Trust me, I love a good Disney hotel as much as the next gal. If you have been reading any of my posts, first of all, thank you, and second, you know I love a good resort day. However, sometimes you want to hit the parks from rope drop to park close and you really just need a place to sleep. Maybe you don’t want to pay to stay on the monorail loop. Maybe (gasp!!) you want a little less Disney at your hotel. You have options.
I am talking about Good Neighbor Hotels. These are hotels are in close proximity to Disney (2-14 miles away) where you can still enjoy some of the same perks as staying on property. Many of the hotels provide transportation to the parks and you can still book your FastPasses 60 days in advance with a reservation at one of these hotels. Another great perk is that your Magical Vacation Planner can also book these resorts for you, so you can still plan your vacation hassle free!
We have been lucky enough to stay many times both off and on property. We really decide on our accommodations based on our planned activities and the time we have to spend in Orlando. We have been fine tuning the art of the weekend warrior Disney trip. If we plan to spend all of our time in the parks, we will opt for an off property hotel if the price makes sense.
Maybe you can relate to Rad Dad and you are touring with some people that are less enthusiastic about Disney than you, and maybe you want to stick them in their own room at the end of the day. Maybe you don’t want to spend your Disney dollars on them. Maybe you just need more space and don’t want to break the bank. Consider the following points:
Why on Earth would you want to stay “off property”?
- Cost. Even Disney value resorts can be pricey at times. Booking a Good Neighbor hotel can greatly reduce the cost of your accommodations. I’ll hit you with some numbers at the end of this post.
- Size of accommodations.
Sometimes you need more space. If you have extended family staying with you or you’re just a large group, you need more than one room. Disney does not have a lot of reasonably priced accommodations for larger groups. Sure, you can stay in a suite at Art of Animation or try to pay cash for a Disney Villa/DVC villa if available. Maybe you dream of staying in an over water bungalow at the Polynesian Resort. It is actually cheaper to stay in a real over-water bungalow in the south pacific than pay to stay at the one at Disney. (It’s true. We stayed in one for our honeymoon…but I am getting off topic.) Maybe you have little kids and they need to go to bed way before you are ready to. A family suite with more than one room is amazing in this scenario (also speaking from experience).
- Food. If you have read any other article of mine, you know we are always looking for ways to save some money. A room with a kitchenette, full kitchen, or microwave can be a life and wallet saver. We have cooked big breakfasts before heading to the parks, packed lunches to take with us, and made family meals when we have Grandparents with us. Having a space where you can prep snacks and store drinks in a fridge that actually works is a huge plus.
Also, in full disclosure, I need my coffee before I hit the parks — like four cups. I don’t have the money to fuel my caffeine addiction at Disney prices, so an in-room coffee maker is also essential for the success of our vacation. Check out my link on ways to save money on dining for some creative solutions.
- Time. Now don’t get me wrong, these hotels are very nice. If they weren’t, they would not be granted the Good Neighbor status. However, they may not have all of the exciting extras you see at an on-property Disney resort. At the same time, if you are NOT going to hang out and enjoy the pool, free activities, and restaurants at the hotel, why pay more? If you are maximizing your park time and are going to spend very little time in your room, you can get more bang for your buck elsewhere.
So here are some numbers for you to consider: As of August 2018 here are some prices for Spring Break for 2 adults and 2 kids March 18-23, 2019. Prices here include 6 day base tickets for all four people.
Cabins at Ft Wilderness: $4,198 or average $699 per night -Kitchen
Art of Animation Suite: $4,172 or average of $695 -again the suite here has a kitchenette
Art of Animation standard room: $2,791 or an average of $465 a night
Copper Creek Cabins: $16,880 or an average of $2,813 a night-Full Kitchen and washer and dryer. (tempting …yes?)
Pop Century Standard Room: $2,668 or average of $444 a night
And just for fun:
The Bungalow’s at the Polynesian: (drum roll please) $20,209 or an average of $3,368 a night!
B Resort: Family King bed (with bunk beds) : $3,234 or average $539 night
Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World: $7,123 or average $1187 a night
Towne Place Suites Orlando at Flamingo Crossings: $2626 or average of $437 a night – This place has a Kitchenette which is a total bonus in my book!
Trust me, I am all for enjoying life in the Disney bubble. You can read about how I feel about it by starting off with the first post on my series “Don’t Leave the Resort.” But, consider having your vacation planner run both Disney and Good Neighbor hotel choices for you. Perhaps you are feeling dangerous and would consider a “split stay,” spending some of your vacation time on property and the rest “off property.” Read more about why you should consider staying at a Disney Resort here in Nicole’s Post.
Go ahead and contact Cj at CJ.Ayd@magicalvacationplanner.com and let him do the heavy lifting and get some quotes together for you! Either way tag me @drennons_do_disney I would love to see which hotel you chose!