Offsite accomodations...pros and cons?

Excited to be planning another trip. This one will be for my 50th B-day late 2018. Not so excited that it doesnt look like staying on property is in the budget. There will be 8 of us in total.Me, DW, DD13, DD27, her DH, DGD3, DMiL, and DSiL 6 adults and 2 kids. For a week in early December

We have a 10k budget for everything. DW and I are footing the bill for Airline, accomodations, park tickets for 4 days 4 parks no hopping, transportation, and 1 character meal per day in the parks (mostly breakfasts to get us early access to parks)

The only way we can seem to make it happen is to stay offsite. We are looking at renting a 6 bedroom home in Windsor Hills for $1,800 a week. VS. renting 3 standard moderates (values are not an option) at about $4,200.

We are renting a 12 passenger van regardless if we were staying onsite or not so that cost is irrelevant.

We figure $2,000 for accomodations, $2,800 for park tix, $1,600 for airfare, $700 for rental van, $1000 for the 4 breakfasts, and another $400 to stock the rental with food and snacks for the week. That brings total to appx. $8,500 leaving DW, DD13, and I appx $1500 for other snacks/meals in parks, souveniers, parking, and non park day activities. Am I missing anything???

We know we will be giving up 60 day Fpp reservations, no EMH, pay to park, … What else would we be giving up???

Thoughts on this budget and plan? All comments and suggestions welcomed

Your numbers look sensible @OlafsDad! I can’t think of anything you may have missed… gas maybe?Hope you can make it work!

1 Like

Thanks @quicha I’m hoping to use points for 3 of the flight tickets and save another $600 and use those savings to possibly add an Illuminations cruise and an EMM day at MK for the group ( and since the EMM includes breakfast I figured I could add a CP lunch in its place with the savings ) my DGD would love parading around with pooh and friends. :smile:

You will also be giving up 180+10 ADRs, which might be a big thing as you want to book character meals every day. However, there are ways around that, if you think about it. Nope, not gonna talk about The Trick That Must Not Be Named. Not at this juncture, would not be prudent…

You might want to consider getting an AP for yourself as that would take care of the daily parking fee. It would also allow you to buy TIW - given your party size the discount could add up. Hopefully someone more knowledgeable about the AP benefits like @PrincipalTinker can jump in here with an opinion on this.

1 Like

I agree with this. Giving up that 180 day window with a party of that size might equal out to be a big loss for dining reservations; same thing goes for the 60 day FPP window. However, the money saved on accommodations would still probably be worth missing out on some dining and attraction experiences.

I’m sure you’ve already thought about this but I noticed you said you and your wife were footing the bill for a majority of the trip. Would any of the other members be able to help with on site accommodations? I know if someone was paying for a majority of my trip, I might be willing to shell out a bit more for those other perks.

1 Like

@brklinck… Not sure AP for one and TiW would be worth it since OlafsDad mentioned “park tickets for 4 days 4 parks no hopping”

(Based on current prices, which may change by late 2018…)

The AP for 1 adult would be $830. AP includes memory maker ($169), Parking ($20-22 per day). During the 45th anniversary year (ends Sept 30, 2017), there are 20% merchandise discounts (normally it was 10%), and some 10-20% dining discounts on food (normally was 0-10%) in a few SELECT locations. TiW costs $150. It covers up to a party of 10 (including the card holder). It would give 20% food and alcohol discount in select locations (more locations than APH discounts). It includes 18% gratuity (then again 18% will be added to parties of 8 or more anyway). It also includes free valet parking when eating at the Resort Hotels.

Doing the math… 1 adult 4day1park per day ticket is about $453 + MM 169 + 4 Parking days $80-88 = $702. So about $130 less than AP. Add in $150 for TiW, and they’d need to make up about $280+ in savings to break even.

On our Dec 2015 trips (4 adults, 1 child), with 6 park days, we ate 5 table service meals (including California Grill), and came out about $100 ahead by having TIW (i.e. TiW cost us $150, but we saved about $250 over all, so $250-150=$100) so they could come close to doing a little better than break even…

They can do even better with AP/TiW if the party brings gift cards or cash to buy souvenirs, and the person with the AP goes to the counter to buy (i.e. passholder gets % discount, Person behind counter asks for ID and Passholder card, so the passholder will always need to be the one standing in line/buying/paying)… OR they use the Shop Disney Parks app to place one big order and split it when they get home (shop parks app gives the APH discount… orders over $75 ship free… people can scan items in the parks into the shop app on their phone, add to their “bag” and complete the order later… NOTE: consider screen shotting each item, including the SKU number, just in case the app glitches and clears the bag).

1 Like

Isn’t it nuts that for $10,000 it is hard to stay on site???
However think you are making a great choice to stay off site. At the moderate level - I find very little value to staying on site. I would rather stay off site and be able to bond with everyone as compared to everyone being split up into their little rooms. The fun is hanging out after the experience and talking etc and it sounds like your place will be taking that well into account.

I think you are giving up minimal items. Yes the extra magic hours and the 60 day reservations - but really that isn’t that substantial if you ask me.

I think you are gaining better accommodations and more flexibility. You can hang out as a group, or retreat to your various bedrooms. Also the convenience of eating at your house is invaluable. I think this is a great choice. I may also add that as I find most of the meals at WDW ok at best - you now also have the flexibility to eat off site as you see fit.


1 Like

Ah, didn’t notice that - I saw “for a week in early December” and assumed going to the parks every day. That would make a bigger difference

1 Like

FPs are the biggest concern for me, but otherwise I’m pro off-site, and have done it myself. As far as ADRs go, I just this week got a TP ResFinder notification for a BOG dinner next week (I didn’t grab it quickly enough, sadly), so inventory changes on those, and if you’re okay with any breakfast res so long as it’s pre-RD, you should be able to find something, especially early Dec, lower crowds then. I say go for it, but be aware that you’ll probably not be able to get FPs for 7dmt, FoP, TSMM, and FEA.

Is the $400 for the week intended to cover just snacky-type food, or actual meals? That could be short for 8 with multiple adults.

1 Like

For me the only possible “pro” is that rooms are cheaper off-site; you either get the same for less or more for the same price.

As for “cons” (1) You have to pay to park at the parks - unless you have an AP (2) FPPs at 30 days vice 60 days (3) No “plus 10” on ADRs, (4) you have to figure in sometimes considerable Orlando traffic; mid-day breaks become almost “too hard” (5) you have to drive, vs using Disney transportation when it’s more convenient - which, for me, is most of the time. (6) You’re outside of “the bubble” (7) Some off-site hotels charge a parking fee in addition to the room rate.

If I had an AP and went several times a year this might not be an issue, but I typically only get to go once every 2-3 years, so when I do go, I want the convenience and benefits of staying on-site. Especially when I go solo, if I play the discounts right, I can stay at a value for around $100 - sometimes less; it’s hard for me to find someplace off-site for that price (especially when you add on the $25/day to park at Disney). When I go with DW, I’ve been able to find DVC rentals at around $200/night (or less) to stay at a deluxe; a “nice” hotel off-site would not be significantly less - again factoring in parking, extra gas, “hidden” resort fees/parking, etc.

But if I was traveling with 8, it might be a whole different story…

1 Like

I looked at maybe booking DVC points, and while Dec. 2018 isn’t available yet, for a grand villa (3 bdrm) at OKW under current rates for Dec. 2017, it would be somewhere around $5k. I appreciate that there are disadvantages to staying offsite, but I’d find it hard to justify paying an extra $2-3k to stay onsite versus offsite, unless you could get the family to contribute funds?


We found it much cheaper to book 2 studios vs a larger room with DVC points.

1 Like

Agreed, but with 6 adults, not sure that the sleeping arrangements would work out.

1 Like

True. At least when we went a DVC studio was cheaper than a value standard room. So even if they did 3 studios it’s probably cheaper than a 3 bedroom villa. I’ve not look at homes for rent in the area so I can’t speak to those prices. I was just impressed at how renting DVC points made so much sense & saved money :slight_smile:

1 Like

So it’s true that 3 studios would be less than the 3 bdrm villa, and maybe only $1k more than staying offsite (about $3,025ish under current pricing for this December). That wouldn’t necessarily give you the hanging out together time, but you’d get Disney transportation and/or free parking, 60-day FPs, and 180+10 ADRs.

1 Like

Planning our 5th trip right before Christmas this year (our last day is 12/23) and it will be our first time staying off property. Now that all my kids are adults, I couldn’t find anything on property that would comfortably accommodate all of 6 of us and was reasonably priced, so found a home on VRBO at a fraction of the cost. I also managed to get plane tickets for everyone on points so with the money I’m saving I splurged on a few extras like IN cruise, KTTK and HEA dessert party. I was able to get all my ADRs by being online at 5am 180 days out for each day and actually managed to get better ADRs for a couple days by using the TP ResFinder. When all is said and done, I’m easily less than $10k including 5 day park tix, no hopper and some character meals. My biggest concern is getting FPs, especially for FoP so plan on being online at 6am 30 days out.

1 Like

What are you giving up? How about what are you gaining?

You’ll have space to spread out. The kids can have their own bedrooms. The adults won’t be sharing bathrooms. You won’t be stuck arranging a meeting time for everyone because you’re in the same house. You will have your own private pool (I assume). You can hop over to Publix for some breakfast staples and not spend a FORTUNE on breakfast. You can, if you want, relax one day and not do Disney, or just do Downtown Disney or even the outlets without feeling like you’re wasting a Disney day. You can cook dinner instead of eating out (steak from Publix is cheaper than steak from LeCellier), even just buying a couple of chickens and bread when you’re still stuffed from lunch at Liberty Tree Tavern.

Oh yeah, and you’ll be saving money you can spend on the family fun in the park.

What will you miss? 60 day FPs, most of which you’ll be able to get at 30 days. 180+10 meals, but you can still get them at 180 days, many you can get at 30 days, if you can’t decide. Free parking? Parking is $20 a day, I think. Build it into the price of your rental vs the on-site price. Extra Magic Hours. Okay, that’s a big one, but you can manage, if you make good plans and RD anyway.

1 Like

Thanks everyone for the replies. I think it’s just confirmed my decision to stay off-site. We stayed on-site in May for the first time and we loved it. However there were just 3 of us and we did rent points via DVC. We stayed in a deluxe studio for about $200 A night which was a bargain. We loved it. But, If we had to do 3 deluxe studios for the party of 8 it would be around $4000 at same resort getting same deal. Now we could rent points at around 75 points a week at $15 a point and stay in a lesser studio but that still comes to appx. $1125 per room x 3 = $3,375. (That’s for 3 studios) Still about $1,400 more than renting the house and I’m just not sure everyone would be comfortable in a studio. Now the home in Windsor Hills is 6 bedrooms 5 bathrooms (3 master suites) + 2 Disney themed kids rooms and an additional bedroom with Queen bed. Comes with private pool, jacuzzi, game room, living room, dining room, family room , indoor and outdoor kitchens, eat in breakfast room off the kitchen. Home is also lake front and 3 miles to Disney. Actually closer to AK and Wide World of Sports area than alot of the resorts inside Disney. Price quoted for the house was $1,800 for the week and that includes everything except if we need the pool heated which is about $50 extra for the week. House comes with all supplies, toiletries, cleaning products, and a giant DVD Disney blu-ray collection, etc… even has 3 strollers to use while in the parks. I believe the square footage of the home is over 3,000sf. Beautiful home. Each bedroom is themed to a different Disney park or resort area.

AP is not a viable option as some have mentioned. We will do 4 parks on 4 days which will work out fine since day #1 will be used for arrival, unpacking, grocery run, local sight seeing, etc… and departure day will be hectic with 8 people getting packed up heading to airport, returning rental van, etc… so really 5 days with 4 of them parks and 1 of them a shopping/site seeing day. Possibly DS or maybe even a WP for some of the group. Like to leave a day open just in case.

As for having others chip in or contribute to make on site more affordable. That’s not an issue. They would all chip in without asking. In fact, I’m sure I won’t need to reach into my wallet for anything while I’m there. I’ll have to fight them off to pick up a dinner tab or by a souvenir or a snack They don’t even know I’m planning to take them all and foot the bill. Just can’t justify $5000 for tight quarters in a 3 bedroom villa for 8 people or even $3500 for 3 studios. I’d like my MiL and Sil to each have their own space. Also my DD27 and her husband to have their own space. DW and I have our own space and the 2 kids can each have their own room as well. Pretty sure Mil will prefer to stay at the house all day anyway once she sees it. Will have to drag her to the parks. Got a feeling it will be more half days for her and possibly Sister in law and DW too as they will enjoy the house more than the parks. While DD13, DD27, son in law, granddaughter and myself will have to be dragged from the parks.

So it comes down to FP @ 60 vs. 30. And ADR’s Possibly no FoP. That sucks indeed. Don’t think FEA will be an issue by that time. I noticed some SDFP for FEA on our last trip later in the evening. Figure I can cross off 7dmt, PP, and pooh as I plan to do an EMM for the 5 disney die hards in the group on the MK day. If I can score an early ADR for GG on the epcot day I’ll have Soarin taking care of. Possibly another early ADR at HS will snag us a TSMM ride but I also grabbed TSMM with SDFP on our last trip. Not sure what advantage an early TH ADR will net us at AK but we really enjoyed the 10:30am time slot we got last trip and having the breakfast and lunch options was great. The rest I think I can grab at 30 vs. 60. It’s early Dec. Kids are still in school so the CL should be reasonably low. And there’s always the Rez finder.

Parking… $25 x 4 days = $100. (1% of my budget) chalk it up as a loss and move on.

Guess that’s it!!! Looks like I get to plan another trip. Thanks again for chiming in everyone.


I think you made an excellent choice. As nice as it can be to stay on site - this sounds like a much better choice. I would certainly opt to heat the pool (I am a cold water wimp). Have a great time!

We have stayed twice offsite. Once, my friends and I (way back when) rented a condo. We were all broke students at the time but we had such a blast. The second time is more like your current situation. There were 9 family members - grandparents to toddlers, and we booked two hotel suites (In Old Town, so definitely not fancy ones. There was a free breakfast every morning and we could reheat or microwave some snacks or leftover dinner since we were staying for eight days. We also rented a van. Since we had such a difference in ages, we were all just happy to get to go to Disney. We didn’t mind missing out on the some of the perks. I’m sure that we missed out on lots of stuff but my kids will never have the same experience since my mom passed away. We look back on that trip as a really special time. I hope you have a wonderful trip.

1 Like