Onsite Deluxe to Offsite—Will We Regret It?

Discussion in 'Orlando Hotels and Attractions' started by have2getaway, Aug 22, 2018.

  1. have2getaway

    have2getaway DIS Veteran

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    We have been to Disney 2 years ago and stayed at the Polynesian and loved it. This trip, we plan to also go to Universal and we wanted to try another resort to see areas of Disney we missed on our last trip. We currently have a 3 way split at Beach Club—3 nights, Portofino Bay—2 nights, and Polynesian for our last 3 nights. We were planning to do the DDP. Well, my DH was excited for our return trip, but now is feeling like we are spending too much money on Disney vacations. It will be me, DH, and 3 boys, all age 9. I don’t disagree. I started seriously considering staying off site to save money. But...DH doesn’t want to drive, likes ME, and doesn’t want me to change anything, but said he’s “good” after this trip. I would personally rather spend less money and feel as though it was a reasonable cost and return again in a couple years.

    My question is, for those who have stayed onsite at a deluxe, or even a moderate, and then opted to stay offsite to save money, did you regret your decision? I don’t see us wanting to rent a car, but I honestly couldn’t get over the amount of money we would save staying off site, and, even if we don’t save money, the accommodations would be more spacious and could be more luxurious. I couldn’t help but notice that Portofino Bay for a week is more than 1/2 as much as the Polynesian. I also noticed that a Waldorf Astoria room is less as well, or that staying at Embassy Suites, we could get the free breakfast! If we really want a lot of space, a house rental at Windsor Hills is even cheaper. I looked, in particular, at Sapphire Falls Suites and Portofino Bay and found myself seriously rethinking our entire trip. That said, I know there are many cons to staying off site, including inconvenience of commuting, possible transportation cost (if we decide to rent a car) and a less magical experience.

    Anyway I would just really love to hear everyone else’s experience and thoughts on this? Our boys were seven when we stayed at the Polynesian and will be almost 10 when we go back. I’m thinking they will still really want to be near the magic. That said, they are very excited to go to WWHP. maybe I’m just trying to plan too many splits at different resorts? but the thought occurred to me that the split stays may help us feel like we are getting our money’s worth?

    What have others found? How much did you save? Or, Did you just have a better experience because you had better accommodations and felt like you got your moneys worth? Or, did you feel like you missed out and wish you had stayed on site?
     
  2. writerguyfl

    writerguyfl DIS Veteran

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    There's no right answer...although some people will insist that there is one. The on-site/off-site debate is highly contentious. The last version of this debate on this forum ended up getting locked. But, you can review it to see the wide variety of opinions:

    https://www.disboards.com/threads/pain-arguing-facts-with-onsite-only-people.3687862/

    I'm all about expectations. If you adjust your expectations, you'll be fine. Staying at a non-Disney hotel for a Disney trip is different. Some aspects are better; some are worse. That fact only becomes an issue if one of those aspects is an absolute deal-breaker for you.

    In case you are unfamiliar, you might want to check out the seven Disney Springs Hotels. These are non-Disney hotels located on Disney property adjacent to Disney Springs. So, they are sort of between on-site and off-site.

    The Disney Springs Hotels have continuous transportation every 30 minutes to the theme parks. They often cost a fraction of what Disney charges for comparable quality. Occasionally, you can save tons of money. Last week, I stayed in 620-square foot one-bedroom suite (at the DoubleTree Suites) for $89/night.

    http://disneyspringshotels.com/
     
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  4. Upatnoon

    Upatnoon DIS Veteran

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    When visiting Universal, stay at their resorts. They are all excellent. You don't have to stay at their most expensive resorts. Cabana Bay is an excellent option for a family of five.

    As for staying on Disney property and not wanting to drive, you have been staying at the most expensive resorts. Try staying in a value suite instead.

    To save even more money, try the Disney Springs hotels. The Doubletree would give you the most space and they have bus service to the parks.

    If you don't mind driving a little, Wyndham Bonnet Creek is my pick. This is a timeshare resort you can rent from owners and get plenty of space. There is a giant thread about it on here.
     
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  5. have2getaway

    have2getaway DIS Veteran

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    Thank you! I am familiar with those resorts and, honestly, never considered it, but I had no idea the savings were that big! I’ll also check out the thread you referenced. What you said makes sense, and that’s where I guess we are stuck. Our first trip was perfect—almost too perfect. It will be tough to bring our expectations down from 7 nights at the Polynesian. But, I think looking at the numbers and convincing my DH it can be a reasonably priced vacation is big incentive.
     
  6. have2getaway

    have2getaway DIS Veteran

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    Is Wyndham Bonnet Creek similar to Windsor Hills? We hadn’t thought much about Disney Springs, but are now. Thank you! We were considering PBR at Universal so we could get the Express Pass, but RPR is less and I’ll also check out Canana Bay.
     
  7. kathy884

    kathy884 DIS Veteran

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    Disney Deluxe is really fun, but it costs a fortune. My favorite trip ever was tower view at the Contemporary, but we only paid one night as DH had a seminar at the Contemporary and his company paid for the other nights. All that said, Orlando can be a lot of fun, however you do it. Also with lyft and uber you can stay offsite and not drive, but I usually get a car if it's a week or more for a day trip to the Kennedy Space Center or Clearwater Beach and grocery runs. There is a lot to be said about all the lovely timehare resort that you can rent for a pretty reasonable site from owners on sites like TUG2.net and Redweek.com Having the two bedroom/two bath condo with kitchen, common area, and great balcony or patio is pretty sweet, especially when you see how inexpensively you are getting it too. The washer and dryer is nice too and lets you pack lighter, knowing you can do a quick load of wash if you need to very easily. We often stay at the Sheraton Vistana resort, where most balconies and patios have a view of a little pond and there are very nice pools, hot tubs that our kids always love.

    I prefer to do a more budget trip to Orlando and go more often plus travel other places too, so I have never regretted staying offsite. In 2019 for example, we are doing a NCL week long cruise, doing a mini trip to Orlando four nights/three days, and going to South Dakota for a week. Everyone is different though in terms of what kind of vacation budget they have and how they like to spend it.

    Have fun with whatever you do. There is no right or wrong answer.

    I've done Disney Deluxe, Disney Moderate, camping at Fort Wilderness, camping offsite, Hilton Garden Inn SeaWorld, Marriott Renaissance SeaWorld, Marriot Residence Inn SeaWorld, Home at Windsor Hills, lots of timeshare stays -- most recently Orange Lake, Sheraton Vistana Resort, and Cypress Point, Portofino Hotel Universal (that was a seminar for my husband again)

    Although it costs a little more, unless I have a large group and we all want to stay together I prefer the timeshare resorts over a house, as I really like the resort feel. That's probably my favorite for a longer stay to have more room, a kitchen, and all that while not loosing that resort feeling.

    The bottom line is that you will probably have to try offsite to know if that works for you or not. It's good. But it's not the same as a week long stay at the Polynesian. I think the advice to have reasonable expectation was right on.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2018
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  8. Upatnoon

    Upatnoon DIS Veteran

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    Bonnet Creek is a timeshare resort. They have one, two, three and four bedroom units. Multiple pools, lazy rivers, restaurants, activities, etc. While Windsor Hills is a suburban community. WBC is right next to the Caribbean Beach resort, so you can't get any closer to Disney property.

    Some people like more of a resort feel, while some like having their own house. It's what you think works best for your family.
     
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  9. HopperFan

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

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    I go ............. often. DH is happy going once every 3 or 4 years at most. He loved staying onsite when we were getting DDP (moderate and up, he hated values) but otherwise he'd rather stay offsite in a high end hotel, maybe Embassy (that is a good breakfast) or a timeshare. About 5-6 years ago we stayed at Wyndham Bonnet Creek in a 2 bedroom. He loved it; the space, the extra bathrooms, the kitchen, the balcony and the entire resort. He said if we stayed there every trip he'd go .... as long as there were days of just resort time, even if it was just him and DS1. So we did some split days and they stayed behind and did the activities, met a gator from Gatorland and he felt like he got the rest time in. We had a two bedroom for a total of about $700. I've stayed numerous time for that and less using SkyAuction. There are other avenues as well to book. We have a car but if not you could easily get an uber/lyft ride to the parks or wherever .... or pay for their shuttle.

    NOW if you want more hotel, the Waldorf Astoria and connected Hilton are very nice, also right at Bonnet Creek ... and free shuttles to the parks. Great pool area and lazy river. We stayed in the Hilton sister on International a few days before our WBC stay and loved it and all the activities.

    We have also stayed, all of us, a few times at Doubletree Suites in Disney Springs. Again, he had rest days but the pool there is very basic.

    We have stayed value, moderate and deluxe. We are perfectly happy staying nicer for less offsite ... but we have a car.
     
  10. have2getaway

    have2getaway DIS Veteran

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    Thank you for the feedback! It’s interesting, because I was actually thinking we would prefer a condo over a house for the resort feel. Which time share did you like best? I’ve had several friends say they stayed at Orange Lake and loved it.
     
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  11. have2getaway

    have2getaway DIS Veteran

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    WBC must be really nice. I just tried to reserve it for our week in January, and it’s already booked for MLK weekend. I did notice, though, that you have to pay a non-refundable deposit. Is that normal when making a reservation there?
     
  12. have2getaway

    have2getaway DIS Veteran

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    I think I needed to hear this. My DH always says book whatever is cheapest, but then adds, but on the monorail Lol. He says he wants to go cheap, but that’s not what he wants. He wants to pay as little as possible, but still be able to relax in a luxurious environment and have it be as convenient as possible. It really doesn’t make it easy for me to meet those unreasonable expectations. That said, I think WBC would live up to his expectations. I suppose we could start out there and move to a Universal resort at the end of our trip. How are the shuttles there?
     
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  13. Upatnoon

    Upatnoon DIS Veteran

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    The best way to book WBC is through an owner or a broker, not directly through the resort. Another place to look for reservations is on ebay. There is much discussion of this in the we loooooove bonnet creek thread.
     
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  14. Upatnoon

    Upatnoon DIS Veteran

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    The shuttles at WBC are lacking and expensive. I would rent a car or use Uber.
     
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  15. HopperFan

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

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    We drive. I would use an Uber/Lyft.
     
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  16. Jen1995

    Jen1995 Mouseketeer

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    We have always stayed deluxe at WDW and I love Portofino Bay Hotel more than any Disney hotel. We will be there for labor day, paying 270 bucks for a huge room overlooking the bay. It makes it harder to justify staying onsite, and is a factor (but not the only factor) in my decision to take my family off site entirely for our next trip. You can get something so nice and beautifully themed for half the price.
     
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  17. Summer2018

    Summer2018 DIS Veteran

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    What you have planned is spectacular. Why mess with that? You have yourself a spectacular vacation. If DH wants this to be your last time, then make this the BEST "last time" you can. After a wonderful vacation with all of the amenities, he will probably want to come back eventually. If not, there's nothing to say that you and your boys can't come back yourselves in the future. My MIL travelled all over Europe without my FIL. She took all of her children and grandchildren on special individual trips. I was fortunate to go with her to Sweden and England the year after my DH and I were married, just the three of us while my FIL missed out on it all.

    You get one life. Live it to the max.
     
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  18. NH-to-FL

    NH-to-FL DIS Veteran

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    DW and I made many deluxe stay vacations before transitioning to an off site villa and finally becoming Disney snowbirds.

    Our off site vacations were a bit different but still very Disney focused. The first couple of drives to the parks were part of that difference but it quickly became our new normal. We enjoyed the space provided by the villa. And the private pool.

    Obviously we rented a car. In my opinion, if you stay off site, with the possible exception of the Disney Springs hotels, you will need to rent a car.

    Your DH sounds like me. Particularly the convenience part. Which is why we stayed at the Boardwalk. Walking access to two parks. Great theming. Rooms with balconies. Disney understands this and prices accordingly. You can look for sales but staying at the monorail or Epcot resorts is never cheap. Over the years we took advantage of bounce back offers, seasonal sales, and AP discounts to help lower the cost.

    You can save a lot by going off site. Even after factoring in renting a car. It is obviously a bit of a different experience that staying on site deluxe but it is still a fun Disney vacation.
     
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  19. have2getaway

    have2getaway DIS Veteran

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    We had actually considered staying our entire week at Portofino, because it was just $228 per night and the cost is more than double at the Polynesian, but we are skeptical because of having to commute to Disney for our days there.
     
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  20. have2getaway

    have2getaway DIS Veteran

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    I agree, and I do think he will want to go back. We had already discussed going back once Star Wars opens. He’s just getting frustrated with the cost increase. It’s more noticeable this time, though, because we’re trying to add time at Universal. I’m inclined to leave this trip as is since we know that our next trip will need to be very different. Our boys will then all be over 10, which changes the costs considerably, especially for the Disney dining plan.
     
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  21. kathy884

    kathy884 DIS Veteran

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    Orange Lake is lovely, but it's really spread out and has so many different sections and phases, some which are much nicer than others. Their River Island waterpark area is fabulous, really nice too, but from most places in the resort you have to take a shuttle or drive to that. Because of varying quality at Orange Lake depending on what section /unit you get if I were recommending one to someone I would probably say Sheraton Vistana Resort, as all sections are nice, there are nice little fountains, ponds, water view all over from patios and balconies and pool and hot tub amenities are close to each section in the resort. Because it is a large resort too, if you are looking to stay a week Friday to Friday, Saturday to Saturday, or Sunday to Sunday, it's usually easy to find an owner to rent from for the week you want on TUG2.net classified ads section or Redweek.com. On Redweek I always look as a guest and just joint ($15 a year I believe) if I see something that I want to rent. I haven't stayed at the Bonnet Creek timeshare, but have heard that is lovely too and it gets similar rating to the Sheraton Vistana on some sites. We've stayed at Marriott and Hilton timeshares in Orlando too (also very nice), but because they have some of their own internal trade programs, we haven't found as good rental deals as at the Sheraton Vistana resort which we actually like better, but the Hilton and Marriott timeshares are very similar in quality to this place too. Usually with these timeshare condos for good deals you need to rent from an owner for a full week. And do note you get a towel change and trash pickup midweek, but not nightly maid service. Many of these do daily retails rentals too, which do have daily maid service and are considerably more expensive than owner rentals.
     
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