My family is planning a one-week trip to Disney World next year. As of next spring it will be 10 years since we’ve done a full dedicated week-long vacation at Disney World. What? Why that long?
Yes, my family loves Disney. But, we actually prefer a cruise on Disney Cruise Line over the parks. Over the past several years, we’ve only visited the parks for 1-2 days before a cruise or before heading to the beach.
However, this time we decided to commit to a full week in the parks. My husband didn’t get to visit Animal Kingdom with me and my kids last year, and he’s never been to the new Avatar section. In my opinion, Flight of Passage is the coolest, most innovative ride in the parks.
In addition, the new Star Wars section of Hollywood Studios opens this year. It looks really awesome, and my boys are dying to see it.
Plus, now that my kids are older, traipsing around the parks is admittedly getting easier. I was shocked at how relatively easy it was for me at Animal Kingdom last year with my three kids.
So, next year my husband and I decided we would suffer through the endless walking, heat, rain and lines to see everything at Disney World. And, we may as well see Universal while we’re in the neighborhood. I’m tired already!
Even though we’re still about a year away from our trip, we need to make a decision on our lodging soon. One of the options we are considering fills up fast at 11 months out!
Option #1: Rental House
How lovely would it be to stay for a week in a 3-4 bedroom house with its own private pool and hot tub? Our days off from the parks would be so relaxing.
Some rental houses have game rooms with ping-pong and pool tables. I would soak my tired feet in the hot tub every single night.
As I wrote last month, I don’t believe that staying at an on-site Disney resort is required to fully enjoy a Disney World vacation. A large, off-site house would be a dream. Last summer, my family felt spoiled by staying in a 1900-square-foot condo on the beach.
Pros: Renting a private house would give us space and a private pool at a reasonable cost (many rentals are in the $100-$200 range per night)
Cons: With staying off-site, we would only have 30-day FastPass+ reservations instead of 60-day. Transportation is trickier. We would have to rent a car and deal with traffic after a long day at the parks. If my family wants to split up and leave the park at different times, we would have to take a Lyft or rent a second car.
Option #2: DVC Rental
I’ve rented DVC points twice in the past with no issues. It was a very convenient way to stay in an on-site deluxe resort and pay less than Disney deluxe prices. Plus, DVC has 2-bedroom condos that provide the extra space we crave.
For a few years now, I’ve had my eye on Disney’s Beach Club resort. We ate at Beaches & Cream during a previous trip, and we all drooled over the pool area. Stormalong Bay (the pool area) is like a mini water park with a small lazy river and sand-bottom pools.
DVC starts taking reservations 11 months in advance, and the most popular resorts (like this one) fill up very quickly. If we’re going to rent DVC points for the Beach Club, we need to decide soon.
Pros: Beach Club Resort is super convenient. It’s not too large to walk around, even after a long day at the parks. It has an awesome pool area and restaurants. A two-bedroom condo would have plenty of room for all of us. We could reserve FastPass+ at 60 days out. Transportation to the parks is convenient and free. Wow, there are a lot of pros for renting DVC points.
Cons: The big one is cost. While renting DVC points is cheaper than paying the Disney price, a two-bedroom condo in the summer is still a big expense. It will run at least twice as much as many off-site rentals would cost. Also, the two-bedroom villa would not have as much space as an off-site house, and we wouldn’t have our own private pool/hot tub.
A Solid Compromise?
My ideal lodging at Disney would be an off-site condo that still has on-site benefits (like the Disney Springs Area Resorts or the two additional Hilton resorts). As far as I can tell, that doesn’t exist. We would have to get two regular hotel rooms, which normally don’t have kitchens or many places to sit.
A compromise might be to stay at a condo resort like Wyndham Bonnet Creek (see Leana’s review) that has larger condos and Disney park bus transportation for a fee. That way, we could still get the extra space we need plus awesome pools and the option to return to the condo at different times. We wouldn’t get the 60-day FastPass+ reservations or a private pool and hot tub though.
Where are you planning to stay on your next trip to Disney World?
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.