I was randomly reading about the closure for maintenance of the main pool at ASMo and thought I wouldn’t care at all if it were closed when I was there. I’ve never used a pool at WDW, not even the Dig Site at CSR, which is one of the best on property, I think.
For me, I just want a modern, clean room. Pop was my go-to until I realised that ASMo rooms are exactly the same, the resort has better theming and Skyliner resort access is a bit of a scam and not worth the $50 a night premium.
I have (ill-advisedly) stayed one night at the Poly because I was doing DAH at MK and I thought it would be easy to get to late at night (we had to take a bus, so I might as well have stayed anywhere else). And I stayed one night at YC so that I could walk to TSL on the last day of my trip and the second day of it being open.
What, other than a bed, are you looking for when you decide to stay on property?
This is a great question! For me - first and foremost - it’s “can I afford it?”. It is important that I don’t go into debt planning a vacation. Once I had a budget, I could narrow down my choices. A deluxe resort - even with rented points - is just out of the question for us.
I ultimately landed on CBR because of three main things - a 5th sleeper bed, access to the Skyliner, and a pool with a slide.
The Skyliner will give us access to other resorts to check out their quick service options, if needed.
I have two young kids - so easy transportation for some parks was important - and we live where it is cold, so I know a pool with a slide will be a hit. My kids don’t share a bed well - and I don’t want to be kicked in the stomach by them each night so one will sleep on the 5th sleeper and the other in the bed.
I am very very nervous however - that the room will feel not super up to date, but I’m going in with low expectations and hope to be surprised.
I’m curious to see why you say this. I assume you’ve had excellent transportation at the All Stars and don’t find it worth it?
I suppose if all you care about is getting to the parks, and not how you get there, then the premium you pay for Skyliner could be a “scam”. For us, at least our most recent trips, we used the Disney transportation as an attraction in and of itself. We rode the Skyliner and the boats for the fun of it. Buses, by comparison, are unglamorous.
But…if all I want to do is get to the parks, unglamorous is fine. We were fine using the buses from SSR, for example.
Now that we have a resale DVC contract, the dynamic has changed for us. If we stayed on property at all before (which we didn’t) it would have to be a Value…anything else was too expensive. The amount we pay, when all is said and done, for our DVC works out to roughly the same as staying at Pop now…but with much nicer accommodations. But it isn’t just a place to sleep. In fact, in 2024, we are planning 4 nights…but only one day at a park. The rest of the time will be resorts days, essentially.
That’s a good point. The resort did matter for us because we will be there almost a full 7 days - but with 4 park days. Those rest days will be spent exploring and swimming.
My response is a little different from standard hotel guest and it’s changed because of my DVC experience. When I stay somewhere I want it to feel like home. Not NH home, just that I feel “at home” there. I don’t get that in a hotel room with 2 beds; I prefer the studios because the second bed can be stowed during non sleeping hours and I have a place to lounge comfortably while watching television. When traveling with my whole family I am looking for space and in-room amenities that I get with 1BR and upward (full kitchen, laundry, separate bedroom). Who I’m traveling with may also push me toward (or away from) a particular resort if I’m looking for a particular sort of vibe or energy.
As to what the resort itself offers, what I’m looking for changes from trip to trip and depending on the purpose. For Marathon, proximity mattered. For our family trip, activities mattered (including the pool). I always prefer a location that has a hot tub if I can swing it. And I always enjoy if the resort has really good dining options, both QS and TS.
Finally, there are times that I am scouting a resort in my TA role. In those circumstances I don’t necessarily care what the resort offers or doesn’t offer, but am looking to ascertain that over the course of my stay so that I can advise my guests accordingly. I don’t have very many resorts left to check off, but this upcoming stay at POR will be only my second at a moderate and the reason is this: I either am looking for a budget trip (and then stay value) or I’m not worried about budget or am using points and then I stay Deluxe. For me it’s hard to justify the cost of a moderate when I don’t - in my mind anyway - think they offer much over a value.
The Skyliner in the morning to get to HS and EP is fine. But getting back to Pop at night is a non-starter after park close. You’re looking at nearly an hour long wait.
For $50 a night I can afford to use Lyfts if I don’t want to wait for a bus.
That’s a good point, especially if you’re closing the park down
I agree with this. I think the main thing the moderates give us ambiance…and a water slide. But it is hard to justify the quite a bit higher cost just for that reason.
I will say that I was blown away by GDT. CSR on the whole is nice, but that Tower is chef’s kiss
I’d love to stay there again and again.
I want some space: a LR, kitchenette. I also want a pool, theming, and cool outdoor areas to walk around in. And exterior entry for ventilation.
That is tough to find at WDW during peak times at a price I want to pay, so I usually stay offsite. Last few trips we’ve stayed at Universal’s Cabana Bay which ticks all the boxes. It’s about 20-30 mins from WDW.
The rooms without an exterior entry generally have balconies and sliding glass doors instead for ventilation. (Are there any rooms that don’t?)
Or…do you mean because the hallways themselves don’t have ventilation?
Depends on the trip and its purpose but in general the resorts are some of the things I like most about Disney. They in and of themselves are all encompassing and sans parks I think you could have a wonderful time in them alone. I love a good slide and pool, excellent dining, a pretty view, strong theming that speaks to me (not really Disney per say like references to movies but something that is well themed to its intention like Boardwalk or Wilderness or AKL). The theming puts me in a mood. The way NOLA architecture does. I just feel happy, romantic, engaged at noticing the details in the iron railings, etc. art/architecture do something for the soul so theming and design are important to me (I don’t like certain architecture like contemporary style so it is subjective because that’s still well done if you do). Location and being able to walk somewhere is also ver important to me on most longer trips. I love being able to walk to Epcot and eat there in the evenings as World Showcase is my happy place.
That’s a very good question. I was a businesswoman for many years and had Diamond status at HIlton and various others at Marriott/Hyatt. What that means is: I am used to staying in nice hotels and rooms. The other day while planning something, I told my husband we could stop at a cheap Hampton Inn on the way. He laughed because he thought it was pretty funny that I considered Hampton Inn cheap (he is not wrong).
On my first trip, we stayed at POR and it was fantastic! We got some deals and it was barely more expensive than a value. We then stayed at BC and AKL and they both blew our minds.
I love swimming and pools are definetely important. I once canceled an AKL booking because the pool was closed (and transferred to BC). We are also foodies and good food matters to us.
My next trip, I am travelling with a baby and a toddler. We picked AKL because I am sure my toddler will be happy to sit on the balcony and watch the Savannah. I also wanted a toaster for the toddler’s breakfast. I don’t know how much time we will spend in the parks, but I think we will be able to use a lot of AKL amenities.
Once my kids are bigger, if they absolutely want to spend all day in the park, I will go back to a cheaper room (I think) or stay off site so we have more space. But for now, all they want is be as close to me as possible, so a Deluxe Studio Savannah view I think will do great.
Which hotels have balconies?
At Cabana Bay only the family suites on the north side of the hotel have any opening to the outside.
Prior to having kids, my resort was absolutely just a bed. My first adult trip to Disney, I stayed at POP and swore I never would again, because of the mass chaos at that resort with all the big families, but guess where we’re staying for our April trip? We wanted to stay at Poly as a bucket list trip but as soon as I heard a new DVC building was going under construction, I said ‘newp’ and we booked a cruise instead with the extra we’d have spent.
Now that I have a toddler, it’s still just a bed, really. We spend most of the day in the parks, and we don’t go in the summer, so I can’t imagine we’ll use the pool or have the energy to do much outside the rooms. If I want to stay at a cool hotel, we could go to Great Wolf or something, but if I’m going to Disney, the hotel is just an afterthought.
Well…not necessarily balconies. I was really meaning to focus on the fact that there is a way to get outside air…either from the doorway…or, if the room has inside access, that there is then an exterior window that could be opened.
Maybe I’m wrong…but I thought it was a fire code thing.
I wany different things on different trips. When it is just me (or me and DD) on a park heavy trip I have really enjoyed POP. I love the skyliner as it feels like the park day has already started. But I like the airtrain at MCO for the same reason.
I am looking forward to trying ASMo on my upcoming trip where the room is just a toom and I am excited to check out the theming. I should note, really love the refurbished POP rooms and expect I will feel the same at ASMo. My DD has told me there is no reason to stay anywhere else but value for our quick stays - she agrees about the rooms and likes the outsized theming.
BUT - we also take less park intensive trips as a family. On those trips there are lots of amenities I like to have (will mix and match)
- A seating area in my room
- A well designed room
- A TS restaurant (with bar)
- A pool with a slide and hot tub
- Ability to see a park from your room
- A balcony
- Non-bus transportation
- Immersive theming
- Impressive lobbies with shopping
- Larger fridge, toaster and microwave
My impression these days is that no hotel windows open, for HVAC efficiency reasons. I’ve very little experience with WDW hotels but some googling suggests they generally don’t open either.
Doing a little digging, it appears that many hotels do not allow the windows in rooms to be opened…but mostly for the preventing of accidents. BUT, fire code does require egress windows in all hotel rooms after a certain year (so, basically, all hotels). The Disney hotels I’ve stayed in had glass doors opening outside to an outside balcony, OR they had exterior access. But this is a very small subset. I can’t speak to all of them.
If the hotel has a room A/C with outside access (usually in hotels under the window), this can provide outside air directly. But there does seem to be some requirement for a minimum amount of ventilation in hotels. I didn’t read enough to determine what that all entails, though.