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  1. #1

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    • Daffy about Disneyland
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    Does Staying On Property Make Or Break Your WDW Vacation?

    I have been to Disney World many times now. Well many times for me, perhaps not compared to others.

    I have stayed at the Polynesian, the Contemporary, the Beach Club, the Grand Floridian, Port Orleans Riverside, Caribbean Beach, Coronado Springs, and Pop Century. On my very last vacation, we did something a little different. We did a split stay between Pop Century, and then moved off site to Bonnet Creek, which is a nearby Wyndham Hotel.

    I have enjoyed myself on all of my WDW vacations. I don't drive, so unless I travel with someone who does, I need the WDW transportation system, from the time I get off the plane, until I get back on it again.

    I know that there are many other people who visit WDW, and do not stay on property at all. They have marvelous vacations, and wouldn't do it any other way. Still another group of WDW visitors spend their entire vacations staying in the WDW hotels, and never leave the property once, not even to visit nearby Florida destinations like Sea World and Universal. That's their plan for a perfect WDW vacation.

    What do you do? Is staying on property a key factor in your mind, or does lodging not play a part in your successful WDW vacation at all.
    My Next Disneyland Vacation - ​May 29, 2014 - June 5, 2014

    My Next WDW Vacation is Aug 18, 2014 - Aug 23, 2014
    Pop Century Resort

  2. #2

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    Re: Does Staying On Property Make Or Break Your WDW Vacation?

    I won't go so far as to say it would "break" my vacation, but it definately affects my vacation greatly if I do'nt stay on property. I won't willingly stay off property.

  3. #3

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    Re: Does Staying On Property Make Or Break Your WDW Vacation?

    I really enjoy staying on property because it just feels more like a WDW vacation to me that way.

    The first time I went we did get a rental car and ended up staying at Hyatt Place across from Islands of Adventure for one night, then went to Pop Century the next day and stayed there until the end of our trip. The next time we went we stayed at Pop Century the whole time even though we went to Both Universal Orlando and Islands of Adventure this time.

    I enjoy staying in the WDW Resort because of all the little extra touches that make it special to me. I especially love Pop Century for all the sculptures outside the courtyards and the decade theme - I always request the 50's area myself. We tend to park hop on average to three parks during the day and also take advantage of extra magic hours - which us a resort perk I enjoy. Also, the time we went to the last show of the Hopp-Dee-Doo they had buses outside waiting to take us to our hotels.


  4. #4

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    Re: Does Staying On Property Make Or Break Your WDW Vacation?

    I've been to WDW about a dozen times and will be there this October. For all but 2 of my trips we stayed OFF property. We did it that way because the kids were young and we wanted to be sure to show them as much "stuff" as we could. Sea World, Cyprus Gardens, Universal, GatorLand. We also had the fun of hitting all kinds of buffets, which with kids is almost as fun as Disney

    One year we stayed at Fort wilderness with the kids and my In-laws. While we did still have a car and go off property that trip it did lead us to decide to stay ON property again, but with out a car. The last trip down (2 years ago) my kids were 24 and 22 and even thought I thought the trip would just be my wife and I they weaseled their way in as well as one of the girlfriends! We stayed at Port Orleans and have a great time. With the free dinning plan and the cost of a car removed we got to stay at a moderate resort and had a blast.

    This year we are going again, and though we don't have the free dinning plan for the whole trip, and the prices have certainly gone up we have decided to go with the same plan at Port Orleans again. It works well for us as again my kids will be coming with us, as well as my Mother in law and brother in law. While we may go our own ways during the day, it we all meet at the restaurants for a big family dinner and get to talk about our days. Win- Win !

    So I've done it both ways. I don't think I'll ever rent a car and stay outside the parks ever again. The convenience and the lack of stress driving around unfamiliar areas just make it a no brainer for me.

  5. #5

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    Re: Does Staying On Property Make Or Break Your WDW Vacation?

    The only time i dont stay on property is when im in Orlando for business. Other than that, i love the full resort experience. One time i was staying at Holiday Inn waiting for the team co-ordinators to call. When they finally called, they said "can you meet us at the tea cups?" ....lol.....I enjoyed visiting both ways, because i think Orlando and Kissimee do great to make visiters feel welcome.

  6. #6

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    Re: Does Staying On Property Make Or Break Your WDW Vacation?

    It kind of depends on the length of trip and why I'm there. Some trips are short and tend to be done with the expectation of being in the park as much as possible and only using the hotel to sleep in... in those situation the hotel doesn't really matter. Other longer stays are better with a good hotel because you will not be at the park every waking moment... that said, we've stayed at the lower end Disney hotels and they make the trip worse than a hotel outside Disney at the same rate... Nothing ruins a trip more than having the misfortune of a hotel filled with kids from some school/church group having all night water balloon fights and BS like that... I would also say you are lucky you have had good experiences with the Disney transport. I was going to use it only on one trip but quickly decided to rent a car after the first nights 2 hour wait to get a bus back to the hotel.

  7. #7

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    Re: Does Staying On Property Make Or Break Your WDW Vacation?

    My every day life at home includes riding buses. So when I go on vacation, if I have to get on a bus, it's no big deal. I guess if I knew how to drive, I might have a different viewpoint.

    When staying at the Disney hotels, rather than at an off property place, they have more buses that run more frequently. Their schedules coincide with the hours of the parks, thereby making it more convenient for the guest. I was once mini golfing at Winterland/Summerland and the Disney Personnel saw us waiting for a bus. They made a phone call, and sent a special bus for us. This obviously happened because we were at the mini golf place just as they were closing.

    When I stayed at the Wyndham hotel Bonnet Creek, their buses had very irregular schedules.
    My Next Disneyland Vacation - ​May 29, 2014 - June 5, 2014

    My Next WDW Vacation is Aug 18, 2014 - Aug 23, 2014
    Pop Century Resort

  8. #8

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    Re: Does Staying On Property Make Or Break Your WDW Vacation?

    The Disney hotels themselves are an experience so I try to stay at one whenever possible. If it's something where you're going to numerous places around central Florida (Universal, Seaworld etc) I could see how staying off property would probably work better for you. When your vacation is focused on all things Disney, definitely do a Disney hotel.
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  9. #9

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    Re: Does Staying On Property Make Or Break Your WDW Vacation?

    One time about 10 years ago, I went to WDW with my whole family (Brothers, their wives, nieces, nephews, parents, and me) and we stayed off property. We had two rental cars. With a group that big, people are going to want to do their own things at different times, and staying on property would have given us access to the Disney transportation. It would've made things a lot smoother. In this case, staying on property would've been much preferred.

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  10. #10

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    Re: Does Staying On Property Make Or Break Your WDW Vacation?

    It is definitely harder to get everyone moving at the same time with a large group. I have gone on vacation with other people, and I really hated having to wait unnecessarily. I am an early riser, and love to be in the parks when they open. Other people are late sleepers, and if you all need to drive together, it can make for a less than perfect vacation.

    I will be only traveling with one other person, and it should be fine, as long as we discuss things ahead of time. Vacations definitely need some ground rules, so they don't end up to be disappointing.
    My Next Disneyland Vacation - ​May 29, 2014 - June 5, 2014

    My Next WDW Vacation is Aug 18, 2014 - Aug 23, 2014
    Pop Century Resort

  11. #11

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    Re: Does Staying On Property Make Or Break Your WDW Vacation?

    Since I'm only in my hotel room to sleep, I prefer to stay off property to save money. I have a regular hotel I like to stay at and I get several free nights a year through their rewards program. I also only live 90 minutes from WDW and have my own car, so transportation is a non-issue for me.

  12. #12

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    Re: Does Staying On Property Make Or Break Your WDW Vacation?

    I tend to stay offsite as Walt Disney World has become the place I spend the least amount of time at, if I even go at all. Every so often I will still do a "complete" Walt Disney World vacation and stay on property, but I am not going to bother with the Value Resorts anymore. They are just garishly decorated (not themed) motels, paying way more for what I can get just as easily offsite.

  13. #13

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    Re: Does Staying On Property Make Or Break Your WDW Vacation?

    I have stayed at many of the hotels. As I look back at my vacations, I do wish that I had actually spent more time enjoying the hotels themselves, rather than doing long days in the parks. The hotels are not cheap, that's for sure, but if I ever return to any one of them, I plan on actually enjoying the one that I am at.

    I actually loved the one value hotel that I have stayed at. I took a lot of photos at Pop Century. I almost made it into the pool one afternoon, until it started to rain. I loved the food court. They had very good dinners there, which we actually did on 2 separate nights, before returning to the parks for night time entertainment.

    My 2009 vacation only included one ADR, and that was Ohana on our last night. The fireworks on their beach was really a nice ending to our vacation. That and the last morning spent at Animal Kingdom before we headed back to the airport. It is kind of a tradition of ours to do AK on our last morning.
    My Next Disneyland Vacation - ​May 29, 2014 - June 5, 2014

    My Next WDW Vacation is Aug 18, 2014 - Aug 23, 2014
    Pop Century Resort

  14. #14

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    Re: Does Staying On Property Make Or Break Your WDW Vacation?

    I love staying on property when possible, but it doesn't break the trip if I stay off property. Since we've had a timeshare, and Orlando is one of the easiest places to exchange a unit, we've stayed at some nice Sheratons and Marriotts the past couple of trips. But I'm excited about getting to stay at POFQ again in 48 days!

    I do like the ease of the Disney transportation, but one thing I do like about staying off property is that we have a rental car, and I like so many of the Disney resort restaurants (Ohana, Boma, Whispering Canyon, Pepper Market...) that it's so much easier to get to those restaurants with a car.

  15. #15

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    Re: Does Staying On Property Make Or Break Your WDW Vacation?

    I am not exactly sure what type of meals we will be planning for my up and coming trip to Disney World. I always planned my past trips with the transportation system as a guide. Eat where I was most of the time, and definitely allowing enough time to get to a scheduled meal. It seems a very long time ago that I called for a Disney World reservation/ADR/Priority Seating. What are they calling them now? I look at meal prices, and I wonder just how deep I want to go into debt for this trip. My friend has never done a special meal of any kind at WDW, so perhaps we will spring for one really special one on our last day.

    We will probably do 5 days at WDW and 2 at Universal. My trip includes 7 nights, so one of those days will be a short one. Either arrival day, or departure day. The car will help us out I am sure. I will do some educated planning, but I really don't want to be tied to a meal schedule each and every day of my trip. I did that in the past, both successfully, and sometimes regretfully.
    My Next Disneyland Vacation - ​May 29, 2014 - June 5, 2014

    My Next WDW Vacation is Aug 18, 2014 - Aug 23, 2014
    Pop Century Resort

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