Vacation home v Onsite


DIS Veteran
Apr 30, 2001
With a group of 10 this vacation we're trying to save money. I've always stayed onsite and never thought I'd consider otherwise BUT, these beautiful vacation pool homes are a huge savings over 3 rooms onsite. Why would you (or wouldn't you rent one)?
Hiya! We just got back and we stayed off site. If I could do it over again we would stay on site - definately! The magic just wasn't as strong this year. We had 9 people and it could have been the largeness of the group too. I would never rent one of those vacation homes. First of all, we got turned around in one of those neighborhoods and it didn't look too good. Secondly, the resort is half the fun! Think of all you'll miss! Whether you stay on or off site the resort usually has cool activities, a huge pool, pina coladas, a game room for the kids, restaurants... A vacation home has none of that - a dinky pool is all you get!

You can check out some of the off site resorts if you are concerned with money. At least that way you will have others in the vacation groove around you. You can get some good deals on 3 or 4 bedroom villas on ebay or skyauction. You may even luck out and find a good deal on a 2 bedroom and Studio at OKW or BV. Have fun!

:) Kerry
Thanks Kerry for the post, I needed that. I love the idea of renting DVC points for a good deal like you said. I'll look into that pretty seriously. I just got sidetracked when I saw georgous homes for 140.00 a night! You got me back on the straight and narrow, I appreciate you. That's what's so wonderful about the DIS, you can ask for vacation planning help and nobody rolls their eyes or sighs like they do at home. Mine just say "whatever you think is fine".
Thats funny! Jon JUST rolled his eyes at me!!!

I am in planning mode since Chris1gill gets to go to Maui now I WANT TO GO ON A CRUISE - lol! Jon (DH) okayed it ONLY if he didn't have to answer any questions about it and if it was in July or later - lol! Grump! I yipee skipeed all over the place while he rolled his mean old eyes!

I promise I will never roll my eyes at you!

:) Kerry

Ok, I'm gonna go against the grain here. I've rented 3 vacation homes. They have all been in very nice neighborhoods. The houses have been beautiful, new and roomy. I don't feel the need to be immersed in Disney 24 hours a day. The onsite resorts are crowded. I enjoy the privacy and quiet provided by these homes. I get enough of the crowds when I go to the parks. The private pool is great, I don't need a large pool to cool off. It is convenient having a washer and dryer at your fingertips. And for sleeping comfort, you can't beat separate bedrooms. Not to mention saving money on breakfasts and snacks.
When I go in the off season I can get a 3 bedroom house for around $80/night. When you split this between a few people it can be quite economical which means I can stay longer or return sooner.
I never thought I would feel this way but, if you don't have to go to a timeshare presentation to get a good rate I would go for the vacation home in a heartbeat! It's nice to just get away from Disney for alittle while and just relax and recharge. And to have your own pool,etc.. is just icing on the cake. I found staying offsite no less magical, and alot more relaxing. I'm keeping my eyes peeled for a good rate on a vacation home.
We have also tried staying offsite at condos, vacation homes etc and we missed being in WDW very, very much. Even though the condo etc was 15 minutes away it got to be a real pain getting in the car and driving to the parks, paying for parking and getting on the tram and then back on the tram to get to the hot car and drive back to the vacation home to rest, swim, eat, etc and then it is back in the car to the parking lot to the tram to the park and if you stay for the nighttime events like Illuminations etc then it is a long wait for the tram to get back to your car so that you could sit in bumper to bumper traffic to get back to your vacation home that is only 15 minutes away. We found that those 15 minutes were greatly understated. We now have our vacation home at WDW through our DVC membership at BWV and we could not be happier. We can easily leave Epcot after Illuminations or MGM after Fantasmic and leisurely stroll back to our BWV vacation home in 15 minutes or leave MK after SpectroMagic get a bus and be back at BWV in 30 minutes but with a lot less hassle. We also did not like all the driving on the very crowded roads to get to an offsite vacation home that was not as nice nor had the amentities or magic that the DVC resorts give you. It is all a matter of taste but we tried renting vacation homes offsite and for us it can't even begin to compare to staying at a DVC villa on property.
To the orginial poster:
If you can rent DVC points from a DVC member (go to the DVC board, then rent/trade board) you will not be paying that much more than staying at a vacation home off site and the convenience/magical Disney atmosphere 24-7 will be worth double whatever the savings may be.

have to vote w/the offsite group... we have a timeshare and have stayed off site for
the last 10 yrs... we were really glad to have that private rest and relaxation, and no
one i know who has ever renteed home has regretted it in the least! Don't mind the
driving too and fro since we're all adults/teens. but i guess its all a matter of taste!
Hav a nice vacation!
Disney people are too immersed for the most part in 'All Disney, All Good'. I like everything about Orlando, including the other parks. I plan on Sea World and Universal on my trip and see no need on paying ridiculous prices for the resorts. Yes All Star is affordable, but I'd like time with my spouse alone, and with kids (6 and 9) in a small room, that's impossible. I want a fridge and not have to lug a cooler, a microwave and laundry facilities if possible.

I always go offsite and as long as you carefully choose the resort, you're better off I think.... The money saved on food (breakfasts) and that night or two the kids just want Mac 'n Cheese or pasta for dinner can be $500-600 I'd imagine.

I have booked a 2-br for $300 at Orangge Lake Country Club and will not be going without I imagine.

As for driving and parking, I've always found it ridiculously simple.

I'd however look at Embassy (3-br), Orange or Silver Lake, or Westgate Lakes for accomodations, because at least there you also have large pools and activities that is not available at a home. Just look for specials.
I have to second you on the parking issue emmalgin! It's beyond simple. We got to the parks prior to opening. So needless to say we were so close that we just walked to the gate. Not once did we use the tram. I really got spoiled, because when we stayed on site we had to wait on the bus, boat was always packed and uncomfortable. This last trip we would walk to our car from the park at closing-absolutely no wait, get in the car and go to the hotel. I told my hubby after this trip I want to drive to the parks. I don't want to ever use Disney transportation again. No more allowing a half hour to 45 minutes for travel. 2001 hubby and I would go to early opening then come back for Nana & the kids. Well, it would take almost a half hour because at that time of the morning there wasn't a direct bus from the park to All-Stars. It made 2 stops at other resorts and another park before getting us to All-Stars. What a waste of time.
IF you want Disney 24/7 and don't mind the smaller sleeping quarters and the lack of the homey feel/features, stay on-site.

If you want a break from the madness, have a large house to relax in with all the ammenities a house has to offer, then stay offsite.

Everyone has their own ideas what a vacation means to them and that is why there are options out there.

For me, I am a believer that a vacation is supposed to be relaxing. When you get back to your everyday duties after the vacation, you should feel refreshed and ready to take on the world again - not worn out. This is why I like staying offsite. Go do the Disney thing for 4 or 5 days, maybe visit Universal, Sea-World, Busch Gardens, Kennedy Space Center, or just Go to the beach (St. Pete or Daytona) - keep in mind we do'nt do all of these evrytime only one or two. But regardless of the itinerary, we set aside at least 2 to 3 days of just staying at the vacation home and relaxing around the pool. The kids usually bring their video game (PS2 this year with it's own DVD player) and the houses always have a VCR or DVD player for them. Everyone is happy doing this which is the ultimate goal of a vacation!!! For the money and sanity I love staying offsite.


P.S. The parking is never an issue with our family. So much so that I do not even consider it an issue.
For our first trip to Disney in January, we stayed in a newer development off 192 near Splendid China. It took us about 10 minutes to get to Disneyworld. Not knowing what it's like to stay onsite, I'd stay offsite again just to have that much space again.
IF you want Disney 24/7 and don't mind the smaller sleeping quarters and the lack of the homey feel/features, stay on-site.

Not all WDW resorts are smaller sleeping quarters at all, and I have not found a WDW resort yet that did not feel homey.

In a 2 BR DVC villa we have a BR with 2 queen beds, the master bedroom has a king bed. The master bath has a large jacuzzi tub, a shower, toilet and 2 sinks, the second bathroom is the standard tub/shower, sink, toilet. There is a full kitchen and also a mini kitchenette with an additional refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, sink. There is a living room with a sleeper sofa, chairs, tables, etc. A dining area with a table and 4 chairs, a washer & dryer, 3 tvs, a vcr, 3 telephones and 2 balconies. One of the balconies has a table and 4 chairs and the other has 2 chairs and a small table. These villas always feel plenty spacious and homey to us. They are also beautifully furnished and kept spotlessly clean.
I agree with DeeP's description of the lovely, homey accommodations of the onsite DVC 2BR timeshare villas. Here's the rub: They run about $400 per night plus taxes and UP. Even a DVC points rental from an owner would still cost you $220-$300 per night for a 2BR (midweek only, in Jan/Sep/early Dec only) up to $1060 per night (Christmas/Easter weekend nights).

There are very similar 2BR and 3BR timeshare villas offsite for well under $200 per night. If you rent by the week, these 5 Star and Gold Crown offsite villas are readily available from owners for about $700/week or less than the rental of a DVC villa for just 2 nights. They are offsite and that's the thing. Offsite vs. on. Car vs. Disney boat/bus shuttles. Steel drum or pop or beach tunes vs. Disney songs at the pool. Pool hopping or your resort pool only. Friendly service vs. Disney costumed CMs. Local restaurant prices vs. Disney food prices.

It's always cheaper to get all that space & luxury described so well by DeeP, offsite. So if you think you'd really miss the "Disney-Disney-everywhere" feel, then expect to pay for it and go ahead and enjoy it onsite. This is especially true if you spend more time outside your room at the resort, and want to see Disney themes all the time (or if you won't have a car). If you are looking for relaxation, space, privacy, luxury and family fun in your villa, that's not necessarily Disney themed, when you are outside the theme/water parks, you'll definitely have options offsite to fill the bill for much less money. Hope that helps.
I like both but ever since staying at a vacation home last month I will have a very hard time going back to a hotel room. We've been to Orlando 8 times in the past two years, staying everywhere from an 3 bedroom executive suite in the Dolphin to a small room in ASMusic, and the house was everything and more!

Just a week ago I asked my 9yo son what would be his "IDEAL" vacation and he said hands down, the house! The private pool and the separate quarters and the PEACE of getting away from the parks and the vacationers was my idea of a vacation. I loved relaxing on the lanai after a long bath in the jacuzzi after traipsing around on my sore feet all day. We stayed in a subdivision that was very close to WDW but in a peaceful, homey, beautiful neighborhood. And for the ridiculous price of $560 for a week, and the first week in January at that!

I am a single Mom but I like the nicer things in life. This is my option, it may not be for everyone but I'm spoiled by this now. Right now we're planning an April trip and we're staying at a 4 bedroom with a private pool with jacuzzi and the house has a library of Disney videos! My son can't wait! :D
That is the beauty of DVC Membership :)
My DVC membership, which was not financed-therefore no additional finance charges, more than paid for itself within the first 2 1/2 years that I owned it. I go to WDW on an average of 30-36 days per year and for what my DVC dues cost per year, which is all I have to pay, I am very happy with our vacation home, our cost is a big savings and better yet we still have many more years of on site WDW vacations without worrying about the climbing costs of accomenations whether they be on site or off site. For us, we do not like staying off site at all and DVC has been the answer to us being able to stay on site in wonderful, roomy, homey with all the amenities accomendations for a very reasonable and controlled cost. We do not have to worry about UPs since we go so often we buy APs which work out to be very cost effective.
DVC membership or onsite stays are not for everyone and I am not implying they are. If I am not mistaken, I remember reading that you were at one time, for a short time a DVC owner and decided it was not for your family, but for many families DVC is very much for them and works very well into their lifestyle, budgets and preferences. That is what makes all the choices we all have in the Orlando area so wonderful--there is something for everyone!
Thank you, for saying that I desribed DVC accomendations so well, I was just being truthful and we are both right DVC resorts are very lovely, homey accomendations which are onsite.


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