Welcome back to my Disney series! I hope you’ve been enjoying it so far. Today I am going to be talking to you about the Pros & Cons of booking a Disney hotel Vs an offsite villa, because in the lead up to booking our trip I did a lot of research into each way and I was really torn right the way to the end of the process as to which was the best option for our family, so I hope this helps break down some of the pros & cons of either a Disney hotel or an offsite villa.
Firstly, these points are subjective, so a few of the questions you may wish to consider;
How many people in your family? Ands what are their ages/needs
What is your budget?
Are you looking for days away from the parks?
Are you going anywhere besides Disney?
Do you want to cook on vacation?
Will you have a vehicle?
I also want to point out that we were absolutely torn on this and I don’t think there is particularly a “right” answer, certainly not one I can answer for you – it all depends on who is going and what kind of experience you want.
So, Disney hotels; Disney offer 25 unique types of hotel for varying price points. These range from value resort hotels, Moderate resort hotels, deluxe resort hotels. It’s important to note that Disney also offers self-catering options called ‘Disney Villa’s‘ which sleep up to 8 and are more like apartments, all with access to pools.
Here are some pros and cons I have come across when researching this style of accommodation.
Free spending money with your booking – we got a $100 gift card but it was $200 previously so it does change sometimes depending on the time of year.
14 day ticket for the price of 7 – especially great for a 10 night break!
Free Disney Dining plan! – this was the deciding factor for us as it made staying in a Disney hotel much more affordable. Disney have also now added free alcoholic drinks to the Free Dining Plan!
Complimentary magic bands – See explanation of these on my Ultimate guide to Disney World previous post.
Fast Passes – these can be booked 60 days before if you are staying on Disney property and only 30 days if you’re offsite.
Close & Easy to pop back for a break and escape the heat/crowds/toddler melt downs
Parking free and prioritised should you need it – no need to worry about parking/queues getting in and out. If offsite the car park is $20 per day, vehicle dependent.
Fun – Children can make friends and play at the pool/kids club
Free buses & other transport around parks
Extra magic hours and time in the park – Extra Magic hours allow guests into the parks when they are least busy! This means as hotel guests you get to enter a nominated park each day earlier than everybody else! This is a fantastic bonus for onsite guests.
Free magic express airport transfers
“Let Disney look after the rest” – After a busy day you can come back to a clean and tidy room and crash out!
Baby Sitting services should you wish to use them.
Bell services and disney springs check in
Disney-Themed Rooms – Keep the magic alive even when you go to bed
You’re all in one room – this could be tricky if you have to consider young children’s sleep or routines.
No space in the evening – I think we will miss having this time in the evenings to be able to relax – but then I don’t think Disney is that kind of holiday! – unless of course you book a Disney Villa! (best of both!)
Pools have set opening times – you might like the freedom of being able to jump in the pool once you get home
Higher cost – this goes without saying, but I do feel you get so much for your money
No real time for chill out – I mentioned this above, but you do not get any time out when all going back to one room afterwards to sleep – but I figure we will be so exhausted anyway!
Not good for groups – unless you go with a Disney Villa of course
Much more space – I love the idea of having more than one bedroom and a separate dining/sitting area
Home from home – I think you can start to miss creature comforts when you’re in a hotel for weeks
Relax in the evening – Think BBQ’s in the balmy evenings and a glass of wine while the children sleep nearby
Good for groups – I would love to rent a large villa with our friends and all the children play together while we enjoy every one’s company!
Keep to more of a routine should you wish – I personally don’t imagine you’ll be keeping much of a routine at Disney, but if you should need to, you could keep naps and bedtimes similar to at home
Private pool – no time limits and you can enjoy privacy if sunbathing
You can do all your laundry – which means you can bring less (more space for bringing everything home!)
Private space – not just at the pool but everywhere is your own at a villa
More space for your money
You can book better last minute – a lot of the Disney hotels will be taken if you leave it to the last few months, and the rooms will have less choice, more villas are available and stay so nearer the time
Easier access to attractions outside of Disney – If you want to head out to other areas it’s easier to get on the road to do so
You can make a pack lunch to keep costs down – you’re allowed to take snacks and drinks into the park (obvs don’t rock up equipt for a BBQ!!) but this can keep costs down.
Fast passes and meal bookings – these are limited to less time before you go thus selection is less.
You may find yourself doing a lot of the chores you have to do at home – washing up, laundry, making beds – sometimes it’s nice to have everything done for you!
Likewise you may need to cook more in a villa
You have to pay for parking/don’t get free transport – ($20+ per day) plus I know some people find the car parks a little tricky and very busy (they are run with military precision, however you do still have to drive to them)
Need to get up earlier for rope drop/stay up later – I fully intend to be at the parks most days for rope drop and enjoy the opening parades but you need to factor extra time in if staying off site.
Ok, so there we have my pros and cons for staying in a Disney Hotel Vs Villa – I personally think it’s a really fair split and as I said there is no right answer!! I would absolutely love to go for longer and do half and half to get the full experience – better get saving!! What have you found to be the best way for your situation and have you got any recommendations for places to stay? I’d love to know – leave me a comment!
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