Where to Stay – On Property vs Off Property

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The biggest decision you need to make once you have decided you’re going to Disney World is where to stay…On or Off Property ???

Over the years we have stayed both on and off property…each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Don’t get me wrong I would stay on Disney each and every time…however this just doesn’t always work for the other half, so we have to compromise!

Benefits of staying on Disney Property

  • You are staying in the heart of the ‘Magic’ – in the ‘Disney Bubble’
  • Free Disney transportation for getting all around Disney – there is always a bus, boat or monorail to take you right to the parks – there is no need for a car unless you plan on leaving Disney
  • Extra Magic Hours
  • Great Theming in the Hotels
  • Dining Plans – there are sometimes deals for free dining which could save you lots of money
  • If you stay at one of the 5 EPCOT resort hotels you can even walk to 2 parks!
  • Disney’s Magical Express takes you from the airport to your hotel…and back
  • Any purchases made in the parks, hotels and Downtown Disney can be charged to your room (with the exception of Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin)
  • Purchases can be sent to your hotel so you don’t have to carry them around!

Drawbacks

  • Cost – can be extremely expensive
  • Availability – holidays especially can be booked up well in advance
  • Unless you have a car you are stuck with Disney food and shopping
  • If you want to leave Disney, unless you have a car you will have to pay for cabs
  • Location – some Disney hotels are very remote

Benefits of staying off property

  • Better value, larger rooms
  • More choice for self-catering
  • If you choose a Villa you have your own private pool
  • Easier access shopping, restaurants and Non Disney stuff
  • Nowadays there are hotels in great locations, close to Disney

Drawbacks

  • Need a car as you have to drive to the parks, can become expensive for parking
  • If park shuttles are provided these can be slow and inconveniently scheduled
  • Can be less ‘Magical’ than staying in a Disney Hotel
  • Some accommodations are a long way from Disney, do your homework

Look out for my review of Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa, an Off Property apartment style suites, coming soon.

Where do you prefer to stay? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

Emma x

Happy New Year!

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Well Hello, it has been a while! Christmas, New Year, a Disney Vacation…but it is back to reality now 😦 for a few months anyways.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year. We were lucky enough to spend New Years Eve and the following 2 weeks in Sunny Florida 😀

So, Look out for some Disney inspired posts and reviews over the coming weeks. We had an awesome time, we also celebrated our 10th Wedding anniversary in the land of the mouse which was fab, especially as that is where we got married all those years ago.

Bye for now, I’ll be back soon.

Emma x

My Top 10 Disney Vacation Tips…

So, I thought I would share some tips for my number one vacation spot…

cinderellas castle

1. Virgins Downtown Disney Check in

For a fee (or free if you have booked your holiday through Virgin Holidays) you can check in at downtown Disney on the morning of your departure – giving you more time to enjoy your final hours in the most magical place on earth. You will receive your boarding passes and your luggage is taken to the airport for you. It also means you do not have to be at the airport quite as early as if you have to check in, but please be aware there can be big queues at security.

2. Luggage..

Buy a Luggage Scale, they are relatively cheap, small and light so won’t take up too much space but it means you can check your weight before checking in…potentially saving you quite a few pounds on excess luggage. If you know you are going to buy lots of goodies (like me!) pre book extra baggage as it is cheaper than at check in. We usually buy an extra suitcase from Walmart, so just pay extra coming home not both ways!

3. Take a trip to Walmart/Target/Publix

Stock up on breakfast goodies…buy a cheap toaster for bagels! This will save you so much money and time, especially if you want to get to the parks for opening.

Most Hotel rooms have a fridge so you can buy Water, OJ, Milk, Cream Cheese…

Walmart is also good for cheap clothes…you can return items with a receipt at Asda when back in the UK (although this is something I have never tried).

4. Hire a car

taxi

Disney World is humongous…you can’t really walk from place to place, so by hiring a car it means you can pop out of Disney much more easily to grab a non Disney Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner, there are so many fantastic, great value restaurants (I think this deserves a post to itself!!)

There are also several Malls and Outlet Shops which deserve a look in if you have the time.

Mall at Millenia
Florida Mall
Orlando Premium Outlets (2 locations):Vineland Road and International Drive. Vineland Road is closest to Disney.

5. Don’t try to fit everything in…plan plan plan and plan some more

So you have booked your vacation, now the excitement begins…where to go, what to do??? “Lets go to Disney World and Universal and  Busch Gardens and Seaworld and Discovery Cove and Legoland and Gatorland and Kennedy Space Center…oh dear, I don’t think we’ve got enough time!” There is so much to see and do…the list is endless, I bet you feel exhausted just thinking about it!!

Try to work in some pool/quiet time, even if it is a morning or afternoon every few days. Some days you will want to stay at the parks late for the fireworks, this is a good day to spend the morning by the pool. The waterparks are also a good ‘rest’ day, you just have to decide which one to pick; Typhoon Lagoon, Blizzard Beach, Wet ‘n’ Wild, Aquatica.

6. Buy your park tickets before you go

Disney have a special Ultimate ticket which is only available in the UK so buy before you go…if you are planning on visiting Disney the most on your vacation it is definitely worth the cost. It gives you 14 (or 21) days in all 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, Disney Quest at Downtown Disney, ESPN Wide World of Sports and one round of Mini Golf a day.Virgin Holidays have recently launched ticket bundles which seem to be excellent value for money and include a range of parks in Orlando.

There are many discounted ticket websites, some offer real tickets, others you will receive a voucher which can be exchanged at guest services at any of the parks.

7. Use Virgin Holidays

If you don’t want to book all the bits of your holiday separately I would highly recommend Virgin Holidays, you get extra perks and I have always have great service using them in the past. If you do like to book things separate, again check Virgin Holidays for hotels, some of the hotels receive extra perks, such as free parking.

8. Disney’s Boardwalk Area

Boardwalk

This is our favourite non park location. It is a perfect hotel location (although very pricey). There are 5 resorts in total, 3 Disney (Yacht, Beach & Boardwalk) and 2 Non Disney (Swan & Dolphin). There are a few restaurants and ESPN Club which has hundreds of TV’s showing all different kinds of sports. These are the only resorts which are in walking distance to TWO Disney parks, Hollywood Studios (my favourite park!!) and EPCOT. There is also a Water taxi if you feel the need to rest your weary legs!!

9. Raglan Road Bar

It is a great place to have a bite to eat, you can usually find a spot at the bar, they have live bands and Irish dancers on too. Kevin’s Ham is a firm favourite with my other half!

10. Make Advanced Dining Reservations

If there are Disney restaurants you really want to eat at I would highly advise that you make reservations in advance. Disney’s Advance Reservations can now be done online. Most restaurants now require a credit card guarantee when making the reservation. You can make a reservation 180 days in advance of when you want o dine, if you are a Disney resort guest it is 180 + 10 days. Some Advanced Reservation tips from WDWInfo.com.

Finally…

Two of my favourite books, even as a ‘Pro’ I buy the updated editions regularly.

Brits Guide to Orlando
The Unofficial Guide to DisneyWorld

Great Websites I visit on a regular basis

Disney Parks Blog
DisBoards
WDWInfo
Offical Disney Website

Happy Planning

Emma & Winnie the Pooh x

wiinie