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Disney World Advice: Stay at Disney or non-Disney hotel?

Disney World Advice: Stay at Disney or non-Disney hotel?

Jan 6th, 2011, 09:49 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 2
Disney World Advice: Stay at Disney or non-Disney hotel?

I'm looking for some opinions on where to stay for our trip to Disney World in mid-March. We are having a mini family reunion with young kids (from 1 to 7 years old). The hotel selections have been narrowed down to the Caribbean Beach Resort and the Royal Plaza.

For all of the kids and some of the adults, this is their first Disney experience. The Caribbean Beach Resort will be slightly more expensive than the Royal Plaza and the question is: is the extra cost worth it (approx. $50/day more)?

Here are our most important factors in selecting a hotel in order of importance:

1. Location: Ease of returning to the hotel for naps/breaks
2. Disney "Experience": we want to feel like we aren't excluded if we aren't technically on Disney property
3. Cost

So, cost is a factor, but location and experience are slightly more important to us. Also, for either of these hotels, are we able to walk to any of the Disney parks? Or is it a bus ride regardless of the hotel?

I would love to hear some advice from expert Disneyites and really appreciate any time/help that you all could provide.

Thanks so much in advance!
danaberger is offline  
Jan 6th, 2011, 09:56 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 8,091
I would take pick the Disney hotel. The transportation system is better. The "experience" is much better. Neither hotel is walkable to any of the parks. Plus if you stay at a Disney hotel you get additional hours in the parks that are only for Disney hotel guests.
gmoney is offline  
Jan 6th, 2011, 10:10 AM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 2,627
When visiting WDW, I will always choose an on property hotel. Disney really makes everything pretty easy for you - airport transfer to the hotel and back is taken care of and I think the transportation system to the parks/Downtown Disney is easier than renting a car and getting around on your own.

Also as gmoney mentioned, as guests at a Disney hotel, you have extra hour perks each day at the designated park.
chepar is offline  
Jan 6th, 2011, 10:22 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 2,109
3rd chimes a charm? I'm with PP's. In addition to what's already mentioned, look into how often the busses run at RP. Disney busses run every 20 min all day (more frequently during peak times). If RP busses are infrequent, it will be quite inconvenient to have to wait when you want to return mid-day for the kids to nap. Hard to tell lil Johnny to wait when he's having a meltdown. So then you would have to consider the cost of having to rent a car, and the $14/day park parking fee.

If it's just btwn CBR and RP, CBR hands down. However, with a large party and depending on the experience you want, you may want to consider renting a house there.

Have a magical trip!

klam_chowder is offline  
Jan 6th, 2011, 10:30 AM
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 35,450
You can say whatever you want but even at these lowest end on-site Disney hotels the SERVICE (as well as the aforementioned transportation opportunities and the feeling of really being AT DisneyWorld is going to be better at Disney than at any other hotel.
Dukey1 is offline  
Jan 6th, 2011, 10:42 AM
Join Date: Sep 2007
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At risk of being a broken record, CBR. Disney hotels really immerse you in the Disney experience. I would never stay at a non-Disney hotel for Disney World. It's just not the same. If you need the space, sometimes a home rental is a better option, but we've spent several days at non-Disney hotels while visiting other Orlando attractions, and we always move on property for actual Disney, and think it's money well spent.
persimmondeb is offline  
Jan 6th, 2011, 11:20 AM
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Thank you all so much for your advice! This is all very helpful to us. Again, we really appreciate it!
danaberger is offline  
Jan 6th, 2011, 11:38 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Yes..you will immersed in the Disney experience at the CBR, but getting back and forth is not easy. I have stayed there and the bueses were always full coming and going to the parks. At the end of the day prepare to stand on a crowded bus to get back to the resort. The resorts that are more convenient to teh parks are more expensive.
schmerl is offline  
Jan 7th, 2011, 01:00 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
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Without wanting to simply repeat what's already been said, I would pick a Disney property every time. It's really worth paying that little bit extra for the extra magic and convenience of the transportation. We have always travelled in peak season and have taken advantage of the "early entry" to Disney Parks that staying on Disney property brings, however I can't be certain if they operate this policy outside of peak times. It certainly helped us avaoid the corwds on a number or occaisions.
ninjabadger is offline  
Jan 7th, 2011, 02:14 AM
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Listen, you may very well be standing on a bus going back and forth to ANY on-site hotel "at the end of the day" I know this happened to people more than once when we were there in December 2010 and staying at the Disney Beach Club so don't be put off by that. The way to avoid this is to be at the front of the line when the bus LOADS up at one of the parks.

Get also ready for a bunch of FAT people who have rented SCOOTERS to get around Disney...they will run over you if you aren't careful and they don't look back!
Dukey1 is offline  
Jan 7th, 2011, 05:58 AM
Join Date: Aug 2009
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For the "Disney experience" - you cannot beat staying on property. By staying on-site, you never leave the "magic" The theming is everywhere.
Too bad you're going at such an expensive time. There are Value Seasons which offer much lower rates. I'm going in late February and the prices are ridiculous! Even with my Passholder discount.
lantana is offline  
Jan 12th, 2011, 05:41 PM
Join Date: Jan 2011
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Try to stay at Coronado Springs, the price range is at the same level as Caribbean Beach but the transportation is MUCH better. The buses are on their own route, which means no stopping at other hotels before you head to the parks, the most stops you will make is one or two to pick up people from another building or the main building on your way out of the gate. It's really beautiful and convenient, has Jr. Suites, connecting rooms and QUEEN SIZED BEDS! (A rare find a moderate resort in Disney!)

When you stay on property you get the Extra Magical Hour, which allows you in a park either an hour late or an hour early from the general public and you can really get a lot done. You can also save about 20% on food by doing a dining plan,which is only available to people staying on Disney property.

When you shop, you tell them "send it to my resort please" and it magically arrives at your hotel's giftshop the next day, never carry bags!

PixieMichele is offline  
Jan 12th, 2011, 06:42 PM
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"Get also ready for a bunch of FAT people who have rented SCOOTERS to get around Disney...they will run over you if you aren't careful and they don't look back!"

Dukey1, my mom (who has trouble walking long distances due to arthritis) rented a scooter when she was at WDW recently with my sister's family. She said she lost track of the number of times people stepped in front of her - not paying attention to what was going on around them - and she had to stop suddenly to avoid hitting them them. It cuts both ways.
Cranachin is offline  
Jan 14th, 2011, 08:23 AM
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I've been to Disney World twice, staying off property once and on property once. A Disney hotel is really the way to go. The bus system is so much more efficient and convenient that non-Disney hotels. Yes, they do get rather crowded at the end of the night but even if you have to stand it isn't for too long. Also, the extra hour at the beginning or end of the day is fantastic. My family really took advantage of the parks being open late. You can get so much done in a short amount of time. Lastly, having your transportation to and from the airport is so convenient.
Sarabi17 is offline  
Jan 14th, 2011, 08:28 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Like the majority of others say-- stay on site-- esp if the experience is important to you. Disney does such a nice job with the theming of their hotels.
Miramar is offline  
Jan 14th, 2011, 08:39 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 348
I usually stay at Disney hotels, but I have come to haaaaaate the Disney Buses. If you can swing it, rent a car. If you leave the parks at closing, the wait for a bus can be seem endless. You get to your car very quickly due to the trams that circle the lots. Even if it takes a while to get out of the parking lot, you are seated in the comfort of your rental car, not standing in a line watching yet another bus reach capacity and leave without you. The CBR resort is great, but the rooms are pretty small. The pool is terrific, especially for kids. The food court makes it easy to feed a bunch of kids. I have found that you should avoid the parks with "extra magic" hours that day. They are the most crowded parks on those days.
scarboroughmom is offline  
Jan 16th, 2011, 06:22 AM
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I always avoid morning EMH parks, since they do crowd and we don't "hop", but evening EMH can be fabulous, and often isn't terribly crowded. DS and I walked onto ride after ride during evening EMH at the Magic Kingdom, and only waited 20 min for Dumbo.
persimmondeb is offline  
Jan 28th, 2011, 09:31 PM
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 10,556
The Disney hotels on the monorail are very convenient. Better than the buses, we thought. We were at a conference at the Disney Contemporary Hotel. Iit is not my favorite of their hotels, but the monorail was fun. The kids loved it.

We also stayed once at The Dolphin, which is a resort-type hotel. It has a Disney connection and theme, too. I forget what type of transportation to the parks, but a nice hotel, pool, grounds, etc. Not quite as luxurious as other Disney properties, though.
PeaceOut is offline  
Jan 29th, 2011, 08:56 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
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After doing it once, I never again want to be "immersed in the Disney experience", thank you very much. It's a quiet off-site hotel for me.

If you're interested in the "Family reunion" theme, you might consider a Doubletree-Suites type of place rather than separating everyone into regular hotel rooms? How about something like HolidayVillas.com?
clarkgriswold is offline  
Jan 29th, 2011, 01:34 PM
Join Date: Sep 2010
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Sorry, but the degree to which one ALLOWS oneself to BE immersed in ANY experience obviously varies from person to person.

Using a CAR to get to the parks? And paying to park it?
Dukey1 is offline  

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