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On-Site vs. Off-Site @ WDW

Walt Disney World: Some questions for deciding whether to stay on-site or off-site while visiting Walt Disney World.

From Adam Nodjomian
Posted July 25, 2010 at 11:32 AM
Our family of four will be heading to WDW soon for about 5 days/4 nights as part of a long weekend before school and work get hectic. We already have our tickets. We are still deciding whether to stay on-site or off-site.

Our main issue is transportation/shuttle time to get to the parks. Does anyone know how travel time from off-site hotels compares to that of on-site hotels? We have stayed at Coronado Springs before and loved it, but price may be prohibitive at this point.


Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.

From David L.
Posted July 25, 2010 at 11:54 AM
If you have to stay at a value resort(which i would recommend unless you can get a great deal at a moderate) i would stay at the pop century because the others share the same bus line. Some times you have to wait ridiculously long periods of time for offsite hotels to get back on their buses. You also get EMHs at the value resorts but food gets a little pricey unless you have a dining plan.
Have a great trip!

From Bob Miller
Posted July 25, 2010 at 1:14 PM
I agree with David, I've stayed off site as well as in Disney with my grandson Zachary. The price savings of staying off site will be lost in the extra time you spend on the buses of off site hotels.

We usually stay at Lake Buena Vista hotels and in the last few years, they have changed the way they drop you off at Disney. Atleast at the hotels we've stayed at, they drop you off at Epcot and unless your going to Epcot, you must transfer to Disney buses to get to where you want to go to, so you can see how much time you lose.

They will pick you back up at anyone of the four parks but you waste time in the morning having to transfer. I would choose Pop Century, Zachary and I stayed there last year and they do have their own buses, unlike the other value resorts who share the same buses. But Pop Century is larger than any one of the other value resorts, so the buses do get crowded, at night especially.

Most of the off site hotels cost between $60 to $120 or so a night. So with the Extra Magic Hours and other benefits of staying on Disney, I'd say go to Pop Century, Zachary and I are going to stay there again next August. Have fun and enjoy Disney.

From Russell Meyer
Posted July 25, 2010 at 2:09 PM
If you're not going during a peak time of year, I would highly recommend just staying off site if you already have your tickets. The only reason to stay on site would be to take advantage of the free Disney Dining Plan that they are currently offering. With the dining plan, it makes a room at a value resort about $60 per night (subtracting out the average cost for food and parking). We will be staying on-site (Pop Century) later this year because of the free dining plan. Off-site hotels offer better deals, free internet ($10 per day at Disney), sometimes free breakfast, and typically free transportation to and from the parks. Unless you really feel like your kids need to have that completely immersive experience, I would just stay at a nearby off-site hotel. If you have you mind made up to staying on-site, understand that you'll be looking at $80 per night (depending on season) for those "value" resorts, and around $129 per night for those moderate rooms (Coronado Springs, Port Orleans, and Caribbean Beach).

From Anthony Murphy
Posted July 25, 2010 at 6:29 PM
I would try for Pop Century and not stay "off site". You can go to the parks early/late on days and the front desk can pretty much solve or answer any Disney issue you might have! The cost difference becomes really a moot point at that "value end". Also, you can get easy checkin and shuttles to and from the airport.

From Joshua Counsil
Posted July 25, 2010 at 6:51 PM
I have stayed on- and off-site many times. I would much rather stay off-site than stay at an on-site value resort (though the moderate resorts are an improvement). Even from off-site, I can usually get to the parks much faster than the Disney transportation.

I'd recommend purchasing the latest Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World by Frommer's. They always have an excellent section on the on- and off-site hotels, including comparative tables of travel times from each hotel to each park.

I like staying on-site at one of the DVC's, but not paying full price. I purchase unused points from DVC members for cheap at the DISboards website. Using this method (and usually bartering to about $8 CAD/point), I end up paying about the same price as a moderate resort but end up with a large room with a full kitchen and two bathrooms. I eat breakfast in the room and pack a lunch to save further.

From Jennie Lea
Posted July 26, 2010 at 9:17 AM
The last twice I've visited Disney I've stayed off site. It can take a bit of time getting to Disney in the morning if you travel by buses but if you have a car you'll find it much easier. However if Disney is the only thing on your agenda then why not 'stay and play' that way you'll be right in the action.
If you want to visit other parks/attractions during your stay you might find it easier to stay off site though, which is what we did as we went to Universal, IOA, and Seaworld.
Hope that helps.

From Adam Nodjomian
Posted July 26, 2010 at 12:42 PM
Thanks everyone for the help. We got some excellent rates for the Pop Century Resort, so that's where we will be staying.

We really wanted the Extra Magic Hours as well as all the convenient on-site transportation.

We are driving starting on July 31st and will get there the same day. We are staying until the 4th. I'm not very good at posting trip reports, but I can if anyone is interested. We will be visiting all four parks as well as enjoying the Summer Nightastic Festivities.

I did have one more question. We have the Base 4-Day ticket. Can you leave and re-enter the same park as many times as you'd like on the same day? I know we can't go to a different park since we don't have Park Hopper, but if we wanted to leave the Magic Kingdom for a while to swim in the pool, then come back for the fireworks could we do that?

From KJ Simpson
Posted July 26, 2010 at 2:12 PM
Yes, you can! Enjoy.

From Anthony Murphy
Posted July 26, 2010 at 9:13 PM
Exactly correct!

However, I would consider the park hopper perhaps because you might want to do a couple of parks when you go to Animal Kingdom.

Still, I would figure out what to do in the evening when you go to AK because it closes early.

From Jorge Arnoldson
Posted July 27, 2010 at 1:41 PM
Off site hotels are cheaper and some even offer free breakfast and park shuttles. Also, almost all of them I stayed in have more comfortable beds than the rocks at Coronado Springs. About the Extra Magic Hours, the only off-site hotel that offers them is the Hilton close to Downtown Disney.

From Joshua Counsil
Posted July 27, 2010 at 1:47 PM
What to do after AK? We packed a change of nice clothes and ate at Jiko, one of the best restaurants in WDW (and Orlando, for that matter).

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