I had a great question on the Tips from the Disney Diva facebook page about staying off-property while at Disney World which set off a whole series of tips in my brain. The Diva family has chosen to stay off property both in hotels and in time-share resorts many times so I feel pretty comfortable giving you some TIPS to consider!
I’ve decided to write an entire series because there are so many things you need to plan for when you’re off property that you don’t even consider when you are on. So please check out my other posts in this series by clicking HERE.
My first tip is to:
Know how close your resort/hotel is to the parks before you book. If at all possible you want to get into the Downtown Disney area. There are so many resorts (including time-shares) and hotels to pick from and its close enough to the parks that you’re not driving an hour just to get to WDW! The further north you are up I-4 the longer the drive will be and the worse traffic will be.
For some reason every time we have stayed off property it has ended up being off of South Apopka Vineland Road in Lake Buena Vista. However, as long you’re in the Lake Buena Vista area. You might want to consider one of the hotels at http://www.downtowndisneyhotels.com/ or use Priceline to get a really good price in that area (you can read my post on it HERE).
Another thing you might want to think about is renting a house. You can get some great deals by going to sites like Vacation Rentals By Owner http://www.vrbo.com/vacation-rentals/usa/florida/central-disney-orlando and split a home with some friends or extended family. Many come with pools.
If you choose to drive from the Downtown Disney Resort area it takes you about 20 minutes to get to Magic Kingdom or Animal Kingdom which are the two “most removed” of the resorts. Its important that you calculate that into your arrival time for park-opening.
We have also really liked staying in that area because you can “cut through” Downtown Disney. And if you REALLY want to be able to use Disney Transportation buses you can do that by parking your car at Downtown Disney and then hopping the Downtown Disney bus to Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. Just remember to add that time into your travel plans! There an iPhone application called Twiz that can help you estimate on-property travel times.
Want more tips on staying Off-Property? Click HERE.