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Old 01-11-2014, 12:28 AM   #16
disneycat321
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I'm a local, but I did stay offsite as a preteen when I wasn't a local, does that count?

Honestly, we would never even consider staying offsite at WDW, but DLR is very different. If we were not locals, we would never stay at a DLR hotel. Just cannot justify that extra cost. They are very, very nice hotels and I'm sure staying there is a wonderful experience, but IMO they are not as fantastic as the deluxe resorts at WDW, though they cost the same or more.

Like others have said, everything is just SO close, I don't think you will miss anything staying offsite. Also, with the exception of the Grand, you can actually be closer to the parks staying offsite.
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Old 01-11-2014, 10:05 AM   #17
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I enjoy staying both onsite and offsite. We frequently stay at the DLH, it is our preference of the 3 hotels. Staying offsite, my preferences are the Hilton, Fairfield Inn, Candy Cane, Hojo's, or Residence Inn Maingate (in no particular order.)
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Old 01-11-2014, 10:24 AM   #18
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We stayed offsite the first two times we went to DL and it was a great time. We didn't even stay super close; we stayed at the Red Lion and I would stay there again in the future. For our trip next month, we decided to splurge since it's our 5 year anniversary, so we're staying at Paradise Pier to get the onsite experience and get into the parks early everyday.

If having a kitchen and laundry facilities is important to you, I would say you won't regret not staying onsite. Not to mention, staying onsite is pretty pricey, anyway.
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Old 01-11-2014, 10:32 AM   #19
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We have been to Disneyland 6 or 7 times in the last few years, and we've never stayed on site. But I wouldn't even consider going to Disney World and staying offsite.

There just aren't enough benefits of staying onsite at DL to justify the cost for us. Honestly, really the only perk that tempts us at all would be the extra park entrance and early hour at CA if you're staying at Grand Californian. If our children were still small enough to need a mid-day nap, it might be worth the consideration to be so close to walk back to the room, and be right back in the park. Since we typically don't do mid day naps anymore that benefit is negligible in comparison to the extra $1200 it would cost for 4 nights.

We actually really like staying offsite for a few reasons. First of all, we always book a suite. I use LMTclub.com, and we can get a 1 BR suite at Anaheim Marriott Suites for $68/night most trips, or Embassy Suites South for about $100/night. All that extra space is really nice, especially when we go in the off season and the hours are short, and we don't want to go to bed at the same time the kids do. The other bonus (and moneysaver) of staying offsite is that your food choices open up a TON. If we stay somewhere that doesn't have breakfast we can pick up McDonald's or something really cheap for breakfast instead of an expensive meal in the park. Same for dinner. We often get take out from places like Outback, or Bucca di Beppo and eat it in the room for much less cost. Again, this is a huge difference between DL and DW. At The World there are so many restaurants I'm DYING to try that I wouldn't even consider eating dinner offsite, but at the Land, not as much, so it's a big cost savings there.

The only thing I will say is to be prepared that a lot of hotels/condos advertise themselves as being "walking distance to the park," but they really aren't comfortable walking distance to the parks. Some are QUITE long, which isn't an issue in the morning, but in the evening when you've been walking ALL DAY LONG, and your kids are tired and cranky, that walk seems MUCH longer and more for boding. We drive in from Utah, and we always park at Toy Story and take Disney's shuttle into the Park. It's fast, easy, and convenient, and the buses are ALWAYS there, waiting for you. The ART and hotel shuttles were a huge pain in the butt for us, and we felt like we wasted a ton of time waiting. Now again, we usually go in the off season, and I've heard they have better service during the busier seasons.

Anyway this was a long response, but just wanted to reassure you. I grew up going to Disney World, and while it took me a couple of visits to warm up, Disneyland is now "our park." We go a couple of times a year, and it feels like "home." We love it. But it's a totally different vacation than Disney World. For us, Disney Land is our quick, "cheap" getaway, especially since we don't have to get plane tickets, and Disney World is a big, blow out vacation where we don't mind so much spending money on food and onsite hotels.

Hope you love your trip to the Land!
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Old 01-11-2014, 10:53 AM   #20
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Tropicana is having a special on 5 and 7 nights stays. I just booked my 7 nights for $642! I wouldn't regret staying off site for those savings and it's one of the closest!
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Old 01-12-2014, 03:51 PM   #21
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We've stayed both on and off site. You have to remember that DL and WDW are very different. Staying offsite at DL, I can still be to the park in under 10 minutes. The walk is very beautiful (at least from the Hojo). Staying on-site is fun, but you'll have a great time either way, the walk is not that much shorter, and the vibe all around is great.
We did have tickets to the ART bus when the kids were younger, and that was great after a long day. You may wait for a few minutes, but if you are a WDW regular, you'll find the wait is far less than any time we had there, getting from park back to hotel.
I think of it this way. Staying at Port Orleans Riverside at WDW, it took me 20 minutes to take the river to DD, a minimum of 20 minutes to get to a park on the buses, and 7-8 minutes just to get to dinner at our resort from our room. I can get from off-site hotels in 10 minutes, on-site in 5-8, and use monorail and train with ease to move quickly through DL. Whatever way you'll go, even off-site, it won't take you long to get there.
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Old 01-12-2014, 04:22 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emacat View Post
We've stayed both on and off site. You have to remember that DL and WDW are very different. Staying offsite at DL, I can still be to the park in under 10 minutes. The walk is very beautiful (at least from the Hojo). Staying on-site is fun, but you'll have a great time either way, the walk is not that much shorter, and the vibe all around is great.
We did have tickets to the ART bus when the kids were younger, and that was great after a long day. You may wait for a few minutes, but if you are a WDW regular, you'll find the wait is far less than any time we had there, getting from park back to hotel.
I think of it this way. Staying at Port Orleans Riverside at WDW, it took me 20 minutes to take the river to DD, a minimum of 20 minutes to get to a park on the buses, and 7-8 minutes just to get to dinner at our resort from our room. I can get from off-site hotels in 10 minutes, on-site in 5-8, and use monorail and train with ease to move quickly through DL. Whatever way you'll go, even off-site, it won't take you long to get there.
This! So true. We always stay at HoJo, up Harbor. Once we got ART passes, but we used ART (which was really convenient) for a grand total of two trips in five days. The walk was even shorter than waiting for ART.

Last May we stayed at Pop in WDW. At WDW, we never knew when a bus would come or have room for us, either at the hotel or at the parks, and the walk to the bus stop from our room was long, too. It just felt like staying onsite at WDW we wasted *so* much time that you just don't waste at DLR staying offsite.
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Old 01-13-2014, 12:03 PM   #23
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We usually stay onsite at the DLH or PP, but we stayed at the Tropicana in December and I think it will be a long time before we stay onsite again. For the price difference, it just isn't worth it to us. We stay in the parks all day and don't typically use the pools though. I thought I'd miss the walk through Downtown Disney, but the shorter distance more than made up for it to us.
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Old 01-13-2014, 01:40 PM   #24
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Not trying to hijack but just have to ask the question to all of you who say you easily stay off site at DL but would never want to at WDW. If it takes 20 minutes to take a bus or boat to the parks from your onsite hotel - then how much of a disadvantage is staying off site and driving to the parks?

I have never been but am just curious. Is it to be in the Disney "bubble" type atmosphere, is that the main reason or is there a bus you have to then take even if you drive and park?

It just sounds like even onsite in WDW is a hassle.
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Old 01-13-2014, 02:29 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sherilaine View Post
Not trying to hijack but just have to ask the question to all of you who say you easily stay off site at DL but would never want to at WDW. If it takes 20 minutes to take a bus or boat to the parks from your onsite hotel - then how much of a disadvantage is staying off site and driving to the parks?

I have never been but am just curious. Is it to be in the Disney "bubble" type atmosphere, is that the main reason or is there a bus you have to then take even if you drive and park?

It just sounds like even onsite in WDW is a hassle.
I agree with you. It must be for the "bubble". When we went to WDW for a conference and stayed a couple extra days onsite for visiting the parks, I did not get a real sense of the Disney "bubble". If we go back for a longer stay, I will strongly consider staying offsite there as well. The WDW resorts are very nice but still overpriced. You can find a lot more space that is just as nice or nicer near WDW for less money. Driving yourself seems like less of a hassle than Disney transportation at times.
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Old 01-13-2014, 03:19 PM   #26
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I think it has a lot to do with your mindset. If you are used to the "Disney" bubble and expect to find something similar staying offsite, you might be disappointed.

If you go in with the attitude knowing that your offsite experience will be different than staying onsite, I think you will be fine!

We've done both. We have a blast no matter where we stay. Do we miss certain aspects of staying at a DLR hotel when we are in a motel, sure, but we deal and still make magical memories with our family. Do we slightly cringe paying the high prices while staying at the DLR hotels, yes! But we still have a good time We always struggle with the decision to stay on or off site. If money was no object we would go all the time and stay on property, but that is not the case for us. In the end, we remember the trip at the parks and the awesome memories we made with our kids more than where we stayed at.

I think you will have a fantastic time no matter where you choose to stay. Have a great trip!
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Old 01-14-2014, 09:41 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sherilaine View Post
Not trying to hijack but just have to ask the question to all of you who say you easily stay off site at DL but would never want to at WDW. If it takes 20 minutes to take a bus or boat to the parks from your onsite hotel - then how much of a disadvantage is staying off site and driving to the parks?

I have never been but am just curious. Is it to be in the Disney "bubble" type atmosphere, is that the main reason or is there a bus you have to then take even if you drive and park?

It just sounds like even onsite in WDW is a hassle.
I'm sure there are a bazillion posts on here that lay out the advantages of staying onsite vs. offsite at WDW and I won't rehash those here, but on the transit front, there's really a significant difference between staying on and off-site that has nothing to do with transit time. If you're staying onsite at WDW, you could have a variety of options for how to get from place to place -- bus, monorail, boat, walking -- that don't involve you personally getting into your car, dealing with traffic (which can be substantial), parking, etc. For that reason, even when I do have a car at WDW, I tend to use Disney transportation most of the time.

The Magic Kingdom provides a great example of the difference. If you're staying offsite, you:

1. Drive through traffic and park your car
2. Probably take a tram to the monorail or boat
3. Wait in line for the monorail/boat to take you to MK
4. Ride to MK
5. Enter the park.

At the end of the night, you reverse this process to leave, except you do it with tens of thousands of other people trying to do the exact same thing.

If you're staying onsite and use Disney transportation, though, the bus drops you off near the park entrance and you walk in. If you're staying at the Contemporary (which is where we normally stay for this reason alone), you can walk to and from MK in about 8-10 minutes. Walking by throngs of people standing in line trying to leave at the end of the night is the very definition of schadenfreude.

Also on the transit front, if you don't have a car and you're staying onsite, you don't have to worry about getting to and from the resort (Magical Express shuttle service). That can be a money saver if you don't plan on leaving the resort or otherwise need a car.

I do think there is something to be said for the "bubble" effect at WDW. I tend to be completely oblivious to what is happening in the rest of the world while I'm there (whether or not that is a good thing is a debatable point, I'm sure). It's been quite a while since I stayed off-site, but I don't recall having the same experience at that time. I do know that there are tons of people that go to WDW and stay off-site and have a wonderful time, but for me, now that I'm accustomed to staying onsite -- where everyone you encounter is either on a Disney vacation or a CM -- I think an off-site trip would feel like it was missing something.
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Old 01-14-2014, 10:16 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by sherilaine View Post
Not trying to hijack but just have to ask the question to all of you who say you easily stay off site at DL but would never want to at WDW. If it takes 20 minutes to take a bus or boat to the parks from your onsite hotel - then how much of a disadvantage is staying off site and driving to the parks?

I have never been but am just curious. Is it to be in the Disney "bubble" type atmosphere, is that the main reason or is there a bus you have to then take even if you drive and park?

It just sounds like even onsite in WDW is a hassle.
Jrtoatstyman really nailed it. Onsite at WDW you're already "inside" the Disney transit system. Offsite at WDW, you have to commute to WDW before you can access that system. If you're only hitting one park that day, it isn't so bad (unless that park is MK). If you hop, you still have to get back to the park where you left your car before you can commute back to your hotel. You're probably adding at least an extra half an hour each way from your hotel if you stay offsite. (Again, even more if you're headed to MK.)

Since you asked in terms of a comparison of DLR and WDW, you can also look at it like this. DLR and Anaheim both try to make it as convenient and easy as possible for off-site guests to have access to the parks, since most guests stay offsite. WDW does the opposite. The convenience factor is packed heavily in favor of on-site guests.
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Old 01-14-2014, 04:22 PM   #29
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We always stay off site. To me, staying at one of DL hotels is a waste of money.
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Old 01-14-2014, 04:41 PM   #30
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I don't think you'll miss it. Just go in expecting it to be different from WDW and you won't be disappointed. The logistics, as described above, are really so different. And the DL resorts are not as immersive as those at WDW IME.

That said, we stay on site when we go. We like the Disney quality in the hotels, we like having the extra hour in the morning, we like all the special Disney touches and the extra pixie dust from the cast members. To us its "worth it". Another factor is that my DH and I both travel for business and are somewhat used to nice hotels, we know we wouldn't get the same quality we are used to from a HoJo or Ramada. So on vacation its worth it to us to splurge on the hotel. Just like at WDW we very much enjoy the "quality" of a Deluxe vs a Budget. Its hard to quantify the difference and it doesn't matter at all to some people, but we appreciate it and are willing to pay for it. (We camp too, we know how to rough it, but on a hotel vacation we like the niceties.) So much of it is personal preference and what is worth it to YOU.

For our first trip as a family I stressed over all the off site and on site options. Even had a rating system for all the different features. Ultimately we chose to go with DLH and loved it. Had we ended up at HoJo I think we would have had a very different experience but still great vacation. This trip we have the budget to stay at GCH so we are. We'll have 2 non-park days at the hotel so I feel we'll get our money's worth (helps its 25% off at that time). We are fortunate we can make that choice right now but if we couldn't I'm sure Disney would still be magical.
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