Offsite vs Onsite Non-Disney Hotel vs DVC Rental

DH, DD (19), DD (11), DS (turning 8 the week we go), and I decided to do a last minute trip the last week in July :hot_face: to celebrate my son’s birthday and completing summer school (has a language processing disorder making school REALLY difficult & exhausting so a celebration is definitely in order). Trying to have a nice relaxing trip saving where we can. There’s only so many ways to save & hotel is at the top of the list. With that said, here are the options and our considerations:

Offsite - Floridays Resort
Pros: cheapest option; suite; 2 out of 3 kids get actual beds; all parks are within 17 min drive; free shuttle from parks back to hotel; large pool & splash pad; onsite child-friendly activities;
Cons: resort fee; free shuttle to parks start late morning/early afternoon; shuttle only available to 2 parks must rent a car or catch cab/uber; if renting a car must pay to park @ theme parks; no on-site theme park perks

Onsite Non-Disney - Doubletree Suites (Disney Springs)
Pros: 2 out of 3 kids get actual beds; utilize onsite transportation & theme park perks; most convenient to entertainment; car rental not needed
Cons: resort fee; parking fee if renting car; smaller room; ~$200 more than the cheapest option; outside of pool, no other in hotel activities

Onsite DVC Rental - Multiple Options
Pros: only 1 actual bed depending on resort; utilize onsite transportation & theme park perks; most convenient to entertainment; car rental not needed; no resort or parking fees; hotel is disney themed
Cons: most expensive option; possible smaller rooms than above 2 options; outside of pool, no other in hotel activities


  1. Anything i’m missing from above or need to consider that i’m not?
  2. Is it easy to uber/cab to/from parks?
  3. Do DVC rentals get cheaper or more expensive as the travel date approaches? (just learned about this process)

Anything else you want to add - all is welcome! :smiling_face:


Personally I would not choose option 1. $200 is not enough savings to lose out on perks, proximity, and convenient transportation. DVC rentals sometimes do get cheaper the closer you get to your date, but not always. If your dates are at all rigid it’s probably best to book at the first chance you get. The biggest downside to renting DVC is the cancelation policy (if allowed at all). If you’re willing to take that risk then I’d do the math and see if the DoubleTree is really much of a savings.

Most DVC studios (not all so do your research) that sleep 5 now have a queen murphy plus the smaller child pull down bed. Those queen murphy beds are really not much different in quality than the ‘real’ queen beds. Definitely not a pull out couch (which I honestly thought were pretty comfortable anyway).

Oh and all Disney owned resorts do have activites at the hotels too. The main pools do fun things like trivia and other contests, they do movies under the stars, smores making, usually some kind of craft project, etc. There will be a schedule of times for each resort.


We have stayed at Floridays. Nice place…but your comparison does seem to make it the least desirable option…although it definitely gives you the most room.

Have you looked at renting a house through VRBO? You can find nice ones for decent prices that include a private pool and hot tub, plus game room, etc. This would also require having a car…but it is the option we ourselves have used most often. You can also save some money with food because you would have full access to a kitchen. Oh, and laundry!

Here is the most recent property we stayed at as an example, which we loved. But there are hundreds of other options as well.


Personally I would do the DVC rental, but beware that is the gateway drug to buying DVC points! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: I agree to book ASAP to guarantee the room you want. But yeah, it is expensive so if you’re trying to save money, don’t do this.

If you’re going to stay offsite, I would get the nicest place that fits in your budget. I would also include renting a car in your budget. Most shuttle services are rigid / relatively infrequent and you may end up Ubering a lot of the time (which is also a good option if you don’t want to rent a car and don’t need multiple car seats).

I’m not familiar with those offsite hotels (I usually stay onsite), so I’m no help narrowing it down.


I would add that if you are going to get a rental car - I found the cheapest option through Costco and prices dropped significantly around 50 days out.

Here is also a resort activity guide website for the Disney resorts:
As @LTinNC82 mentioned, Disney resorts have regular activities for kids.

*Below is not advice you were asking - but I’m posting anyway. Ignore if not relevant :slight_smile: *
If you need a 5th sleeper - your kids don’t/won’t share a bed - you could look at Caribbean Beach resort or Port Orleans Riverside.

If you don’t need a 5th sleeper, you might get the most for your money at one of the all star resorts. You would not pay for parking and have free regular transportation to the parks.


Another cost savings by going with DVC is the mini kitchenette. We always eat breakfast in our room so it’s nice to have a toaster which you don’t usually get in regular hotel rooms.


We’ve been 50-50 onsite/off-site on our various WDW trips over the years including one stay at the Floridays. Floridays is a very nice resort, it’s been a few years since we have been there but from what I’ve seen from current reviews, they have maintained their high standards.

A big question for me is what are you looking for in your room? Is it just a place to sleep and shower as you try to maximize your time in the parks? Or are you going to spend time relaxing and taking it easy in your room?

Floridays is an 1100 sq ft suite with two full bedrooms and two full baths, a full kitchen, and a living area while a DVC studio is basically a hotel room about 1/3 the size with one bath.

We go back and forth between on-site/off-site, and when we stay on-site we grumble about the cost of everything. When we stay off-site we complain about the extra time spent traveling back and forth. The best thing about staying on-site for us is the ability to split up and each does their own thing using Disney transportation. When we’re off-site we stuck together since we have one car to get us around.

Another great saving from staying off-site is the ability to choose lower-cost options for dining. When we stay off-site, we often will order takeout from a restaurant while leaving a park in the afternoon, pick up the food on the way back to our resort/hotel and eat an early dinner in the room. A couple of hours of pool time and relaxing then back to the park for the evening.

For us, it comes down to determining the trade-off between time and money. We like to spend a fair amount of time in our room relaxing so we tend to like the bigger offsite rooms that give everyone some space to spread out and relax.

Also, have you looked at the hotels now available in the Flamingo Crossing area? Mostly lower-cost hotels offering family-friendly and they are technically still on WDW property.


To answer your question about DVC rentals, I don’t typically see them getting cheaper as you get closer, because they specifically make a reservation for you. HOWEVER, often they have booked reservations, that, for some reason need to be used… those may get cheaper as you get closer. So check for those.

Inside of 7 months is typically the cheapest for renting points, but availability can be more difficult. I have rented points many times and usually been happy with it. It is typically a lot cheaper than getting a deluxe hotel room (for sure at rack rate - but even sometimes in comparison to available discounts). There are drawbacks, too (especially around cancellation policies) so read the fine print carefully.


I rent DVC personally and love it. If you’re flexible, willing to potentially switch hotels you can get really good deals last minute by renting someone’s else’s points (guaranteed reservations). I once got BWV for $180/night but I think that day is long gone.

If you’re willing to take that risk, you can book something else that is cancellable and then check daily for guaranteed reservations on the three main site, David’s, dvcrequest and dvcshop. I’ve used all three and never had a problem with a one of em.


Would someone do a DVC Rental post for Dummy’s? :rofl:

I’m so tempted to do this for our trip (not until next year). I don’t know that I understand any drawbacks or gotchas. I looked at David’s, and it looks very simple.


The main drawback is that there is usually no cancelation allowed. Each place is a little different, but the cancellation policies, broadly, suck.

So, if I am renting points for a trip I am 98% or more likely to take… I just rent it and go.

If I am renting points for a trip with less than 98% likelihood - or if it is a LONG way off in the future, I buy a private trip insurance police. see

It usually costs me between 150 and 200 for a policy and provides me some peace of mind.

SOme of the rental comapnies offer their own insurance, but the last time I checked they were more expensive and not as generous as the policies you can get privately.

Mostly, that is the only drawback!


It’s pretty straightforward. Just pick your broker, read the instructions on their site, and submit a request at the earliest date you are allowed to.

What questions do you have about the process?


Also make sure to check out @JJT ’s awesome work to find those great DVC deals- DVC Rental Deals New Blog Post & Reference Page


I’m completely hijacking this thread (apologies, but hopefully some of that helps you too).

I don’t think I have enough info to ask questions yet, but I’m sure I will!!


Thank you very much–that makes sense.


Another way to rent points is if you know someone you can trust who has points to rent out, but doesn’t use a broker such as David’s. This is how I rented points. The advantage isn’t necessarily cheaper price, but that the money you are paying goes fully to the one renting out the points. You also might be able to easily work out scenarios where, say, you have to move your trip (within their same use year). And if their home resort happens to match where you want to stay, you can get that 11 month booking advantage.


Thanks! I just refreshed that page this morning and have a blog post on some Grand Flor studio deals in August posting on the blog in 2 nanoseconds.


I don’t know how your family would define relaxing…

Beds - For my family, it is not a relaxing vacation when the kids can’t sleep well because that translates to bad attitudes during the days. By the time they were 10ish (now DD24 and DS22), they had a hard time sleeping on a sofa bed. So, when looking for vacation rentals, we always looked for ones that sleep at less 5, even though there is only 4 of us. Entering 4 tends to give us 1 bed and a sofa bed. So, a relaxing vacation means that everyone needs to sleep in a bed!

Space and Bathrooms - Last year, we got to stay in a couple of vacation rentals where each kid had their own room! It was relaxing to have the space! Hotel rooms are small, many without couches. And having more than one bathroom is so, so nice! It’s a time saver and we all have better attitudes when we can use the bathroom when needed!

Park Days - A WDW vacation is not necessarily “relaxing”. I know; DH and I just came home from an 8-night one on Sunday. RDing to nearly closing the park is tiring. And all that walking! :tired_face: And you will have humidity in July! If you take an afternoon break, staying onsite could be convenient.

Saving money at Disney is a big topic. Everything is pricey!

Food is expensive. Does your family need a hot breakfast everyday? Or can they do bars and other packaged items? Factor this into your housing.

I know families who bring their own sandwiches for lunch and dinner for their entire Disney trip. My family wouldn’t say it is relaxing to be eating a sandwich on the bench with other guests watching them. But we have done a few brown bagged lunches to save some money for TS dinners.

So, do factor in the food and snack costs because they add up really fast for a family at WDW! You can find prices on the menu. And offsite food is a whole lot cheaper! We had this Cuban Roast Pork with 3 sides for $12 before tax! It was enough food for two of us.

It is very possible to rent an offsite vacation rental, rent a car, and rent a room onsite for 5 people for a night (to get the Disney perks for arrival and departure days) for close to the same price as staying at an onsite resort once you add up all the projected costs. Some Liners here have elaborate spreadsheets to budget!

In 3 trips to WDW, we stayed onsite once; at a good neighbor hotel once, using lyft and hotel shuttle; and offsite once, renting a car and renting a room for once night.

Do consider your family’s overall vacations needs, touring style, and budget together before you decide. Have a magical, relaxing vacation!


My main question is: do you think you will all stick together at all times? Will your older kidt want to stay in/sleep in/stay later. How will you all get around? On Disney property, it might be easier as the shuttles are safe and constantly running, but off-site it’s harder.

How many nights/park days are you planning? If you are planning 4days/4 nights, for example, I would stay onsite as to maximize park time. If you are doing 7 nights/5 days, than offsite sounds like a good plan and plenty of time to rest.

Last suggestion: could you book two cheaper hotel rooms, next to each other? That way everyone would get a bed, more space and two bathrooms. Depending on the DVC price/discounts on value rooms, it might be around the same price.

I just stayed in a studio DVC and I loved it, but I don’t think I would do it with three teenagers. It was fine with my baby and toddler, but my husband literally went to bed at the same time as them so everyone would be rested.


Thank you! I know very little about DVC rentals so the barely-existent cancellation policy is good to know.
Now that you mention it, now i do remember disney hotels holding various activities for the kiddies - it’s been a few years and i’m old :laughing:

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