Advice, opinion, disney world hotels

So, MIL and FIL just got home from vacationing in the Dominican, and decided they would like to send DH, DS and myself away somewhere warm:woot: (they are darling people!). I feel a bit weird about vacationing on someone elses $, but DH doesn’t, they certenly have plenty, and want to do this. So, we thought we would all enjoy Disney, DS is almost 3, he will have fun. So I started looking into packages, MIL sent an email that said we should stay in disney, do the all inclusive thing etc. etc. They really vacation when they vacation, and she likes the good stuff so to speak. But I would like to keep is reasonable, so I was looking at the disnay “value” (yeah right) resorts. They are the most reasonable,($1900 for the week with food and passes, no airfais) but don’t seem to get the best reviews. So, dear KHers, this is where you come in. Has anyone stayed at a value resort or area hotel they would reccomend?
Thanks guys

I am planning my trip right now- for my birthday and 5th aniversary at the end of September. That is, if Dh can get the time off- his boss has said no at the moment! :hair:
I have stayed at the All Star Sports and it is just fine! DH and I are marathon vacationers so we only sleep and shower in our room. I have always wanted to stay at a deluxe resort but don’t see the need to spend that much more $$ when we are always at the parks. Being you have a 3yo, maybe you might like to try AS Movies- larger than life movie figures!
We have also stayed at a moderate- Port Orleans French Quarter and that was lovely.
This year, we are going to stay at Pop Century(I have read the best reviews of this value resort). It is like the All Stars, but all by itself so the bus service is dedicated only to Pop.
No matter what, you will have fun! If you want some good websites, PM me I will be most happy to share!

I second the All Star Sports. We’ve stayed there more times than I can count. Another really fun place would be the Wilderness Lodge. I’ve never stayed there (it’s a step up from the All-Star), but we’ve eating there several times. It’s BEAUTIFUL!

Me and DH stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. It was really nice, in our price range, and neat to see the animals wandering in the outdoors. That is the only place I have stayed there, but I would definitely recommend it!

I would love to stay at animal kingdom, but that is beyond our price range. We are potentially looking at Port Orleans Riverside resort, which is one of the moderate resorts. It is about $350 more for a weeks stay. We had almost decided not to go, it is WAY more expensive than I imagined it would be. We are up to 3100 for a one week stay for three of us. This includes 2 meals and one snack a day, 5 days park passes, airfair and Hotel. Is this as much as it seems? The last real vacation we went on was probably 6-7 years ago, so things have maybe gone up a lot? Or is disney just way overpriced? MIL told DH tonight that that was fine, but I am still having a hard time swallowing it! What do you all think? Would you accept it as a gift and have fun? Or pass because it is way out of price range of anything you would ever pay for yourself? Thanks for the suggestions and advice so far!

Yeah, it’s over-priced. Especially the food.

Port Orleans is very nice, but it’s considered “mid-range.” If you want to save money, stay at one of the All-Star hotels. They are nice. You spend so little time in the room, that it really doesn’t matter. You can hop on the bus and ride to the transportation center and take another bus to one of the other resorts if you want to try out a restaurant or just take a look around.

The pool at the All-Star hotels is so nice…heated, of course. It’s so kid-oriented.

You can always save money by taking your own snacks. Find a local grocery store and stock up on food. That’s what we always did. A good jar of p-nut butter and a loaf of bread, and you’ve got lunch. Meals at the parks are expensive, and this is one way to save some $$.

Ultimately, though, this is a vacation. Save where you can, but enjoy. Sure, it’s expensive, but you’re making memories. Disney makes you forget about the real world…such a nice change of pace.

You also don’t have to buy a park-hopper pass. Just pick one or two parks. Epcot is something adults like. Kids could care less. Do the Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom. Very kid friendly.

Anyhow, that’s just my advice. I live in FL and have been to Disney so many times, starting when my oldest was almost 3 and my son was 7mo.


If you don’t absolutely have to stay at a “Disney” resort you can stay at one of the lovely hotels in the Downtown Disney area and take the shuttle bus to the parks. These are independent hotels that are just outside of Downtown Disney, an area that is full of shops, restuarants, entertainment, etc. owned by Disney and is neat place to visit when you are “parked out”.
You can get a good deal through any of the online travel sites like orbitz,, etc. All of the hotels offer shuttles to Disney and are more than accomodating. Have fun!:clink:

Thanks again. I did look at hotels outside of disney, and didn’s actually find prices much less. And I worry about having to wait a long time for buses with an almost 3 year old. I wouldn’t mind staying at one of the all star resorts, but dh thinks he would like one of the moderate resorts better. I will definatly bring food to pack for the park, thought the package we priced included food, maybe I will take that out. It was about 400 for 1 table meal, 1 fast mean and 1 snack per person per day. I know the food there is probably expensive, so it seemed to make sense to add it on, it claims to save you about 30% in food costs. Guess we will just go with it and enjoy. We hardley ever vacation, other than short trips, so live it up, right? Thanks again.

If you stay on Disney property, I would suggest taking advantage of the Magical Express. We did this for the first time last year and it was a great experience. The wait for the bus was very short and they showed movies during the drive to the resort and my 3 yo nephew didn’t even notice the drive. This helped us to save on a rental car as we used Disney transportation and had no problems at all. They deliver your luggage so we carried on our swim suits and went shopping at DTD and then swimming at the resort.
If you do stay at a moderate resort, your room includes a mini fridge (you can get one at the value resorts for $10 as day). There are grocery stores that deliver (you can place your order on line) to the resorts as well then you can do breakfast in the room. My DH eats breakfast bars so we just packed some and ate in the room and headed to the parks.
We usually eat a bigger meal at lunch- the prices tend to be cheaper. I have never done the DDP but many people like it. There is no way DH and I can eat enough to justify the $$$. Just make sure you do one meal that is a charater meal. It is a great way for your 3yo (and you :stuck_out_tongue: ) to get some up close time with the characters and some great pictures. We had breakfast at the Crystal Palace with the Pooh gang and boy was DN EXCITED!
We do park hopper passes but usually we get them for 2 days less than we are there for. One day we played mini golf and hung out at the pool and towards the end of our stay, we go shopping and get everything we never knew we needed but have to have.:eyes:

Thanks for all the great tips Tracie, we booked today, yipee!!! We are planning on using the magical express, I like that they pick up your bags and deliver them to your room, no baggage claim! We did end up adding on the meals. I think we will end up using them. It says you can use more than one meal a day, or not. You basicly get a set number of meals per person per day and spread them out however you wish. The 2 good things about this for us are 1-MIL wanted us to do all inclusive so they could pay for meals as well and 2- DS is not 3 yet so basicly he eats for free off of our plates. And now we won’t have to worry about carrying cash around to pay for meals and snacks. The grocery stores that deliver is brilliant! I never even thought of that. DS snacks a lot and I was considering packing a suitcase of snackfoods for him, but like that idea much better. Can also get drinks to bring to the parks!. I ended up getting the 5 day park hopper pass, no waterparks, and that should be plenty. DH wants to golf one day so Logan and I can lounge by the pool or shop. Now I can’t wait! Thanks again for all the great tips!

Yippee! :woot: When are you going? Where did you decide to stay? I think the DDP will be good for you- with a 3yo you will probably have more structured meals that DH and I do.
You are able to hook your room key up to a credit card and use that in the parks- that is nice that way we didn’t carry around a lot of cash. At the end of the week, we either just pay the bill or let it get charged to my credit card and pay it off once we get back home.
We usually get the same park hopper pass. It is nice because if one park gets a bit busy, we just move on to another one.
Some more tips:
1-When you ride the monorail, ask a cast member if you can ride in the front with the driver. It is really cool and I even got a pilots liscense!
2-Avoid the park that has Early Magic hours that day- that is the busiest day for that park. The lines can be long.
3- If you go to AK, go early and do the safari first. It is cooler and the animals are more active. My DN doesn’t like this park as much so we don’t spend a lot of time there. Make sure you see the Nemo show- it’s new and DN Loved it along with Grammie and Poppa- I can’t wait to see it!
4- Take advantage of the kid swap! That way you big kids won’t miss anything!

Have a great time!:balloons:

Personally, I would move up to the Moderate level for just a bit more. Here’s why:

  1. More eating options than just the food court
  2. A bit larger rooms
  3. Nicer decor
  4. More options of things to do at the resort itself
  5. Nicer neighbors
  6. No cheerleaders, band groups, baseball teams or other school groups

We usually stay at Port Orleans Riverside. It’s just so pretty there with all the trees. We see rabbits, otters, deer, and other “critters” all the time. There are long pretty walks around the resort. There is a great swimming pool with a water slide. There is boat service to Downtown Disney (as well as bus service, but we love the boat ride to DTD). There is a nicer restaurant to eat at. There is a piano player who does a great comedy act. And it is just SO pretty. Riverside also has a trundle bed so if you all want your own space you can have it.

We used to stay in the Value resorts all the time, but “graduated” to the moderates and haven’t looked back (although I am considering booking a trip at the Value family suites, but that is only because our family gets “restaurant fatigue” after eating out too much.)

We stayed at the Port Orleans twice, the Carribbean once, the Disney Institute (they have kitchen facilities if you care to do some cooking to save on food costs) and in a trailer at Fort Wilderness. We enjoyed them all, thought they were wonderful, convenient to the parks and thoroughly enjoyed each one. I wouldn’t go to WDW and not stay on property.
The food packages let you enjoy some of the pricier places you might not normally go to.

Next time, it’s Cinderella’s castle suite!!

I understand how you feel completely, (my mother is crazy generous. I don’t fight it anymore.) It seems that they really want to give you a good time. If you’ve said ‘this just seems so expensive…’ and gotten the go ahead, I say enjoy it and thank them profusely. Sounds like the upcharge won’t be a problem for them, and they want you to have a great time. So don’t spend for the sake of spending, but if you have a clear preference I say go for it. We stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge and liked it, but would stay somewhere even closer (and probably more expensive) later. Our 7 yr old would have been happy with any hotel with a pool and an arcade! Maybe you could give them a little album of pictures of your trip, full of pics of their beloved grandchild!:wink:

Thanks again guys, we are all booked, going to 2 weeks! :woot: It will be fantastic since it has been snowing and raining in some form here for the last 4 days straight! We are staying at port orleans riverside, DH really wanted somewhere a little nicer, and they have boats and fishing on top of everything else.
Wendita- The photo album idea is perfect! MIL loves pictures and has tons of photo albums at her house, I think I will do them a small scrapbook, I think creative memmories actually has a small mickey mouse album.
Thanks for all the advice everyone. Now time to start thinking about our first plane ride with DS, good times, lol.