?

    To answer your questions about why it is worthwhile to my family and me:
    *we go when we get good AP or other discounts (Dapper Day, for instance, is half price for resort hotels).
    *we live in CA so we go often enough that spending time in the hotel is part of our Disney experience. Kids love the pools (which are not comparable to the motel pools on Harbor), dh and I love to relax on a lounge chair and have a drink while the kids play. We love having shops, dining, cafe, and multiple amenities within the hotel. We love the landscaped acres and special touches. Sure, you can also enjoy those if you're staying off site, but it's not the same. We love the hotel tours & special activities for guests. Early entry every day is a nice perk. Having packages sent back to your hotel is nice. Taking a break is as much fun as being in the parks sometimes, whereas there is nothing at most motels on Harbor. However, Hojo's and the new Courtyard Marriott do at least offer a water park area. At Hojo's, it's not of much interest to me since my kids are too old and dh and I don't care about the pool.
    *Dh and I are older, so we appreciate some down time and enjoy the resort atmosphere very much. We also are at a point in our lives when our resources are better, so the price isn't painful the way it was when we were younger.
    *When I go on vacation, I look for something more than a motel for my place to stay. Again, that was not always the case in my youth, so that is a factor in my decision only.
    *I have had numerous stays on Harbor and I greatly dislike the street/area. I don't like hawkers or stepping over/around questionable things on the sidewalk. I don't like stepping over homeless people or having them jump out of the bushes in front of me at night (happened once--stay on the main side of the street, not the Disneyland side, when walking back). I don't like the traffic. I don't care how many times people say that staying at the closer motels on Harbor puts you nearer to the parks; for me, the walk seems so much longer and so much less fun.

    So for me and my family, staying on site works. I love the walk through DTD and I love the shops and restaurants. The hotels are fun places with lots of interesting things to see and do. We don't pay full price so it's often not a great deal more expensive than off site. Some families like to make multiple yearly trips or stay for a week or more at a time. We don't do either of those--we're pretty Disneyed out by day 4 and we like to take the kids other places besides Disney. *admission: I go on girlfriend getaways to Disneyland several times a year, no kids or dh. That's when on site is really cheap--when you can split the cost!
     
  • GatorChris

    Not of This World
    Joined
    Feb 18, 2014
    I'll agree that staying onsite at WDW is far more important than at DL. WDW resorts are far more interesting, better designed, better pools, and better service. You really do get that bubble feeling and the resort becomes a part of your vacation.

    I've stayed at PPH for 5 nights and at DLH for 3 nights. I can't say I got the same feeling from being there as I did at any WDW hotel (except the All Stars). PPH is comparable to what I get at HoJo, but at $100+/night more. We loved the DLH. It was really nice with theming, waterslides, and service. But we only stayed there because of a killer deal. We'd never spend he normal $350+/night there. It's just not that good of an experience to merit such a cost increase. And forget GC. Way too expensive.

    I do get that a hotel is part of your vacation. That's the way I feel when I'm at WDW. Those hotels are awesome. But at DLR, it's more about the parks, though the DL park view from some of the Harbor Blvd hotels is nice. I used to think this was important. But a few weeks back on an awful hot day, we went back to the very small pool at Camelot Inn. You'd have thought it was a full themed water park the way the kids played. Plus, we got to meet some great people from Austria! So paying all that extra money means nothing to the kids. And there's not enough offered for me to have the trip cost $1K+. I'd rather be able to come back an extra time during the year than spend all the money on a hotel.
     

    YukonMommy

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 28, 2013
    As a family of 6 (7 if Grandma comes along) we just cannot afford to stay onsite. I would rather stay a 15 minute walk away and stay longer!
     

    cari12

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 25, 2009
    For us onsite is very much a part of the experience and we budget accordingly. Staying at the DLH we feel that we never leave the Disney bubble which we love. Although the distance from many of the off site hotels is similar, you can't beat the walk through DTD to/from the hotel. There is no traffic or panhandlers to contend with and there is music either live or piped in most of the time. We also find the EMH priceless. We are there at gate opening for EMH everyday and get many of our must-do's in early before it gets busy in the parks.
     

    soma151

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Oct 26, 2013
    We've done both onsite and offsite. DL twice, GCH once and offsite the other five trips. I managed to get a smoking hot deal for the GCH this February, less than $230/night so I jumped at the chance to stay there!

    Was it worth it at $230/night? You betcha! But for our family, being able to go twice a year is more important than staying onsite although if I could have found a rate even close to what I got in February, we would absolutely be staying onsite! The early entry into DCA and the ability to send DS to Pinocchio's workshop while DH and I enjoy a grown up dinner makes it worth it for our family.
    If i could have got it for that price i would have booked it
     
  • VandVsmama

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 28, 2011
    This is definitely a hot topic in the DL forum on DISboards. :) Every family needs to do what is best for their unique situation.

    We have stayed on site at the DLH before. It was great. My kids loved the pool. It was so nice to have fresh towels pool side. And the EMH was great, too. But after 3 days, the walk to/from DLH to the park entrance got tiring. And it's really expensive to stay there...definitely outside of my normal travel budget.

    For our most recent trip, we stayed at a motel on Katella and I paid $119 including tax & parking for the night. That would barely cover 1/3 of a night at the DLH.

    For our next trip in October, we're staying at the Tropicana. $417.00 for 3 nights. That's basically 1 night at the DLH including tax and parking. We don't have oodles of disposable income and we have to scrimp and save in order to go to DL at all. For our family, we would rather go to DL and stay at a Good Neighbor hotel than not go to DL.

    I must admit...I don't really understand the notion of "if I can't stay at PPH, DLH, or GCH, it's not worth going to Disneyland and I'm staying home."
     

    soma151

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Oct 26, 2013
    This is definitely a hot topic in the DL forum on DISboards. :) Every family needs to do what is best for their unique situation.

    We have stayed on site at the DLH before. It was great. My kids loved the pool. It was so nice to have fresh towels pool side. And the EMH was great, too. But after 3 days, the walk to/from DLH to the park entrance got tiring. And it's really expensive to stay there...definitely outside of my normal travel budget.

    For our most recent trip, we stayed at a motel on Katella and I paid $119 including tax & parking for the night. That would barely cover 1/3 of a night at the DLH.

    For our next trip in October, we're staying at the Tropicana. $417.00 for 3 nights. That's basically 1 night at the DLH including tax and parking. We don't have oodles of disposable income and we have to scrimp and save in order to go to DL at all. For our family, we would rather go to DL and stay at a Good Neighbor hotel than not go to DL.

    I must admit...I don't really understand the notion of "if I can't stay at PPH, DLH, or GCH, it's not worth going to Disneyland and I'm staying home."
    Ya its sort of a HOTEL SNOB kind of thing? I have always said…WALT WAS THE MASTER AT CHARGING 4 TIMES THE PRICE AND HAVING YOU SAY THANKS. I have built and owned time share and i would remember WALT every time we sold…Now most of the normal people just want to have these kinds of rooms but if your that very special kind of person that really sees the value of the upgrade we have this one for you…lol..The funny thing is most of the people that got the upgrade where the ones that really couldn't even afford the normal rooms, but don't worry we can finance you @ 28%...
     

    Canadian Harmony

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 23, 2015
    It'll be our first family vacation to DLR and I told DH we could save $1K if we stayed off-site as we were looking at PPH Club Level. His response was that the cost will be covered by some extra money we're receiving next month and the perks were worth it - free breakfast, parcel delivery, park tix at the desk (we have vouchers to exchange), and the whole Disney experience. Next time (because there WILL be a next time), we can stay at HOJO or somewhere else close, but for that first WOW experience, we decided to go big (or at least, as big as we could afford). We're planning on spending a bit of time each day at the hotel too, so we wanted it to be inclusive of the 'bubble'.

    I agree with the PPs who said it's an individual, family decision as to what's important to them. Some people go to DLR for the rides, and maximize that part of their trip. Others want to hit all the extra events like shows and parades. It's all individual choice and saying, "I don't understand why ANYONE would do XYZ!" just cheapens THEIR experience and makes them doubt what they like. It may not have been meant that way, but it does effect people when they read someone else slagging their choice.
     

    CampbellzSoup

    Son. Husband. Father.
    Joined
    Oct 4, 2014
    Listen I don't see spending 500+ a night or even 300+ a night at a hotel reasonable at all...I'm never in the darn thing, I like to explore and look around it's a bed. As long as it's clean, cool, and comfortable - I'm fine. I have all the thrills and frills I need at home I don't need to pay that much a night - I'd much rather it to go to my mortagae =)
     

    soma151

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Oct 26, 2013
    I don't know if its people slagging your chose? Its just every one talking on line and we all have the best intention, just can't feel peoples spirit on line and its gets mixed up some times? You are so correct, its your vacation and money who am i or any one to say how you spend it? Do you need a time share?…lol…just kidding.
     

    2boysmom1998

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 26, 2011
    You are correct. It doesn't really pay to stay on site at DL but it does at WDW. We usually stay at the Fairfield across the street when we go to DL and it's great! It's an easy walk to DL, there is a McDonald's right next to it for cheap eats, and it is a lot cheaper than the DL Resort hotels. At WDW I love Pop Century and it is worth every penny to stay there w/ the perks and it is just fun.
     

    AngiTN

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 7, 2011
    I must admit...I don't really understand the notion of "if I can't stay at PPH, DLH, or GCH, it's not worth going to Disneyland and I'm staying home."
    I agree with that 100%. I would never NOT go to either park location just because I couldn't afford to stay on site. Truth be told, our 8 day trip to DL was cheaper than our 6 day trip to WDW, if you take out airfare. And we got everything done at DL but at WDW 6 days isn't enough to do it all. Because we'd have to stay longer at WDW it is more expensive. Now, airfare to CA is more than twice as much as our costs to WDW. That and the fact that coast to coast travel is exhausting is that will be keeping us from DL more often.
     

    scrapshappen

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 10, 2011
    Add us to the list of people who have done both. It depends on the kind of vacation we are taking and what other vacations we're taking that year. We stayed at the GCH for my 40th birthday trip for nearly a week back when you could get 6 day hoppers. It was off season and the entire vacation was less than we spent to go on either one of our cruises with DCL.

    Now having stayed both off site and on site at WDW, I don't think I'd go back to staying off site there again.
     

    tanyaegangibson

    Lover of Theming, Hater of Mean People
    Joined
    Sep 2, 2012
    We've stayed both onsite and offsite, and continue to do so.

    When my in-laws come with us on our annual October trips, we stay at the GCH (despite what is, I absolutely agree, a cringeworthy price tag). Back when we started this three-generational trip, DLR had offered a 30% senior citizen discount, which is how we got hooked on GCH. :) Unfortunately, they discontinued this discount a couple of years ago, and the AP discounts we were getting have gotten increasingly smaller. But it's worth it to us once a year for this particular trip because:

    - My in-laws like to take frequent breaks back at the hotel without having to walk far.
    - My in-laws don't have APs, and because this annual trip is usually 7 days long, they like to spend time at the GCH pool on their off-days. On one of those off days, we get a cabana.
    - My kids and the rest of the family love the pool, which we utilize almost every day during the hottest and most crowded part of the day.
    - Members of our family take part in the scavenger hunt, the story times by the fireplace, the hotel tours, and the power walk through DCA.
    - We don't feel like the rooms are small or particularly dark (although on a hot day, dark-ish perhaps just feels good to us!), and we do spend a lot of time in them. The kids love having a balcony from which to blow bubbles, and the adults like playing Scrabble on an iPad during down time.
    - DH and DFIL use the exercise room equipment (not available at, for instance, Hojos, though most of the other offsite hotels do have such facilities).
    - We always use EMH.


    On the other hand, we really enjoy our offsite stays, too, especially at Hojos.

    - The walk isn't long for us (if we're without the in-laws). The kids and I hike a lot, so even after a day at DLR, the trip back isn't a big deal.
    - DS7 and DD10 love the water play area. DD doesn't care that a lot of the kids are younger--she's a playful kid and still thinks it's fun.
    - I don't find the walk back to be sketchy or dangerous or anything.
    - The kids love being able to see the matterhorn and monorail from our room and like to wave to both in the morning. Excellent fireworks views, too.
    - Because we try to book way in advance, we've gotten good rates on park-facing rooms.
     

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