Sometimes doing Disney on a budget means staying off
While I do have a post about all the benefits of staying on Walt Disney World property, I do realize and have experienced myself that sometimes it is just not in the budget. I would rather go to Disney World than not go at all because it is not in the budget to stay in a Disney resort.
Reasons to Stay Off Property at Disney World
Traveling with a Large Family or Group
If you are traveling with a large group or have more than 4 family members, the price of a Disney resort goes up considerably. You either have to spring for a suite or get connecting rooms.
It is usually much cheaper to rent a house. Renting a house usually comes with a full kitchen, more bedrooms, and a private pool. Having a full kitchen means you get to make more meals away from Disney high priced meals.
A Very Small Budget Per Night
The cheapest rate even with a great special at a value Disney resort is going to cost you around $130 plus parking charges. Typically you will pay around $150 at the lowest.
Sometimes my budget is lower than that. I can usually find a clean, decent place to stay for less than $130/night even if you include the $22 for parking at the parks.
Spending Time in the Resort is Not a Priority
When I am at Disney World, I am cramming my day from open to close with park activities. My room is just where I will sleep and shower. It doesn’t need to be themed.
Yes, this is one of the things I consider when booking a hotel. Is breakfast
My favorite off-property resort Baymont includes a good, not amazing continental breakfast.
Even if an off-property
Disney World is Not Your Only Destination
Central Florida offers so many family-friendly things to do and Disney is just one of those things. Between Universal, Sea World, and Legoland there are enough theme parks to see. Plus, you are about 2 hours to either coast for beach access including the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral.
Even just Orlando offers so many things to experience beyond the theme parks like the Crayola Experience, Ripley’s Believe it or Not, or Medieval Times.
You can pick a more central location
Other than the cost factor there
Hotels.com and other hotel chains have reward programs where if you stay a certain amount of times at their hotel you get free stays.
One of my friends lives about 2 hours away from Disney World and stays over often. She usually goes with Hotels.com and then after a few weekends
The Disney Bubble Effect
Disney’s goal is to keep you on property so they can take more of your money. For a businesses point of view it is an awesome concept. From a consumers point of view it leaves you at their mercy.
While the Disney Bubble is nice and the best bubble to be in, a lot of it is just marketing. Jump out of the bubble! There are a plethora of amazing budget-friendly dining and entertainment options outside of the Disney Bubble.
How to Find a Budget-Friendly Nice Hotel Near Disney
So now that I have shared my reasons to stay off property at Disney World, let me share how I find extremely budget-friendly places to stay at.
- Hotels.com – This is my go to. With Hotels.com you can see the hotel name unlike with Hotwire. They also have a program where you earn stays.
- Deciphering Reviews. I usually go to Trip Advisor and look for a 70% plus approval rating because you can’t please everyone. I look for a recent trend of bad reviews though because new management can cause a place to go downhill fast. I also disregard comments about “roaches” because Florida has big huge Palmetto roaches which everyone gets (including Disney World) and they are not really a sign of cleanliness.
- Ask Facebook Groups. If you are wanting recommendations or more reviews about a particular hotel you can check some Disney Facebook groups.
- Hotwire. Though not my first choice I use it sometimes. You don’t get the hotel’s name but you get the general location, parking fees, and resort fees. Usually, with that information, I can play detective and find out the resort names. This is a good choice though if you are looking last minute.