Disney World: Staying onsite at Disney Resort Properties VS Staying Offsite
An age-old question I believe. When I go to Walt Disney World where should I stay? On site at a Disney Hotel or off site in a villa or a non-Disney resort or hotel
Having done both and even 2 Split stays I will give you what we experienced and a few reasons where off site I believe is better and some pros and cons to staying on site.
For years I dreamed of going to Disney World and thinking and rethinking which resort would be the most fun to stay at. I imagine many others plan and think as well. However for us once it came time (which happened to be our wedding and honeymoon) we chose a split stay because of budget.
We chose 3 nights at the Boardwalk Inn. Primarily because we were getting married at sea breeze point on the boardwalk and Disney requirement to stay a min of 3 nights in a Disney owned Deluxe hotel if you were getting married at Disney.
The difference in on site to off that time was immediately noticeable. While at the Boardwalk going out in the evening and enjoying the nightlife and most of all the ability to walk or boat to Epcot and MGM now Disney Studios was amazing.
Once we were off site having to get in the car drive over and then park and catch a tram in and then at Magic Kingdom still having to catch monorail or ferry in just seemed like forever. IN reality I don’t believe it was forever but it sure did feel that way.
Convenience cannot be beat when staying on site. With Resorts within walking distance of 1 or more theme parks or a quick monorail/ boat or bus ride away. Now of course some on site resorts are much more convenient than others. Sometimes Disney intra transportation can be frustrating and sometimes to get from your resort to another place on property can require planning and maybe even multiple stops. Some people prefer in these cases to just drive to the destination but use Disney transportation for everything else.
Some instances I believe it’s almost impossible to do off-site are as follows..
* A Multi-generational family and grandparents want to head back for a relaxing afternoon to the resort and read a book or enjoy some down time.
*You have Teens who can go all day and night while parents may want to relax at the pool or explore the resort while letting the teens conquer the parks till they are ready to collapse.
*And those with young kids who will tire early but will after a short nap or rest be ready to go again.
In a situation like these I believe it is almost impossible to stay off site. It’s very inconvenient at the very least.
Staying on site also gets you the Disney magic 24/7 or even more then Disney.
Stay at Port Orleans for example and get a taste of New Orleans and take a carriage ride. Or stay at Animal Kingdom and wake up to a African savannah view.
On site you get the use of Disney’s Magical Express, which will pick you up at the airport take you to your resort and take care of all your luggage for you. No waiting at the baggage claim, just walk off your plane go directly to the magical express bus and board and your luggage will Magically arrive in your resort later that day.
I for one even as an adult am ready to just relax mid-afternoon and take a break and then come back and enjoy a few hours in the evening. To do this off site every time we tried it just never came to pass. It always seemed like such a huge hassle and so much time involved to just go for a couple hours. However when we stayed on site the story is much different and we did enjoy more of the parks.
What about off site? Well for 1 it will be cheaper. There are some cheap motels to even some very nice resorts with more amenities then similar priced at Disney.
Or maybe you have a large family and you would need 2 or 3 hotel rooms or would require a 2 bedroom DVC resort room.
In a case like this staying off site would be cheaper. Staying in a villa with lots of room and a full kitchen can be very nice plus even cooking 1 meal in your villa can save a ton of money off eating in the parks.
However with a villa you do have to either drive to Orlando or rent a car which some may not want to drive and navigate the roads to Disney nor fight traffic to get there.
If you want to just be away from it all at the end of the day a villa can be like a 2nd home to some.
I believe that there is no right or wrong. You have to look up and write down your pros and cons and look at your family’s budget as well.
Contributed by: Jason