Going to Disneyworld. Better to stay at a hotel outside WDW ?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Papersen, Mar 29, 2014.

  1. Papersen

    Papersen Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2002
    Since will be my first time there with my wife and kids, wonder if staying outside WDW is a better choice than Disney operated hotels.

    Any advice from those who´ve been there before?
  2. bluesblaster


    Jan 2, 2008
    the one nice part about staying in WDW is that they have buses that will take you anywhere , they come by about every ten minutes. You dont need a car if your just doing disney stuff. You might find better deals on hotels outside orlando but the package deals can be pretty attractive depending on what you want to do and see while your there
  3. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    Tampa, FL.
    Honestly, it's a lot better just to stay on property. Disney value hotels come in at around $89 a night. It's highly unlikely you'll find a hotel outside of Disney, like a Marriott or Holiday Inn, for less than that. In addition, you'd have to spend $15 to park at Disney if you're staying somewhere else. If you're staying in a Disney resort you get free parking, or you can utilize any of their public transport to get you to and from the parks. You also get to use Disney Magic Bands if you stay on property. These act as the key to your room, your credit card, your ticket into each park, your fast pass, etc... so it's a pretty handy thing to take advantage of. I also just think Disney hotels are better themed and that they provide better customer service than you're going to find elsewhere.
  4. GregC

    GregC Johnny and Joe Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2007
    I've never stayed on the property, but if I had kids I definitely would--less hassle. Also, if jmatt's $89 figure is right, there's no WAY you're going to do better outside the park unless it's something really crappy.
  5. nutdog

    nutdog when I'm a good dog they sometimes throw me a bone Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2009
    In the dog house.
    IMO, stay in the park, find a deal that includes the meal plan.

    Theme parks are often open early for park hotel guests. Cooler temps and less waiting. Recommend hitting the parks early, taking an afternoon rest, then going back for after dark fireworks and such.

    I would probably never go in season. We used to homeschool and would get a deal through a homeschool association for September/October trips that included the meal plan. Less heat, less lines. The water parks would be relatively deserted but still plenty warm.
  6. Papersen

    Papersen Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2002
    That´s exactly the time I´ll be staying there (late September).

    I understand that free meal plans are great to save some $$$, but dunno if they´ll be offering it by that time.

    I´ve already booked flights and car, but still try to figure where to stay. Thanks !!
  7. nutdog

    nutdog when I'm a good dog they sometimes throw me a bone Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2009
    In the dog house.
    How old and how many kids?
  8. Papersen

    Papersen Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2002
    2 girls aged 5 and 8.
  9. nutdog

    nutdog when I'm a good dog they sometimes throw me a bone Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2009
    In the dog house.
    Great age for Disney. The only other suggestion would be to not try to do everything. Take your time, enjoy what you're doing and don't wear everybody out. Consider renting or bringing portable strollers. Lots of walking and little legs wear out.
  10. MonetBass

    MonetBass ♪ Just listen ♫ Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Tulsa, OK
    Yes, definitely stay on-property. Getting to and from each of the parks is so much easier that way. We've been before and we're going again this summer.

    +1 to nutdog's stroller rental suggestion. That'll save the kiddos from getting so tired from walking (which you will do a LOT of).
  11. Lazylion

    Lazylion Goin ahead on wit my bad self!

    Jan 25, 2006
    Frederick MD USA
    When my band was hired out of L.A. to play at the Neon Armadillo on Pleasure Island in 1989, the BL found us a nasty place in Kissimmee, called the Sun Motel. $25 a night! It featured carpets that turned your socks gray, paper-thin bedsheets (I put my foot right through one by accident) and ants in your laundry that would eat holes in your underwear.

    A delightful place. My girlfriend came for a visit, took one look at the place, and insisted we move across the street immediately.

    Not recommended. Have fun!
  12. I would suggest staying on property. It's much easier to get the kids back to the hotel for an afternoon nap. We usually stay at the Grand Californian. It's the most $$$, but it's the closest to the parks. And it's right in the middle of Downtown Disney. And it has a pool.

    Many of the area hotels have a shuttle to Disney Land, because of the area focus on Disney. So that's good.

    A couple other things you might want to know. No camera tripods allowed in the parks. I have never had a stroller stolen there. They have character breakfasts at Disney; those can be lots of fun. September will be hot. Plan for lots of water. The evening parade starts down by It's a Small World. It's easier to find a seat there than it is on Main Street. Most of the stores on Main Street are connected internally. Use a sharpie to write your cell phone number on your kids feet.

    Make sure you have extra memory cards for your camera. You can purchase AA and AAA batteries in Disney Land, but they don't carry a full supply of cards. And you WILL use your camera a lot.

    Last thing: The busiest, most crowded, week at Disney Land is the week between Christmas and New Years. The locals are using their passes, and lots of kids come to town for the Rose Parade. And they all go to Disney. Ain't making that mistake again :)

    Take care,

  13. Ironbar


    Aug 24, 2013
    Portland, Oregon

    I went to DW for the first time not long ago, and I have a wealth of info to offer you.

    Number one recommendation: Disney Art of Animation Studio Hotel. It's DW's newest hotel on property, and it's awesome! There are four themed hotels on this property- Nemo, Lion King, Cars, and Little Mermaid. All the hotels EXCEPT Little Mermaid consist exclusively of what they call Family Suites, and let me tell you, they're a blessing. Separate room and bathroom for mom & dad, and a full size Murphy bed that can sleep both your girls, or if one of them chooses, the couch in the living area is a hide-a-bed. They'll have their own separate bathroom too. When the Murphy bed folds up, it becomes your dining table! They have refers and microwaves. It was the best hotel we've ever stayed at with our kid. The Nemo themed hotel has the largest pool. In fact it's gigantic! You can still use this pool no matter which hotel you're in, but I'm just sayin' it was nice to walk out the door and there it is. There's a cafeteria-style dining hall on site that offers a bunch of different fare, but the lines are typically long during the busy hours, and unfortunately Disney hasn't a clue on how to move these lines along. We did NOT do a dining plan because for what you got with it, it just wasn't worth it.

    Now, for transportation. Yes, there is a shuttle service that will take you anywhere. HOWEVER, the shuttles are jam-packed and noisy as hell. We rode the shuttles on our first day there. That night when we were back to the hotel, I was on the phone with the rental car agency. You cannot believe how nice it was being able to come and go when you want. Disneyland is measured in square acres. Disney World is measured in square miles. Don't be afraid to go off property to get a meal or two. GPS is your friend- use it always. Kudo's to Disney for their in-park shuttles. Once you park your car, you proceed to the shuttle area, and they run VERY frequently, and they drive you right to the main gate!

    Our two fav parks were Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom. Epcot seemed dated to us but still had some good stuff, and Animal Kingdom was fun too but couldn't really hold a candle to the San Diego Zoo. (Previous year's vacation).

    You're going to find the exact same food in many, many MANY different places in the parks. You're going to get tired of it quick. Bring your own snacks and lot of them. Wear a backpack with lots of slots for water bottles. I wore an REI pack with a Camelbak slot and two side pockets for bottles. It was a little heavy, but worth it. If your wife is game, have her wear one too but make it smaller. Most rides will allow you to tuck the pack between your legs. Some you'll have to sit out while your wife & kids go while you hold the pack, and vise versa.

    FAST PASSES ARE YOUR FRIEND! Use them as often as you can! In fact, when you enter whatever park in the morning, make a beeline to the rides you want to ride and get your fast passes (if available for that ride), then stroll around until your fast pass time comes. YOU WILL NEED EACH TICKET FOR EACH FAMILY MEMBER TO GET A FAST PASS.

    At Hollywood Studios there is a show they do there called Fantasmagoria. See it!!!!

    At Magic Kingdom, they do a show at night at Cinderella's Castle. They don't do it on all nights as I recall, but you do NOT want to miss it! It's AMAZING!

    Well, that's all for now but if you have any more questions, shoot me a PM and I'd be happy to help!
  14. Papersen

    Papersen Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2002
    Thanks a lot for such useful info.
    I originally looked at Animal Kingdom Lodge (expensive and a bit far away) but then Art of Animation Hotel became my current top choice.

    Since I´ll have a tight budget, free dining plan is a must for me to if I wanna stay within WDW.
  15. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    A few years back, when I was there, there were a lot of local scoundrels who would offer discounts and passes if you were willing to spend about an hour listening to them about timeshares the wanted you to get.

    I took advantage of it, and saved a lot of dough. I had to spend an hour with a total weirdo. Leave the kids and wife somewhere else, and make sure you've completed a Last Will & Testament, just in case.
  16. bmc


    Nov 15, 2003
    Go early, when they open, with tickets in hand. Know exactly which rides you want to do and go there immediately.

    Have an early lunch, at say, 11am. Then hit rides while others are eating.

    Leave the park from 1-4 and take the kids to the hotel pool to chill out. The park is most full during that time. Go back late afternoon as the place starts emptying.

    Kids that age will not endure an 8 hour track. Kids that age will get restless being in the long lines. Avoid the peaks and everyone will be happy.

    I second taking driving onto the site. The shuttles from the parking lot are very very frequent and not crowded.
  17. Hi,

    Silly me. When I read the original post, I read Disney LAND, not Disney WORLD.

    That said....

    At the Disney Resorts (Hotels), a sit down breakfast is almost impossible to find. Instead, you order & receive your breakfast, then you pay for it, then you look for a place to sit, then.... I never did eat a hot breakfast there, even though I ordered several.

    The wait time on getting a table for dinner can approach 2 hours, at Downtown Disney. They don't take advance reservations.

    The Magic Kingdom and Epcot are the two most crowded parks. The other parks, not so much. It's a relative thing, not an absolute.

    Plan on lots heat, humidity, and people. It's Florida in the summer time. And rain. Figure for that as well.

    Assuming that you stay on the property, the shuttle system runs from the resorts to the attractions, hub and spoke style. It's not always time efficient, but it's easy and there is no fee for taking it.

    And remember - if there's no pix, it means you didn't go :)

  18. Richland123


    Apr 17, 2009
    Staying on Disney property is convenient for going to the different Disney parks and Downtown Disney and such.

    HOWEVER, I highly recommend to include Universal Studios parks. While the Disney parks are cool, the Universal parks as just as good and have some rides and attractions that are extremely fun and nowhere else.

    I have been to Disney World three times and went to Universal as well.
  19. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Oct 3, 2007
    I've did both - in park is convenient, some great deals are available off-site. Depends how long you are going to stay in Florida total - last time I took family we were going for 8 days, only 4 at Disney. We were able to score a really nice, huge 2 bedroom timeshare for like $600 for the 8 days. 10 minutes from WDW, away from the hustle & bustle of WDW. YMMV.

    Mellowinman is right about the timeshare sales pitches, to rent many of them you HAVE to take the 1 hour pitch - just keep saying no. Tell the salesperson you are only at the sales pitch for the free meal. Be belligerent, be goofy, eat a bunch of garlic beforehand. Eat Mexican food and brown cloud them. Just keep saying NO!!! Wear the same outfit as your avatar.:D
  20. Tat2dHeart

    Tat2dHeart Only two strings away from an attitude problem.

    Stay on property for WDW. Whether you choose to use the shuttles/trains from the hotels to the parks or not, resort guests get early admission and late close hours to the parks. When you've got little ones, this lets you go back for naptime so they'll really enjoy the trip instead of being some of those crying kids with shouting parents (there are way too many of those).

    Get the Disney app for your phone that shows wait times for the rides.

    Use fastpasses (you'll need one for every member of your party).

    While you're in that area, if your trip allows, go to Universal for a day or two, also. Two more parks, and this summer they'll be opening the expansion to Harry Potter by adding Diagon Alley. If you're Potter fans, Universal is a can't miss.

    Also fun to do while you're around the area (I used to live there just off Disney's back gate):

    Swamp boat tours at Boggy Creek
    Sea World
    Horseback riding (great stable near Boggy Creek)
    Dolphin tours on the bay at Clearwater (ask for the discount and they'll give it to you at the yellow boats)
    WonderWorks (it's a hands on science museum)
    The Duck Walk at the Peabody Hotel (every day twice a day)
    Feed the baby alligators at Congo River Miniature Golf (on International Drive)
    Fun Spot (the International Drive location has more than 5 miles of go-kart tracks)
    Old Towne Kissimmee (carnival, car show, boardwalk)