I’m at a point where it’s very unlikely that I’ll stay off Disney World property when I take a trip to Disney. That’s not to say that it will never happen, but considering that I now own Disney Vacation Club, there would have to be some really extenuating circumstances in order for me to end up not staying in a Disney resort hotel. Having said that, there are still good reasons to stay at a non-Disney resort hotel.
Price– Ok, this is probably THE biggest reason people stay offsite during their Disney World vacation. As of today, a non-discounted room at a Disney World Value resort is close to $200 per night at the end of March 2021. Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort shows to be a standard rate of $195.83 per night. One of the current Special Offers on the Disney World website can knock that price down to $159.67 for a standard room during the same time frame.
By random comparison, the Ramada by Wyndham Kissimmee Gateway shows it has rooms starting at $56 per night for the same week. A Google search produced one page of hotel rates ranging from $24/night up to $95/night for various hotels within 10 miles of Disney World. Obviously it would take some research to figure out the better place to stay, but even $95/night is a significant savings compared to staying at Disney. There are Airbnb prices within the same range, but you can also spend the same per night and get accommodations and many times, your own private pool. It all depends on where you’re most comfortable staying.
Breakfast– This might sound weird, but some people enjoy staying offsite and at a hotel that serves a free continental or other free breakfast. Disney World doesn’t have a free breakfast (and no, I don’t consider Club Level/Concierge Level free…you pay a lot extra to get that). Depending on what the hotel serves during their free breakfast, this can really save you some money compared to having to buy breakfast at Disney or even at a restaurant on the way. This can even work out better than buying breakfast foods from a grocery store to eat in your room. Again, it’s all about preferences.
Pets– This last one probably isn’t as much of a reason for a lot of people to stay offsite, but there are some who would like to be able to get a pet friendly room because they bring their fur babies on vacation too. Disney has some rooms that are pet friendly, but you’re adding $50 per night plus tax to the room cost if you go this route. There are 4 Disney resort hotels that have rooms that allow pets.
- Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
- Disney Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
- Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
- The Cabins at Fort Wilderness Resort
If I take my dog along with me to Florida, I board him at the Best Friends Pet Care…not that you asked, but it’s less than $50 per night as of now, so if any hotel charges this much of a pet fee, just know you can board your dog there for less.
There’s definitely a case for not staying at a Disney World hotel if you want to save money or just prefer not being fully immersed in the Disney bubble during your vacation. I’ve stayed offsite, but my preference is to stay in a Disney hotel and I don’t see that changing any time soon. °O°
One of the things we enjoyed about staying offsite was that is was so low-key. It provided more of a down-town experience. We were also able to afford a slightly bigger space, and we all felt more relaxed because we weren’t falling all over each other whenever we got ready.