Staying offsite - worth it?

We are planning our first trip to Disney World (well, as a family - I was there a billion years ago so I’m basically a newbie!) and the part of the trip that we have to pay for is our food. We have a pretty tight budget so we thought it might maximize our money to stay off-site at Home2Suites in Flamingo Crossings so we can get complimentary breakfast and a kitchen to make lunch to take to the parks.

My question is, has anyone done this - stayed off-site and made their own lunches to bring in? Is it too much of a hassle, or was it worth it? And most importantly, did you lose out on too many perks not being a guest at a Disney Resort? The hotel we are considering is a Disney Gateway Hotel.



What’s the cost of the Home2 vs something like Pop or All Stars? Free breakfast is tempting, but remember that you can also stop at a grocery store or order groceries to your Disney resort. You’d be limited to pastries and other prepared items, but the breakfast at most hotels isn’t something to write home about. There are also microwaves in the food courts, and making sandwiches for lunch can be done without a kitchen.

For me, the life inside the bubble is well worth it. Being a firm believer in rope dropping, staying onsite is a must.


Many people stay off site for more space or hotel savings - so, sure it can be worth it.

We’ve almost always bought supplies to keep in room for quick breakfasts so we can save time, hit the ground running - and save some money. We’ve also brought in things to snack on, but not full lunches, but I can see that help you too.

But, I would take into account travel time and any costs getting to the parks. If you are off site and have a car to drive to the parks, you’re going to pay parking fees there. If Ubering, those costs.

If you are thinking of using a shuttle provided by the resort you are staying at - those off site ones are famously limited in service. The few times I’ve checked out of curiosity, the shuttle times would not have worked at all for us.

You often see people complain about Disney buses being inconsistent - and I have experienced some waits in my time. But the convenience of being in the bubble and jumping on the bus, boat, or Skyliner is considerable. And Sam’s point of rope dropping is important - being on site also gets you early entry and that can make a big difference at the start of each day.

TL;DR I think your plan can definitely work to save money - but I’d also keep an eye on Disney resort discounts for your dates and see if you can score something good that might close the gap enough to make it worth it to you. :slight_smile:


Cost of time and money for daily transportation is also considerable - good point JJT! I wouldn’t hinge my trip on hotel shuttles, at all.

I’ve seen where people will bring a backpack cooler into the parks with full meals in there. So definitely a money saving option there. As with JJT, we brought supplies (a large section of suitcase lol) with us and had quick on the go breakfasts almost everyday. The cliff bars we had were healthier than the pancakes and waffles at most breakfast bars too :slight_smile:


I stayed at Flamingo Crossing as a money-saving measure last year, at TownePlace Suites. The breakfast was not great, at least compared with the (admittedly very expensive) buffet breakfasts I was used to from places like Boma. One meat, one egg, and then cereal, uninspiring baked goods and yoghurts. Also the place was heaving with young people on group trips. So, for example, one night I took the stairs to my sixth floor room because there was no hope of getting in the lift.

I much prefer staying in the bubble and I really like ASMo, which wasn’t crazy expensive.


We stayed at the Home2Suites in Flamingo Crossing in December 2021. Also have stayed three other times at the Springhill Suites nearby. We also have stayed multiple times on-site at CSR, CR and WL.

We always drive from Atlanta, so we had our own car for transportation.

The rooms there are equal to a Disney Moderate, we had a two-bedroom suite with a huge amount of space. Extremely comfortable. Breakfast was standard free hotel fare, nothing to write home about but they have freshly made-to-order Mickey waffles.

We had breakfast at the hotel, bought lunch at the parks, and while leaving mid-late afternoon, ordered dinner from one of the many restaurants on 192 on our phone, picked up the order, and had dinner back in the room. Gave us a chance to refresh, visit the pool and then go back to the parks in the evening. Saves a ton of money avoiding Disney Dining.

Flamingo Crossing is technically on Disney property and is a 10-15 minute drive to all parks but MK. You can be waiting for a bus, especially during non-peak times longer than it would take to drive to/from Flamingo Crossing. Coming in on Western Way is quick and simple. The only time when the traffic is busy is about 5-6 PM when Cast Members are heading home. Only going to the MK and having to go through the TTC is a major expenditure of time.

If you have your own car, you are probably saving time vs using a WDW bus system to get to the parks. Yes, you do have to park the daily parking fee but the room and meal savings more than make up for it.

Yes, you have to leave the bubble but Disney has also reduced the perks and benefits allocated to the Value and Moderate resorts.

The biggest drawback for us was the inability to split up and have our family go their separate ways. We had a couple of times when someone was tired and wanted to head back to the room while others wanted to stay a bit longer in the park. When we stay on-site, it was easy for someone to head back to the room early. Staying off-site, and going anywhere was typically an all-for-one, one for all situation.

The single biggest benefit is the early entry for all resort guests. But we are not a rope-drop family so it is not of value to us.


Welcome to the Forum!

That is so subjective! I do agree with what everyone else has said about staying on site and off site. If you have a tight budget, I would say it is worth it to stay off site just so that you can go to WDW for the length of time you want! :laughing:

In 4 trips to WDW, we have only stayed in the bubble once. We save up our hotel points for free lodging! This helps to pay for flights across the country and for eating to our hearts’ content once at WDW! We have stayed at the Signia by Hilton Bonnet Creek, twice, when it was a Good Neighbor hotel with WDW perks. We love their pool and lazy river! :heart_eyes: We took their free shuttle when convenient and lyft the rest of the time. This past February, we stayed at Parc Soleil on points. We drove to WDW everyday. For bought resorts, it was about as much time as going from an onsite resort.

Being able to get LLs without scanning into the park first is a HUGE thing! Allow yourself plenty of time to park and get to the gate. Have a game plan and prioritize! We usually get everything we want done.

We tend to eat in the parks for the most part. There have been a few times we bought lunch into the park. We like to bring in frozen lunchmeat and cheese sandwich rolls. They defrosted in a small cooler bag by lunch time and we ate them with crackers. These are easy to eat while standing in line and the bread wasn’t soggy! And we saved time by not having to order and wait for food at QS. Even when we mobile order, we sometimes had to wait 15-20 minutes (think Flame Tree BBQ).



Maybe consider the Drury. It’s very similar pricing, but has the free transportation, early Disney hours, & hot breakfast. You would sacrifice the Home2’s larger kitchenette for a microwave & a mini fridge. That might pencil out for you with the free transportation savings.


I have heard good things about the Drury! I’ll look into it.

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The problem with staying on-site is one you do it once, you want to keep doing it :crazy_face:

We just mix it up now because we have access to off-site timeshare. So I’m September 15 night stay 1 night ASMo, 7 nights off-site timeshare, 7 nights DVC - Saratoga (interval trade) …I learned last year, have the Disney one the second week.

We are doing a 5 night in December at Pop - trade off is we will skip getting a car rental. (AP discount was very good)

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Too true!

But we stayed off site for years, even when on site benefits were better. Typically we went with VRBO, though, so we had full kitchen, multiple bathrooms and bedrooms, plus a private pool, etc, for a fraction of what we would pay staying onsite. And the food savings can be substantial. We did the whole make sandwiches and bring them into the parks thing when the kids were little as well so that only ended up with on meal actually on property.

We aren’t in a place now where financially that’s necessary…but if it was, I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.

But the downsides are there…such as dealing with the commute…although, that isn’t necessarily worse from a timing perspective (aside from missing ETPE), just from a frustration/outside of bubble feeling. Also, if you wanted to take a midday break, you will have to find a place to go in the parks or a nearby resort without having your room, since commuting back to the rental is no fun.

Do I prefer to stay on property? If just my wife and I, yes. But is it worth the savings plus having more space to spread out to stay in a VRBO? If with the family, yes!


Just watched a video on the new Drury on you tube— made by Theme Park Ohana. He actually said you get free breakfast, dinner, popcorn, coffee and three alcohol beverages included. if thats true— thats quite the deal- depending on price!


While I was at TownePlace Suites, being miserable about the breakfast, a friend of mine was at Homewood Suites which, like Home2 Suites, is a Hilton property. She invited me to breakfast there and it was much better. As you say, they made fresh Mickey waffles to order.