Staying offsite/house rental?

Going back to Disney in May, and had priced out hotels - but given that Yacht Club was pricing out about 1k more than last year, my family wants to consider other options.

Has anyone ever rented a house? My parents are looking at Vrbo to rent, which I have zero experience with. Wondering if anyone knows more? It looks like renting a house would be roughly half the price of staying at a deluxe resort, and we normally rent a car anyway so that’s not an issue.

Also, aside from losing the early fastpass and having to pay for parking, are there any other downsides? Trying to figure out if it’s worth the cost savings.

We stayed in an Airbnb and had a great experience. We loved having room to spread out, as well as a full kitchen. We eat breakfast at the condo and pack our lunches, which we like to do.

We’ve only used VRBO once and had a bad experience with them (in a different location). It’s not enough data to tell you anything, but for what it’s worth.

I stayed off-site for my first two trips at the holiday home of a friend. It was a wonderfully tranquil haven and I loved it.

But it made life that little bit harder in terms of getting to and from the parks.

At Christmas I did my first fully on-property stay. There was no escape to a private bubble, but transportation was blissfully easy.

We always stay offsite. Try HomeAway. Not sure of your needs, but we like a 4 or 5 bdrm in Windsor Hills, which is very close to WDW. We’ve also stayed a little farther out in Davenport and it was fine, too. We love the private pool when we get home. Look for a hot tub if you like that. Some have it, some don’t.

We just did Airbnb and absolutely loved it. We were 20 minutes to MK and 10 to AK. I think if you are willing to rope drop to do the headliners, you’re fine. Not having the 60 day FPP window didn’t hurt us because we didn’t mind rope dropping to hit the high demand rides.


Been staying offsite rental houses since 2002. They’ve gotten easier to rent, but prices have also gone up as agencies merge.

Costs tend to reflect distance to park and amenities of community vs house size or/and options. And comparing houses can be like buying a mattress… Only you can decide which features matter most to you and pick the “best” home. But with effort I am confident you will find something perfect.

We love Windsor Hills’s Location, but Clearmont area homes are half to cost and only about 8-10 minutes longer a drive from the west (easy travel), and Championsgate area homes are somewhere in between cost wise (and newer builds) and are only 10 minutes more driving than Windsor Hills.

Feel free to fire questions.

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We just stayed airbnb 10-15 minutes from all parks. We stay airbnb all the time. It’s a bummer to pay for parking, but our trips to and from the park were so quick! I can’t imagine riding the bus from a resort would be as fast even with the walk from the parking lot, so we’ll be continuing to stay off site.


The UG breaks down the travel time and shows how much faster off site can be vs many combinations of resort/park.

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What site did you use to find a rental? Any tips on picking one? I go on AirBNB or Vrbo and the selection is fairly overwhelming at first glance. (Spent some time poking around Vrbo yesterday and found about 4 houses at closer look; most look like they’re in the Four Corners area, which looks just northwest of Windsor Hills. Do you know anything about that area?)

For amenities, pretty much looking for a hot tub, a pool, air conditioning, and a short drive to the parks. Washer/dryer is a plus. (I had actually never been in a hot tub until we stayed at Yacht Club last year and ended up staying right outside the quiet pool area on the far end of the hotel…it was like having a private hot tub! So I definitely want a chance to experience one of those again.)

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I trust Airbnb over others. I don’t book anything that doesn’t have consistent reviews with the rare exception of a newer listing from an owner that has other week reviewed listings. I have heard negative stories but I have used Airbnb more often than hotels for the last 5 years and have yet to have a negative experience.

Yes, definitely read all the reviews. I do a lot of narrowing down before I start looking at individual houses. We always want a whole house (VS renting a room), how many bedrooms (sofa bed does not count in my opinion but all airbnbs will count them as beds), do you want a pool, how much $ per night, change the location on the map, etc. Watch the nightly rate though, because there’s a cleaning fee and a service fee, so the total jumps more quickly that you’d initially think.


All of this!!! Yes to all of this!

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Also, check if it’s extra to heat the pool. I can’t imagine not having a heated pool. If it is, then get it, unless you’re there in the height of summer.

Lots of questions and I hope I can answer them.

Until last year, I had not used AirBnB, and I have never used them in Florida. The perk for AirBnB is it is a very streamlined rental process. There is a lot to be said for that. However, it has also taken away a lot of options for negotiation.

There used to be a TON of houses and websites that offer vacation rentals. There are condos, townhouses, and homes to chose from. Prices are all over the spectrum depending on what you want. A 2 bedroom condo 2 miles from Disney can be more than a 4 bedroom house with private pool 9 miles away.
We have rented 5 places in that area.

Things to look for when gauging the prices are: (1) are taxes included? (2) is there a fee for cleaning? (3) is there a fee for pool heat?
Also - look on a map for distance from Disney. A lot of great priced homes [really low cost] are a bit further than I want to drive. [

Windsor Hills is very high class, very close to Disney, and has a lovely community pool with waterslide, game room, playground, life-sized chess set. It is also one of the more expensive. Do ask yourself if you are going to use those amenities.

We use to prefer to stay off highway 27. We’ve done that twice. It takes about 15-20 minutes to get to the Disney parking lots, but the cost savings are considerable. The drive is also an easy one. We always make rope drop. merged with TripAdvisor…They used to be my favorite. I haven’t used them since the merge. The merge makes it more click-and-pay like AirBnB, but you lose the ability to negotiate. - I have used this site twice. Here you deal directly with the owner and there are more opportunities to negotiate. These are not management companies. Even if you do NOT use this site to rent from, this site has an awesome map of where each community is. (Where I live in NY, it is only the rare community that has a name outside the development. It is a big thing in this region of Kissimmee and the map helps you pick locations.)

(There are agencies that also own and rent out homes. You pay for a kind of house - say 4 bedroom, 3 bath, with pool, but you don’t see it ahead of time. You go to their operating site and pick up a key for what is available. I have not used this method yet.)

VRBO merged with Homeaway. I haven’t used either of them before or after the merge.

“Hot tubs vs. Jacuzzis” be careful with this. Just because there is a little sitting pool area off to the side of the private pool (swirling water) does NOT make it a HOT tub.

Our last two trips we’ve rented a house in Championsgate because it fit our needs perfectly. We also made rope drop every time and it was about a 15-20 minute drive.

When I say a drive time that is all the way to parking and getting out of the car.again. Not just onto WDW property. The property itself starts earlier and you feel like you are “there” sooner.

In my opinion it is easier to get ONTO the property than off. There is always a lot of signage to show you how to GET there… leaving they don’t have signs that say, “Bob - this way to your rental.”

The prices seem to be higher now than two years ago. And I don’t just mean because stuff costs more. I detected a price shift as these big guys started merging.


I think it would be a nice option if your stay is for a lengthy period of time, say over a week. If not, I think there is too much time spent in running back and forth. Plus, it sounds like your group is larger and might vary considerably in age and/or stamina or just plain different interest levels in touring that often happens with a larger group.

We used to stay offsite, but our stays are shorter now that the kids are adults and it’s hard to coordinate 5 schedules. Plus, we’re all able to come and go as we please which would be tough if we were offsite with a car.

If your family tours as a group, though then it’s much less of an issue.

It also matters how people are sleeping their families. We all sleep better if we have more isolated sleeping spaces. Suites onsite are costly and connecting rooms aren’t always available.

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Absolutely. We rented condos or homes when we had a nanny. She had to have her own room, we had to have our own room, so that was at least two bedrooms right off the bat. Renting her a separate room was do-able, but expensive.

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I never travel with more than 2 (and probably solo more than with 2), so room isn’t really an issue for me, and the convenience of staying on site is important to me. If I was traveling with a larger group that would require 3 or 4 rooms, I would definitely consider a house rental.

Lots of good info in this thread.

I prefer MagicalVacationHomes mainly because they put dates of when the actual pictures of the properties were taken. They dont have an app but rather a website. The dates are key as these homes get lots of wear n tear. If the pictures look great but they were taken in 2012 then you have to wonder.

Read the reviews but pay attention to property reviews vs. site reviews. Most site reviews are only of the check in, management response, and other non property reviews. The actual property reviews are what you should be concerned with. See how recent they are as well.

All management companies like Homeaway, Vrbo, MVH, charge fees for booking. They act as a 3rd party and collect a fee. Usually a % of the cost. Not sure but i believe with airbnb you deal directly with the owner and there is room for negotiating. Not so with a management company.

MVH has many discounts. So check their website. (Military, short term, long term, local, referral, etc…) Usually about 10%. They also run specials periodically. Currently i believe there is 10%.

Prices fluctuate by season so make sure to key in the exact dates when requesting quotes. Same home could be considerably higher or lower based on a few weeks difference.

Disclaimer: I never stayed offsite. However i did book a champions gate home through MVH for a 4 generation WDW vacation scheduled for Oct 2018. We booked the home several months prior. Unfortunately shortly before our trip we had to cancel as my wife was diagnosed with an illness that required multiple surgeries. We had already paid our non redundable 20% deposit of appx $500 and we didnt have trip insurance. I totally understood cancelling meant we forfeited deposit. I notified MVH, explained the situation & asked if they would consider issuing me a future credit or even refunding a portion of the deposit. Although they were not obligated to do so, they refunded the entire deposit. This alone meant alot to us and is why i would recommend them and will personally use them when booking our trip again onve my wife is well enough for travel again.


I have stayed off site in all visits except. We’ve rented a house or condo for several of our trips. We use (which is AKA

We’ve rented 2 and 3 bedroom condos with full kitchen, etc., which has been a great way to save money on food. Last trip, we stayed in such a condo. We also rented a house (4 bedroom with private pool) in 2016, which was wonderful.

In May 2020, we’re renting a house again (this time a 5-bedroom with private pool). The cost for 8 nights, including fees, is about $1500. (The earlier to book, generally the cheaper prices you can find.)

Aside from the early entry and 60 day fast pass you’re losing out on, you do have to plan on a longer commute. Our house in 2016 was about a 30 minute drive to the parks (Haines City, FL). Our house rental in 2020 will also be about 30 minutes. But our condo rentals were much closer.

You DO have to pay for parking (assuming you don’t get an annual pass), although if you stay on property you have to pay for parking at the resort over night as well if you drive, so that’s neither a plus nor a negative, really.

The other biggest disadvantage is just the “feels” that come from staying in the Bubble. We love our vacations, but there is some value to the “in the bubble” feeling…enough that my wife and I are planning to stay on property for the first time since our honeymoon for our 25th Anniversary.

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