If you follow us on twitter, and you should @wdworbust, you may have seen these pictures already. If not please enjoy.
I was recently told of a poll management that Disney requested of Harvard University students, to determine why people don’t go to the back of the park as much as the middle. They want to know why guests seldom frequent the back of the park, and how to change that. I cannot find any supporting data for this poll management, but I am guessing that it was just asked of them. I cannot disclose my source, but they are reliable.
So, why is it that few people visit some of the back areas of the parks? I have been able to research a little, and agree with what I have found. For instance, in the way back of the Morocco Pavilion (Epcot World Showcase) is one of those places you seldom see a crowd. There are some small stores and a museum; and they are almost always empty. What keeps visitors from going there? There’s the magnificent fountain at the entrance into the pavilion, and the tile work is stunning. Farther back, the roads are lined with adobe walls, and small doorways that lead into some small stores. Then there’s the Gallery of Arts & History. This museum houses artifacts as well as other historical information on Morocco.
According to an internal study, Disney determined that only a fraction of the guests get farther back into the parks, versus the front and middle. Is it fatigue? How about transportation? Is it the lack of enthusiasm?
So, I ask of our readers: Do you make it to the back of the parks, and why do you suppose more people don’t? I look forward to hearing your opinions and views, so please drop in a comment. As always, you can contact me at dave@wdworbust. You can also find us on Twitter @wdworbust and on facebook. My family and I have 28 days until we finally make it back to WDW; so for now, it’s WDW or Bust!!
I love Typhoon Lagoon and I think it is a must do for any trip during the warm months. It looks as though I have a kindred spirit in Jeff!
And Now on with the show…
Yesterday we were looking at the pros and cons of staying on-site. It was by no means an exhaustive list. In fact it was pretty short. I am sure if you ask 10 Disney trip veterans they will tell you ten different lists. This is just mine.
Looking at a few other options around Orlando. Opening the search parameters a little bit. We find more options a stones throw away from the Downtown Disney (DTD) Shopping area in the Downtown Disney Resort Hotels. These are some hotels that give you some of the same benefits of being on Disney property without paying the Disney resort prices.
Lets look at the one that I have the most experience with and that is the Royal Plaza Hotel. I stayed in this resort in May 2010 and was quite impressed with the accommodations. The hotel was beautiful and the buses ran on time. The breakfast buffet was wonderful and the gift shop in the hotel is run by Disney so you can get your last minute gift items there. The staff is friendly and helpful and you can buy your tickets in the lobby. When we stayed there they were doing a free breakfast promotion! So every morning of the trip we were able to get a free hot breakfast. The Pool was great also. So if you have little ones that have to have there pool time it is worth taking a look.
Cons to staying in a DTD Resort hotel, you don’t get Extra Magic Hours. You have to have Disney’s Key to the World Card (room key) to allow access to this perk. Also, the bus system, while still free, runs a lot slower than the Disney bus line. You don’t have free parking in the Disney Parking lots which is a bummer if you, like me, want to drive your own vehicle.
As we widen our search radius we begin to see the hotels labeled Main Gate and Disney Good Neighbor Hotel. What these both mean is that either: A. the Main Gate to Disney Property is roughly within 5 minutes drive or B. they have a loose partnership to sell Disney Park Tickets in the lobby. You can often find both of these options anywhere on I-Drive or 192. When Mandy and I went on our Honeymoon in 2005 we stayed at a resort that was wonderful. It was a stones throw from the main gate. It had plenty of restaurant options. It even had bus service. So we booked the trip and prepared for a wonderful week. Everything was as advertised. One problem we found though was transportation.
Many off-site hotels do offer bus transportation to Disney Property. In our case the bus ran twice in the morning and twice in the evening. One time it dropped you at the Transportation and Ticket Center where to get to Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom you had to transfer to another bus. The other time it dropped you in the parking lot at Epcot. The bus was always crowded and you had no way to get back to your resort except by taxi if you missed the bus or wanted to go back earlier. Did this hinder our honeymoon? Definitely not, we didn’t know any different at the time and we had one of the most memorable trips of our lives. This trip turned me into a fanatic and, well, we know how that turned out.
Now finally the answer to the question is staying on Disney Property really worth it? Well yes and no. You have to know your family and their desires, likes, dislikes and temperament. I personally like to save money. I have no problems staying off-site. I have done this many times. I have even been fortunate enough to find amazing deals on travel websites for gorgeous rooms at $25 a night in the off season.
So is staying on property worth it? Questions to ask yourself.
- What is my budget
- Am I planning on visiting any other attractions in central Florida
- Am I spending my entire vacation at the Walt Disney World Resort
- Is this my first time going.
- Do I have my own vehicle
- Am I flying to Orlando
- If you are traveling on a budget staying off site may offer more value for your money. Many resorts have free dining offers for adults as well as children throughout the year.
- If you are planning to visit other attractions, Universal, Sea World, Legoland, then a more strategically positioned hotel might be an option. Especially if you are relying on a taxi to take you from place to place.
- If you are spending your entire vacation on the Disney Resort then yes you should definitely look into staying on property. In the value season most Value resorts can go as low as $82 a night!
- YES! If it is your first time and you can swing it, stay on Disney property!
- If you are flying to Orlando and aren’t renting a car Disney does provide the Magical Express Bus service that will take you to your resort for free. A taxi from the Airport isn’t cheap. Trust me!
Now keep in mind this isn’t an exhaustive list. This is a question that will never be completely answered, especially in two blog posts, and I am but one opinion. I really want to hear what you have to say about how you decide whether or not to stay on Disney Property or Off Disney Property. Please leave us comments below. Also I am sure Dave will have his reasons as well. In future updates I will tell you why Mandy and I chose to become DVC Members.
I am sure over time this post will be expanded and eventually have to be broken down into its own page but until then remember…It’s WDW or Bust!
This is the age old question at Walt Disney World. Where to stay. If you tell anyone that you are going that is usually the first question asked. And rightfully so. There are numerous resorts (24 owned by Disney to be exact). This number also doesn’t include the Downtown Disney Resort area or the Swan and Dolphin Hotels or the newly planned luxury community called Golden Oaks. Whew! Are you exhausted yet? In my opinion the one of the best parts of going to Disney World is being able to stay at a new resort. I have stayed on-site and off-site and I believe that after this article we will lay out the pros and cons of the two options. Well lets begin there’s so little to see and so much time, wait strike that, reverse it. (Wonka humor) In the spirit of full disclosure I am a Disney Vacation Club member and have been since 2006.
Now first and foremost the biggest pro to staying at a Disney Owned and Operated resort is you are immersed in the magic, 24/7 for the length of your stay. How can you say no to that. You have Disney on your television, Disney on your comforter, Disney on your shampoo, Jiminey Cricket reminding you to save water by reusing your towels. What is not to love. Oh don’t forget that you have the Disney touches all over the resort. Not the least of which could be a dragon waterslide or a 100 ft tall buzz lightyear. Yes you really get to immerse yourself in the magic. Disney has four levels of resorts they are: Deluxe, DVC, Moderate, and Value.
Now I have been very fortunate to stay in every category of resort that Disney offers. I haven’t stayed at every resort yet, that is still on my bucket list of Disney things to do. But I have also noticed that you get what you pay for. The more money you spend the more room you have. That goes without saying. But lets look at it this way. If you travel like me you are typically on a budget. I don’t have any rich unknown uncles or plan on winning the lottery so I am going to be staying in a value or a moderate resort. Both are amazing by the way! But lets just for one moment assume that I am going to stay at Disney’s flagship hotel. The one that has been opened from day one. Disney’s Contemporary Resort, this impressive hotel has just 655 rooms. If you have had the opportunity to tour the resort you know how expansive the grounds are and you really feel like you could be the only guest staying there at times. Lets compare that to Disney’s Pop Century Resort (my favorite among the value resorts) this resort is huge! It also comes full equipped with 2,880 rooms. That is a lot of people especially if you consider that most families travel in groups of four or more and have children in tow.
Why, might you ask, am I giving you these statistics? Well I want to help you make a better informed decision. To stay in the Contemporary with a Magic Kingdom view can cost upwards of $500 a night (click here for a break down on pricing) by contrast you pay upwards of $170 a night for a preferred room at Pop Century. (Click Here to see the breakdown of pricing). These are peak time prices. By saying all this it may sound like I am trying to talk you out of staying on Disney property and that isn’t the case at all. If you are traveling on a budget during the peak times of the year (Summer, major U.S. holidays, Christmas) you need to know your options.
There are tens of thousands of hotels/motels in the Orlando area all fighting for your business. Not to mention fully furnished houses with private pools for rent (Dave will update on that one). All these places are fighting for your vacation dollar. There are deals to be had but let me tell you some of the amenities that you get while staying on property.
While staying on Disney property you get free transportation from your Resort to any park and the Downtown Disney shopping area. This could be a bus, a boat, a ferry, or even a Monorail. Door to door service is very nice. If you choose to drive your personal vehicle parking is free in the parking lots. You have special park access for resort guests called Extra Magic Hours. These can be in the morning or evening and the park will open one hour early or close at least three hours later or more depending on the time of year. If you are staying at an Epcot resort or a Magic Kingdom resort it puts you that much closer to the action and usually allows walking or a quick monorail or boat ride to the parks. So many perks, it is easy to see why people love Disney resorts so much.
Lets look at some of the cons of staying on-site. If you are there during peak times you could experience super long waits just to take the bus back to your resort hotel. I have stood in lines to ride the bust back that were longer than the line for Dumbo! There isn’t a free lunch, I mean breakfast. No free meals at Disney folks. No kids eat free options none of that. (There is often a free dining plan option late summer/early fall however) Some of those resorts are expansive. After a long day at the parks your feet are screaming and so are your kids and you still have to walk what feels like miles to get back to your room.
Tomorrow I am going to talk about the pros and cons of staying off site and give you my personal opinion. I promise I will tie this all together and it won’t sound like I am on my Disney soapbox.
UPDATE from Twitter:
Thanks to the posters!!
@wdworbust On-site!!!! SO much easier to take the Disney Transportation instead of having to drive yourself and park and all that business!
7/25/11 6:48 PM
@wdworbust off-site can save you money(especially if you utilize something like hotwire or priceline) but on-site offers a special feeling!
7/25/11 4:50 PM
Sorry for the lack of Posts. Work has been crazy! Look for more real soon! In the meantime be sure and share our blog with your friends and follow us on twitter @wdworbust and facebook!!
It’s summertime and lets face it, it’s hot everywhere! Especially at Walt Disney World. That is why today’s post is a dedication to one of the best and often unknown parts of Epcot.
Hotel reservations are made! Park tickets are purchased! All of the ADRs have been set. Now, we think about transportation! One of the perks of staying on WDW property is the Disney transportation. The buses can get you from the hotel to just about anywhere on the property. All you have to do is make sure you’re in the correct line and wait for the next bus. If that takes longer than you wish to wait, and you have money to spend, there’s always a taxi nearby.
Let me start with this: I believe everyone should attempt using Disney Transportation first, from a personal opinion, and then plan according to that opinion for all trips thereafter. The below experiences are my own, but I gave it a shot first.
My first trip there, we relied on Disney transportation. We’d get up early enough to make it to the park, of our choice, in time for rope drop. As we stood there, our sunglasses and cameras would adapt to the heat and humidity. Then we would start checking our clocks, wondering when the bus would arrive; just when our patience began to run thin, the bus would round the corner, and pull up to the line next to us, with a different park destination.
The bus did eventually arrive, and the air was cool inside; but the waiting game was, in my opinion, a bit much to ask of anyone. We endured this almost every day, and let it be noted that I only get impatient and irritable in two situations: high heat and hunger. Having to wait for a bus to a park, and especially after the park has closed was a bit taxing on me. Some people have no problem waiting; but not me.
The clincher was one evening, while we were waiting for a bus to take us to Fort Wilderness so we could make it to our reservations at Hoop-Dee-Doo Review on time. We waited for quite a while, and finally gave in to impatience. We ended up hiring a cab to take us. After that evening, we didn’t hesitate to hire a cab when we needed to be someplace in a shorter amount of time. Although it was only one or two more times, we saw it as a valid option.
…The next trip? We rented a car! Now we rent a car every trip, for pure convenience. It’s great to walk from the gates to a car, in the parking lot, and just go home; rather than stand in a long line and wait until a bus comes that can cram you in for a, standing room only, trip back to three hotels before you finally get to yours. That’s my take on it anyways.
I can totally relate to someone that wants to ride the buses for economical reasons, but it’s just not for me, I guess.
So, an interesting poll idea would be to see if you rent a car while visiting WDW, or do you utilize Disney Transportation? I’ll see about posting that. As usual, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to do so. Also, you can find me on Twitter @dbostedor3 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please stop by and check us out on facebook too. Until next time, it’s WDW or Bust!!
Until February this year, I owned an HTC Eris Droid phone. I didn’t want to exchange the service I got, from Verizon, in order to have the “extraordinary iPhone.” I had an iPod Touch, 1st Generation, and that was as close as I got to an Apple device.
When Verizon started selling the iPhone, I jumped. My wife and I each bought one. Dealing with the iPhone apps is much easier than it was with the HTC Eris. The Droid phone was new, in its class, and still had a long time to go before it could be a competitor with the iPhone. Since then, it has been developed into that, but I still love my iPhone, and the rest is history.
The apps I used on the Droid were map apps and a couple of free line waiting apps, on my last trip to WDW. I have yet to use the iPhone in the World, so the apps I have been downloading, I hope will work for me. Here are some of the apps I have already started using, and I hope that some of our readers will be able to suggest others that are a “must have:”
I still use the WDW MAP apps. There is one app for each of the parks that show locations of attractions, dining, and events. There is a calendar that is updated regularly to show opening and closing of the park you are in, as well as a breakdown of times of events going on throughout the day. Typically, my wife and I have our day planned out already, so this app is used more for reference. It’s basically the paper map you would receive at the entrance of the park, only in digital form. There are five apps, in all, one for each park, and the fifth for Downtown Disney.
A neat app I have is called WDW Secrets. This app is fascinating in that it has little tidbits about each ride that provides some history, as well as design features. This app will help point you to some detail that is easily missed; call it a scavenger hunt of information. I am a person that likes to know the intricacies of each aspect of the park. That’s one of the reasons I keep returning. An excerpt of one of the rides, noted in this app is for the Pirates of the Caribbean:
One app that I have found priceless is called WDW Dining. Inside this app, you’ll find locations for all of the WDW Dining locations. Once you open up the park where you’ll be, you’ll find a list of restaurants that are located there. They are classified as Quick Service or Table Service, and a dollar sign. The more dollar signs there are, the more expensive the restaurant is. Select the restaurant you may want to dine at, and you’ll find each of the menus they have for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as the price for the meal you’re interested in. When planning where you’ll be eating, and making ADRs (Advanced Dining Reservations) for the trip, this is handy for making those decisions. Once you have decided where to eat, use the app that Garland recommended for booking your ADRs, in the previous article, and then store your reservation number and the amount in your party in this app.
From this app, you can email your dining itinerary to each of the people in your party. We had an instance where we had a reservation at Chef Mickey’s. In our haste to get there on time, we forgot to bring our reservation number with us. When we went to check in, they had lost our reservation. The staff, at the restaurant, went out of their way to get us a seat regardless, but we kicked ourselves for not having it. That was a lesson learned, and now, I can keep that information in one easy to use app. I never leave without my phone, so we know we’ll always have it available when we need it.
All of these apps are easily found in iTunes.
Please, if you have any other app suggestions, let me know. You can leave a comment at the bottom of this article, or you can contact me at email@example.com. You can also follow us on twitter, @wdworbust, or like us on facebook.
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