Staying off property?

We went to Disney for 5 park days pre-Covid November 2019. We had an amazing trip and had a ton of success with our Touring Plans. We stayed on property at Art of Animation and enjoyed the fast pass perks. I spent a year planning…

Fast forward to today…we are going to be planning another trip for next June or we may push it forward to Dec/Jan of this school year.

With all of the changes I am completely overwhelmed. I planned our entire trip in 2019 and now I can’t even figure if it’s worth the cost to stay on property. It seems like all the perks are watered down.

Could someone please share if staying on property is actually worth it anymore? Can we still be successful staying off property at a house in an AirBnB community? Any advice. Our thought was to do more park days (7-8), but not all full days. Can we still get to see the major rides if we stay off property? What about during New Years week? Or would 2nd/3rd week of June be better? :weary:

Edit to add - 2 adults and 5 kids (13, 11, 9, 7 and 2 if we go in December/January or 14, 12, 9, 8 and 2 if we go next June). Part of the trip will also include 3 other adults and 2 kids


I’ll respond after church.
I’m a huge proponent of off property for a larger group!


The answer to your question is . “it depends”. If you go in Dec/Jan and you are off site, you will have difficulty getting on rides without long waits. Its the busiest time of the year, and Genie + or not you will find that you have to accept that you won’t be riding as many rides as normal. By mid-January, the crowds drop off so it might be better time to go.
June is a decent time to go. You will get heat of course. Stay away from the July 4th time frame. The parks are super crowded that week.
Yes, the perks are watered down for on-site. However, you need to take into account your family’s touring style when deciding. If you are into mid-day breaks, then absolutely, off-site will work fine. My group is all about riding as many rides as possible as frequently as possible and so we are rope drop-close kind of guests. So, for us, on-site is essential as we don’t want to waste and hour or so getting into and out of the parks.

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There isn’t much benefit to staying on-site. I’ve done a lot of hand-wringing on that topic.

We recently did our trip-of-the-lifetime, long-postponed Disney World trip. Pre-lockdown I thought the on-site perks were worthwhile. So, even though they seemed mostly gone now, I had reservations for totally on-site, totally off-site, a mix of both and totally off-site with tent reservations for on-site benefits. All fully refundable until shortly before the trip. When it reached the decision point, even though on-site didn’t seem worthwhile, I went with the off-site with tent reservations.

We had a similar trip to what you are planning (except less people) in that we were there for two weeks 10-day tickets and didn’t stay all day every day.

Mid-trip I cancelled the on-site part and changed to entirely off-site for the last week. It really wasn’t worth it for us. We drove to FL, so had a car and after a few days I was soooo over Disney transport, so we were driving everywhere we could anyway.

Also, for a lot of people, a big house off-site is really the way to go. With AirBnB/VRBO, the price doesn’t go up that much as they get bigger. So, a 6-bedroom house with pool cost only a bit more than the 3-bedroom condo we got. We chose the condo because it was just the three of us and condos were closer to the pool/slide.

For that many people, you can have the best of both worlds by doing what I did. I added one or two night tent reservations into the plans. Tent sites allow up to 10-people (so onsite benefits), don’t charge for parking and also get free parking at the parks.

So, let’s say that your park days are Sun/Mon/Tues and Thurs/Fri. You could reserve a tent site for two-nights Sunday and then one-night on Thurs. Cost will be $300-ish. If you have only one car, then subtract off the $125 for 5 days of parks parking. If you have a car anyway, Disney will charge you parking either with the hotel stay or at the parking lot, with the exception of the campsites. So, then you can calculate how much on-site benefits cost you per-person per day. Assuming only one car and 7 people, onsite benefits would cost $5 per person per day. With more cars and more people that goes down even more.

What I did with the one-night tent reservations, was to put that we’d arrive at 11 pm and I put in no site requests. So, that meant we got whatever was left at the end of the night which is fine since we didn’t really use it. If HoopDeDoo had opened before our trip we would have parked on the site when we went to that.

If you look at the houses near Disney, you’ll see some common features. Like the garage will be turned into a game room. This is because they can’t hand out garage door remotes, so it can’t be used as a garage. Another is that the pool heat only works between X and Y time. That is because each house doesn’t have a heater in a lot of these developments, and the times are centrally controlled. There must be exceptions to this, but I saw that a lot.

We stayed in Windsor Hills and it was amazing! For anyone looking for a 3-bedroom near the pool with a Star Wars theme, I have one to recommend.

One thing I liked about off-site was that when we went out to eat, it was for a reason. When we just wanted to make our tummies happy, we grabbed something at the condo from the real fridge. I remember one time we were sitting around the condo for our afternoon break. I was eating a Reeses Klondike Ice Cream bar, and I said, “I feel sorry for the poor suckers in hotel rooms.” The family agreed.


We have never stayed on property and still had great success. Present-day success TBD. We stay in a house (family friend but still have to battle the masses to get a rental reservation :wink:) Granted this is our first visit with the changes. Last time in 2019 we successfully RD all 4 parks and FP+ was my best friend. This time I’m looking at a combo of later morning arrivals since we can’t truly RD like we did before, going at opening and trying the book/ride method but taking mid-day breaks which we did not do in the past, and stacking LL for the evening. Different strategies for different parks. I feel confident yet very unsure, but husband just agreed with my assessment that we DO need hopper, so that eases some of the pressure.

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@ryan1 knows a lot about staying off property… so I tagged him. Enjoy your upcoming trip!

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From a ride point of view, I think the main benefits of staying onsite are the RotR $ILL, early entry, and if staying deluxe, extended evening hours. All the other $ILL rides are not too hard to get for offsite guests, and for G+ rides offsite and onsite are identical.


Wrap around 60+ dining I’d say is the other big one. If you want to eat at a hard to get ADR you may need that. You could always use reservation finder.

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Not sure I understand the camp site example

We had always done Disney staying off property with our five kids. It saves so much money, and allows us to do more days than staying on property. Only in the last couple years have we stayed on property. Obviously convenient, but we like renting a house with a private pool, etc. We enjoy the relaxing family time at the house.

Advantages of staying on property are there, but not enough to make a huge difference. I would definitely trade the cost of staying on property for more days at the parks.


If you have enough adults in your trip to spread out the cost of the lowest price campsite at Disney’s campground, you are essentially Disney guests even tho you are actually staying off property.

I’m pretty sure that lowest price is about $100/night.

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Since @Sophia818 did a great job answering, I will not repeat information. But I am happy to expand on the campsite.

For our trips in 2016 (10 people) and 2019 (7 people), the cost of renting a campsite we never set foot on PLUS the cost of the rental property, still was much lower than the cost to stay on-property for a group our size.

For example, when I went last (NOT today’s numbers) I got a 4 bedroom, three full bath house with private pool for $100 a night, and the campsite, with taxes, was $80. Meanwhile, even the All-Star rooms were at $138 a night when I was booking. And that wouldn’t have been as comfortable.


Here is an older thread with links that could still be helpful.

Staying offsite/house rental? - Walt Disney World / Accommodations - TouringPlans Discussion Forums

Also - I just sent this to a friend IRL who was asking me about it.

*My biggest caution in renting houses now is be careful of the location being too “far” away. The house we rented in 2014 and 2016 was around the corner from the house we rented last month and it took 2-3x as long to get up to the Disney area because of massive so much sprawl and construction. What used to be gigantic barren spaces now has looming hotels, townhouse complexes, strip malls and schools. We were horrified. Going forward, if our family were to vacation in FL again I would be more willing to spend a little more each night ($50-75) than ever get in those traffic nightmares again. Leaving Universal one evening we plugged our house into GPS and it was 1H and 1M away.

Also - while it is still significantly cheaper than hotel spaces (and much more comfortable). But I had to pay a good deal more this year than I did in 2019. Inflation is everywhere.

The more modern and flashy a house is the more it costs; something that last got new furniture in 2015 will be cheaper than something that was built last year. Etc.


To answer your question about worth, I think some other points need to be considered.

Since you’ve been to the World already, you have an idea of what rides/attractions are necessary.

You may also realize there’s no repeating the last trip. Your trip focus is key to the success of your next trip. November is an awesome time to go, as you’re generally not sweltering. You will be in June.

If your focus is rides, decide which are must do. Which are unnecessary.

The only real reason I could see your wanting to stay on property is if your two oldest would be allowed/comfortable touring a park on their own and using Disney transport on their own.

Otherwise, with good thinking and planning ahead of time, and good use of touring plans and wait times on MDE, you can have a successful trip staying off property. With solid decisions regarding what your must do attractions are.

I do think you’ll have to address more logistics going in June - that heat and humidity. Depending on your school calendar, even Thanksgiving week might be an option. On our December trips we’ve always left by the 20th.


We have 11 people plus a toddler. Do we need to order our tickets WITH the camp site reservation or can we do it separately?

We want to do 7 day passes, but I only see 4-5 day options for the camp ground

They can be each done separately.
I got my tickets through undercover tourist.


But, you have 5 adults and essentially 3 paying entities? With 8 days, do you want an extra $250 - $300 added cost?

With 10 names in the campsite you can now get in 30 minutes early to a park. The 2 year old doesn’t need to be on the list. I think the 2 yo doesn’t need a ticket.

Unless Disney changes things you now don’t pay for park parking. You can park in the Fort Wilderness lot and ride Disney transport.

If you were planning to drive to the parks anyway, I’m unsure how a campsite/being a Disney guest helps you. If your goal is to ride as many rides as you can, arriving at a park prior to opening and using what you know about touring plans is your best bet.

Edited: your campsite needs to be separate. Essentially “room only”.

Edited again: yeah, I was thinking you had 11 with the toddler. Everyone really needs to be the same - not some being Disney guests and some not.

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Alternatively - you can just wait for ROTR. We waited despite having access to ILL$. There comes a point where I can’t keep throwing money at WDW.




We stayed west of WDW in 2017 - what looked on the map like a 15 to 20 minute drive.

There wasn’t an easy exit out of the subdivision our vrbo was in. Traffic lights are long. Horribly long. A lot of people are trying to get places. I did find a back way that helped some. We were more than 30 minutes drive.

Our second off site was in 2019, at a resort an actual 15 min drive from Fort Wilderness. Much better. The only reason I did the campsite thing in 2019 was that the birthday kid wanted to ride Disney buses. And we could could split the cost 6 ways. We still wound up with nearly half our group being non Disney and thus ineligible for early entry.