Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Dreaming of Disney - Where to Stay

Where in the World to Stay

I've stayed off property in the Orlando/Kissimmee area and it's ok and less expensive. But once you stay on property, you won't want to go back. I think staying at a Disney resort hotel is worth every penny. And the value resorts go as low as about $80/night which isn't too bad especially for all the perks (see below).

I decided to talk about the resorts sooner because if you want to stay on property, some of them fill up months in advance, especially during peak seasons.

In future posts I will give more details about the resorts I have been to, but for now here is a chart I made giving you stats ($ are for 2010, rates usually go up a buck or two every year...):

* Seasons: Value, Regular, Peak
**not official Disney resorts, most perks apply but not all
Perks of staying on property:
  • Magical Express service from the airport - ride a comfortable Disney bus to your resort, bags delivered to your room (don't plan on getting into them right away, it takes a couple hours)
  • Extra Magic Hours - the parks open early and stay open later on certain days just for resort guests, check the calendar closer to your visit for details
  • Transportation - monorail, boats, buses - sometimes getting there is half the fun (a couple of years ago when asked what his favorite ride was, my middle son replied, "the buses")
  • Can use your room key-card to charge any purchases to your room
  • Have purchases delivered to your room so you don't have to carry them around
  • During peak season resort guests are guaranteed admission to the parks (with a ticket), even if they are full to capacity (I didn't know that!)
  • All the hotels have either a food court and/or restaurant(s), pools, shops, an arcade and a laundry
  • You get the Disney service with a smile, they usually go out of their way to make your experience "magical" - seriously!
The break-down:
I have stayed at the highlighted resorts and would say my top 3 are the Contemporary, Boardwalk and Beach Club. I don't have anything bad to say about any of them (except in the "con" section). They are all unique with their themes - many picture ops. Something to note, your waiting in line for transportation time is inversely proportional to the price of your room. The caliber of the eating establishements is a direct reflection. You decide what your priorities are and go!
before kids - taking a boat
Dreaming of Disney posts
My reference is Birnbaum Guides, Walt Disney World (2010) which I use for much of my planning, I highly recommend it.


A Hootie Hoot said...

Reading this post makes me want to go back to Disney again. I've only been twice - once in 1981 and once in 2007. In 1981, we stayed at the Contemporary Resort and in 2007 we stayed at the Pop Century. Think I'll stick with the Value properties now since we are very rarely in the room.

Sharon Sullivan-Craver said...

I was at Disney World when it first opened and only 2/3rds of the parks was done. (I really got very tired of hearing the theme "It's Small World After All") My childred were 4 and 15 months old at the time. I loved the TiKi Room. We also stayed off site. But back then(I'm ancient) I didn't feel it was expensive and I felt it was worth it. Thanks for sharing.

Rhonda Albom said...

We have been to Disneyland a few times, as LA is a port of entry to the US. We never stayed on property before, but you point out some great perks, like "Have purchases delivered to your room so you don't have to carry them around"

Tara Tyler said...

I got a few nice comments here, but when blogger did maintenance they got erased. Thanks for stopping by!