Disney World offsite or onsite? It’s the ever infamous debate. We’re about to book our next trip to Disney World, and we’ve officially entered the where should we stay phase. I thought I’d post about it, and our mindset, since many others face the same thing.
A Constant Hotel To Return To
Other than the Marriott World Center Resort (and some of the surrounding villa properties), there’s not a hotel we love enough to go back to again and again. It’s simply wonderful. Three years ago we got married here and had the most beautiful destination wedding. However, we’re not quite ready to return just yet. I know it’s extremely silly. Our wedding is still so fresh in our minds, and I suppose I’m a little scared to go back. I have such high expectations. Ridiculous, I know. I mean, I’m pretty sure I’d spend all my time here going up to everyone just to let them know, this is where we got married!
Plus, the last time we were here it was with practically all of our friends and family. I mean, it was our wedding. Amazing, right? I fear our next stay won’t live up. We won’t run into people we know, and we won’t have this spectacular event. Nothing will look, be, or feel the same. Old memories will be too overwhelming, and we won’t make new ones. We’ll be too busy reminiscing about the past. I think I have to at least wait to go back during a family Disney trip, and not when it’s just the two of us. You know, ease our way back in with a group lol.
Anyway, despite the fact that we’ll actually be here to celebrate our fourth wedding anniversary (!!), we decided not to go back to our destination wedding venue. That’s a decision made, and, because of the reasons listed above, I’m fine with it.
But still, Onsite or Offsite?
I’ll be honest. For us, one doesn’t outshine the other, and let me tell you, it stresses me out. Almost to the point where I don’t want to go anymore. Then I think of how magical it is and my heart melts. Yeah, it’s worth it.
I hear a lot of people say, “I only use the hotel as a place to sleep.” Which is so far from the truth for us. We enjoy the amenities. It’s so much more than a place to rest at night for us. I need a heavenly bed, great service, pool, room service, and some fab bath products don’t hurt either.
And then we got looking
We looked into our onsite options. Disney’s prices for next year (our anniversary is in January, so we’re looking at 2014), completely skyrocketed. We stay onsite for convenience (we hate renting a car), and for the dining plan. However, the value in the dining plan just isn’t there anymore. It works out cheaper for us to pay out of pocket for our meals. I seriously refuse to pay an extra hundred dollars for “the ease of the dining plan.” It’s funny because back in the day the dining plan was advertised as a savings. Now, there’s no mention of it. As far as extra magic hours, we don’t base our stay on an extra hour or two here or there. That’s definitely not a deciding factor for us. However, it’s a small perk we certainly like. I do also like being immersed in it all.
With that said, I don’t see the point of staying onsite UNLESS you’re staying at one of the Disney hotels that offers a theme park within a boat, walk, or monorail ride. The Disney buses, while okay, aren’t worth it. You can get better amenities offsite within pretty much the same distance. Most offsite hotels also offer bus transportation, and of course you can always rent a car. The perks to Disney, for us, come with the unique transportation options for some of the parks.
There are certainly more luxurious accommodations outside of the Walt Disney World Resort, not to mention, most are a better value than staying onsite. Luxury + a better price = a win win. It almost seems like staying offsite is a no brainer. However, I think about renting a car, and I hate the idea of it. Almost as much as I dislike taking a bus. I guess it’s the extra hassle and logistics that don’t allow for me to feel like I’m on vacation. There’s also the other Orlando. Universal, Islands of Adventure, Sea World, etc. If I’m doing any of those, offsite is once again an obvious choice. However, this time around we’re just doing Disney, so where does that leave us?
The deciding factor?
It really came down to the rental car, and the fact that we didn’t want to rent one, or have a bus be our only option to get to the parks.
So that’s how we ultimately decided to stay onsite.
But where onsite?
It’s like the game that doesn’t end. After every decision made comes five more. Disney offers a million different hotel options. Okay, so maybe not that many, but the options are endless. So let’s break it down.
I think it would be unfair of me to say I hate the value resorts, given that I’ve never stayed at one. But, whatever, I hate the value resorts. Especially as two adults with no kids, we would never consider staying at one. And if I’m being honest with myself, even if and when we do eventually have kids, I don’t think you’ll ever find me at one then either. Maybe one day I’ll prove myself wrong.
With that said, we’ve stayed at a number of Disney moderate and deluxe hotels that we thought were good. There were definitely ones we preferred over others. Disney’s moderate hotels are nice, but, like I said above, the bus only transportation is not ideal.
I always bring up one of Disney’s flagship resorts, The Grand Floridian. What girl doesn’t love it?
I honestly think my obsession with it stems from Full House. I grew up going to Disney World, and watching that show. So this obviously all comes from some crazy childhood moments that have been intertwined. Ugh. Let this be a lesson to parents, things your children watch on TV do affect them into adulthood.
Heck, I’m just excited the new Be Our Guest restaurant is open, so I can finally meet the Beast like they did on Boy Meets World.
More 90’s childhood problems.
Anyway, back to the Grand Floridian. The thing is, I have a problem paying Four Seasons prices and only getting 1/4 of the service, which is exactly what staying at the Grand Floridian is like. BUT…
Disney Vacation Club Is The Secret To Staying On Disney Property For Half The Price
So while Disney hotel shopping we stumbled upon the Villas at Disney’s Grand Flordian. It’s a brand new, all-villa building set to open on the grounds of the Grand Floridian this fall.
Enter the idea of renting someone else’s DVC points. Although we hate the idea of not having daily housekeeping, I guess that comes with the territory when you rent someone else’s timeshare points. But it’s hardly fair to complain when you’re saving so much money. Edit: you can add daily housekeeping for a nominal fee.
At the end of the day, we recognized the value. Just to clarify, I’m talking about the value in renting someone else’s DVC points, not purchasing DVC.
Since finding out about the new Villas at Grand Floridian, I immediately developed the mentality that if we can’t stay here, we’re not going. My mind was made up. We HAD to get a reservation here. The Grand Floridian Villas look super luxurious, which is so not what I’m used to saying about any Disney property.
Is it possible Disney hotel rooms are becoming more up to date? Color me shocked. Not only did I read about a rain head shower, but there’s a TV in the bathroom mirror.
The villas don’t open until October, and we’ll be staying in January. It’s always next to impossible to get reservations at a new property. Imagine my surprise when we were actually able to secure our stay here!
Numbers Don’t Lie
Best of all is the savings, and I’ll show you.
Booking the same room through WDW.com would cost us $624.37 per night.
Renting someone else’s DVC points cost us $299 per night.
Massive savings. Massive.
Unfortunately, we were only able to get three nights here, which is understandable, since it’s so new. I would have been happy with one night, so I’m golden with three. However, we already purchased airline tickets for a longer stay.
So the debate above? Enter that again. Where to book an additional two nights? Gah!
My husband actually made it pretty easy. He really likes Disney’s Boardwalk, and while we’ve visited many times, we’ve never stayed. It’s walking distance to Epcot, and a boat ride to Hollywood Studios. He’s always talked about how cool it would be to have one of those rooms that actually overlooks the Boardwalk. I hear about it EVERY TIME we go. So we ran with it, and at this point we are just hoping all goes well with changing hotels during our vacation. This is known as a “split stay,” which is new to us. I guess we’ll see how we like it. I’m excited to try it out!
So a standard room at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort will set you back just over $400 per night. For a room at a four star hotel. This is absolutely insane to me. I don’t have a problem with paying these prices, but I need to get something good in return. We didn’t want a regular room either. The point of staying at Disney’s Boardwalk is to stay on Disney’s Boardwalk. Otherwise, it defeats the purpose. So to stay in a room with this preferred view, be prepared to drop $528.75 per night. Seriously, no thanks. I mean, this place still has bedspreads! BEDSPREADS! Gross! Oh, and note the Pepto pink walls. Vomit, seriously.
There’s no way I’m paying over $500 a night, especially for anything remotely similar to the above picture. I actually don’t think it’s even worth some cheap $99 per night rate, but whatever.
We once again looked into renting DVC points. I actually still don’t think what we’re paying is worth it, but I digress. So rather than shelling out over $500 a night so my husband can finally stay on Disney’s Boardwalk, we’re paying $180 per night.
I’ll take it!