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Recommendations for offsite hotels, timeshares, rentals, etc.

off-disney hotels disney

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#1 Leanne Smith

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 01:43 PM

Hiya guys....we stayed at Windsor hills..2 miles from Disney last Feb..loved it..they have 2-3 bdroom condos. Townhouses with splash pools and full 5 bedrooms houses with private pools...so everyone has a budget I know this place was super clean pool with slide very safe and secure..easy off site drive and cheap restaurant ...just a great alternative ...well be waiting for dates..the shortcutting drive was shorter than any Disney bus..and I think they have meeting rooms...for any classes we want to have..by the pool..so even if we don't get a hotel together..some can have some get togethers..ooh plus all have full kitchens ..we saved a ton on breakfast.


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#2 Vonni Preston Anderson

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 12:37 PM

We have stayed off property only once. While it was nice to have a house and our own pool and spa, it certainly lacked the Disney magic that you can only get staying on property. I am a confirmed Disney nerd and am very happy to help anyone who needs it! My next trip is in 15 days!! Can not wait!


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#3 Dianna

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 12:48 PM

Vonni, we stayed off-property one year when going with my husband to a conference (not with my group) and we stayed off-property. My husband said then that he would rather stay on-property after that. I don't know why... he just didn't feel as part of things. It could have been the fact that he spent most of his time in conference workshops, though.


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#4 Vonni Preston Anderson

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 02:24 PM

The house was really nice that we had and we had the pool heated and a real hot tub. It was great to have a washer and dryer but there is just nothing like Disney service! And there is something to be said for not seeing your car for a week or two! I feel sad when I am away from their property! I just looked at the Disney Youth site and tickets are available now and they weren't last week! What are the dates that you are planning? I am going in 2 weeks but would love to go again!!



#5 Dianna

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 03:32 PM

Vonni, we're going in November. Disney hasn't confirmed my dates yet, though. I'll announce them when they do (they said they'll try to confirm by the end of this week).

 

Dianna


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#6 Dianna

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 03:33 PM

Regarding staying on-property or off-property, I think the majority of my group stay off Disney property and really enjoy that. So those wanting to stay off-property, don't shy away from that if it's what you want to do. I'll post more information about choosing between the two options very soon.

 

Warmly,

Dianna



#7 Leanne Smith

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 03:45 PM

Yes..I agree with everyone ...we got married at the Polynesian so..I do adore the on site hotels...but for $300 night we can't do poly anymore....I do get upset when people are so angry at on site and offsite....just because we chose it last time doesn't mean you have to neverstay on site again..but its a great alternative ...we do love the Disney bubble...

#8 Dianna

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 04:30 PM

Leanne, I'm so glad we have a good community here and on Facebook, where no one has ever gotten into arguments about on-site and off-site accommodations. I've seen too much of that on the various Disney message boards and certainly don't want to see it here.

 

Warmly,

Dianna



#9 Robin Harrison Axelberd

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 04:35 PM

Hello friends! 

 

I thought I'd introduce myself - I'm Robin and I live in a suburb of Atlanta. I homeschool my four boys, ages 14 (almost 15), 9, 6, and 5. We are very excited to be making our second family trip to Disney in the Fall. :D

 

I am an obsessive Disney planner - complete with spreadsheets and lists. But, I'm by no means a pro and I am always so excited to learn something new. The size of our family necessitates that we stay off-site, so I can answer some questions about that. Let me just go ahead and say, I think it's the way to go if you have a family the size of ours!

 

I look forward to sharing the excitement over this upcoming trip with y'all!

 

Joyfully,

Robin


Edited by Robin Harrison Axelberd, 11 February 2013 - 04:40 PM.

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#10 Tracie Johnson McGinniss

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 04:55 PM

Robin I have 4 boys and a 1 yo girl. We stay on roperty in the cabins. We love it but once Grace becomes 2 we will be looking at other options. I would love to hear what you do. We have not made reservations yet so maybe we will change our minds! I love the convenience and the perks of staying on property plus we tend to really enjoy the free dining plan. We do the whole spreadsheet thing too ... did you go to Tech(we are in SC but we are from Atl and both went to Tech!)? So we are always looking to save money!

#11 Robin Harrison Axelberd

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 09:03 PM

Tracie,

 

I DID go to Tech! My hubby didn't but he is a huge GT football fan - so it worked out well for us.  :D

 

We have stayed at two different properties, but both were the area of Funie Steed and Formosa Gardens (if you map it on Google, you'll see the roads). The first place was a villa and the second was a condo.I'll tell you about the villa first. In 2009 we rented a 4 BR villa (my MIL lives in Daytona Beach and usually drives over for one or two days), and we paid $750 for 6 nights, including $120 for having the pool heated. It was so spacious - enough room that not everyone was on top of each other. The pools at the villas are all screened in and have child locks. They are also not very big, but just right for getting wet and splashing around. 

 

The condo we rented in 2011 was $791 (including tax) for *9* nights! The condo was not so soundproof, so there was a lot of thumping, etc. overhead. It also wasn't nearly as big. 

 

This year we will be renting a villa again. Given the time of year, you can really get a steal on the rental properties. 

 

We've never stayed on property (though my hubby and I are going to take an adult-only trip in May!), so our family doesn't really know any different. I can tell you that the DDP may be convenient, but everything I've been reading lately says that it is definitely not worth it - even when it's "free." I've even read that the Signature Dining events are not worth the two table service credits even if you order the most expensive thing on the menu!

 

This was our eating strategy: We ate breakfast at the condo. Then, every kid got their own waist pack and they chose their snacks (several) - trail mix, ritz bitz, granola bars, fruit snacks - I bought a lot of stuff ahead of time using coupons and stashed it away  ;) Then we'd either go "home" for a late lunch/early dinner and then return to the park for fireworks/parades/whatever OR we'd eat a late lunch at the park, keep going and then fix dinner at the condo. Basically, we somehow managed to only eat one meal at the parks, and sometimes we'd buy a snack. 

 

I think the biggest sacrifice in not having the DDP and having a condo is that it isn't much of a vacation for mom! I still cooked a few nights and I still had to make breakfast every morning. Though, my kids are older and hopefully they will be much more self-sufficient. And, my hubby is a really big help, but you know how it is - the weight of responsibility just rests on our shoulders.

 

So - that's just a peek at how we "roll" at Disney.  :)

BTW - how lucky are you to have gotten a girl after all those boys!!!


Edited by Robin Harrison Axelberd, 11 February 2013 - 09:04 PM.


#12 Robin Harrison Axelberd

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 09:11 PM

We stayed in a condo at Windsor Palms in 2011 - it was OK. Units weren't soundproofed well. In 2009, we stayed in a villa in Sunset Lakes, and that's where we'll be staying again this year. I found the properties on vrbo.com and homeaway.com. With the size of our family and the (rock-bottom) prices of the rental units during the time of this trip, I just can't justify staying on property. And trust me...I've tried!  ;)

 

~ Robin



#13 Dianna

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 10:02 PM

I thought it would be more helpful if I make this the off-property recommendations thread, and started a new one for Disney resorts.

 

Warmly,

Dianna



#14 Robin Harrison Axelberd

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 08:20 PM

Ok - so even though I said that we were going to stay in a villa, I've been reading a lot about Wyndham Bonnet Creek. Anyone who's been there want to share your thoughts? My biggest concern is noise...

Thanks!
Robin

#15 Dianna

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 10:00 PM

Robin, I've heard a some great reviews of Bonnet Creek. I'll see if I can't get those folks to post in here for you.

 

Dianna



#16 pmaronson

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Posted 12 February 2013 - 11:28 PM

In January '12 we stayed at Holiday Inn Orange Lake. It was amazing for our family of 5. If I could pick it up and put it on premises, I would do it in a heartbeat. I love being on premises, though.


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#17 Dianna

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 12:26 AM

The Orange Lake area is very close to Disney property, isn't it?



#18 pmaronson

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 01:20 AM

It was really close. It's on Irlo Bronson in Kissimmee.



#19 Amanda Eadens Marksbury

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 01:41 AM

I have to highly recommend skyauction   The past 2 Disney trips we've done we have used their certificates and have been extremely happy. You basically go to skyauction and search for vacation certificate. On there they have a link for the booking website to see what resorts are avaliable, when and where. You put in what month, what state and then they pop up. If they have a resort you are interested in, for the week you want to go then you purchase the certificate from sky auction and then go back to the resort search website to book. It's a lot easier than it sounds than me typing it. Promise LOL  The last certificate we bought from them we used in October and they had a blowout sale on certificates and I got 2 for $150 each, the one prior to that I got for $249. And those prices are for 7!! nights.  Both were 3 bedroom units too with jacuzzi tubs, huge kitchens. The first one we booked was actually a 1 bedroom, 2 bedroom lockoff so we got 2 units for the price of one. The resorts are basically some of the older timeshare units. To give you names of the ones we've stayed at...The first was Barefoot'n In the Keys and the second was Legacy Vacation Club-Spas. You do NOT have to do a tour to use your certificate. Pretty great deal I think. Now they don't usually have weeks open for summer in Florida, it's mostly off season type availability but still where else can you get a 3 bedroom condo for 7 nights for under $300?  We hope to be able to come with you guys this year on the Disney trip and if we do we will likely be purchasing another certificate for a condo. I love staying onsite but to save that much money I just can't justify the cost. Plus, I kind of like having my nice big jacuzzi tub after a long day at the parks. =)



#20 Michelle Townes Lofton

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 07:53 AM

We've stayed off-site on a few of our Disney trips.  

 

My kids enjoyed Vistana Villages the best, as there are several pools (3 pool areas, I think), and kids' activities.  We were there in July, so activities were in full swing-- poolside movies, roasting s'mores, crafts, etc.  I don't know what the activities would be like in November.  The location is great for visiting Disney, Universal, and SeaWorld, which we did during that trip.  The downside is that there is only one small restaurant on-site, but there are plenty of eating establishments nearby.   The rooms are small townhouses with a kitchenette, living room, washer/dryer, and either one or two bedrooms.  The bathroom featured a whirlpool tub.  Both the tourist-y I-ride trolley and the regular Orlando buses stop right outside of the main entrance of the Villages.  But if you are in a section towards the back of the complex, it can be a bit of a walk back to your room.

 

We've also stayed at the SpringHill Suites in the Marriott Village in Lake Buena Vista.  I believe there are two other hotels in the Marriott Village--a Courtyard by Marriott, and I am not sure of the other...maybe a Fairfield Inn and Suites.  The accommodations were your standard SpringHill Suites rooms.  Comfortable, not luxurious.  There is an outdoor pool, and a food court with the typical pizza, ice cream, sandwiches, etc...







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