The Disney World Dilemma: Should You Stay On or Offsite?

The Disney World Dilemma: Should You Stay On or Offsite?

If you have children (or are young at heart) you’ve no doubt been asked the question: when are you going to Disney? It’s almost expected as a rite of passage for young and old alike to hit that Magic Kingdom at least once. The other question that a prospective Disney World traveler will be asked: do you plan to stay onsite at Disney World or are you staying offsite? With the huge variety of accommodations available in a wide cross section of price points both onsite at Disney World and in the surrounding areas, determining where to stay is no small decision; it will figure greatly into your overall experience. There is no wrong or right answer to the onsite vs. offsite question either. It comes down to budget, taste and your vacation objectives, so lets take a look and review the pros and cons of each option:

1. What’s Your Budget?

Perhaps the greatest decision making factor for any vacation: what is your budget for your accommodations? Disney World splits their onsite accommodations into several categories that will suit a wide variety of budgets (i.e. from $100 or less a night, all the way up to $500+ a night): value hotels, moderate hotels, deluxe and deluxe villas. Disney World even has a campground onsite (Fort Wilderness) for those who want to go that route. Truth be told, you do pay a premium to stay onsite, mostly because of a number of perks afforded to guests of Walt Disney World and the convenience of staying so close to the parks. You can find cheaper rooms for sure offsite- or at least more room for the same money, but it’s a trade-off. It really comes down to what you value most during your vacation.


2. The Food Question

A big benefit of staying offsite is that you can easily find accommodations that have a kitchen. Having the flexibility to make your own meals can be a savior -both from a convenience and from a cost standpoint. Even if you are planning on eating out for many meals, having the option to throw together a cheap, quick breakfast can save a significant amount over the duration of your stay. However, if being on vacation means leaving all of your household duties at home, staying onsite at Disney may appeal to you more. Disney World hotel guests can purchase a dining plan that can be utilized at over 100 different restaurants within the theme parks themselves and at different hotels. The dining plans offer choice, depending on your budget, from quick-service (i.e. counter food and fast food) to deluxe dining. Some character dinners are included as well. Onsite guests are not required to purchase a dining plan, and are free to dine a la carte wherever they’d like. There are varying schools of thought on which provides more value; it depends on how much and what kind of dining you’d usually do.

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