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Hi. I'm planning to bring my family to WDW next year for the kids (7 and 4) first Disney experience. We're on a budget and considering staying at a hotel near Downtown Disney, not one of the resorts. Will we miss out on a lot if we dont stay at a resort
- Asked by Jocelyn from NJ on 10/22/2013
Welcome to the Disney Parks Moms Panel Jocelyn!
Over the years, I've experienced Disney in a lot of ways - staying on property, staying at a resort near Disney and staying with family near Disney. There are advantages and perks to all of the options.
Staying on property does have perks like having access to Magical Express (if you're flying to Orlando), Extra Magic Hours and being near your hotel for mid-day breaks or returning after a fun filled day at the theme parks.
Be sure you check the rates of Disney's Value Resorts
and any special offers
that Disney has during the time you plan your trip. There are times of the year that Disney offers packages with free dining which is a big savings. Keep an eye on the link above. Be sure to factor in the cost of parking at the theme parks (currently $15 per day) as well. Look at MouseSavers.com. They're a great resource for finding discounts on a lot of things at Disney. If you're a AAA member, check their Disney discounts and perks.
If you are staying off property, its more convenient to dine off property on your way to and from the theme parks. Its also more convenient to stop by some place for water or snacks which saves you money as well.
Once we're in the parks, I don't feel any different whether I'm staying on or off property. I am completely surrounded in the magic. You still have the opportunity to book Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs) or special experiences like Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique when staying off property. If you're on a budget and staying off property is how you can make a Disney vacation work for your family then do it and don't look back with an ounce of regret.
Please feel free to visit us with all of your planning questions. We're hEAR for you!
Wishing you minnie magical memories :-) Allison V.