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Old 01-14-2014, 06:20 PM   #31
gokdog
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We have done both, but prefer to stay onsite.

With discounts both public and AP, we have stayed at PPH for really close to the same price as offsite, but as many people have pointed out, staying at PPH or Disneyland Hotel is not closer than the closest offsite places. It is a different walk for sure and less glamorous, but still roughly the same.

Now when you wanna splurge a little, nothing and I mean nothing beats staying at the GCH, especially with my preference of a Downtown Disney overlook view that gets you to either park in 2-3 minutes.
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Old 01-15-2014, 07:41 AM   #32
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I don't think you will regret staying offsite especially if you are close enough to walk to the parks. I am a DVC owner and as much as I like to stay on property the majority of my trips are spent staying offsite because they are no vacancies at VGC using my points. I make sure that I stay at a hotel within walking distance and my only regret would be the lack of not having that extra magic hour before the parks opens to the public.
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Old 01-15-2014, 09:13 AM   #33
Mr Snappy
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Originally Posted by DollBabyKG View Post
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!
100% agree.

Ignore anyone who tells you the "Only way" to do it is to stay onsite. If you want to spend insane amounts of money on your room and somehow feel you have a more "magic" vacation, that is fine, but I wish people would be honest about what they are doing. It's really not my business how they spend their money and I am glad they are happy, but when people pass on advice and indicate that staying on property in Anaheim is the "Only way to do the resort" it gets me a little cranky.

I want to be clear about this for those who truly don't know. The Disney Resort Hotels are NO BETTER than many of the fine properties in the area. They have one advantage and one only...proximity to the main gate. If this is worth paying 2X-5X what you would pay for a similar quality hotel a block or two away, than staying onsite is right for you.

I also agree that this advice is completely reversed for WDW. We don't stay anywhere but onsite in Orlando, the advantages simply outweigh the premium price we pay.
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Old 01-15-2014, 11:29 AM   #34
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We stayed onsite the first time we took DS to DL and even though the trip cost more than my first two cars added together, I don't regret staying at the DLH. But, even though I don't regret spending a lot of money that first trip, we have chosen to stay offsite for the next four trips.

For me, it all comes down to how I would rather spend the money. By staying at an offsite motel we are able to go from one trip a year to two. I also like how close the offsite motels are, walking back for an hour to rest in the afternoon is no problem at all.

I really doubt you will regret not staying onsite, especially if distance to the park is a priority for you. There is no way to beat room to park entrance in less than 5 minutes, unless you are lucky enough to get one of the DtD GC rooms.
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Old 01-15-2014, 11:58 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Mr Snappy View Post
100% agree.

Ignore anyone who tells you the "Only way" to do it is to stay onsite. If you want to spend insane amounts of money on your room and somehow feel you have a more "magic" vacation, that is fine, but I wish people would be honest about what they are doing. It's really not my business how they spend their money and I am glad they are happy, but when people pass on advice and indicate that staying on property in Anaheim is the "Only way to do the resort" it gets me a little cranky.

I want to be clear about this for those who truly don't know. The Disney Resort Hotels are NO BETTER than many of the fine properties in the area. They have one advantage and one only...proximity to the main gate. If this is worth paying 2X-5X what you would pay for a similar quality hotel a block or two away, than staying onsite is right for you.

I also agree that this advice is completely reversed for WDW. We don't stay anywhere but onsite in Orlando, the advantages simply outweigh the premium price we pay.
I agree with your first paragraph, its not at all true that on site is the "only way" to have the full DL experience and I told the OP that they will NOT regret staying off site.

But I would like some clarification on the bold. I've looked in detail at the hotels that are within 1-2 blocks of DL and I haven't found any (maybe the Sheraton?) that are same tier as DLH and GCH. I wouldn't consider them "similar quality". I'm not arguing they are a lower price and you can save a lot of $$ with equal convenience, but as I posted one reason we stay on site is because we enjoy top tier hotels (Deluxes in Disney speak). Can you enlighten me which off-site hotels on Harbour have the same level of features and service as DLH and GCH? Some of the features/service I'm thinking of:
- Multiple themed pools with water slides and cabana service
- On site spa services
- Child care center/kids activities
- Extra service touches by staff ex. we had micky/minnie cookies and a pitcher of milk left in our refrigerator on our check in night by a particularly sweet CM
- Variety of on site restaurants and room service
- On site entertainment in lounges, lobbies, bars, etc.

I know these features don't matter to some people and to others they are not worth paying for. That's a perfectly valid perspective. The hotel industry has developed many tiers to serve different people, Disney just chose only to target the higher tiers at DLR. I just don't think its a fair argument to say you aren't getting anything more for your money (besides proximity) by staying at the GCH vs. the Ramada. I don't see an off site option to stay at a high end, top tier hotel with these services/features AND be within easy walking distance of the parks. If there is please enlighten me so I can research more for our next next trip.
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Old 01-15-2014, 12:16 PM   #36
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This all comes down to what type of hotel you're comfortable in. I've been in the Ramada Maingate visiting friends and found it subpar for my liking. We have stayed at the GCH and the DLH and have not regretted it. Its such a personal decision. I like saving money but not so much that I'm willing to stay somewhere I don't love. I would stay at the Sheraton park but it's further away than I'd like to be. There is a definite difference in quality b/w the on site hotels and the ones on harbor. It just depends what you're comfortable staying in. So, it's really a never ending discussion.
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Old 01-15-2014, 02:23 PM   #37
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This all comes down to what type of hotel you're comfortable in. I've been in the Ramada Maingate visiting friends and found it subpar for my liking. We have stayed at the GCH and the DLH and have not regretted it. Its such a personal decision. I like saving money but not so much that I'm willing to stay somewhere I don't love. I would stay at the Sheraton park but it's further away than I'd like to be. There is a definite difference in quality b/w the on site hotels and the ones on harbor. It just depends what you're comfortable staying in. So, it's really a never ending discussion.
This is my point. There's no "right" place to stay because it depends on your personal preference. I think a better way to position the decision for WDW vets is to compare it to the Deluxe/Moderate/Budget options at WDW. If you limit your off-site options to within easy walking distance of DLR then you can remove the logistical challenges of WDW from your comparison.

Onsite at DLR there are only Deluxe's. Offsite are closer to Moderates or Budget (maybe Sheraton Park is Moderate+ but it is a further walk). If you are happy at WDW in a Budget or Moderate then you will be happy offsite. If you prefer the extras you get at a Deluxe and can afford that, then onsite may be worth considering. No one would argue that those staying at a Budget at WDW will have a bad trip. But most who choose to stay at Deluxes at WDW see the value they are getting over a Budget, even when you remove the logistical advantage.

(I'm sure someone will jump in and say that WDW Deluxes are overpriced or not worth it, but that's not really the point here. It's about knowing what you are getting and choosing what will work best for you.)
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Old 01-16-2014, 11:07 AM   #38
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another factor for off site is the ability to pay with loyalty points and have it be "free" I have done this a few times with Hilton. There is also no real reason to not combine a few nights at each. The real factor for the onsite to me is if you plan to swim a lot. All 3 of the on sites have great family slides, and in season pool food and beverage service.
If you don't plan to swim(and use those slides) it is harder to justify the cost of onsite.
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