Searching for a great deal on a hotel for your Disney World vacation?
One of your first considerations should be whether to stay at Disney itself, or at an offsite location.
You can easily argue the benefits of both. However, staying offsite may not necessarily save you money. And, if it does, you need to determine whether it is worth it.
To give you a comparison, I did a search for a room for four people, 2 adults and 2 children under 10, checking in on Oct. 2, 2016 and checking out Oct. 5.
While searching Hotels.com for a room near Walt Disney World for 2 adults and 2 children, I found the Best Western Lake Buena Vista, which is a Disney Good Neighbor Hotel.
This means that Disney has approved of this hotel to partner with them, has a representative at the hotel to help with park tickets, and may provide transportation to the parks.
For a 3 night stay, I found a rate of $79 per night.
The room features 2 queen beds and a balcony, and it’s within walking distance of Disney Springs.
The hotel has a large pool and restaurant and offers complementary transportation to and from the Disney Parks, with buses running every 30 minutes.
Total price with taxes and fees: $307.89.
This option would not include transportation to and from the airport. Magic bands, which cost $12/person, are also not included
Staying At Disney
A 3-night stay at the All-Star Movies Resort at Disney came to $135 per night during my research, for a total of $405. That’s almost $100 more than the Best Western.
The room does not have a balcony and has less square footage than the Best Western. However, the hotel features 3 pools and complementary park transportation.
There’s also complementary transportation to and from the Orlando International Airport.
Staying at Disney gives you the ability to select ride FastPasses 60 days prior to arrival, the option of using the Disney Dining plan, and extended park hours for resort guests.
More perks to staying at Disney: the option to ship purchases back to your room, receiving your Magic Bands at no cost, being able to check in online 10 days prior to arrival, and the option to use Disney’s babysitting and child activities centers.
One of the biggest advantages of staying at a Disney hotel is that you are fully encapsulated in the “Disney Bubble”. This means is that you eat, breathe and sleep in the Disney magic 24/7 and can forget about the outside world completely.
Another Option: Renting A Home
If you are traveling with a large family or group, there are many agencies in the area that offer house rentals.
These houses can have up to 5 or 6 bedrooms, a kitchen, multiple bathrooms, and even a pool. You can save money on food by cooking your own meals and you won’t be fighting the crowds.
A house listed on homeaway.com that sleeps 10, has 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms and is 5 minutes from Disney Property lists at $150 per night. If you have 2 families staying there, that is only $75 per night.
But, will you be happy not being in the middle of the action?
How To Choose?
Many of the offsite hotels are beautiful. They can offer you the luxury of space, suites, and even free breakfasts. If you are planning to visit other Orlando attractions such as Universal Studios or Sea World, this may be a better option for you.
Disney hotels may cost more, but you get some money saving benefits, including transportation and Magic Bands. Plus you’re right there at Disney.
Renting a home, especially for a large group, may be a cheaper option. But you lose certain perks, such as transportation, a hotel pool, an onsite restaurant, and maid service.
The best way to determine which lodging choice is right for your family is to make a list of priorities.
Do you value privacy and space? Do you want to be immersed in the magic of Disney and leave the real world behind? Do you want to rent a car, or take advantage of Disney transportation?
What’s your favorite place to stay when visiting Disney? Recommend it to our readers in the comments section!
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