I am going to share with you how a Disney enthusiast that LOVES the on-property Disney benefits; also enjoys being off-property as well. It took quite a bit of convincing not stay on-property, but now I will always consider both options.
Disney Vacation Off Property
My requirements for vacation accommodations are pretty basic. I like enough room for the four of us, preferably something with at least one bedroom. It is so nice to not be on top of one another and have a little personal space. A room with two beds can get old really fast, especially if the kids are getting nasty. Other things that are high on my list are cost, comfort and convenience to where I am visiting. We always look at the pool and kids areas as well; with two kids and a big age gap we need something for everyone in the family not just our little one.
I will openly admit that other than breakfast I never cook on vacation, so the kitchen is last on my list. Many families find this as a huge benefit because they can save money. Having a kitchen is another great value in being off property.
When you are on a Disney vacation you are in a constant state of go. Even when you are at the resort it seems to be go-mode unless it’s bedtime. There is always something going on and it’s hard to shut down at the end of a long day in the parks. This is why being off property is great, you leave the Disney bubble and retreat to a calm relaxing resort. Be it on your own veranda or a quiet public space it’s always nice to be able to relax after walking ten miles a day. For my husband this down time is essential, and a big part of choosing a resort.
I love my Disney vacations but also love rest and relaxation, I am on vacation after-all. When choosing off-property accommodations I want resorts near Disney World; as in no longer than a ten minute ride. This is my number one criteria when searching for somewhere to stay in Orlando that isn’t owned by Disney. I can handle being off property but I don’t want to drive 30 minutes to get to the parks.
When we stay off property at Disney we have a rental car. Driving in Orlando really isn’t all that bad, just be alert. With that said we don’t always want to drive ourselves to the parks, so we look for a property with a free park shuttle. This came in particularly handy for the Epcot Food and Wine Festival last fall, my husband and I could enjoy and not worry with driving anywhere. The cost of parking at the parks is also $25.00 per day, so a free shuttle allows you a good savings for your trip if you plan to visit the Disney parks more than once during your vacation. A free shuttle will also put your mind at ease if you aren’t all that familiar with the area and don’t want to drive around Walt Disney World resort.
If you are traveling with the kids to Disney you need to take them into consideration during the planning stages. The Disney parks are exhausting! That means the kids will get hot, whiny and downright ugly. Plan for a down day at your resort so everyone can relax and unwind. This is essential in my family or we will all start getting really nasty. Our family loves a pool day, preferably a pool with a lazy river. Remember when I said you need that down time, I meant it. You will feel like a new person having a non-park day at your resort. Don’t count out extra amenities such as lazy rivers and kids splash areas in your search for fear they are too costly, many times they are very budget friendly.
From my own experience visiting Orlando in the hot summer months; you will be glad you booked a resort with a lazy river. By hot summer months I really mean anytime between April 1-October 31. It’s central Florida, the heat and humidity rarely let up.
Staying off property when you visit Orlando is a much more relaxing experience. You don’t feel rushed to get out the door for extra morning park hours, and you aren’t coming in at 2 am because you stayed for the night hours. When you pay for something and it comes with perks you feel the need to use them. Find perks that you can use to your advantage to have an amazing family vacation. You can find many resorts on the doorstep to Disney, with a free park shuttle, lazy river and separate living space. To me that is an ideal vacation to Disney.
After my first off property experience I was sold, we didn’t miss anything on our Disney vacation and made more memories connecting as a family having that downtime to just enjoy one another and our resort. Orlando has no shortage of offerings from condos, to villas and private homes so you can certainly find somewhere that will make everyone in the family happy!
Have you stayed off property during a Disney Vacation?