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Old Today, 07:55 AM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: NC
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How inconvenient is offsite - really?

So after 3 years of putting it off (which I am glad I did) I am committing myself to our first family Disney vacation next spring. I have done research, gotten so many quotes I'm sure I've pissed people off, and now I am at the point of deciding between staying 6 nights offsite at WBC or 6 nights onsite at POR or POFQ. I have given myself to Friday to make a decision and put down a deposit otherwise I never will!

I know of the perks of onsite - EMH, Magical Express, booking ADRs at 180+10, booking FP+ at 60 days, free parking. But I want some honest opinions about how inconvenient people feel it has been to give up these perks, or at least given my situation.

My girls will be 6 and 7 when we go. My plan is to make it to rope drop each day, ride as much as we can in the morning, have lunch, probably do afternoon FP+, leave the parks by around 4:00 so we can relax for about an hour or two before dinner, have dinner, and then just unwind for the rest of the evening. I know my girls will not last all day and evening in the parks, so I'm not even going to try. We'll do 4 park days and one rest day to just hang out at the resort. I'm liking the idea of WBC because there are so many things to do at the resort, we'd have our own space to relax in a 2 bedroom, the girls can go to bed early if they need to and I can stay up later (I tend to be a night owl).

But staying onsite would be nice for the perks. However, how necessary are they really? We're driving down, so no need for ME. I would plan to avoid parks with EMH whether we stay onsite or offsite. Yes, I would pay for parking and have to drive to the parks, but I'm a little indifferent about waiting for a bus all of the time. So my big question is, how hard is it REALLY to get FP+ at 30 days and ADRs at 180 days?

I'm not even going to tell my girls about the possibility of meeting Anna and Elsa, I don't have any desire to ride 7DMT, though I would like to ride Toy Story at HS. The only ADRs I plan to book are Akershus breakfast or lunch, Ohana dinner, and possibly Tusker House breakfast - this is whether we stay onsite or offsite, because I don't plan on getting the dining plan. There is all of this woe and gloom about not getting any popular FP+ at 30 days out, but it also seems like even people at 60 days have trouble getting A&E and 7DMT, which I have no desire to do. The ADRs, I have no idea though.

So really - is all of this going to be hard to do staying offsite? I may still decide to stay onsite just for the experience or magic or whatever people claim (which will be cost few hundred dollars more) but I'm trying to figure out if onsite is really THAT more advantageous given our plans.
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Old Today, 08:23 AM   #2
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Ok, here's how our trips have gone.
We have been taking DD16 since she was 9. When she was little, we never gave a second thought to staying on property, but that was mostly for her sake.
We loved the idea of immersing her in the Disney atmosphere.
However, we stayed at the Values, not the Mods, because that theming was part of the immersion. We would not have stayed at a Mod.

Now, as she has gotten older, it has been a mix. We all LOVED staying off site in a condo or townhouse. The TH was the best, because we had a private pool; no units above/below us - only one unit to the side, since we had an end unit; a quiet complex; bedrooms and tv's and bathrooms for everyone!!!

So, while there is a lot to be said for onsite, we definitely prefer offsite for the extra amenities we get.

That said, if we take any of the grandkids, we stay onsite for them to have that immersion, same way we did dd16 when she was little.

Honestly, I think you can have a great trip whichever way you go. It all has to do with how you go into it. If you dwell on what you're missing by not being onsite, you will not enjoy being offsite. Same goes for the reverse.
Your girls will not know any different from what you tell them.

As to FP+ and ADRs, I planned a trip late and have gotten everything I was looking for. Might not be the exact times I wanted, but I have the rides and restaurants.

If you stalk the FP+ and ADR sites for what you want, you will probably eventually find them. There are also threads on the Dis to watch for people getting rid of ones they no longer need.

Again, I think you can have a good time either way.
You simply need to decide which avenue works best for you and your girls.
Personally, being a first trip, I would probably stay onsite with kids that young.

Good luck in your decision!!! Being a first time, it will be magical for you as you see your girls' faces light up at every turn!!!
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Old Today, 08:29 AM   #3
Shelly F - Ohio
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Stay onsite and having the ability to do EMH is great especially if you are going during the HOT time of the year. You can go to the park in the morning then head back to the resort and swim during the heat of the day. Then return to the park knowing you have a few extra hours to explore the park without the sun beating down on you.

Is nice to know that if you need to return to your resort you are not that far away. You can hop on a bus and not worry about driving to the resort.
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Old Today, 08:34 AM   #4
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It sounds like you would be fine with offsite. From what I'm reading here, it's really A&E and 7DMT that are the FP+ that are the most difficult to score and if those aren't important to you, then it likely won't be a big deal. I've usually been able to get whatever ADRs I want at 180 days with the exception of BOG. Also doesn't sound like you are using the other onsite perks much either (EMH, ME, etc), so I would again think offsite would be good for you.

I prefer offsite for the amenities and cost of lodging. We prefer to rent a car because I don't like the busses. The cost of parking is still easily covered in the cost savings for lodging. I think if you are someone who really uses the perks of onsite or who likes that sense of immersion it makes sense to stay onsite, but you don't seem to be that vested in any of that.
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Old Today, 08:38 AM   #5
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You'll be fine and you will love WBC! In fact, with having your own car, you may find it more convenient, since WBC is practically on-site. The big plus to WDW transportation is to MK. Parking at TTC, walking to the tram, walking to monrail or ferry is time consuming. It can also be exhausting at the end of the day when you do it all in reverse to get back to your car.

As far as ADRs or FP+, I don't have recent experience to say what the impact will be. Just be flexible with your schedule and touring. If Akershus is not available on Tuesday, but has an opening Wednesday, book that and make Wednesday your Epcot day.

Your biggest benefit is that you are educating yourself on WDW and have a plan. You are already ahead of some folks who stay on site but lose valuable park time figuring out how to open the maps.

There is no comparison between WBC 2-bdrm and a regular hotel room at a moderate. I think you will enjoy the space and amenities much more than POR/FQ. Having a kitchen and full size fridge, washer/dryer, separate rooms, far outweighs any lost magic by not staying onsite.

My two cents, Steve
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Old Today, 08:39 AM   #6
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Hands down WBC is a nicer resort. If you're not going to need ME and won't utilize EMH or Disney buses, I think WBC would be the better choice (not to mention all the extra space and lower cost). We'd been to WDW several times and kept hearing about the "magic" we were missing by staying offsite. We tried onsite and decided that the "magic" wasn't worth the extra cost or the lack of space and amenities. WBC is closer to most parks than POR and POFQ and the only time that the WDW bus system saved us any time was going to MK because the buses take you straight to MK as opposed to parking at the TTC and taking the monorail or ferryboat over. Our next trip to WBC is over Spring Break and we got a 2 bedroom on eBay for $750 for the week. POR for our family of 5 for that same week would be $1,937. As far as FP+ in its current form, you will probably not get FP+ for A&E or 7DMT (which I know you said you don't want/need) but should not have a problem with TSMM if you're flexible with your dates. Same with Akershus - flexibility is key.

Good luck whatever you decide!

Last edited by Gr8t Fan; Today at 08:44 AM.
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Old Today, 09:04 AM   #7
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What is WBC? Since you are not staying until park closing, off site will not be that big an issue. Allow extra time to drive to the parks in the morning since you said you were getting there at opening. It always takes longer than you think it will - even if you are close by.
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Old Today, 09:20 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by disney1990 View Post
What is WBC?
Wyndham Bonnet Creek
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Old Today, 10:31 AM   #9
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I think you're in a perfect position to enjoy offsite. You will have a car, you don't care about EMH, and you are going to be ok if you don't get A&E or 7DMT. I think you will be ok on ADRs, other than BOG, but even onsite has hard time getting that one.

The biggest thing that I think is in your favor to have a great offsite trip with young kids is the fact that you plan on going to the parks once a day, then coming home and chilling the rest of the day. Not that it's hard to go back to the parks from Bonnet Creek since it is so close, but I think your plan will work out really well in general.

And having the space of a two-bedroom will be very welcome when your kids are asleep and you can chill for a bit by yourself!
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Old Today, 11:23 AM   #10
A little Miami humor...
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Given your stated choices, WBC would be a no-brainer for me.

First of all, you are comparing a hotel room at POR to a TWO-BEDROOM apartment at WBC.

Our first trip to Disney was at PORFQ for four nights. Three people -- me, DW, and DD - then 2. We liked PORFQ, but that room was SMALL. By the end of our stay, it was really small!

At WBC, you will have two full bedrooms, two bathrooms, a FULL kitchen with all the kitchen utensils you will need, a washer and dryer (which will become more important each day you are there), a full living room with space to stretch out. The living accommodations, not the amenities, are what will set WBC apart from POR.

But there are a LOT of amenities at WBC. SIX pools, five of which are zero entry and two of which have great lazy rivers with free tubes to use. For the adults, there is a nice gym and you have access to the spa at the Wyndham Grand. And free mini-golf, lots of activities for the kids, great free gas BBQ grills if you want to cook outdoors, etc, etc, etc.

Driving will make your mid-day trips much easier. You will pay the Disney parking, but keep your receipt because that parking is valid until midnight that night at ANY Disney parking location. So if you go to Epcot for the Akerhaus breakfast and MK in the afternoon, you don't pay twice.

Driving time -- POR is a little closer to MK and Epcot than WBC (maybe 3 minutes). WBC is somewhat closer (probably 5 minutes) to DHS and AK. All drives are short from either place.

Dining -- there isn't much dining at POR. What you see is what you get, and anything else is a drive. The same is pretty much true at WBC -- some dining, but not what you will need.

Offsite, within 15 minutes of WBC (maybe 20 minutes from PORFQ, 25 from POR), there is abundant dining. Offsite dining offers much more variety than the Disney common-kitchen food, better food generally at all levels from fine dining to McDonalds, and lower prices.
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Old Today, 11:47 AM   #11
A little Miami humor...
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One caution is required for WBC -- avoid the weasels!

When you arrive at WBC, you will drive down a beautifully landscaped entry road, through the security gate, to the palatial main building. You'll walk through the door into the spacious and beautifully decorated lobby. Through the windows across the lobby, you will see the main pool and lazy river set perfectly between the building and the lovely lake with the perfect fountain.

You will be thinking, "Heck yeah! I done good!"

You will wait in the check in line (hopefully not long) and will be checked in by a gracious host or hostess. The checkin process will be smooth and friendly, and they will helpfully tell you to go get your parking pass from another desk.

Don't do it.

The "parking pass desk" is actually the lair of the Wyndham timeshare sales weasels. You will find the regular staff at WBC friendly and helpful. The sales weasels are not. They are predators -- and they are VERY good at what they do.

I own, and love, Wyndham -- but their sales force is among the sleaziest in a sleazy timeshare industry. Anything they ask you to do (tour, take a survey, get your welcome gifts -- ANYthing) is a timeshare sales presentation. They will tell you it is no more than 90 minutes. They are lying. It will take 3-4 hours and it is very high pressure.

Remember two things about the Wyndham timeshare weasels:
  1. If their lips are moving -- they are LYING.
  2. If their lips are not moving, they are thinking up their next LIE.

If you want to buy a Wyndham timeshare, do your research thoroughly and then go to eBay and buy one for pennies. But avoid the weasels at all cost.

You don't need the stupid parking pass. It is used for absolutely nothing -- you have to show your room key to get past the security gate.

Also, don't answer the phone in the room (we unplug them). Anyone YOU want to talk to already has your cell number. And don't answer the door -- the weasels sometimes come unannounced with "welcome gifts," and if you let them in they WILL NOT LEAVE until you buy a timeshare.
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Old Today, 01:08 PM   #12
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I also think this is a perfect time to do an off-site visit.

I have stayed on-site and off-site and while I enjoy the Disney theming, I enjoy space more. You have already mentioned that you will have your own car, you don't care about EMH.

1) Do I like walking into a lobby and seeing Disney paintings, and little touches-Yes.
2) Do I enjoy the pool at POR/FQ-meh...
3) Do I enjoy the food court/store area? Nope

1A) Does everyone like their own bed? Hell yes!
2A) How about those pools (yes-many, many pools)? Holy crap-there are two lazy rivers mom!!!
3A) Let's make Pillsbury cinnamon rolls IN OUR OWN kitchen for breakfast! Woohoo!
And for the bonus....Wouldn't you like to bathe/shower in peace while the little ones go pee in their own bathroom??? Amen!! Halleluiah!!

You will have a great trip either way-it's all about the mindset, but I greatly prefer offsite for our family. Family time is amazing, but personal space is very important to us, too. Have fun!!
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Old Today, 01:22 PM   #13
Join Date: Jun 2014
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I guess I;m among the few who say....

Onsite works best for us. We have done both in the past. We stayed off site when the kids were little at Nickelodeon (not that now?), and it was fine. We had a 2 br suite with 2 baths. The theming was great and a good food court. BUT, the driving was not "cute". My husband had to fight the traffic, find a good place to park, catch the trams, then through the gate to either the monorail or boat at MK, etc, you get the idea. Driving like that is not on my husbands favorite list right now. It was ok when the kids were little.
Now we stay onsite and LOVE IT! We would never go back to offsite, even with all the amenities. We don't spend that much time in our room, but it is a great room for us. The quiet pool is usually very close by. We have always had a good meal at the Mill food court, esp their pasta bowl and make your own salad! Boatrights was okay, but we preferred eating at the parks. Being at Disney was a thrill for us. It is great to quit when we are tired and go back to our park and rest in the tropical atmosphere. There is a lot for kids of all ages to do at POR or POFQ! Then we hop the bus back to wherever we wan t to go in the evening. It is great to go by boat to DTD. It's a beautiful, restful ride and a fun place, so close to POR. So, I guess only you can decide what is best for you and your family. Have a great time at WDW
I don't like to cook or wash clothes while on vacation; that's just not a vacation for me! So, I guess you have to decide what is important to you and your family and what works out best for you. As far as fp's, we got all we wanted at 60 days out. We did not want the frozen m&g's, so that was ok. We made adr's 180 days out and they were getting crowded even then. Good luck

Last edited by disneyseniors; Today at 01:32 PM.
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Old Today, 04:42 PM   #14
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Join Date: Jun 2012
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Wow, I could have started this exact thread. My girls are 5 and 7 and I've been researching the same thing! Thanks for doing it before I did
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Old Today, 05:16 PM   #15
Tony NY
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Their is some advantages to staying off site the value you save on a villa. I you want to stay in the hart of Disney and stay at an off site resort their is the Westgate resorts just at the back door of Disney Animal Kingdom and if you want to be on property their is the hotels on hotel plaza blvd but my favorite is the swan and dolphin the only negative is paying for parking and no free DME but the plus is you get to use Disney buses and get Extra Magic Hours

CSR 9/9/12 BC 5/22-5/30 GF 7/11 6/10 Disney land 11/26 - 11/30 contemporay Contempory 09,08 Contempory resort 2007 POR2006 CB Off site 04/02/01
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