Is a Disney Resort worth the extra money?

Discussion in 'Resorts Community Board' started by Marymc001, Jun 2, 2016.

  1. Marymc001

    Marymc001 Earning My Ears

    May 1, 2016
    I'm helping plan a trip to WDW for my birthday and I really want to stay in Art of Animation, which is about 40$ per night more than if we stay in an off site hotel. What are the benefits of staying in AOA vs. an off-site hotel? Also, should I buy the tickets alongside the hotel or buy them separately?
  2. Frozen2014

    Frozen2014 DIS Veteran

    Jan 12, 2014
    We stayed at AoA and loved it. It's so cute with great theming. Also the rooms aside from Little Mermaid have two rooms and 2 full bathrooms which is great for a family of four. As a note, there is a quick service place (with lots of selection), but no table service. Didn't bother us, but may be a factor for some (but probably not for you either since you're looking at offsite)

    I forget the numbers now, but if you say onsite there are advantages of being able to book your ADRs earlier, FPs earlier (and for all your nights at once), visit extended hours, and free parking. It's definitely an advantage staying onside at Disney World.
    ConnecticutNonna likes this.
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  4. Lisa75

    Lisa75 DIS Veteran

    Jan 21, 2009
    As mentioned above if you stay at a WDW hotel you will get free parking at the parks (or can use the complimentary transportation from your hotel). If you do not I believe you will pay $20/day to park. Someone correct me on the amount. But that's about half of the difference right there.
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  5. Shanti

    Shanti Momketeer

    Nov 29, 2015
    It depends on where you were thinking of staying offsite. AOA, like all the value resorts, has an adorable exterior, but the actual rooms are basically motel rooms. If your offsite option is a motel or a not-so-great hotel, then yes, I would stay at AOA instead. But if you were planning to stay at a nice, comfortable offsite hotel, then no, I would not pay more to stay at AOA.

    This is all a matter of opinion, and many people are happy to stay in motel-like accomodations as long as they're Disney. I tried that once with Pop Century & don't wish to repeat, but to each his own. There are perks of staying onsite, such as FastPasses 60 days out instead of 30, Extra Magic Hours, and Disney transportation to & from the airport, but these can all be worked around.

    So basically it depends on what you value more on vacation:
    • Comfort: Stay in an offsite hotel rather than a Disney value.
    • Disney perks & free transportation: Stay in a Disney value.
    alicat8 likes this.
  6. Disney Dad ADL

    Disney Dad ADL DIS Veteran

    Nov 17, 2015
    Normally ADRs are 180 days in advance. If you stay on-site you get "180+10", meaning 180 days prior to the first day of the reservation, you can book ADRs for the whole trip (up to 10 days), not just the first day.

    FPs are 60 days on-site vs 30 days off site.

    EMH is on-site only, as you mentioned.
    ConnecticutNonna likes this.
  7. goopysolelady

    goopysolelady DIS Veteran

    Jul 16, 2008
    When we first began our visits to DW many, many years ago we stayed offsite and now there is no doubt in my mind...a Disney resort is MUCH better. Enjoyed my solo trip stay at AoA; room was on the small side but then I only spent about 6 hours there at night...only to sleep. All the perks mentioned above but this is the main reason...TRAFFIC after the parks close:


    We were staying at AK Kidani that year but had driven from Texas and needed to make a "Target stop" before beginning our park visit. We decided, instead of driving back to the resort we'd "save time" :rolleyes1 by just going directly to the MK. This is what we got stuck in on the way back that extra 1 1/2 HOURS due to an accident and we managed to get back "that quick" by taking the "back roads" as soon as we could exit this mess. Granted, the buses could get caught in a major traffic tie-up too (this was off Disney property also) but it would be a lot less stressful :rotfl:. We parked our car that night and didn't get in it again until we started for home. :tink:
  8. klmall

    klmall aka Kathy DIS Lifetime Sponsor

    Oct 2, 1999
    This is such a difficult question to answer and for my family it really is determined by many different factors such as: who will be travelling with us (friends or just a solo trip for me) and how much we want to spend $ and time we'll be in the room due to shorter park hours.

    And as much as we love the additional space offsite gives us and saving $, this means DH really can't spend much time if any in the parks with us since he now requires an ECV to get around in places like a park.

    We have always split up our park hours with DH and sometimes DS sleeping in and arriving in a park midday. It would be hard to do this with only one car and off-site shuttles. We are also PHs and almost never spend a full day in one park alone so combine this with different arrival times and getting an ECV around staying onsite really makes sense for us.

    I could probably handle off-site when soloing but feel so much safer staying as a single at Disney!
  9. adisneyaunt

    adisneyaunt DIS Veteran

    May 17, 2014
    Onsite worth it for All reasons already mentioned. But the Biggest factor for me is the Total Disney Immersion by staying Onsite. The theming , the feel of the people within the resort, the fact ur In Disney and it just makes me SMILE lol

    As far as tickets, I'd only buy thru Disney ( not necessarily within a pkg) or thru Undercover Tourist ( thru mousesavers LINK to save some Xtra money)
    Research see what works best for ur visit.
    Wherever u stay.. Have a Magical visit!
  10. noblemaidenfair

    noblemaidenfair see you real soon

    Mar 8, 2016
    I agree 100% with the total immersion. From walking down the halls in the morning to get coffee and looking for Hidden Mickeys to the surprise character appearances - you are at Disney 100% of the time. For me, as the mom who has to make sure everyone is happy, fed and where they're supposed to be, not having to think about transportation, cleaning, food or worrying if everyone is happy makes the magic. I can relax. You can't put a price on that in my opinion.
  11. danielocha30

    danielocha30 DIS Veteran

    Jul 10, 2014
    That $40 dollar difference can be a great investment, staying off site you will be charge for parking daily (unless you're annual pass holder), Disney transportation works well and is very flexible and specially when visiting Magic kingdom DT drop you in front of the park, when you drive you park a TTC and that add walking and waiting time to get on the actual park door, also mabu off site hotels charge on the front desk resort fees and parking usually those charges are unaware for most people and they go anywhere from $5 to up to $30 per night and you have to pay for it in cash most of the time, Disney hotel prices have no surprise fees
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2016
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  12. Momma J

    Momma J Earning My Ears

    Sep 21, 2016
    Have only been to Disney once and stayed at POR but would never stay off site. We flew so having Disney transportation from the airport was great and our luggage beat us to our room. Also, loved being able to just hop on a bus and go.
  13. ConnecticutNonna

    ConnecticutNonna DIS Veteran

    Jun 19, 2015
    Not difficult for me to answer!!! (Lol)
    You pay $20.00/day to park at Disney parks if staying offsite... That alone makes the room difference $20.00 not $40.00.
    You get EMH, 180 plus 10, and 60 + 10 FP availability. Plus Disney transportation to and from the airport alone is worth the extra $20.00/ night Imho. As @goopysolelady so clearly (a picture is worth a 1,000 words) put it, no traffic hassles as well, if you do drive your own car!
    We have not stayed at AofA, BUT have visited. I can tell you the gift shop is pretty darn cool and the counter service had a huge amount of choices!
    Yep, no brainer for me
  14. miltimo5

    miltimo5 Earning My Ears

    Feb 27, 2012
    some of the many perks
    1)- if flying in to Orlando international free Disney transportation to your resort you van have anything you purchase sent to your resort no charge 3) refillable mugs and 4) entrance to a park each day a different park an hour earlier 4) buses run all day, get tired or hot, go back to your resort, shower or hit the pool and take a nap, then go back to park for the evening stuff. best thing I started doing. I go the early hour to MK and I got on Big thunder mtn splash mtn pirates jungle cruise and tiki birds aladdins carpet all before 9am. and I walk slow bad knees.
    only once stayed off site (my first visit-put together in 2 months) and the shuttles (which we were told free transportation) left the hotel 9am and 11am stopping at many hotels on the way; and left the park at 7p and 9p missed fireworks and night shows...never again :yay: always on site now 30+ visits now now mostly at Pop and wouldn't change for anything .. UNLESS someone will pay for me to stay at WILDERNESS LODGE and since air is so expensive now I prefer to stay 2- 3 weeks
  15. Lesverts

    Lesverts DIS Veteran

    Oct 31, 2014
    Hard question to answer and one that becomes deeply personal. The Disney hotels I've stayed at would not be acceptable to me elsewhere (I travel regularly to Denver, Las Vegas and New York), but because of the transportation factor alone, I accept the limitations of Disney resorts. The cost-benefit for me means that paying 200/night for Disney is better than paying 150/night for better off-site.
  16. BlueAngel13

    BlueAngel13 Earning My Ears

    Oct 19, 2016
    I have been to disney twice and have stayed in the value resorts. movies and sports. and loved it. For us we just wanted a clean place to sleep and not worry about having to fight with traffic and being able to keep the cost of the trip down with out having to worry about paying for parking at the off site hotel ever night and then at the parks to. I belive its 20 at the parks to park . If you are wanting a true disney experince the I would stay at the resort. The many perks listed above are great. We travel with 4 of us and we have had great service in the rooms and with all cast members. If you are all about the disney experince then I say stay in the resort. I am also planning a trip back to disney in the near future to celebrate beening 10 yrs cancer free. and we will once again stay at the resorts. Its clean and welcoming and if you want a stress free trip this is what I would do. But you have to research everuthing and see what works best for the people in your party.
  17. lucas

    lucas °o°

    Jul 29, 2005
    Is a Disney Resort worth the extra money? YES!
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  18. vikster1

    vikster1 DIS Veteran

    Feb 23, 2013
    Disney transportation. You can come and go all day long.
    Extra magic hours
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  19. MochaDrinker

    MochaDrinker Mouseketeer

    Aug 5, 2015
    For us it was worth the money for not having drive ourselves and having the dining plan, but every group is different
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  20. Corbinator

    Corbinator Mouseketeer

    Mar 5, 2015
    In a word, yes.
    We just got back last week and my SIL's friend did too. We stayed at AoA and she stayed off site. When we compared stories it was evident we did not experience the same vacation. Everything I said we did (rides, meals, transportation)...this poor girl said, "oh. We didn't get to do that." I am still not sure what they actually did on their trip except a lot of walking around and waiting for an off site shuttle. She seemed proud of getting 3 nights for $150 somewhere...but had nothing to show for it. We paid $6500 but had the best 7 days of our life and left nothing on the table. Best reason to save our money and wait till our kids were ready (her kids were younger). You get what you pay for. You can compromise somewhere in the middle (value, split stay, fewer days) but we bought our way to every advantage by staying onsite. And we didn't just go hog wild without watching our money either. We got a suite for a discount; we qualified for 'back to school' over the summer when it was available and they had rooms. Some careful planning (breakfast in room, sent supplies ahead of time, limited kids' souvenirs to one gift card from xmas) made it happen and left room for some fantastic ADRs and FP+, plus DME. Worth it to us.
  21. MamaJessie

    MamaJessie DIS Veteran

    Jan 3, 2010
    We tried off site once and it wasn't for us, we greatly prefer being on site.
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