Disney Lodging Deals
Choosing where to stay at Disney World can have a significant impact on your Disney budget. However, there are a few things you need to know about all of the different choices you may make. Today we will discuss the three main ways you can stay at Disney, as well as the Pros and Cons of each choice. We’ll also discuss how you can find some good disney lodging deals in the three different categories. The three categories are onsite, offsite hotel and finally an offsite rental home.
Staying at a Disney resort has many advantages. First of all, you can get the dining plans. Many find that the Dining Plan makes their stay much more enjoyable. Second, resort guests can book restaurants 1-10 days earlier than non-resort guests. Third, transportation around the resort is free, as is parking at all facilities. You also can get picked up at the airport free! Finally, Disney theming is remarkable! Each resort has its own “flavor”, and you feel you are on vacation the entire time. The Disney experience doesn’t end when you leave the parks and head to your hotel, it ends when you go home.
There are only two cons to staying onsite, and the first is money. Even if you get the best possible deals on these resorts, you can save money by staying in a local hotel or rental home. There are ways to bring the price down, but it still won’t be as inexpensive as some of the area hotels. The second con is the lack of space and quality in the lower end rooms. The value resorts (where most cost-conscious guests stay) have rooms that are small, and are certainly not packed with amenities. If you aren’t going to be in your rooms very often, this may not matter. But have realistic expectations about the quality of the rooms in the value resorts. They may remind you of a lower end motel chain.
Ways to Save Money at Online Resorts
The primary way to save money onsite is by going in the off-season. This will get you the best rates. If you try going in the summer of during crowded vacation periods, your rates will be much higher no matter where you stay. Once you’ve decided when to go, there are a few things you need to do:
The first thing is to familiarize yourself with the different plans and packages that Disney has. We have a number of good articles on this. Second, look over the different promotions that Disney runs on their website. Third, CALL Disney to try and get any additional promotions. If you are a member of AAA or are military or ex-military, you may qualify for additional discounts. When booking big packages, make sure and ask what the rates are for AAA. You may find it beneficial to join AAA just for a Disney trip!
Finally, just to be sure, get in touch with a Disney Travel Agent and give them all the information that you provided to Disney. They may be able to find additional deals and promotions that you weren’t able to, due to their vast experience booking vacations!
Staying at an Offsite Hotel
Staying off-site opens up a large number of choices. Orlando is a big town and there are hundreds of hotels to choose from. You can use reward points, discount websites and find endless ways to lower your overall bill.
Dollar for dollar, you will also have MUCH nicer rooms than you will if you are staying onsite. If you plan on spending a lot of time in the rooms, this might be a consideration.
Many hotels also offer free breakfasts, which can certainly save you significant money on food.
You will have to either rent a car or pay for shuttle transportation to Disney. This will include parking costs for each day at the Disney parks. Also, some local hotels have parking rates just to stay at the hotel! Before you choose a hotel, make sure and find out the following things, as you can easily spend much more money than you originally thought you would.
- Transportation costs to/from airport
- Parking rates at hotel
- Transportation costs to/from Disney
- Daily Disney parking costs
- Cost of breakfast
While this may seem like a lot of money, the key thing to remember is that even with these charges, you can still save money if you choose the right hotels. Just do your research. I highly recommend Hotels.com to help you figure out the best hotels to stay in.
The other negatives have to do with the loss of atmosphere. My family typically feels like we are leaving Disney World each time you go off-grounds. Many other families have felt the same when staying off-site. You lose a little of the “Magic” when you stay off-site and is something to consider.
Ways to Save Money at Offsite Hotels
Everyone that travels has used travel sites, such as Expedia, Priceline and Travelocity. These sites can certainly help you find great hotel deals in the Disney area. Use memberships such as AAA to bring down hotel room and rental car rates.
Have you found a hotel that you want to stay at? Use google and type in the name of the hotel followed with “discount codes”. You can potentially save 10-15% more on hotels!
Eat big breakfasts and try and eat small lunches. Take advantage of the free food as much as possible.
Try and avoid the hotels that have steep parking fees. There are plenty of hotels with free parking that you can use.
Renting a House Offsite
Without a doubt, renting a house offsite is the cheapest way to go. You can get a very nice house that can sleep 12 people for unbelievably cheap prices. If you are going with another family, you can all share the home and spend 50% of what you would at a hotel.
Homes are nicer, have more room, have full kitchens, private pools, multiple TV’s, grills for cooking, game rooms and many other amenities that can make your vacation a blast.
You have to clean up after yourself, cook for yourself, and drive to Disney every day as there are no shuttles from private residences! Just as with offsite hotels, you lose a little of the Disney magic, although the conveniences may make up for it.
You also need to factor in the loss of privacy if you are sharing a house with another family. This may or may not be a “con” for you, but could be in the “pro” category, depending on who you are going with. Finally, figure out the distance to the parks from the home you are renting. Many of the homes are 5-10 miles away, and that can add time to your day.
Tips for Saving Money on Homes
First of all, once again, I’ll reiterate the importance of going in the off-season. Home owners know the peak seasons and adjust their prices accordingly.
ASK for discounts. Remember that when it comes to home owners you are dealing with small businesses or individuals. They may not have policies that they have to abide by, as major chains do. If things are slow or they aren’t competing, they may be more likely to cut deals.
Repeat business. Ask the owners if they give discounts to guests who have rented with them previously. Many owners do this, giving significant discounts. They do this because they like to find good renters that don’t damage the place! Find a home owner or business that you like, build a relationship, and you can save significant money on rental homes.
While Rental homes aren’t for everybody, many people wouldn’t do it any other way, as it’s much easier to relax in a luxurious home than in a cramped hotel room.
These tips should allow you to make some decisions on where to stay! However, if you need additional help, let our experts help you plan your trip!
Now that we’ve discussed a few ways to save money on lodging, lets look at another area: