One of the most hotly debated topics among Disney World fans is whether to stay at an on-site Disney hotel or to stay at an off-site hotel. On-site refers to hotels owned by Disney that are on Walt Disney World property. Off-site refers to hotels not owned by Disney, whether they are technically located on Walt Disney World property or not.
Despite the fierce opinions on each side (and you thought political ads were bad), the only right choice is the one that fits your family. So how will you know which is right for you?
1. You Know How To Navigate Big Cities
Disney World is often compared in size to San Francisco. Therefore, Disney offers many perks to its hotel guests to make getting around more convenient, especially with children in tow.
However, if getting your own luggage at the airport, arranging your own transportation, and navigating a new city are a piece of cake to you, then it doesn’t make sense to pay extra for those “conveniences”.
2. You Find Magic In More Than Mickey
One of the top reasons I’ve heard for staying at a Disney property is being immersed in the magic. For many, this is a very real thing. They want an all-inclusive resort vacation and Disney will take your money to provide that.
On the other hand, your outlook might be drastically different. Too much Disney might ruin the magic for your family. Perhaps the familiarity of a chain hotel suits you just fine. You might find that a private house with its own pool gives your family the seclusion and space you need to truly enjoy your time together.
Magic is what you make it.
3. You Have Points To Spare
Most hotels, airlines, and credit cards offer some form of reward points. If you are a savvy points saver or you rack up points traveling for work, you may have enough for your Orlando vacation accommodations. With all the major hotel chains represented in the Disney area, it will be easy to find one that redeems points for nights.
Some of the best uses of these are at the Swan and Dolphin Resort (Marriott) and the Disney Springs Hotels (Holiday Inn, Best Western, Wyndham, Hilton). These hotels also offer Extra Magic Hours and a 60 day Fastpass+ reservation window, the same as Disney-owned properties!
4. Money, Money, Money
The average four-day ticket expense for a family of four at Disney is about $1,650. This expense is so large that many families are stretched thin for the rest of the trip. Fortunately, there are hotels in the area that offer simple, basic accommodations for a fraction of the cost of a Disney hotel, and even less than a Disney campsite. There are also many condos in the area with full kitchens for those that prefer to cook their own meals.
With thousands of properties to choose from near Walt Disney World Resort, it can be overwhelming to choose one. Focus on your family’s priorities and preferences. Looking at it from an on-site vs off-site perspective simplifies it too much. The various options offer unique elements to suit every traveler’s needs.
What is important to you when choosing a hotel or rental property?