Why Stay Off Disney Property?
When starting to plan your family’s Disney vacation, one of the hardest decisions (but funnest in my opinion) is deciding where you want to stay. For many years, there has been a negative stigma that follows off-site vacation rentals surrounding Walt Disney World. Orlando’s tourist economy is booming with new construction and resorts that offer many benefits if you just give them a chance. This post will explore the pros and cons of staying on-site versus off-site. We hope that the advantages of staying off-site are compelling enough for you to try a different resort next time you visit Mickey Mouse.
Benefits of Staying On-Site
Location and Convenience
The top advantage of staying on Walt Disney World Property is obviously the location and convenience. Guests can park their car (with a charge) and rely on the location and proximity to all parks. Depending on which resort your family chooses, it is possible to walk to the park of the day. Pretty much all of the benefits of staying on property branch off from the convenience of the location itself.
Staying on-site makes the nap breaks after lunch much easier or if you’re traveling with another family, splitting up and meeting back up after a long day in the park is pretty easy as well.
Once on Disney property, guests can enjoy transportation on a bus, monorail, boat, or sky liner to and from certain resorts, parks, and other attractions. Guests do not have to worry about renting a car if they are satisfied staying on Disney property their entire vacation. Recently, Disney cancelled the Magical Express, the one and only form of transportation for guests coming from the airport. Thus, traveling to their resort is up to the guests to figure out.
Extra Magic Hours
Depending on the day and time of the year, Disney offers extra magic hours exclusively to the guests staying on-site. This means that one park will either open early or stay open late and only those staying on Disney property can take advantage of it. Currently, extra magic hours have been suspended during covid. At some point in the summer of 2021, Disney is scheduled to begin Early Theme Park Entry which allows on-site guests to enter any of the theme parks 30 minutes early. Depending on the park and which rides the guests choose to head to, on-site guests could enjoy a one or two ride head start.
Disney Dining Plans and Packages
Disney offers its guests dining packages that in a sense are “prepaid”. Depending on the package selected, guests will receive a certain amount of credits for fast food, sit down, or snacks. Currently, Disney is not offering any dining plans due to covid and have not released any attentive dates for when it will return. Thus, this is not a current advantage of staying on-site.
Disney Themed Design
We all know Disney has perfected the art of theming. Depending on the resort you stay at, as you enter your hotel room, you could quite possibly leave what could be considered a mundane world to step right into your favorite Disney story. You enter the Disney bubble upon check-in and you don’t leave it until check-out day. But, this type of themed experience comes with a price tag and lack of space.
Benefits of Staying Off-Site
If there’s one lesson I hope you learn by reading this post, it is that you shouldn’t always listen to your friends about the “magical experience” of staying on property. Each family is different and expects different things when it comes to vacation. If you’re looking for space, high quality living, tailored accommodations, private hot tubs and pools, and many other amenities for your kids, I highly recommend staying off-site. Read on to hear more about why staying off-site has so many perks.
Off-site rentals = the best bang for your buck. Hands down. The luxury accommodations off-site are nothing compared to on-site hotel rooms. Not only will you pay less, you’ll get more space (yes, maybe your own bedroom!), possibly your own private pool/hot tub, a gourmet kitchen, and so much more. Now, if you’re looking for a bargain, cheap hotel, you can find those off-site too. They just might not be as luxurious as let’s say, Windsor Hills Resort. While Disney does many things well, they simply cannot compete with the vacation rental industry in Orlando. But on-site versus off-site is a completely different outlook on your vacation. If you’re searching for the Disney bubble, go ahead and book that average of $350/night (that’s not even the “luxury” resorts) tiny hotel room on property! If you want to enjoy your vacation with plenty of room to have your quiet time, hit up those vacation rentals that start around $200/night. Do that math – that’s a HUGE difference!
Off-site properties offer so many more options that Disney hotel rooms do. With off-site properties, you can really cater to your family’s needs when it comes to choosing a vacation rental. Your own personal game room just doesn’t exist on property and that is the sad reality. If your 3 year old daughter has to have a frozen themed bedroom, that is so easy to find off-site!
We’ve all had those nights in a hotel where that lovely family either right beside you or above you will not be quiet. In a vacation rental off-site, the only one to blame for that noise is yourself. A vacation rental is truly an oasis – the goal is for you to go on vacation and not have to worry about an oven breaking or the pool being cold. That is taken care of for you. And that 3:00 nap everyday? Easy. A quiet neighborhood allows you to escape to your private bedroom to take than power nap before gearing up for Epcot in the evening.
While a vacation rental might not be walking distance to Magic Kingdom, you can effectively choose where you want to be located while on vacation. A huge hub for vacation rentals currently is Kissimmee, which if in the right location, is less than 2 miles from Disney. Everything from grocery stores to fast food to drug stores to shopping surrounds vacation resorts. The truth is, you’re really not missing much from not staying on property.
Once you leave...
The truth is, once you gather enough courage to quit paying crazy Disney prices and rent that first off-site property, odds are you will never go back to staying in a hotel room again. Vacation rentals just do vacationing right.