Offsite or onsite w/ five year old

Discussion in 'Disney for Families' started by Momtoapug, Feb 13, 2018.

  1. Momtoapug

    Momtoapug Earning My Ears

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    Update- we have booked our stay offsite this year; thank you for all of the great advice and replies.
    We are trying Sheraton Vistana villages - Costco for us a 2BR villa for six days, in March, with five days of base tix for three people, for $2850. I felt like that was a great deal! The villa will have two bedrooms with one king, two queens, and a full kitchen. We requested as close as possible to kids pool and playground.
    I think an offsite resort will be a good choice because:
    We really, really value the comfort and spaciousness of the resort we stay at. This is because often I stay back at the resort, in the room, to rest during he day for many hours. Sometimes i have to stay there all day. We also intentionally take a full day off from parks to relax.
    I also need a resort where there is not a brutal amount of walking. I just can’t tell from the maps how bad it would be at the various resorts at Disney and I’m scared to chance it. At Vistana I have the potential for a lot of walking but- I’ll have a pool very close and kitchen with full size fridge etc for food. And car parked close by. When we stayed at gf villas the walk from room to main resort was a lot. Again I just can’t really tell how bad it will be at Disney. Yes I can use ECV or wheelchair...but it would be nice to avoid having to use at the resort if possible...
    Lastly we don’t do mealplan. We don’t mind cooking easy stuff and bringing it with us. This saves us big money. Little mermaid room was $2000 for just the room and tickets; we went over $3000 when we added meal plan. I am still wondering if I’ll regret/ miss the theming. It’s just hard to say.
    Our plan is to drive to wdw each day. It might be horrible...But it might be easy. We plan to check out disney resorts to get a feel for layout etc while there.
    If it’s ok I will update afterward and let everyone know what I think since I’ll have been offsite and on-site at that point. Thanks so much for all the great posts!!

    Hello!
    I’m sure it’s been asked before but-
    Would you recommend staying on-site or offsite for us based on the following:
    - mom (me) has MS. The idea of busses (waiting, walking to stop, etc.) seems laborious and tiring but- maybe it’s not
    - have only been to Disney once before. We stayed at grand Floridian villas (swoon!) so monorail was EASY.
    - have never stayed offsite
    - we don’t plan on using meal plan
    - we Can’t afford GF again :P
    -we are Costco members and they seem to have amaZing deals on fancy places like Waldorf Astoria for $2800 for five days with tix...but how annoying is it to drive to park daily?
    I asked this in the disability board but wanted to get perspective from thtis group too. Hope that’s okay. Thank you!
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2018
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  2. Klayfish

    Klayfish DIS Veteran

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    This really becomes a personal preference. We wouldn't stay onsite if it was free. It just wouldn't suit our lifestyle. We're a family of 5, no way would we want to share a hotel room. Also, no way on earth am I relying on WDW buses. No thanks, not a chance. But we (I) like to drive, it doesn't bother me one bit. We also get to go where we want, when we want, instead of being limited to WDW options. Driving is super easy, IMO. MK takes a little extra time, due to having to use the ferry or monorail, but to us that's a magical part of the journey. Beyond that, park, take the tram and you're there. Easy peasy.

    Many people talk about the "Disney bubble" and I get it. But to me, that's silly, the "bubble" is what you make of it. To us, the "bubble" is all of WDW and the umpteen billion things around it...gift shops, restaurants, beaches, etc... We also pack all of our food and bring it in, so having a kitchen is a must (we really do very minimal cleaning/cooking, very easy stuff).

    We rent offsite condos. You can find 3 or 4 bedroom, 2 to 3 bathroom condos/townhouses for about $100/night.

    Again, you'll have to decide if you want to stay onsite or not. For many, it's stay onsite or don't go. I understand and respect that. We're the opposite. In fact, our last trip, we thought we'd surprise the kids and book one night at the Dophin onsite, just for fun. We didn't even sleep there, we left and went back to our condo. Definitely not for us.
     
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  4. sponica

    sponica DIS Veteran

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    They've been adding Minnie Van access to more and more hotels (but I wouldn't want to do that exclusively).

    You could always look at the Epcot area resorts, you can either walk to hollywood studios or Epcot (they also have boats that run to those parks).

    Nobody will have the best answer. For me it's onsite or nothing (so we don't have to rent a car, and with a kid in a carseat it's just easier). I've done offsite in a marriott timeshare and my mom rented a car. Although we didn't go to MK, we drove to Epcot and Animal Kingdom.

    My feeling is that when I'm at Disney, the hotel is just a place to sleep. And I've been in one room at Pop with 3 other college students, so I never understood the "OMG THE ROOMS ARE SOOOOO SMALL" complaints.
     
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  5. glassslippergirl

    glassslippergirl DIS Veteran

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    We always stay offsite with our 5-yo. To us, the cost savings trumps all else, plus I prefer my own car to WDW busses. It's really not that bad to deal with parking at a WDW park. MK is kind of a pain because you have to park then take a tram, then a bus or monorail to get to the front gates. The other parking lots are closer to the park and more walkable. That said, in your situation I think parking would be more manageable for your mother if she uses a handicapped parking placard. The handicapped section is much closer so that a tram is not needed. If she doesn't already have one, she may want to talk to her doctor particularly mentioning this trip.

    The second thing I would consider is wheelchair use. Not sure if your mom uses a wheelchair, but the strain of the trip may make her consider renting one. You can rent straight from the park, and that wheelchair can only be used in the park (if you hop to another park same day, the rental applies there too), but she can't use the rental wheelchair to get to a bus or car, and ECV's become more scarce as the day goes on. I would recommend renting an ECV from an offsite company. If you do this, then definitely stay on site. The ECV can be loaded straight on to any WDW bus. She can use it in the parks, at the resort, at Disney Springs. And loading this ECV right into the bus is much easier than loading it into and out of a car (unless you have a car already equipped). Just be sure that you have enough space in your hotel room to accommodate all of the people, luggage, and the ECV which will need to be charged every night.
     
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  6. Momtoapug

    Momtoapug Earning My Ears

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    I LOVE this! Thank you for the honesty and great explanations. I feel our family is the same way. Even though we have just one child, the idea of spending a fortune for a single room to stay onsite is hard for me to justify- which is why we didn’t mind splurging on the GF villas last year. However, seeing we can stay offsite for so much less- in spacious and luxurious accommodations- makes sense. Sounds like your family and mind have similar vacation style! I know it is different for everyone. For us, where we stay is not “just a place to sleep”, because we tend to be in there more and want a place where it’s comforable for many hours out of the day...thank you again for your reply you have taken the fear out of staying offsite away!
     
  7. Momtoapug

    Momtoapug Earning My Ears

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    Thank you so much! Great advice! I am the one with mobility issues :) this all makes sense! Thank you
     
  8. Momtoapug

    Momtoapug Earning My Ears

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    Oh one question- any places in particular that you recommend offsite? :)
     
  9. sponica

    sponica DIS Veteran

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    I don't know how much space you need/want but I've gotten a great price at the Caribe Royale (which is literally a stone's throw away). They have one room suites and 2 room villas.

    I completely forgot I stayed there (it was the back half of our honeymoon, we had planned the first half and then completely made up the second half on the fly)
     
  10. Betty Rohrer

    Betty Rohrer DIS Veteran

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    one thing to remember about handicapped parking at MK is it is a long uphill walk by the driveway in that I did not like with small kids and there is no tram to either the ferry or monorail and I say this because of 5 year old
     
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  11. Klayfish

    Klayfish DIS Veteran

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    Honestly, we haven't found a bad place yet. We use VRBO.com to find our condos. Look for places right along Rt. 192. You will find literally hundreds and hundreds of options. We tend to look for ones that are privately owned and have good prior reviews (you'll be able to see this in VRBO), as we've found that they tend to have more of a personal touch. They're also usually more well stocked, themed, etc... Yes, that's another perk of staying offsite, having all that room to spread out. We'll have days where we only go to the parks for 4 or 5 hours. We'll spend the rest of the time at the condo/townhouse. We'll use the pool (we always stay in gated communities that have pools, clubhouses, etc...), etc... Or even after a long day in the parks, it's nice to have an actual family room to relax in, dining room table to eat at, kitchen and laundry, etc... Having separate bedrooms is also absolutely spectacular for so many reasons, not the least of which is mom and dad privacy... :rolleyes1 :D For us, having all the comforts of home is just the way to go.

    Actually, the tram will stop there, but often doesn't. It just makes more sense to park in regular parking, IMO.
     
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  12. Julylady

    Julylady DIS Veteran

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    An on-site stay is always easier. We have stayed off-site for a few stays for one reason. We were traveling with a group of teens who did not want to share beds. We rented a 7-bedroom home and everyone got their own room. It worked fine...but we did have a few issues. The biggest was leaving the MK after the fireworks. The line for both the monorail and the boat were ginormous. One family member had a bit of a panic attack in the sea of humanity waiting to board the boat to the TTC. Never, ever again. I would suggest trying to book a moderate resort. They have great, reliable bus transportation, but do not have the steep price tag of a deluxe.
     
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  13. Klayfish

    Klayfish DIS Veteran

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    Again, all perspective. I say offsite is far easier. The line for buses when leaving after fireworks isn't any picnic either from all I've heard...I've read endless threads about people waiting an awful long time and then being packed into the bus like a sardine. The queue for the boat has a ton of people, but the boats hold a ton of people and they usually run all 3, so the wait isn't that bad. If the sea of people causes a panic attack then I'd also be concerned that same person would have a panic attack in the hub or when trying to walk down Main Street, as the sea is just as big...or bigger.
     
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  14. tabrizia

    tabrizia DIS Veteran

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    They are both reasonable options. We've stayed both on and offsite. We prefer onsite. I like the Disney bubble. Yes it is more expensive, especially since I can use my parents timeshare and stay for free offsite. That being said we tend to enjoy it far more when we are on property. We like the buses, we don't mind the hotel room, though we do get 2 at this point. The trip we have coming up we're staying offsite. It will work out fine for us. Our in the planning trip for 2020 we are staying onsite. We've done both, they both work. The extra room offsite is nice. The Disney bubble onsite is also nice.
     
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  15. mco65

    mco65 get busy living, or get busy dying!

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    Buses are easy IMO and for MK are a must.... parking at then riding the monorail is a PIA... The other parks are easy to drive to and in fact we will often drive to them even though we are onsite. I prefer staying onsite, inside the bubble, but staying offsite certainly wouldn't damper my spirits any.
     
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  16. disneydreamer1980

    disneydreamer1980 DIS Veteran

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    Either way, you’ll have a great time. We always stay onsite, at villas, though last trip we stayed in a family suite at ASMu...we are a big family and need a little more room than a hotel room provides. Because of this, I’ve looked at offsite houses before, the extra room is appealing. I just can’t bring myself to do it though, I’m a sucker for the Disney theming and service. In terms of your MS, I’d say both options are equal. Only downside to offsite is not being dropped off at the gate like the busses. One downside to consider when staying onsite is that most resorts are very spread out, and require a lot of walking.
     
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  17. Monykalyn

    Monykalyn DIS Veteran

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    Offsite would very likely result in less walking. I'm always surprised by amount of walking onsite-depending on where room is: walk to elevator (if you can't do stairs), walk to bus stop, walk from bust stop to park gates (some stops are quite a way from park gates). Walk back to bus stop (again-depends on resort where your bus stop is while parking trams are usually closer). Then walk back to room, walk to get food (again can be a hike depending on Resort/room location). Also unlike busses we've never waited more than a minute or two for the parking trams.

    Offsite we tram to car (may be a bit of walk if we are at opposite end of row). Drive straight to front door or close to elevator of condo. Short walk to kitchen for food.

    My mom had MS so I grew up with a mobility challenged parent :)
     
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  18. DisneyWishes14

    DisneyWishes14 DIS Veteran

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    We've stayed both on and off-site (including the Waldorf which I wasn't particularly impressed with). Driving daily was not fun. Yes, we could valet park our car at the hotel and have it driven right to the outside of the lobby, but then we had to park (and pay for parking) at the parks and then walk and wait for trams or ferries or monorails. Disney buses drop guests off much closer to the entrances. We did not like our offsite stays, so we now stay onsite exclusively. I actually am not a fan of WDW buses, so we utilize Minnie Vans, uber and lyft when we aren't in close proximity to a park (we just stayed at WL in Dec. and took the boat to MK and then uber/lyft/Minnie Van'd everywhere else). Using uber and lyft was actually cheaper than renting a car.

    I would suggest looking into the Swan or Dolphin (we prefer the Swan). It's in the EP resort area (right between BWI and YC) and will offer you very close proximity to EP and DHS (by walking or by boat). They also utilize Disney buses for transportation to MK and AK and the buses pick up right outside of their lobbies so not a lot of walking. You will get a much bigger bang for your buck at Swan/Dolphin than you would at a comparable WDW deluxe. Swan/Dolphin are basically deluxe hotels at mod pricing, IMHO. We had a family suite room there last year for half the price of a standard room at BWI.
     
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  19. robinb

    robinb DIS Veteran

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    To out your pricing in perspective, three 5-day park passes (no hopping) is about $1200 so your "amazing deal" at the Waldorf is costing you $320 per night (!).

    I have stayed at every level of WDW resort (nearly all of them, including the GF), both the Swan and Dolphin and offsite. When I have stayed offsite, I much prefer a condo or timeshare to a hotel. The cost is about the same but with a condo/timeshare you get so much more room. You can rent a timeshare through SkyAuction, just make sure that you read and understand ALL the fine print.

    The biggest advantage for you to stay onsite, IMO, is the ability for you to easily go back to the resort if you become tired. You'd still be able to do so if you stay offsite, but you'll have to Uber/Lyft/Taxi instead.
     
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  20. KenHutch

    KenHutch DIS Veteran

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    The poster Klayfish is right about everyone being different. They would not stay onsite for free and even though its thousands cheaper you could not pay me to stay off-site. With a little planning the busses and monorail and the boats are very easy to use. If you want something compact check out YouTube videos of French Quarter. Its very nice, one bus stop and everything is a 5 minute walk away. Plus you can take the boat to Disney Springs.
     
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  21. Momtoapug

    Momtoapug Earning My Ears

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    Yes the spread out factor AR the resort- in addition to other concerns- is a huge deterrent for me/ concern. We stayed at villas at GF and I often had to stop and sit down for five min or so last year, just walk-in from the room to the main area of the resort. Thank you for your comment and advice! It is probably equal either way; it’s tricky
     

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