I get many questions from people who are thinking about visiting Walt Disney World and want Disney World vacation tips and suggestions. Disney vacation planning can be very involved and confusing as well, so the goal of this series is to start at the beginning, and look at everything you need to think about, in the general order you need to think about it. Each week’s post will be numbered and will link to all the others so that, when complete, you will have a guide with all the steps and information you need to plan your own Disney magic.
We are now going to focus on the next steps of planning an affordable Disney vacation, choosing your accommodations. This is a huge part of any vacation budget, so it is important to take some time to research your options to decide what is best for your family.
Walt Disney World offers an almost dizzying variety of choices, from the many Disney properties, to off-resort hotels, to a vast supply of vacation homes and condos. How do you choose?
And perhaps even more to the point: what is the best choice to save money?
The answer to both questions is the same: it depends. 🙂
Most people think that it is always cheaper to stay off-property, and that is just not always the case. There are a number of variables that will come into play here: time of the year, size of your family, and need for transportation while there, will all factor in your decision.
As we have already discussed, the busier times of year will be more expensive…and you may possibly have less choices, especially if you are not planning far ahead. Disney will not typically offer as many promotions for these times of year as they will for the slower times. So off-site may be your best choice during peak season…but again, not always…
You need to look at the size of your family: if you have a number of children that will require more than one motel room, then a larger “suite”, villa, or rental home may be the most economical as compared to renting multiple rooms. The Walt Disney resort has some properties that can accommodate larger groups of people, and it is not unusual for Disney to have some pretty sweet discounts and packages on this “level” of accommodation. In other cases, some hotels/motels, both on and off property, may offer specials where two rooms could be cheaper than one room in a different location. You will also want to look beyond the traditional hotel/motel option and consider renting a vacation home, condominium, or time-share. If you need the additional space, do the math: it can be a definite cost-saver.
And then you will want to consider how you are going to get around while at Disney World. You can stay with Disney and use their free resort transportation, consisting of buses, monorail, or boats. If you end up off-site then you will need a way to get to the parks: find out if your hotel/motel has a free shuttle. If not, or if you are staying in a private property, then you will need to factor in the cost of renting a car or van.
In the next few posts, we will discuss each of your options in more detail. And if you have not already decided generally when you want to go, how long you want to stay, the parks/attractions/events you are most interested in, and how much you want to spend…..well now is the appropriate time.
In the next few days, you are going to be booking your accommodations and on your way to your own magical affordable Disney vacation!