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Thread: Onsite vs offsite

  1. #1

    Onsite vs offsite

    Now that Magical Express is being discontinued, EMH is being discontinued, have to pay for magic bands, and all the other eliminations of perks for staying onsite, will you still be staying onsite or looking at staying offsite during your visits. We are getting close to booking out September trip and are trying to decide if it's worth staying onsite anymore. Everything points to offsite being the better deal now, bigger rooms and a lower price. But the big point that has been hard to get past is just being immersed in the WDW bubble. We love that feeling of never leaving WDW property once we are on it.

    For those who do stay offsite, any suggestions on hotels? We have been looking at the Double Tree in the Disney Springs area. Haven't dug too much into anything outside of those DS hotels.

    Next WDW trip, August 28-31, 2021! Can't come soon enough.

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  3. #2

    Lots of factors here, some of which you've touched on. Full disclosure of my mindset here first.

    • I have never been a big believer in the bubble for myself (solo trips, 2-3 per year pre-COVID). I would most likely stay on site for the theming and immersion if doing a much less frequent larger family trip though (and as mentioned in many of the DME posts on many sites, DME was a huge benefit for luggage transport from MCO, even if you were going to drive during the vacation). Did I enjoy on site when I did it? Yes. Is it required? No.
    • I have stayed on site in the past, but not for a couple of years now (I stopped mostly because they instituted the parking fee at resorts - I drive around while on vacation - I do not find cramming onto buses with many strangers or waiting around at bus stops enjoyable while on vacation - see "not a bubble person" ) I actually had been trying a whole bunch of the resorts on my trips before the parking fee. There was also an issue on one of my last on site stays that I considered a huge negative (finding a large portion of your luggage/possessions missing when returning to the room is not a pleasant feeling. This luckily turned out not to be theft, but a hotel screw up and everything was returned, but still..... )
    • I am not picky for the most part when it comes to motels/hotels in general, as long as they are clean and functional. While I've never stayed a whole trip at one, I have made use of lower end off site Days Inns and Super 8s for a day or 2 for the first or last couple of nights. I am sure that does not seem like vacation to people who prioritize things like pools and other resort amenities. I've also stayed at a couple of the Disney Springs hotels, which I found to be nice, IMO. So if you are more of the "Marriott Tower or better" mindset for a hotel, you probably want to ignore most of my comments Re: Disney Springs hotels, you do pay a parking fee at most/all of the Disney Springs hotels, but it's obviously offset by the cheaper room rate.
    • Regarding parking again, obviously you don't have to worry about that for parks when staying on site and using buses, etc. Parking at the parks is I think up to around $22 or $25 per day for passenger vehicles, unless you have an AP, in which case parking at the parks was included (I don't think they've changed this, but with everything else changing, it would not shock me if they do at some point).


    Driving around WDW if you've never done it is probably a bit of getting used to. There are decent signs for almost everything once you are on Disney roads. That said, there is obviously not a sign for every possible destination at every intersection or cloverleaf interchange. Using a GPS or a phone with Google Maps as a GPS is helpful, but you also have to be aware of a lot of the roads being modified over the last several years, quite extensively (particularly near DHS and the entry to MK resorts, since you no longer go through the MK parking toll booths to get to them). I do not use a smart phone, so I can't say how often Google Maps is updated. I will say you cannot rely exclusively on a GPS unit if it's got a map that hasn't been updated in a few years . I end up using a combination of signs, GPS, and experience. So that's probably consideration one. Are you OK with driving while on vacation? That answer may determine where you decide to stay.

    Assuming FP+ comes back someday (I don't think we can guess for September yet), the Disney Springs "partner" hotels were a winning solution there, since you would still nget early FP access. So that used to be a reason to focus on those DS hotels.

    DS hotels also have the WDW bus availability, which if you decide you don't want to drive around a lot is possibly a plus. I've heard many people suggest that some of the off site hotels that offer their own shuttles that are not part of the WDW bus system that they are not frequent enough to rely on the way many people rely on WDW buses. So be aware of that detail when reviewing options.

    I will say one thing regarding a comment I've seen pop up a lot on the DME announcement on the DPB. Many people say "well, if I have a car anyway, I'm going to start going off site to eat also, since I'll save a lot of money there too". I can understand that for large groups, maybe for a larger dinner meal, as you probably could save a lot for a sit down meal at a national chain vs most WDW table service restaurants. I can't see that being a useful approach for mid day meals though, assuming you are trying to at least partially optimize use of open park hours during your trip. The point being even though you have a car, the property is still huge. It takes some time to actually get to the point of being off property to get to such off site offerings. Even though I drive, I don't think I've eaten outside of a park or resort ever on days I am at WDW. (I'm obviously not counting Universal or Sea World if I spend the day there, since I'm already far off property in those cases).

    So that may be another aspect. Do you have any desire to visit other places? Or are you still just going to want to stick with WDW only, even if you have the freedom of a car during your trip? Some people stay part of their trip at Universal for a couple of nights. I've only done Universal for a single day a few times, so never changed my hotel for it. But people that do stay at Universal seem to speak well of the experience.

    Oh, so DS hotels I've stayed at include the Best Western (probably three or four 3 to 5 day stays). Wyndham Garden (one stay for a few nights) and the Holiday Inn (one stay of only 2 nights, I think).

    All were generally fine, IMO. I'm trending towards the BW since I'm in their frequent visitor club. I didn't care for needing to use the valet just to check in at the Wyndham. Other than that it was fine. The BW had been a bit of a construction site as they were building a new tower (it was starting to show significant vertical progress when COVID hit). So I have no idea what that looks like now, since last time I was there was Dec 2019. They may have paused the new tower construction, I can't guess.

    There is a lot to consider. Hopefully this has given you a few new aspects to ponder when making your plans.
    Last edited by Dave1313; 01-22-2021 at 06:51 AM.
    -Dave

  4. #3

    Good post! Appreciate the insight.

    We always get a rental car at the airport. I like being in command of getting out of the airport and leaving for the airport. Plus, over the past few years I have been driving more and more to the parks instead of relying on the WDW buses. The only park I really don't like driving to is MK. I don't like having to deal with the DTC. I would rather just get dropped off at the front. But for the other parks, we usually park close enough where it's worth the drive and not have to wait for the busses. So we will definitely have a car.

    I guess one of the things to consider is the daily parking fee at the parks. If you stay at a DS hotel do you have to pay the parking fee into the parks? If not, I guess you have to tack that fee onto the resort fee and the parking fee they charge. That would actually bring it closer to the price of staying at AS Movies.

    Next WDW trip, August 28-31, 2021! Can't come soon enough.

  5. #4

    I'm 99.999 % certain that there is no free Park parking for DS hotel guests (I've been an AP up until COVID for most recent trips, so I was getting parking included with the AP, so didn't really have to think about if the hotel had any impact there).

    You have to stay on site for that benefit, I'm pretty sure (but now that you are paying for parking at the resort it's more of a wash than a benefit for on-site).

    -Dave

  6. #5

    We have always stayed onsite in a Disney resort . My family appreciates the hotel themes and Disney security.

    I agree that based on room size, Disney hotel rooms are overpriced, especially now that a lot of the onsite perks have disappeared. We always rent a car too for the convenience.

    Maybe we might consider a hotel on Bonnet Creek Parkway in the future or the Four Seasons to experience a non-Disney hotel on property and compare the benefits.


  7. #6

    Has anyone stayed at the Wyndham Bonnet Creek? Someone suggested to me and I am really intrigued by it. Looks like it is on WDW property but not a Disney property. The two bedroom suite would actually cut our hotel cost in half if we stay there.

    Next WDW trip, August 28-31, 2021! Can't come soon enough.

  8. #7

    We have stayed there several times. It is not technically on Disney property, but is bordered by Disney property and the freeway. It is a nice property and we enjoy having the space and the kitchen, so that we are able to cook meals. There is transportation to and from the parks, however, there is a charge and it runs at scheduled times. The last time that my wife and I stayed there, we used ride share for transportation. If you have more questions, feel free to ask me.

    I don't know and I don't care if It's a Small World. It's a nice day when you wake up in Disneyland.


  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by WITron View Post
    We have stayed there several times. It is not technically on Disney property, but is bordered by Disney property and the freeway. It is a nice property and we enjoy having the space and the kitchen, so that we are able to cook meals. There is transportation to and from the parks, however, there is a charge and it runs at scheduled times. The last time that my wife and I stayed there, we used ride share for transportation. If you have more questions, feel free to ask me.
    Do you have to be a club member to stay at the Club Wyndham Bonnet Creek? It looks like the Wyndham Grand Orlando Bonnet Creek doesn't have the two bedroom suites.

    Also, are there resort and parking fees there?
    Next WDW trip, August 28-31, 2021! Can't come soon enough.

  10. #9

    When we stayed we used my parents Club Wyndham membership. We did not have to pay a resort or parking fee, but I am not sure if that was because we were a guest of a member or not.

    I don't know and I don't care if It's a Small World. It's a nice day when you wake up in Disneyland.


  11. #10

    It looks like Wyndham Bonnet Creek it is! We went through one of the sites that specializes in renting time shares and we got an awesome price quote for the 5 nights we will be in WDW. It was really hard to pass up that much space for the price at a resort that is technically on WDW property, even though it is not a WDW property.

    Next WDW trip, August 28-31, 2021! Can't come soon enough.

  12. #11
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    We have 3 rooms at the Doubletree DS coming up. We looked at all options and were excited. When I looked at the retail versus my rates it was hundreds less.

    Countdown to 31 days❣️

    Mikala

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