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  1. #1

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    So many hotels so little time!

    I have just started looking into a WDW vacation for my DH and me. We are from California and I thought our 3 hotels where difficult to choose between until now.
    I know that there are probably lots of threads like this but on my quick search I could not find what I wanted.
    Is there a place I can go to help choose which resort is best for us (besides the official Disney matrix)?
    Also if you could chime in with some info about the different options that would be great.
    This is going to probably be our only trip so I do not want to get there and wish we had stayed somewhere else because of lack of information, amenities, proximity to the park, or just theme. (You know insider information, which is why I loev MiceChat)




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  2. #2

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    Re: So many hotels so little time!

    Rather than us listing every benefit of every hotel, why don't you come up with a list of what you're looking for? Budget? Kids? Which park you want to visit most? Then it'll be possible to try to match you up with the perfect hotel.

  3. #3

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    Re: So many hotels so little time!

    Well since my knowledge of the area is minimal I do not know. What I can tell you is there will be no kids, we are interested in all the parks but mainly the magic kingdom and Epcot, and the budget is the best for our money. We could spend a lot or not, money is not that important when talking about our only chance to go. Saying that I would prefer not to spend a ton if I could get something comparable or as good for less. I just want to know what resorts people would recommend and why and which ones they do not like as much.
    Sorry for being so vague maybe this will help or not.
    Just being at the beginning stages of planning maybe someone could point me to some resources to help increase my understanding.
    Any information would be appreciated.




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  4. #4

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    Re: So many hotels so little time!

    I use this site to do a lot of research on WDW:
    http://allearsnet.com/
    There's TONS of info on that site about resorts, Parks, attractions, restaurants etc. Using info from that site and from a few other sources, we were very, very happy with the resort we chose for our recent trip to WDW.

    I also have to agree with Dan: get some basic ideas of what you're looking for and what price range you want before starting your research, and you'll have a much easier time choosing.

  5. #5

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    Re: So many hotels so little time!

    Quote Originally Posted by DisneylandPlanner
    Well since my knowledge of the area is minimal I do not know. What I can tell you is there will be no kids, we are interested in all the parks but mainly the magic kingdom and Epcot, and the budget is the best for our money. We could spend a lot or not, money is not that important when talking about our only chance to go. Saying that I would prefer not to spend a ton if I could get something comparable or as good for less. I just want to know what resorts people would recommend and why and which ones they do not like as much.
    Sorry for being so vague maybe this will help or not.
    Just being at the beginning stages of planning maybe someone could point me to some resources to help increase my understanding.
    Any information would be appreciated.
    Oops! Didn't see your reply to Dan before hitting the Submit Reply button! Ignore the part in my post about "...get some basic ideas..."

  6. #6

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    Re: So many hotels so little time!

    I've noticed recently that there's a great book at most book stores in the travel section. Passporter Walt Disney World Resort. It breaks down all the resort hotels into all sorts of ratings depending on what type of stay you're looking for. It might be worth a trip to the store to check it out.

    It's really cool. It even has diagrams of the type of room you can most likely expect! Good luck!
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  7. #7

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    Re: So many hotels so little time!

    What you need to do is figure out when you're going to be going, if you want to go during a busy or not as busy period. Are water parks important? etc.

    Pacha posted AllEarsNet.com and that's a great site for this kind of thing. Look at any one of the Disney hotels and notice that they're priced by when you go. For some people, they'd rather go when hotel rates are at their lowest and seasonal things like summer water fun or Christmas decorations don't matter to them. Once you've figured out what time of the year you're going during (light off-season, regular season, heavy traffic season) look at the prices of the various hotels in the area and make a decision.

    I've found the hotels tend to be broken up like this, from least expensive to most expensive:
    • Value hotels (no real difference in price among Values)
    • Moderate hotels (no real difference in price among Mods)
    • Deluxe hotels that are "out there" and away from most the action. (Specifically, Wilderness Lodge [kind of near MK but not quite] and Animal Kingdom Lodge [only near DAK])
    • Deluxe hotels in the Epcot neighborhood with an entrance into Epcot and boats to Epcot and MGM (Beach Club, Yacht Club, Boardwalk)
    • Deluxe hotels on the monorail line (Contemporary, Poly, GF)


    The Contemporary can fall into the "out there" price range if you're willing to accept a room in the rather cruddy Garden Wings instead of the big tower. I don't believe that's a very good deal, though, especially with the renovations going on in the tower.

    The unpredictble X-factor that is not included in that above list is the Swan and Dolphin, since Disney doesn't set the prices on those resorts and they contain about 75% of the benefits that Disney hotels do. They're also typically expensive at regular rate, but because they're part of the Starwood chain and not Disney, you may find discounts and deals to get them at a decent price compared to their Epcot hotel neighbors. AllEars posts a Dolphin/Swan deal sometimes, and you'll find more cost-saving at MouseSavers.com, although as a non-AP non-Travel Club member I didn't find too much information there for me that wasn't easily found somewhere else. Some people report great luck with PriceLine and similar sites with those hotels.

    Keep in mind that while you say that "money is not that important when talking about our only chance to go," getting to see as much as you can may be important if it's your only chance to go, and I would not do 3 nights at someplace ritzy if I could do five nights at someplace decent. Real-life permitting, you want as much time as you can, because no matter how prepared for it or how well-researched you are on WDW before you take your first trip, you will have a bit of a jaw-drop moment when you come to realize just how massive the layout is.
    Last edited by MickeyMania; 03-10-2006 at 01:29 PM.

  8. #8

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    Re: So many hotels so little time!

    Keep in mind that while you say that "money is not that important when talking about our only chance to go," getting to see as much as you can may be important if it's your only chance to go, and I would not do 3 nights at someplace ritzy if I could do five nights at someplace decent. Real-life permitting, you want as much time as you can, because no matter how prepared for it or how well-researched you are on WDW before you take your first trip, you will have a bit of a jaw-drop moment when you come to realize just how massive the layout is.
    I think you hit it on the head we would be there at least a week and I do want to take in everything we can, but I do not want to be the idiot who pay for the expensive place when it would be better to stay somewhere else. I know that the layout is huge so I do not know about location and transportation and if the more expensive hotels are worth it just because of the monorail. I want the most bang for the buck in money, time, and experience but I get by the way this thread is going there is no one right answer.




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  9. #9

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    Re: So many hotels so little time!

    Quote Originally Posted by DisneylandPlanner
    I think you hit it on the head we would be there at least a week and I do want to take in everything we can, but I do not want to be the idiot who pay for the expensive place when it would be better to stay somewhere else. I know that the layout is huge so I do not know about location and transportation and if the more expensive hotels are worth it just because of the monorail. I want the most bang for the buck in money, time, and experience but I get by the way this thread is going there is no one right answer.
    If there were only one right answer, there would be only one hotel, since the others would never be chosen.

    That said, the deluxe hotels on the monorail line will get you to MK and EPCOT without requiring a bus. They also have great restaurant options at these hotels. You could stay at the Contemporary and eat at the Polynesian, for example, without too much effort.
    The Deluxe Hotels in the Boardwalk area have a nice boat ride (or walk) to EPCOT and MGM/Disney Studios.

    However, the cheap side of me says that I won't be spending all that much time in a hotel room, so I'm not all that concerned with where it is or how nice it is or who I have to ride with on a bus.

    The reason for the differences in price are because of the quality and the location. the more expensive, generally the higher the quality and the closer to the parks that they are.

    Seems that your criteria have knocked Wilderness Lodge and Animal Kingdom Lodge from consideration. So, you're about 10% of teh way there.
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  10. #10

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    Re: So many hotels so little time!

    Quote Originally Posted by TraceCub
    I've noticed recently that there's a great book at most book stores in the travel section. Passporter Walt Disney World Resort. It breaks down all the resort hotels into all sorts of ratings depending on what type of stay you're looking for. It might be worth a trip to the store to check it out.

    It's really cool. It even has diagrams of the type of room you can most likely expect! Good luck!
    THIS IS A GREAT BOOK!!There are tables of all the hotels with all the amenities listed!! Good luck and have fun!!
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  11. #11

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    Re: So many hotels so little time!

    Ok.. overview.. pick a few of the themes that you like...

    Victorian - Lace, grand pianos. Snooty fits too.
    Tiki - Tiki huts, Tiki Gods, Tiki everything!
    Ultra Modern - So "cool" it hurts, even if the colors are garish.
    Yellowstone - Ever want to goto the grand canyon without going to the grand canyon?
    Africa - Could you, would you, with a Zebra?
    Nautical Yuppy - Let's go hang with Chad and Buffy on the yacht!
    Oceany - There's sand in my suit and beachballs everywhere.
    Atlantic City - Does the steeple chase excite you? Very important: Do you like clowns?
    Mesa - Southwest, terra cotta, spanish mission.
    Island - We's got jamaican jerk chicken mahn!
    Southern Belle - Some Bayou hospitality.
    Mardi gras - Bayou party time!
    Notes - Ever stop to appreciate the composers of "Muzak"?
    Film - Particularly children's animated movies
    XOXO - Got a gameplan?
    Fad - Remember the last 50 years? Twister? Potato Head? We'll, they've got it all.

    So, pick the ones you like, and we'll work from there

  12. #12

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    Re: So many hotels so little time!

    We're from California, too, and made two trips to WDW. First time we stayed in a cabin at Fort Wilderness. It was actually a mobile home with maid service, but a car was a must. The following year we stayed at the Beach Club. We loved being able to walk into Epcot in 5 min. We're going again in October and staying at the Beach Club again, but we were seriously considering the Boardwalk and the Polynesian. While the MK is most like Disneyland (odd sense of deja vu), Epcot is really our favorite park at WDW.
    Have bicycle, will ride. Finished 2012 with 10,089 miles, 683 hours, and 482,000 feet of elevation gain.
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  13. #13

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    Re: So many hotels so little time!

    Yeah if you could give us a general theme rather than "most bang for your buck" because honestly that can depend on the price (I love the Wilderness Lodge and it can have some great deals but also be priced so high it isn't worth it). I've done 13 of Disney's hotels and I LOVE sharing tips on them...but maybe some more info.
    But let me use what you've given. It sounds like you are fearing the time Disney's transportation is going to take. Then let me just knock the Pop Century and All-Star Sports right out of the way. Someone else seems to think you wouldn't want the Wilderness Lodge or Animal Kingdom Lodge.
    The AKL I can agree with...it is out of the way and with nothing special (no boats no monorail) your money is being spent on a view of animals. Not my cup of tea. But I say keep the Wilderness Lodge in there. All the hotels (except for the two above I named) have great bus service. The Wilderness Lodge has that, plus a great boat to the Magic Kingdom and boats around Bay Lake.
    But let's just say you want to be in the middle of the action and take things into your own hands...try the EPCOT resort area, specifically the Yacht, Beach and Boardwalk. You can take a boat to MGM and EPCOT, plus walk to both. They are all deluxes though, but the Beach Club sometimes has some good deals. Like the thought of the monorail but don't want to spend all day in the park and feel like you didn't get your $300 worth? Look into the Contemporary's garden wings. Monorail and walking to Magic Kingdom...Monorail to EPCOT...try that one.
    But if being in the middle isn't that important go for the moderates, great theme, better price. I personally like them all but sometimes a room in the Caribbean or Coronado can be far away from bus stops, I suggest looking into Port Orleans French Quarter.
    Or if anyone going with you is in the military, a teacher, or a nurse call the Swan & Dolphin and see what thier specialty rates are.

    Confused? You can always send me a PM if you want me to clerify anything. And if all else fails and you just say screw it and pick one: my favorite is the Wilderness Lodge. If you care.

  14. #14

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    Re: So many hotels so little time!

    I have been to WDW a total of four times. I have stayed at a different resort each time.

    My first vacation was with my husband and my 4 year old grandson. We stayed at the Polynesian. The Polynesian is a monorail resort. By that, I mean it is one of the 3 resorts that are linked with the Magic Kingdom by the monorail. You can also take a boat from the Polynesian to get to the Magic Kingdom. Staying there allowed us easy access to the 2 parks we really wanted to see. My husband loved riding the boat more than the monorail. The Polynesian is also closest to the Transportation and Ticket Center, where you can get the monorail to Epcot. The Polynesian is a Deluxe resort and is beautiful. It has sit down restaurants, and a lot of families like this resort.

    My second vacation to WDW, I stayed at the Contemporary. I, myself, loved this resort. It is one of my favorites. I stayed in a room, in one of the wings. The Contemporary, does not have that good of a swimming pool. That is what my grandson said. He was 10, when we stayed there.
    You can actually walk to the Magic Kingdom from this resort. It is another of the monorail resorts. The monorail, goes through the lobby. The Contemporary is presently being remodeled. The popular Chef Mickey's is there. They also have the popular California Grill. I especially loved eating breakfast each morning in their sit down restaurant. I loved the closeness of the Magic Kingdom, which is my favorite park. I luckily had a view of the castle from my room. This hotel is visited by a lot of conventions. Not that popular with families. It is noisier and seems busier somehow than other deluxes.

    On my 3rd visit to WDW, we stayed at a moderate hotel. We chose Port Orleans Riverside. My grandson likes to fish. Port Orleans has an old fashioned fishing hole, where you can fish with a cane fishing pole. You can also take a fishing excursion. This resort is popular with families. Lots of kids. There are big plantation type buildings. You walk a little more at this resort, but the river running through the resort is very nice. This resort allows easy access to Downtown Disney. A boat leaves the dock at Port Orleans and takes you to Downtown Disney. There is only one sit down restaurant at this resort, and I never ate there. The food is cagun, I understand. This resort is referred to as laid back. There are buses from this resort to take you to the 4 theme parks. There is a centrally located swimming pool. My grandson could not swim the first year we stayed there, because he had a broken arm. He did a lot of fishing. The first year we stayed there we had a car, which made it a little easier to get around. You do not need a car, however, because the buses are very efficient. We just thought having a car made it easier the days we went miniature golfing and for a few breakfast reservations that we made at hotel restaurants.

    Last year we returned to Port Orleans Riverside, so my grandson could finally do some swimming. We also visited the sister resort, Port Orleans French Quarter. The buildings in the French Quarter are closer together, and there is less walking. They have a very popular swimming pool, complete with dragon. They do not have a sit down restaurant, they just have a food court. Most of the resorts have food courts. The food courts are very nice. A place to get coffee, tea, soft drinks. They serve food, cafeteria style. Each food court has tables, chairs, etc; you can eat there or take it out. We ate there, and swam in the pool. If you stay at either of the Port Orleans resorts, you can use the amenities at the other. There's lots to do, swimming, fishing, bike riding, carraige rides, and just relaxing, when you are not off to a themepark.

    Last year we did what was known as a split stay. We spent 4 nights at Port Orleans Riverside and then we spent 3 nights at the Beach Club. The Beach Club is an Epcot resort. It is a beautiful place. You can walk to Epcot from that resort. There are buses that take you to the other 3 theme parks. The Beach Club has wonderful restaurants. It is next to the Yacht Club. They are actually 2 resorts,side by side, that share amenities. The Beach and Yacht Club resorts have their own little mini waterpark called Stormalong Bay. It has a sand bottom. My grandson loved swimming there. He even gave up going to his favorite park, Epcot, one evening, so he could swim. Another plus for the Beach Club is that you can take a boat to MGM Studios, theme park. Very convenient.

    The Beach Club became our favorite resort. It is beautiful. Easy to get around. Lots to do. Lots of restaurants. Lot of families stay at the Beach Club and more adults stay at the Yacht Club. I ordered room service one morning at this hotel for breakfast and it was scrumscious. No food court, but there is a little store that has take out items and refillable mugs. All Disney resorts, I believe have refillable mugs.

    This July, I have planned to stay at the Caribbean Beach resort for 4 nights, followed by 2 nights at the Grand Floridian. The Caribbean Beach Resort is a moderate resort, with one restaurant and a food court. I understand that it is popular with families. Some say, I should plan on doing lots of walking. It is closest to Epcot, but you must take buses to get to the 4 theme parks, and Downtown Disney.

    I am finally realizing my dream of staying at the Grand Floridian. It is a deluxe hotel, close to Magic Kingdom. The monorail will take you to the Magic Kingdom. There are buses to the other theme parks and to Downtown Disney. It is the fanciest hotel. Lots of restaurants and a beautiful swimming area. I am really looking forward to staying there.

    Well I don't know if any of this helps. I can say, I have liked every resort that I stayed at. I think, if you just keep in mind, that you cannot do it all. No matter how many times you visit WDW, you will never be able to do it all.

    I recommend that you buy the WDW Birnbaum book, or the Passporter, that's already been mentioned.

    I always make Room Only reservations, myself. If you are a AAA member, you can ask for a discount, when you call. I then buy my own park tickets. I always buy park hoppers. I have had short vacations and long ones. You have said thay you are only going to do this once, so I would say you should go for at least a week.

    I would suggest, if you can afford it, the Beach Club is an excellent choice. It gives you easy access to Epcot and MGM. Lots of restaurants, great swimming, and lots to do, even when you are not off to a theme park. The bus ride to Magic Kingdom only takes about 20 minutes.

    Enjoy your planning, and take lots of pictures. I have almost as much fun planning as I do visiting.
    Last edited by Barbaraann; 03-10-2006 at 06:23 PM.

  15. #15

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    Re: So many hotels so little time!

    Quote Originally Posted by DisneylandPlanner
    I do not want to be the idiot who pay for the expensive place when it would be better to stay somewhere else. I know that the layout is huge so I do not know about location and transportation and if the more expensive hotels are worth it just because of the monorail.
    Values: Bus

    Mods: Bus (PO-FQ has a boat to Downtown Disney, but you can't get to any parks from there)

    "Out There" Deluxe: Wilderness Lodge has a boat to MK, bus everywhere else.

    Epcot Neighborhood Deluxe: Boat and walkway to MGM and Epcot, bus to everywhere else. Walking across Epcot can get you a Monorail to TTC, but that's quite a trip even if you take the boat to Epcot to save energy.

    Swan/Dolphin: See also Epcot Neighborhood.

    Monorail Deluxe: Monorail line connects hotels to MK and TTC. Change platforms at TTC to get Monorail to Epcot. Bus to everywhere else. They also have boat service making routes to the park and back if you don't like Monorails or they're broken for some reason.

    I want the most bang for the buck in money, time, and experience but I get by the way this thread is going there is no one right answer.
    There may be a right answer for you, but no stranger on the internet is going to know you well enough to be able to tell you what that right answer is. The most they can do is point out what they feel are reasonable accomodations for the price and any particular favorites they might have.

    Even something as simple as theming could depend on your taste. Some people think the large props and hot colors of the Values are tacky, others don't mind it. I think Wilderness Lodge sounds like a good choice if the price is right, but you may find the theme too familiar to your neck of N.California (depending on where you live) and might want something more exotic. It all varies.
    Last edited by MickeyMania; 03-10-2006 at 10:43 PM.

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