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Need Advice Looking for Disney Recommendations

Discussion in 'General Chat Forum' started by soccerdudes, Sep 5, 2008.

  1. soccerdudes

    soccerdudes New Member

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    I am booking a trip for my family of four (two boys ages 6 and almost 10). We are looking to stay off property, but close by. I heard there are two areas called Lake Buena Vista and Disney Village that are within walking distance to some of the hotels. We would be interested in being able to walk to a 'town square' like this from the hotel to restaurants, shopping, etc. We would also like a nice pool to relax in after a long day at the park. We don't need grand luxury, but would like something nice, clean and family-friendly.

    We have never been to Disney and would appreciate any advice.

    If anyone has any good recommendations as far as hotels, please let me know.
     
  2. soccerdudes

    soccerdudes New Member

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    OK, update. Hubby wants to stay on property. Any suggestions going that route? Thanks!
     
  3. flynnibus

    flynnibus Well-Known Member Forum Staff

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    How soon? They just introduced Discount rates for October.

    Discount rates now available for the general public at Walt Disney World . Check-in dates: 9/28/08-10/11/08. Use code MXK. Your stay will be priced on a day-by-day basis, rates may be slightly higher on the weekends.
    Other resorts and room types available.
    Example of some of the rates:

    * Value resort: $59 plus tax Standard view
    * Moderate resorts: $109 plus tax Standard view
    * Animal Kingdom Lodge: $170 plus tax Standard view


    www.disboards.com is a great forum for reviews/recent news/info on WDW travel.

    Key is to establish what level of property you want to stay at. On property Value resorts are basically the same as a RedRoof/Holiday Inn Express type stuff. The Moderates are more like a Holiday Inn Select, with usually more shopping/food onsite and slightly better rooms. Places like the Fort Wilderness Lodge or AK Lodge can get you the deluxe feel (immersive theming, food options, etc) at a good rate compared to the other deluxe resorts. It's hard to specify without you really defining how much you are willing to spend on a room. At 4 people you are pretty flexible.

    http://www.allears.net also has great resources for seeing menus, prices, and comparing ticket options.
     
  4. soccerdudes

    soccerdudes New Member

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    We are looking to go in November and stay in a Deluxe or near-Deluxe type room.
     
  5. Audrey

    Audrey Member

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    When we went a couple of years ago I wanted to stay on property too, but my husband found a great rate at one of the maingate hotels, a nice resort with an outdoor pool, cooked breakfast included, comp shuttle to Disney, special rates on Disney tickets, and you got to go early as if you were on property. It turned out great and we saved a lot of money, plus it was a nice luxurious place to stay. I have also stayed at the Yacht & Beach Club Resort and it is nice, but depending on how long you're staying, you may not end up spending much time in the hotel.
     
  6. mckmak23

    mckmak23 New Member

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    A friend of mine used to work at Disney (he was Tigger!). From what he's told me, since November is the start of their Christmas celebration, the Wilderness Lodge is the best. They have areas for relaxing in the hotel where they serve hot chocolate and have some nice fires to sit next to. We were supposed to go in December but unfortunately had to cancel.

    We've taken our friend's recommendation on our last trip to Disney and was very glad that we did. Staying on property was better then we had anticipated and we had both been to Disney many times but stayed off property. That was before we had a child...and now we can't wait to go back and experience it with our daughter.

    Enjoy your planning!
    Karen
     
  7. JLC

    JLC Member

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    We really liked the Beach Club Resort - their pool is awesome; I think probably the best of any of the Disney hotels. You don't have the convenience of being on the monorail, but I think the pool makes up for it.

    We rented one of the "villas" (what I think would be called a suite in any typical hotel) which gave us a living room with sleeper sofa, dining area, full kitchen, and separate bedroom. Having the kitchen was really nice - especially for breakfast.
     
  8. soccerdudes

    soccerdudes New Member

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    Thanks for the tips, everyone!

    Audrey, do you know what hotel you stayed at just outside (the one with breakfast, etc)?

    I like the sound of the Wilderness Lodge...our only concern was that it was so far from the other parks.
     
  9. StevieD

    StevieD New Member

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    Your best bet is to go to www.disboards.com. I think it is the best forum out there for finding great discounts and getting advice on where to stay. Poke around here and I'm sure you will get good advice. One suggestion is to rent points from a DVC owner (DVC is the Disney sponsored timeshare program which has several on-site properties inc. Wildneress Lodge Villas, Beach Club Resort Villlas, Boardwalk Villas) - this would get you an on-site property equivalent to deluxe accomodations, and you would have a condo rather than a hotel room. We used to be DVC owners until we all got a little tired of Disney (I know....blasphemy to some). Our favorite location was Beach Club - very good hub for transportation to all the parks, a back entrance to Epcot (which was very convenient for evening activities and dinner at Epcot). We also liked the Wilderness Lodge - however it is not as convenient for reaching the other parks (but very close to the Magic Kingdom).

    Definitely check out www.disboards.com. Half the fun in these trips is in the planning!

    Steve
     
  10. cmbm

    cmbm New Member

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    We liked Port Orleans, French Quarter. I would recommend asking for one of the closer buildings so you don't have to walk too far at the end of the day. My kids loved the dragon slide pool there!

    Staying on site is the way to go. We didn't this year and we were exhausted by the end of the day. When we were on site or at least close by, we could take naps in the middle of the day.

    This summer, we made it to dinner time and then went home. Have fun!
     
  11. T8ergirl

    T8ergirl New Member

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    If you stay at the Grand Floridian ($$$), the Polynesian, or the Contemporary, you can take the monorail to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot directly from your hotel. If you don't want to have a rental car, I'd strongly recommend one of these. Disney shuttle bus service is good, but you still have to wait a fair amount of time I and just can't stand that. Another great site is

    www.allears.net

    I've been to Disney over 10 times and I'd strongly recommend buying "The Unofficial Guide To Walt Disney World". Their website is:

    www.touringplans.com

    If you follow the touring plans in the book, you will have great days at the park and see everything you want to see.
     
  12. krmckee

    krmckee Member

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    Ditto on everything T8ergirl said, especially the allears.net and the guide book! That book was my bible! The touring plans also helped us save time waiting in lines....

    Although I would've loved to stay at a luxury resort - we opted for the value resort, particularly POP Century. We had a great experience! Yes, the bus system takes longer (20 minutes vs. a 5 minute monorail ride) but we saved over $1000 on our 6 day vacation by staying at a value resort instead of a luxury one.

    We also opted for the meal plan and that was well worth it as well. It may not sound like much food at first, but it is - we even had leftover points the last day of our stay. We even did one character meal everyday as part of the meal plan!

    We also took advantage of the free airport-hotel transportation. Very easy and convenient! Never had the need to rent a car.

    Next time we go we will stay on property again - it was very worth it! Good luck and have fun!
     
  13. Audrey

    Audrey Member

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    Our hotel was the Radisson Orlando Resort. We stayed at the park open to close, and for naps we rode the monorail around (I didn't nap but what's new).
     
  14. flynnibus

    flynnibus Well-Known Member Forum Staff

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    Don't worry about proximity of the hotels on property as much. What is more significant is if they share bus service or how many stops the bus route takes. That is way more important then distance.

    The monorail hotels (Contemporary, Poly, and Grand Floridian) charge the most and the monorail access is nice, but realize its really only 'fast' for the MK itself. The other parks you must still take a bus.

    The best tip is to get a rental car via hotwire or price line and use it on property. You can get a car for INCREDIBLY cheap (like $30/day). On property hotel guests get free parking at all the parks, and having your own car will always be fastest unless the parking lots are full (which will not be a problem at this time of year until Xmas).
     
  15. redon1

    redon1 aka Aphioni

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    we didn't need a rental car b/c we took the Amtrak overnight car train to Sanford FL instead of flying- it was fantastic having our own vehicle and not being limited by the restrictions of flying. traveling by train was a really neat experience for my son and his cousin as well, and the sleeper car was comfy. you wake up, have breakfast and bam you are there!

    we stayed in our time share in Kissimee and never had to wait in long monorail lines. it is at the other end of the main drag so every restaurant and non disney attraction was between the park and our condo. heated pool, 20 person jacuzzi, clean, quiet and gated community.

    but once we DID stay in the park at Port Orleans, and THAT was sweet too- never had to get the car, shuttles everywhere- conveneient and marvelous.
     
  16. cmbm

    cmbm New Member

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    If you can get a car for just a day, do it. We actually had access to a car while on property and went grocery shopping. We were able to have breakfast in the room and pack sandwiches for lunch. We ended up saving a lot of money since we just ate snacks at the park and had nice dinners each night.

    We also bought a case of water which was a lot cheaper than buying water for $2 a bottle in the parks.

    We also had more mmoney for souveniers too. Can't leave Disney without at least a dozen per kid!
     
  17. jdhauer

    jdhauer Active Member

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    We got at least once, usually twice a year since my parents live in Florida and are DVC members.

    If you decide to rent points for DVC to get a villa, I've stayed at all of the DVC resorts except the new Animal Kingdom Lodge villas: Wilderness Lodge, Old Key West, Saratoga Springs, Beach Club, Boardwalk... My favorite of those by far is Wilderness Lodge - especially when it's cooler out. While it seems far away, it's just a boat ride to the Magic Kingdom and a quick bus ride over to any of the other parks or you can drive if you have your car. The two of those that really are the farthest away are Saratoga Springs and Old Key West. Beach Club does has an incredible pool area but if it's cold out, you may not be spending any time in the pool.

    As for the Deluxe resorts, it mostly depends upon theming. The Contemporary and the Polynesian have the larger rooms because they are the oldest (though many times renovated) on property.

    I echo the advice to check out disboards.com and allearsnet.com

    Have a great trip!
     
  18. th3

    th3 New Member

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    Disney's Wilderness Lodge and also their campground with cabins have access to Magic Kingdom via frequent ferry boat shuttle.

    We stayed at WL back in June and it was fantastic.
     
  19. T8erman

    T8erman Well-Known Member

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    A bit of advice if I may.

    I am ASSUMING that since you want to stay at a deluxe lodging that you can afford to. I am for saving money but do not get too wrapped up trying to save a dollar here and a couple bucks there.

    You will be on vacation. Enjoy yourselves!
     
  20. jdhauer

    jdhauer Active Member

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    Lucky you - I had a really horrific Amtrak experience the last time I took AutoTrain and will never do it again.

    They clamped down my car too tightly in the car carrier on the train and I ended up needing to replace both the front left and right side wheel bearings plus the right side center axel bearing - $1600 in repairs six years ago. The service manager at Bill Ray Nissan told me that it was a common problem and he had worked in the Sanford/Longwood area for 20 years and regularly saw 3 to 4 cars a month just at the dealerships where he worked.

    We were unable to use our vehicle throughout our entire vacation, lost two days of vacation shuttling back and forth to Sanford to pick up the car (we were staying in South Florida), and were never fully reimbursed by Amtrak.
     

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