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Do You Need To Stay On Property to Get the WDW Experience?

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  • [Question] Do You Need To Stay On Property to Get the WDW Experience?

    I was talking about this the other day with a friend, do you think one has to stay on WDW property to get the full WDW experience? I'm leaning towards Yes and here is why.

    I've stayed both on property and off and the experience is much better on property. For one, the theming of the various resorts makes an individual prepare for the Disney experience at the parks.

    Second, everyone at the resort has a singular purpose in mind, that is enjoying the Disney experience through the parks, waterparks, etc. As strange as it sounds it's almost like living in a cult community where everyone has the same purpose in mind which adds into the Disney experience. Off-property I know you don't get that same feel where guests are there for a variety of reasons.

    Third, the benefits of staying on property also contribute to the WDW experience. Bus rides to the parks, (monorail as well) special hours at the parks, resort programming on the TV's (this was a big for me as a kid, I knew I was at Disney when I watched the resort programming on TV).

    So I would say that one def has to stay on property to get the full WDW experience. What does everyone else think?

  • #2
    Re: Do You Need To Stay On Property to Get the WDW Experience?

    I think being on property does add something, but it's not essential. I mean, you can still spend most of your waking hours in the theme parks even if you're not on property. Personally, I prefer being on property, and I think the perks are worth it, but for someone who needs to go on their Disney vacation as inexpensively as possible, off property can be fine.

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    • #3
      Re: Do You Need To Stay On Property to Get the WDW Experience?

      I for one believe it is part of the experience. I just love to wake up with Disney around me and end the day with Disney literally around me.

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      • #4
        Re: Do You Need To Stay On Property to Get the WDW Experience?

        Definitely. WDW isn't just the theme parks. The resort hotels, secondary parks and all the activities are all part of the WDW experience.

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        • #5
          Re: Do You Need To Stay On Property to Get the WDW Experience?

          I have to disagree. I've stayed at all levels of on site hotels... and frankly the only ones that added anything to my trip in a positive way were the monorail resorts. If you can afford or get into a monorail resort it makes your stay better; if you can't then I see no point in picking any other Disney resort over any reasonable off-site hotel.

          While I hear some people mention the bus ride as a positive, I made the mistake of using the bus system once and only once... it was from the animal kingdom and while the ride to the park was fine the return was the joy of standing in line for almost and hour for a bus and then being crammed on like a sardine for the ride back... not what I want to experience after a long day at the parks.

          In the end I don't go to Disney for the hotel, if I am in the hotel it is for resting the fun is in the parks when I am asleep my body doesn't know if I'm in a Disney room or a motel 6... but that's just my view.

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          • #6
            Re: Do You Need To Stay On Property to Get the WDW Experience?

            Yes, No, Maybe.

            In terms of service levels, there's no difference between the Contemporary and a Marriott. I could even save a few bucks at Marriott -- but I don't go on vacation to save money. Working 9-5-plastic-fantastic is what I do to earn the money to spend on vacation.

            I echo the sentiment that it's cool having a monorail stop. And it is more "Immersive" experience. My brain never has to switch out of Pedestrian Mode into Driving Mode for days... which is cool. The buses can range from acceptable to pretty lousy.

            The *main* benefit derived from staying at the Contemporary for me, though is walking over to the MK. It's WONDERFUL to not have to exit, then climb up to the resort monorail stop, and then WAIT for a train.

            It's even more wonderful with a cranky 2 year old strapped into the stroller, screaming her little lungs out. By the time I was back at the room, she had FALLEN ASLEEP.

            PROTIP: Do NOT attempt to remove child from stroller. Let her sleep there. Trying to move her is just gonna wake her up, and she's gonna wanna play. Then you're not getting a nap, and you have to get her to the pool.
            Last edited by mikelieman; 05-16-2009, 06:26 AM. Reason: First draft was kinda awkward....

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            • #7
              Re: Do You Need To Stay On Property to Get the WDW Experience?

              I say absolutely. In fact, I usually recommend that people look into staying on property. However, I say it's only worth the money if one can stay at a moderate or higher, like Coronado Springs or the Port Orleans Resorts. Pop Century and the All-Stars aren't well-themed enough to justify spending the kind of money that could be spent at a much nicer hotel of the same price off-property.

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              • #8
                Re: Do You Need To Stay On Property to Get the WDW Experience?

                the first three visits we made to WDW as a family, we stayed off property. And we thoroughly enjoyed our vacation. BUT! After our first stay on property....we wouldn't even dream of staying off property.

                Like Micoofy Duck said....there's just something special about waking up IN Disney. We've stayed at POP three times, and that walk from our room to the main building every morning, was one of the highlights of my day. Smelling the crisp morning air, feeling that Disney magic...and seeing the resort come to life.

                I've discovered why it means SO much to me to stay on property.....

                We are a military family...and are living right now, someplace that none of us like. When you're forced to live in a state and a city that you can't stand..it's stressful. So, going to WDW...and staying on property...is like, being in a totally different world. You can surround yourself with things that make you smile. The World has everything..restaurants, hotels, shopping, and SO much fun! You never have to leave, if you don't want to. You can totally shut out the outside world.

                So, that's why we stay on property...it's like being on an island. A Disney island.



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                • #9
                  Re: Do You Need To Stay On Property to Get the WDW Experience?

                  Originally posted by MarkTwain View Post
                  I say absolutely. In fact, I usually recommend that people look into staying on property. However, I say it's only worth the money if one can stay at a moderate or higher, like Coronado Springs or the Port Orleans Resorts. Pop Century and the All-Stars aren't well-themed enough to justify spending the kind of money that could be spent at a much nicer hotel of the same price off-property.
                  oh, I totally disagree. In fact, my family will only stay at Value resorts. We can afford to stay at a moderate. But, we love the theming of the Value resorts. It's Disney! There's cartoon characters, and bright colors. It's something you can't find off property.

                  To tell the truth, we don't understand why we would want to stay at the other hotels. Sure, they have theming...but, it's not Disney theming. Those hotels really are something you can find off property. LIke, the Poly. Why go to WDW to have a Hawaiian hotel? I'd rather go to Hawaii, if that's what I was looking for. Or the Animal Kingdom Lodge...why not go to Africa?

                  We go to WDW, because we love Disney. We want to be surrounded by it. And the Values give you that.



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                  • #10
                    Re: Do You Need To Stay On Property to Get the WDW Experience?

                    "there's just something special about waking up IN Disney"

                    That's because Chef Mickey's opens at 7am. I would say "... and who can sleep through that... " but the Contemporary is pretty well put together, and you don't really hear the noise while in your room...

                    But you open that door and BAM.... Showtime!

                    "Why go to WDW to have a Hawaiian hotel? I'd rather go to Hawaii, if that's what I was looking for. Or the Animal Kingdom Lodge...why not go to Africa?"

                    Well, my station wagon doesn't run real good over salt water, for one...

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                    • #11
                      Re: Do You Need To Stay On Property to Get the WDW Experience?

                      If your going for a complete resort experience I'd say save up and stay at:

                      Contemporary
                      Yacht/Beach Club
                      Boardwalk Inn
                      Swan/Dolphin

                      I can't comment on Polynesian or Grand Floridian but know you can't walk to MK from those resorts like Contemporary. These hotels are great in terms of appearance (well maybe not the Swan or Dolphin as much depending upon your tastes), location and in resort offerings. Yacht and Beach Club have an outstanding pool and you can walk or take a boat to DHS and Epcot from them like you can at Boardwalk and Swan/Dolphin.
                      I like The Happiest Millionaire. What's wrong with that?

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                      • #12
                        Re: Do You Need To Stay On Property to Get the WDW Experience?

                        Originally posted by mikelieman View Post
                        "there's just something special about waking up IN Disney"

                        That's because Chef Mickey's opens at 7am. I would say "... and who can sleep through that... " but the Contemporary is pretty well put together, and you don't really hear the noise while in your room...

                        But you open that door and BAM.... Showtime!

                        "Why go to WDW to have a Hawaiian hotel? I'd rather go to Hawaii, if that's what I was looking for. Or the Animal Kingdom Lodge...why not go to Africa?"

                        Well, my station wagon doesn't run real good over salt water, for one...
                        AND I cannot see the Castle & Fireworks from my crappy Wikiki Outrigger hotel in Hawaii AND the CMs won't travel with me.
                        "First of all I would like to make one thing perfectly clear.
                        I never explain anything." Mary Poppins
                        http://www.flickr.com/photos/26132873@N00/

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                        • #13
                          Re: Do You Need To Stay On Property to Get the WDW Experience?

                          I really like the Disney theming at the value resorts. And I hear lots of complaints about the buses, but I just came back from a week at WDW (All Star Movies, May 6-13) and found the bus system efficient and painless, for the most part. I think my longest wait was 15 minutes or so. Yes, if you leave at closing, you will probably not get to sit down, but the bus ride isn't that long.

                          Also, let's not forget Magical Express and Magic Hours -- two more great perks for staying on property.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Do You Need To Stay On Property to Get the WDW Experience?

                            My opinion? Not necessarily. I had been a regular visitor to WDW for 25+ years before I made my first on property stay. Sure it was neat to stay at a themed hotel and use the busses and whatnot, but I didn't find it *that* much more magical compared to staying off property. I did find it a little more convenient though. But at least in my case, I don't feel I *have* to stay on property to get the full "experience".

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                            • #15
                              Re: Do You Need To Stay On Property to Get the WDW Experience?

                              Originally posted by disneyfann121 View Post
                              I really like the Disney theming at the value resorts. And I hear lots of complaints about the buses, but I just came back from a week at WDW (All Star Movies, May 6-13) and found the bus system efficient and painless, for the most part. I think my longest wait was 15 minutes or so. Yes, if you leave at closing, you will probably not get to sit down, but the bus ride isn't that long.

                              Also, let's not forget Magical Express and Magic Hours -- two more great perks for staying on property.
                              That's nice for you, but I don't see how the value resorts truly give you the full experience of what Disney has to offer. The value resorts do not have the theming, restaurants, pools, convenience or transportation offerings the deluxe ones have. Buses operate at other non-Disney hotels and the true value of those "Magic" offerings is debatable to say the least. TV however, is terrible no matter where you stay in WDW.

                              I'm not suggesting anyone brake the bank as there are ways to get discounts on the deluxe resorts rooms, but really the question is does staying in WDW add to the complete experience and my answer is "yes" if you stay at the right place.

                              You can't walk to Epcot from All Star Movies.
                              I like The Happiest Millionaire. What's wrong with that?

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