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Disney World Accommodations

Old Feb 3rd, 2020, 05:37 AM
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Disney World Accommodations

Hi Everyone! In September 2019, I had traveled with my family to Disneyand and we had the time of our lives! We enjoyed it so much we've since had our hearts set on taking the next step and doing Disney World. We plan to visit Disney World the last week of May and will be taking advantage of the Canadian resident promotion (20% off) that is currently on. We've been able to get so many extremely useful tips on this forum, so I'm looking for more tips and advice for Orlando / Disney accommodations during this trip.

My kids are 5 and 3 and we will be flying from Toronto to Orlando in May and the plan is to do a 5 or 6 day package at Disney World. The promotion actually provides more value the more days you buy admission tickets so it makes sense to do 5 or 6 days instead of 4 (1 park per day). I also like the flexibility of being able to choose one of the parks to visit for a 2nd day, which I'm sure will be Magic Kingdom. Based on our experience at Disneyland, we're not going to park-hop, so we'll save a bit of money there. Once we are done in Orlando, we are driving to Clearwater, FL to meet some family. We'll be renting a condo there for a week of R&R after Disney World.

So here come the questions...We're trying to save what we can on accommodations and would love any suggestions for staying inside Disney World vs outside Disney World. We'll be renting an SUV for our trip to Clearwater but may or not need a car for our time at Disney World. I suppose it all depends if we stay on or off the Disney property. Some of the resorts on Disney World are beautiful, but it's not the highest priority for us to be at the most beautiful resort. When we went to Disneyland, we had a vehicle as we rented a hotel literally across the street from Disneyland (Park Vue Inn). It was a PERFECT situation for us because not only did they offer a free buffet breakfast, but we could take breaks from the park, have a rest at the hotel, pick up lunch or dinner and then go back the park for the evenings. I really loved having the ability to drop my wife and kids at the room while I drove 5-10 min off to pick up some food at a variety of takeout restaurants we found in the area. Big time savings too rather than having all of our meals inside Disneyland! Something like this would be ideal for us to do again, but obviously Disney World is much larger than Disneyland, so I'm curious to hear how others have done this and what you would suggest? I also want to avoid parking at Disney World if possible, so if we are staying off-site, shuttle buses would be important.

In a nutshell, i'm trying to gather as much information as I can on if we should stay on-site vs off-site and if we need a vehicle for our stay at Disney World. Thanks all!
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Old Feb 3rd, 2020, 09:22 AM
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You really don't want to be relying on a free park shuttle if you have little kids because that will almost certainly preclude you from returning to your hotel mid-day. They don't run often (usually hourly if even that often), are almost always crowded, and take a long time, usually hitting multiple hotels. To be honest, your best bet is to stay in the park at one of the cheap hotels and take one round-trip by Uber to stock up on some supplies for your room fridge. If you stay in-park, you'll have free transportation from the airport, free luggage transfers to your hotel, and won't have to worry about parking at all. The Disney shuttles run much more frequently than non-park shuttles.

Rates at the Disney hotels during that period are about $140 per night for the cheapest All-Star resorts. That's not bad and comes with considerable perks. But if you can't afford that, then you can't afford it.

There are some cheap hotels near WDW, especially in Kissimmee, but if you do that, you will need to rent the car for your entire trip (that's expensive) and (realistically) pay for daily parking. FYI: These days, WDW no longer offers free parking for its guests, so you don't want to rent a car until after you visit the parks, then rent at an off-airport location and (ideally) arrange the drop-off for the Orlando Airport on the return.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2020, 09:58 AM
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I highly recommend staying on-site, especially since it's your first time there and you have young children.

The tickets are a better "deal" the longer you stay, but in my experience, you are better off buying exactly what you want (that might be a 3-day ticket) and looking for the best deal on that.
Undercover Tourist sells WDW tickets at a discount and are completely reliable. I have bought tix from them. Found out about them on DisBoards years ago.

I like Park Hoppers, especially if you are staying close to one of the theme parks.
Visit one park in the morning, back to the resort to rest, and then on to a second park for the late afternoon and evening. It's no fun staying at the Magic Kingdom from opening until close, I can promise you
The parks and resorts are very, very expensive - but the quality of the experience is really top notch.
Animal Kingdom Lodge is a wonderful place to stay and would be tons of fun for the whole family. I would stay there in the cheapest room you can find and enjoy the views of the animals from the various viewing areas. Wilderness Lodge is also fantastic.
You cannot see and do everything, so I'd pick out the most important attractions for your family and splurge on a Disney resort. The themeing is wonderful and you can take the buses to the parks.
Good luck.

P.S. I once rented points through DVC Rental Store at Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas. I've been to WDW many times and have only done this once, but it was easy and a great experience.

Last edited by lantana; Feb 3rd, 2020 at 10:04 AM. Reason: addition
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Old Feb 4th, 2020, 05:50 AM
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Thank you both for the fantastic feedback! Based on this information, we will definitely stay within Disney at one of the value all-star resorts. Since we won't need a car for the 5 days we are there, that will help offset some of the costs. I'll be looking for an SUV for our drive and stay in Clearwater after Disney, so I will most likely take transportation back to Orlando Airport and rent an SUV from there or perhaps another off-site Enterprise Rent-a-car if it makes more sense.

Would you recommend a Disney meal plan? We're leaning towards no because we may take an uber one day to a nearby grocery store and stock up on some lunch and snack items but i'm interested to hear some feedback on that as well.

Also, when we were in Disneyland we rented a double-wide stroller which really came in handy when the kids needed a bit of a break from walking as well as storage! Is anyone aware of any services that will drop off and pick up strollers?
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Old Feb 5th, 2020, 05:35 AM
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With little kids, I think the Disney meal plans rarely make sense unless they are discounted or free because they are usually way too much food. If you get a deal, then that's a different story entirely, and they can be a very good deal and are sometimes free. I'm not sure how much the Uber to a nearby store will cost, but that has to be part of your evaluation. I think kids under 3 may be free anyway. But pretty much every Disney dining outlet has a child's meal option that's pretty cheap.

Disney rents strollers at the gate of each park, and you can rent them for your entire stay, but double strollers are expensive, at $31 per day!!!. There are also local companies that can be cheaper. Check out this link: https://tinyurl.com/t39xhxk
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Old Feb 6th, 2020, 04:20 PM
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Disney Work strollers and food

Strollers wider than 31" are not permitted in the parks, so be sure whatever you rent outside of Disney complies with that. My experience was that double wide strollers are very cumbersome in a crowd. We found it easier to maneuver with the longer version of one child in front of the other one.

Our visit was a couple of years ago, and gardengrocers.com was a lifesaver! You order online and they deliver to your hotel/condo. etc. They deliver to on-site hotels as well as nearby hotels. I called the hotel to confirm that they would accept delivery in case we did not arrive on time, and they did store our order including refrigerated and frozen items. You can even add to your initial order if you forget to order something on the first go-round. It was so nice not have to bother with shopping.
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Old Feb 7th, 2020, 12:58 PM
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The dining plan depends rather on your dining habits. I think few people make it pay off, though I do know people who do. I prefer to have the freedom to eat where/what I want, and Iím not a heavy eater. I think the Ubering would be a waste of money, partly because I found that meal breaks were a good time to sit down and relax and ice water is free. Plus Disney snacks are part of the fun, and there seems to be a lot more variety at WDW than at DL, mostly because of the resorts, which are destinations in their own rights.
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