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
|before kids - taking a boat|