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Recommendations for offsite hotels, timeshares, rentals, etc.

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#21 DawnM

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 08:08 AM

We have only stayed on-site once.  We are a family of 5 and a hotel room is just too cramped for us now.  We also can't afford the larger Disney suites, so we stay off-site.

 

We have stayed in several places off-site.   Since we typically stay 2 weeks each year, we stay in less expensive places that allow us to have a kitchen and at least 2 bedrooms.  Last year we stayed at the Polynesian Isles Resort and it was very nice.  We only paid $500 for 14 nights through SkyAuction, so we were very glad.  I would like to stay at Bonnet Creek, but the cheapest rate I could get was $1400 for the same stay.  We used that extra $900 for tickets and were fine.

 

Be aware that Bonnet Creek tacked on a $12 per night resort fee this past year as well.  So, whatever rate you are getting, add in taxes and a $12 per night resort fee.

 

Dawn


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#22 Robin Harrison Axelberd

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 08:50 AM

Ok - I am definitely checking out this skyauction site soon!

#23 DawnM

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 09:32 AM

Robin,

 

The best way to use SkyAuction.com is to buy their resort certificates.  Type resort certificates into the Keyword.  If nothing shows up, keep checking every few days, it WILL eventually show up.  

 

Right now they are listed at $269 per week.  That is a little higher than we have ever paid and it makes me wonder if it is because it is hitting Spring Break season.  We typically pay $249 per a one week voucher.  We have paid as little as $149 but I haven't seen that price before or since!  There may also be a $20 service fee on top of their $249, but if you get more than one voucher, there is only a one time $20 fee.  

 

Before you buy, you can check ResortCerts.com to see what sorts of places you can get.  The inventory changes almost daily, so check back often if you don't see what you like.  

 

The $249 includes all taxes and fees unless otherwise noted.  

 

You can only use them weekend to weekend (I see Fri-Fri, Sat-Sat, and Sun-Sun, just check the dates), BUT, the unit is yours for the whole week, so if you just need it 4 nights, you can go just for 4 nights, just know you don't get a discount if you don't stay the entire time AND make sure and call if you are arriving late.  They aren't supposed to give your unit away, but I always try to make sure.

 

Please also note this is NOT a good way to travel during holidays or peak season.  It is really an OFF-SEASON way to travel as these are pretty much left over vacant rooms from RCI that they are trying to fill for a minimal cost to cover basic fees.  And there is NO timeshare presentation to attend.  These are just unfilled rooms.  They may offer to have you attend a timeshare presentation for additional bonues while you are there, but we simply give a firm no and they have left us alone.

 

We have gone to Disney this way for 7 solid years now, often more than once per year, so I am very familiar with it if you have any questions!

 

Just know, I am your FRUGAL source for Disney if you need it.  We can go every year because I go cheaply!  We know many don't like doing Disney this way and that is fine, we just know we need to or we can't go very often.  We like to go often!


Edited by DawnM, 13 February 2013 - 09:33 AM.

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#24 hawaiianatheart

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 11:53 AM

We have been on the Disney trips twice now and planning on going this year as well. Both times we have stayed OFF SITE with no regrets. Granted having never stayed ON SITE makes that easier. :rolleyes:  

The first time we stayed at Buena Vista Suites and was very, very pleased. For the space, amenities and the money I recommend this hotel hands down. 

PROS:

1. very reasonable fees (best to go through Mousesavers.com for deals) When we used them (2010) after we booked our room mousesavers later gave a better deal. I called Buena Vista and they matched that deal to our current reservation with no hesitation at all. 

2. The rooms were a great size. All rooms are suites. We had a Queen/Queen (there is also a single king option) which was 2 queen beds in the bedroom and the sofa in living area opened out to a bed. The beds were so luxurious. My back still misses them!
3. Full breakfast buffet. Not some cheesy continental breakfast. Fueling up before hitting the parks saves money. 

4. Free Shuttle service to the parks. We found them to be very courteous and accommodating as well. One night when the parks closed early due to the Halloween party the monorail was backed up so bad that we missed our bus back to the hotel. We called the shuttle service before we even got on knowing there was no way we'd make it. They assured us we would be fine. As we got to the bus area we found out that sure enough we had missed our bus. Another driver noticed us and asked if they could help. He instantly got on his radio, called the office and took us back to our hotel with no hesitation whatsoever. Go Mead transportation!!! 
5. Hotel fully renovated in 2010. The pictures on their website are accurate!!!

CONS:
1. Hotel restaurant (dinner) had great food but the cost and service left a lot to be desired. This was back in 2010 though. Hopefully it has improved. This was our ONLY complaint with this hotel.


In 2011 we rented a condo since my older daughter and her family were joining us (8 people total). 
The cost was a HUGE saving over any hotel you could think of. We paid $950 (including FL taxes which are HIGH) for our 16 day/ 15 night rental (3 bdrm/2 bath). That breaks down to about $63 a day and split between families could make it even less. :) We did pay a security fee but it was returned 2 weeks after our stay. You have to shop around to find the best deals but they can be found! Ours normally rented out for 7 day rentals but because it was off-season (usually vacant) the owner was very willing to make a deal to have it rented vs vacant. :D  So don't be afraid to ask for a deal. Company owned/managed rentals are a little less likely but don't rule them out.

PROS:

1. Lots of room and privacy.

2. Most come with washer/dryer/wifi and access to pool/hot tub/ game room (check to be sure)
3. Most come with pots/pans/dishes/utensils (you still may want to bring storage containers for leftovers if cooking at the condo, crockpot, etc)
4. Some come with linens and towels (check to be sure) Should still plan on bringing your own beach towels.

5. Freedom to get to and leave the parks as your family wants/needs.

Cons:

1. No shuttle service to park (Summers Bay Resort does offer shuttle service!) but the cost savings can cover cost of parking fees at Disney. There is a way to not pay Disney parking but I don't recommend it for those in poor health, with small kids or with elderly members joining them. Hubby missed that perk from the hotel as driving home after a long day in the parks was not his favorite thing to do.

2. Unless you know someone who has rented the exact condo (not just another one in the same group of condos as many condo communities have multiple owners) the furnishings can be very low quality. While I would rent our condo again (great price) the furnishings (mostly beds) left a lot to be desired. Cheap rooms to Go furniture. My back was killing me and every night on our way home my back would cry out for the Buena Vista beds as we drove by them.  ^_^ 

At both locations our family had the same routine of packing lunches, snacks & water bottles to go to the parks each day saving us even more. The snack backpack later becomes the souvenir holder or can fold up into one of our other bags. 

This year we will very possibly be going without the hubby and a few of our local homeschooling friends may be going daddy-less too so we are looking at sharing a large condo. Make sure it is with folks you REALLY get along well with. ;)  Even the closest of friends/family get stressed with Disney schedules. I



#25 Robin Harrison Axelberd

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 07:33 PM

I *thought* I was getting my accommodations cheap...you ladies are are the bomb!  B)


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#26 Rex Hendricks

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 09:11 AM

My family has stayed at Wyndham Bonnet Creek several times. We love it there. It is one of our favorite Wyndham Resorts. I cannot answer any questions regarding shuttles to and from Disney, because we have never actually gone to Disney while staying at Bonnet Creek. The resort is exceptional, and noise is not an issue, except when Disney has their nightly fireworks. :-) We are going to be staying there in April, and going to Disney for the first time with my 2 little girls. If I remember, I will come back and share my experience.


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#27 Leanne Smith

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 03:27 PM

Op...here..forgot to mention..we did the Windsor hills townhouse with small private swimming pool..we put an offer out and paid..900$ for 10 days...3/3 bedroom bathroom. I've looked at skyauction and got scared away from the options..and we drove by bonnett creek it was very big....just huge complex...just fyi..here's link..some rooms are better themed than Disney resort..
http://www.windsorhillsrent.com/

#28 Jennifer Berry

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 03:45 PM

I'm very curious to hear more details about staying off-site. Specifically, here is my concern: IF we go to Disney this year, it will be with my (active 60s) parents, my husband, and our three kids (11, 9, and 6 at time of trip), and with a group that large we definitely plan to do some serious splitting up. We could have three separate adult/child groups going to three different parks, because with the personalities we have that really is the best way to be sure everyone's going to be happy. So for us it seems like the Disney transportation is the way to go to allow maximum independence, would you agree? Or is there a way to do that from off-property that I haven't thought of, that doesn't involve driving three cars and eliminating any savings we would have gotten on the accommodations? I promise not to argue :-), and I think it would be different if it were just me and dh and the kids and we were going to be sticking together, but I'm interested in anyone has any thoughts. Thanks!

#29 bless9ings

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 09:57 AM

Robin,

 

I love speadsheets, seems how I am an accountant by nature. :rolleyes:   On Disboards.com, people share a lot, do you mind sharing what you have, so I can see what the prices are looking like for the different catagories?

 

Thanks,

 

Tammy



#30 DawnM

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 11:36 AM

Sorry, my internet went out while trying to post.

 

The Windsor Hills site give me a headache with all those flashing pictures!  I think I am getting too old for things like that!

 

How does it work?  Do you need to fill out the form for EACH unit and wait to hear back from each ind. owner to know prices?????

 

Dawn

 

 

That site gives%



#31 Robin Harrison Axelberd

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 05:53 PM

Robin,

 

I love speadsheets, seems how I am an accountant by nature. :rolleyes:   On Disboards.com, people share a lot, do you mind sharing what you have, so I can see what the prices are looking like for the different catagories?

 

Thanks,

 

Tammy

 

Hey Tammy!

 

I've enjoyed reading your posts! Your family surely has been fortunate to be able to stay on property...I'm a little jealous!  :D Hubby and I are going in May (adults only!) and staying on property. I've read that once you stay on property it's hard to "go back."  To address your question, the spreadsheets that I made up were our "touring plan" and ADRs. We had to split up some days, like when the kids take their classes, so I scheduled all of that, too. So, sorry to disappoint... ETA: But, I'm happy to share what I have, if anyone wants to see it!

 

I will say that it will be interesting to plan for this year because Disney is rolling out a new FastPass system. It's a hot topic of discussion on disboards.com, but it is ALL speculation right now.  I actually am hoping it will be implemented when DH and I go in May, so that I can report back what we learned. OK...I know, I've gone off-topic!

 

 

 

Sorry, my internet went out while trying to post.

 

The Windsor Hills site give me a headache with all those flashing pictures!  I think I am getting too old for things like that!

 

How does it work?  Do you need to fill out the form for EACH unit and wait to hear back from each ind. owner to know prices?????

 

Dawn

 

Dawn - I use homeaway.com and vrbo.com when I'm trying to find a villa or condo. At vrbo you can actually type in "Windsor Hills, Kissimmee, FL" and it will pull up the listings for that property. Then, you can narrow it by # of BRs or how many it sleeps. Then, you can go through and look at pictures and see what appeals to you. Like, for me personally, I look at things like the bedding to see how out of date it is. I know that sounds superficial and maybe I'm silly, but I think that an owner who keeps their villa up-to-date and nice looking is probably more invested in their property and in ensuring guests' satisfaction. Then, once you've narrowed it down to a few, you can contact the owners and negotiate. HTH!

 

~ Robin


Edited by Robin Harrison Axelberd, 21 February 2013 - 05:55 PM.

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#32 Dianna

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 06:36 PM

Robin, our group tickets will be integrated with the new fast-pass system, so they've told me a lot about. It sounds great in some respects, not so great in others, but it'll be a little different for us this trip because of it!

 

Dianna


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#33 Dianna

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 03:22 PM

I don't remember if anyone recommended the Buena Vista Suites, but it gets good reviews from my families and is low-cost (for Disney). It has queen-bed suites that sleep six, and provides a free full breakfast. I've never stayed there, but I've seen it - it's very near the park. Here's a link: http://www.buenavistasuites.com/

 

Dianna



#34 majestic57

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 03:36 PM

Robin, what side of Atlanta do you stay on?.  I'm over in Decatur, & would be nice to meet a neighbor  from the ATL :)



#35 Leanne Smith

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 03:52 PM

For Windsor hills website...just try to decide what. You want before sending the request....if its a condo just choose the dates..and any requests..ie close to pool.you can request anything...many will reply..I use a 1 time email address and weed out the expensive ones..many will negotiate... not hard..very easy you will be working with owners only..many take pride in there vacation house...only need to request one time for condos...buy if you can't decide, just complete another one for townhouses or another for single pool homes....we found cheaper prices for townhome than condo...Dianna thanks for the dates....

Edited by Leanne Smith, 22 February 2013 - 03:55 PM.


#36 Dianna

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 04:13 PM

You're welcome, Leanne. :)



#37 Michelle Townes Lofton

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 06:30 PM

I don't know how many USAA members are on here, but I just checked the dates (Nov. 16-23) using their travel service.  All of these are for 7 nights, and found:

 

Vacation Village at the Parkway- for $463.00 for the week

Westgate Town Center- for $504.00 for the week

Silver Lake Resort- for $454.09 for the week

Holiday Inn and Suites, Universal - $476 for the week

Liki Tiki Resort- $72/night with one night free 

Holiday Inn at Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista- $125/nt with the first Saturday at $6.00

Holiday Inn Club Vacations, Orange Lake Resort- $122/nt.

 

None of these are as good as the $249 SkyAuction rate, though!


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#38 Jennifer Berry

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 06:45 PM

Thanks, Michelle, never would have occurred to me to check USAA!
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#39 Jennifer Berry

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 02:37 PM

Okay, y'all, here's the challenge: my dh has told me we can ONLY do this trip if I can keep the projected budget under 4K, so I'm busting my butt to see what I can get for that money.  Any help you can give would be SO appreciated.  I went and looked at that Sky Auction site and will have to keep an eye on it, even though there's nothing there now.  FYI, there are five of us; dh, myself, ds11, ds8, and dd5.

 

Here's my budget as it stands:

DRIVING COSTS: fuelcostcalculator.com says $300 round trip, + $50 for town driving and cushion = $350

TICKETS: Universal for 5 plus parking for 2 days = $565

                Disney for 5 plus parking for 7 days = $1330

HOTEL: 9 nights (11/15-24) at the Embassy Suites Lake Buena Vista, rate through USAA of $86/night incl. tax = $774

FOOD: free hot breakfast at hotel and snacks from 5-7pm should help, plus we're bringing food with us

                So we figured $20pp per day = $100 total per day for 10 days = $1000

10 DAY TOTAL BUDGET: $4019

 

Of course I could take away Universal but stay the same amount of nights and have $3454

Or take away Universal AND the two additional days/nights of food/lodging and have $3082

 

If anyone has any other ideas of how to cut costs (or thinks I'm over/underestimating anything) please feel free to speak up, I'd love to hear from you!

 

Jen



#40 Michelle Townes Lofton

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 11:39 AM

Has anyone ever stayed at Drury Inn and Suites?  It's showing as the #1 ranked hotel in Orlando on TripAdvisor.  It looks pretty good at first glance, with complimentary hot and cold breakfast every morning; complimentary evening appetizers/snacks including chicken tenders, pasta, etc... ; and free popcorn and soda throughout the day in the lobby.  I'm thinking that that would cut down on my food budget immensely!   

 

However, I've never heard of this hotel before, and I am toying with the idea of staying off-site on this trip and adding a few extra days instead.  







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