Well, I haven't been on here since our Epic cross country vacation that was INCREDIBLE this past summer. I logged in my account bc I needed a room in Birmingham about 3 weeks ago and I got on last week because I remembered I needed to redeem a free night certificate...but that's about it since this summer. Since then...my oldest has made a showcase travel baseball club that will spend a ton of time playing tournaments in front of college coaches, so I am back on....Scheduling trips and needing input.
1) Panama City Beach, FL - I have 5 days booked at the end of July/2017 (Baseball) at Marriotts Legends Edge at Bay Point. Anyone know anything about this place.
2) Orlando - We are going to Disney World on top of everything else this summer. I have us booked at one of their resorts bc of dining plan and extra magic hours. Have any of you stayed at a family resort in Orlando as your hotel for Disney Trip and stayed on property at Disney? If so, what are the drawbacks/benefits?
Thanks In advance.
benbuck6 I have done the Disney thing both ways on site and off site. When you say family are you talking the low end places like all star or the moderates or the upscale places?
Here are my views.
The plus's are exactly what you say. included meal plan and extra hours at Disney parks.
On the other hand staying at the value resorts is like staying at a motel 6 on steroids. The rooms are crappy and small, the beds are narrow and hard. The food is served on paper plates and is caf style. The common areas are crowded and noisy. My best stay was at Riverside, which is a moderate and all in all the room was good and the common areas nice. The meal plan has its disadvantages as well in that you need reservations at most places and if you are using disney transit, it is not always a short trip, thus taking away from the parks. The restaurants in the parks are just ok in my opinion from a quality point of view. Now if you are staying at an upscale like Saratoga Springs then it is very good, but oh so expensive.
My biggest beef is the Disney business plan is to get you on site and keep you there. In achieving the business plan, they have their hand in your pocket at every turn. Prices for everything are inflated.
You can probably tell that i prefer to stay off site and my reasoning is simple. you get more for less at the off site hotels and the city has so much more to offer than Disney and you can buy a case of what ever drink you want at Publix for the price of one drink at Disney.
We are Vistana (nee Starwood) timeshare owners so of course, that is our preference. The down side is the lack of benefits, like free transportation from the resort to WDW, Extra Magic Hours, FastPass reservations 60 days out vs 30, etc. (We're not too keen on the dining plans.) We feel the savings outweigh the benefits, for the most part, as the Disney resort rates are crazy high for what you get, even factoring in the benefits.
That said, we accumulated enough SPG points that we have booked 10 nights at the Walt Disney Swan hotel (owned by Westin) which confers some benefits - EMH, FastPass at 60 days out, transportation to parks, but no dining plans or transport from the airport. The Swan is classified as a deluxe but reviews would place it more along the lines of a high moderate. I wouldn't pay cash out of pocket to stay there, but free? Oh why heck yeah!
Best bang for your buck would be to rent from a timeshare owner. You can rent DVC points, or choose from the many off site systems - Wyndham, Vistana, Marriott, Westgate, Diamond Resorts, etc. For around the price of a Disney value resort, you can get a villa with separate bedroom(s), kitchen, laundry, etc. There are caveats to renting timeshares from owners, mainly in ensuring you don't get ripped off. There are places where you can be reasonably assured the deal is legit, such as TUG - The Timeshare Users Group
I'm somewhat of a Disney geek, and have learned lots of tips, tricks and other ways to make Disney trips more efficient, economical, and fun. Hit me up with any questions.
The first time I went on my own, I stayed at the Caribbean Disney resort. The other times I was not in charge of adulting and therefore didn't care how I go to the park.
Now I would be stressed out dealing with parking or public transportation. So I booked on site and the bus system was great. I never did have a long wait.
I didn't get the meal plan. I figured I could budget my own meals better. No kids tho!
peymanagement is pretty spot on "The rooms are crappy and small, the beds are narrow and hard. The food is served on paper plates and is caf style. The common areas are crowded and noisy."
I was in college and didn't care. When I would go as a kid in grade school and Jr high, I also didn't care. I was at Disney and the beds and baths didn't phase me. Your kids might not care either . Extra park hours are where it's at! woot woot!
Now I would care and I would want more bang for my buck and stay off site at a nicer place. If I had kids however, I would think on site would just be the easiest thing esp if you plan on spending all of your time at the parks.
Agree with all the comments. I have tried Disnney Resorts and the perks are not great. You only get free meals, extra, hours and transportation but believe you pay for that. It is better to stay arround there are many Resorts that offers almost the same. In other visits I choose Marriott Vacation Club, any of them are really great in any way. See the promotions they are offering. Sometimes you can get transportation and credit for your meals. Once I stayed at Reinaissance and they gave me breakfast and dinner for children for free, transportarion without fees was also offered. Just check