on site or off?
In Part One of this Disney planning series, we covered traveling style. If you are just joining us, you can read that post here.
When you think Disney Vacation , you think $ signs. Thinking to save some of that budget to spend elsewhere, off site seems like the way to go. No doubt there are some exceptional values to be found off site but there are many reasons to stay on site as well. As a mom of a Disney loving family that has stayed both on site and off , let me help you compare.
As I mentioned in Part One, our first visit was about 10 years ago and our travel group was multi-generational. We had grandparents, parents and kids; 10 total. So many things we learned this first trip! For now we will just focus on accommodations. Specifically, to stay On-Site or Off Site.
We, all 10, stayed at the Coronado Springs Resort. Each of the 3 families had separate rooms and we did not spend much time there. In fact. Other than sleeping, bathing and changing clothes, we did nothing there. We didn't even try out the fabulous pools! (They have really beautiful pools!)
At the time we only had three requirements: 1) room for all of us together, 2) transportation to the parks for all of us, 3) decent price. We went to the parks all day! The kids slept in the strollers when they got tired; We were younger so I guess we never got tired. On-Site was awesome!
Fast Forward 7 years...We went as a group of 13, again multi-generational, and had access to a Time Share 4 bedroom condo. The Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort is technically on Disney World property but not a Disney resort. It's lovely, and we have stayed there a couple of times since then. Our Vacation Style had changed. The 4-year-olds were now 11 and there were 2 new toddlers along.
This time, we spent a bit more time at the resort. Naps were taken, movies were watched, food was cooked. We visited the parks but did not stay all day long. We drove our own vehicles and paid to park because it was cheaper than the transportation offered by the resort. Our needs were met by Off-Site.
Below are lists that might help you decide if you should stay on property or off. These are just my opinion...
(PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED ON MY OLD SITE thedancingalligator.com)
So you have finally decided on that Disney World vacation. Congrats! You are going to have a blast! The sights! The Smells! The planning!
You may not think planning your vacation is exclamation point worthy but I do. I love the research, the details, the lists! Call me crazy but the planning is almost as fun as the trip. It's the build up I guess. Just make sure you are not building the trip into a PERFECT experience; there is no perfect! Things will go wrong, people will melt down , rides will be delayed and lines will be long. Manage expectations and you will be fine. Now, put on your planning pants and let's get started!
What's your Vacation Style?
It's important to know your Vacation Style before you start planning. Are you a "go with the flow" family? Maybe you are the "cram in as much as possible", type. Maybe you fall somewhere in-between?
Our first trip, when GG was 4 years old. We went as a large, family group and we had no preconceived notions of what to expect except FUN! We planned. We made reservations. My sister made each family a little agenda/flip book. We had a great time. Our most recent trip, with a now 14-year-old GG and a 3.5 yr old BG, was a combination of fun packed park time and chill out down time. GG and I could have gone all day to the parks. I fall into the make-it-worth-EVERY-dollar-spent category. My husband knew we were just a boat ride from our room, so he liked a bit of non-park time. BG being 3, needed a little nap every now and then.
10 years ago, our vacation style was different from now. Our needs were different. In ten years we have traveled to Disney World 7 times. Flown once (I'm not a flier), driven 7 times, stayed on site and off, did and did not do the Dining Plan, budgeted and gone in blind. Every trip was adjusted according to our changing circumstances, vacation style and needs.
Spend a few minutes to think about these questions?
My name is Joni...