Help me pick a resort

My family (me, DH, DD7, DD4, DD1, and my parents) are going to Disney World in November, but I can’t make a final decision about accommodations. Here are some things we’re considering:

We want to take advantage of the free dining plan. We know nothing is official at this point, but historically the week we are going would qualify. We originally wanted to stay at Art of Animation, but seeing as the Little Mermaid rooms are disqualified from free dining, that one is out. One of the suites may work, but I don’t care for how much more expensive they are but we would still have to upgrade the dining plan.

I was looking at Fort Wilderness cabins and love the idea… full kitchen, everyone stays together so we can split the cost, fun outdoor activities that the guys would really enjoy. However, we’re going to need a pak n play for my youngest and I’m not sure we’ll have room in the cabin for one. I’ve also read reviews that lack of storage and hot water is an issue. That’s a pretty big concern for four adults and three kids.

I keep coming back to Port Orleans French Quarter… in the past it has qualified for free dining, the price point is good, and it seems to be on the smaller side as far as resorts go. We’d have to get two rooms if we stay here.

Anyone willing to share their thoughts or tips or advice? If we stay at French Quarter, what are some pros and cons? Is there enough room for a pak n play in one of the rooms? We don’t care about dining on site, really. And even the theme of the room isn’t huge, though I honestly hate missing out on super fun rooms like AoA has :confused:

Help me decide… my entire family has left all of the planning to me, which is completely fine, but I need some direction!

I can’t really offer to much insight other than to say that pofq rarely gets a negative review, however, because it’s small it fills up quickly and was excluded from free dining the past two years. Even port Orleans riverside was excluded last year.

As for cabins they also get great reviews. I’ll tag @camsdad for you as he is the most likely to be able to answer your questions.

Thanks, Outer1!

Are you sure French Quarter has been excluded? When I spoke to someone at Disney, they told me the only reason Riverside was excluded is because it can now sleep five. Bummer too, because I love the theme of that resort.

If French Quarter really is excluded I have NO idea what we’ll do. Sigh.

If free dining and the room discount overlap, you may be better off with the discount anyway, and can therefore stay where you want, INCLUDING the AOA (for instance, the spring discount right now applies to AOA). People go gaga over free dining, but often the math sits in favour of the room discount.

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Though, admittedly, not the Little Mermaid rooms, which re-reading your post looks like what you’d want.

I have heard that we may save more with a room discount… has Disney offered room discounts for November in the past? Our dates are November 14-21.

I’m looking at Coronado Springs now, since I did see that FQ was excluded from free dining last year. Ugh, this is giving me a headache.

And I’m correct in thinking that we cannot make any ADRs until 180 days before November 14th, right?

I love the Little Mermaid rooms, but they are a no-go because of them being excluded from FD. I suppose if we just got a room discount then we could go with that one.

But how do I know if Disney is going to offer a room discount for our week? This is the part that stresses me because I want to make our ADRs in time and don’t want to just wait and hope that they’ll offer something. I’m sure I’m making this more stressful than it needs to be, but I’m such a newbie to the whole thing. There’s so much to know, I’m struggling to master the basics, let alone all the little tricks.

Check out for historical discount information.

Make a RO reservation as a placeholder for your vacation at any resort - you will then be able to make 180+10 ADRs. The ADRs are linked to your MDE account, not the reservation, so when the time comes to make the reservation that you actually want you will keep your ADRs.

You might want to make an overlapping reservation at 2 resorts, then drop one when you decide.

Being included or not being included in free dining has more to do with the popularity of the resort than anything else. 5 people in a room has nothing to do with it, as POR rooms have been able to accommodate five people for a long time (at least in the Alligator Bayou section). Our last two trips ( September 2011 & 2013) we stayed there with five people and got free dining. Sometimes the CMs have slightly incorrect info. :wink:

We stayed in a cabin at Ft. Wilderness last summer, and with three people it seemed just right–I can’t imagine putting seven in there, even if it is technically allowed. The pack-and-play might be narrow enough to fit between the double bed and the bunk beds. If not, it will have to go in front of the fridge in the kitchen. Once the murphy bed is deployed, there’s not much other room for it. We were only staying for a weekend, so we didn’t have much trouble for three people finding places for our stuff, but figure that you’ll have to keep everything in your suitcases. There simply wouldn’t be space for everyone to unpack. Also factor into the cost that you will want to rent a golf cart for your stay. While it is possible to do the walk-bus method (or car if you are going off-site), it really eats up your day. A golf cart is really a must, and would be an added cost. And with the number of people you’re looking at, I think you would need two. Also, one bathroom means…well, one bathroom.

Just to price things out, instead of two rooms at a moderate, try seeing what the price of a two-bedroom would be at a place like Saratoga or Old Key West. You’d have the full kitchen, and you’d be eligible for an upgraded dining plan. Plus, you would have the benefit of having a LOT of room to spread out. With young kids, I prefer Saratoga (as it has a zero-entry pool and a lot of water playgrounds). With Saratoga, you’re also right there on the golf course, if that’s a draw for the adults.

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Ok I did a little math for you to help you decide. There are plenty of options for a group your size but obviously the cost can get out of control pretty quickly. Just using last years info as a guideline here’s some different options. I think with a group your size free dining probably will work out in your favor simply because as you can see the difference in the least costly option is about $1000 and I’m not sure you could feed 7 people for a week for $1000 unless you ate in your room a lot and brought in all of your own snacks and drinks.

So this shows the current rack rate for each if you get free dining, then the rack rate plus the cost of upgrading to the standard dining plan, then the cost using last years 15% off Room Only Discount, and further the cost if you stack it with the usual 15% Orbitz Discount.

So your best bet looks like either two rooms at a value or a family suite at All Star Music. This is of course just the room and tickets aren’t factored in. I checked the two rooms suites at SSR and OKW and they were significantly more than any of these options. I also checked renting DVC points. The least expensive option was AKL and it was 3,000 without dining.

Hope that helps.

Just a side note for @DarthDopey - When you copy and paste out of excel into the forums it automatically generates a picture and keeps all the formatting!


Also just as a point of reference it is almost always cheaper for large groups to stay off site. Even with the cost of parking it’s going to be considerably cheaper. Here’s just one of hundreds of examples. A 4 bedroom house with a full kitchen and private pool a couple of miles away for $900 for the week, which is cheaper than two rooms at a value using the room only discount and stacking the Orbitz discount.

Just something else to consider.

They also come less expensive in Condo’s with a shared community pool… ($575/wk)

Thanks for all the help, guys. You’re all so helpful here and I really appreciate it!

We don’t really want to stay off site since this is our very first Disney trip and really want to be in the Disney bubble :slight_smile: Thank you SO MUCH, Outer1, for doing that chart for me… that really helps a lot.

Thank you for sharing your insight on the cabins. Sounds like they are definitely out for us for this trip. Seems like that many people for that long would just be too much.

Okay, another question.

Besides the money factor, what is your opinion on us staying in two value rooms vs. staying at the CSR? What would some of the benefits to staying at the moderate be and would those benefits be worth the extra money? I think we will be spending most of our time out of the room, except for taking naps in the middle of the day and a possible non-park day or half day. We’ll have a vehicle down there, so transportation may not be a huge factor, though I’m not sure how much we’ll want to all cram into a van.

I want to keep the trip as budget friendly as I can, but I want a good value too. Wondering if the CSR is a better value?

My wife and I stayed at the French Quarter back in 2008. Not only is it our favorite moderately priced resort, but if memory serves it’s also ‘touringplans’. Here are some advantages:

  • Only one bus stop, as opposed to 5/6 at riverside, so that means less waiting if you’re relying on the bus service.
  • I thought the pool was pretty nice, along with pool side bar.
  • You can take a riverboat to downtown disney.
  • Quiet rooms
  • Cafeteria style dining on site

As for the free dining plan, we’ve always like the ‘plus dining plan’ because we really enjoy the table service meals through out the parks. In addition, we don’t eat off site. As for children, it costs $19/day; you can easily spend $10 at a counter service. In regards to adults, it’s $60/day, but when you get your table service bill and see what it’d cost without the dining plan, it’s worth it. I should say, it’s only worth it if you make reservations and use table service dinning.

This time (19 days to go) we’re bringing a large group (kids, parents, grandparents) and decided to do a 2 bedroom at Bay Lake Tower. I have a lot of friends who like Old Key West because you can fit up to 10 people! The separate rooms are nice if you have toddlers that go to bed early.

The primary benefits to a mod vs a value are the quality of the beds, the water slide at the main feature pool, and a table service restaurant. So really it would come down to whether you feel like you’d be getting a good value for the difference in cost. Buses are likely to be hit and miss at any of the resorts. Buses are generally worse coming back to the hotel from the parks than leaving to go to the Parks.

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Sad, but true, I’d rather have the food court at Pop or at Art of Animation than I would the table service restaurant at any of the moderates!

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I haven’t actually tried any of them. We ate beignets at POFQ last time and that’s the extent of dining at Value/Mod resorts lol. Boatwrights seems to get some pretty good reviews though.