Walt Disney World: On site vs off site

Now I know staying onsite at Disney world isn't for everyone and on my first visit way back in 2005 I have to hold my hands up and say it didn't really bother me either, I went with 2 of my good friends and our goal was just a nice hotel for a reasonable price and close to the parks, we opted for the Buena Vista Palace resort & spa which we all loved and found the close proximity to Downtown Disney as it was known then and I'm pretty sure a lot of people will still call it that for a long time to come (its located across the road from there) was great. 

However when it came to planning my second trip quite a few years later in 2012, I'd really got into the planning and research that all my fellow Disney holiday addicts will understand and just knew that I had to stay onsite, I don't know what it was about it because I knew I could get a really nice hotel for probably a fraction of the cost but I wanted to experience being in the complete Disney bubble, after a lot of research, pricing up and thinking I actually ended up doing 3 different onsite hotels and villa that trip, I know how greedy but it was a special trip and at one stage there was quite a group of us there which is why the villa came into it.
So my first ever onsite experience was staying at Animal Kingdom lodge, as a big animal lover I was excited to stay there so much, from photos and videos it looked truly stunning and I have to confirm from the moment I walked in the lobby my jaw dropped and I thought I'd died and gone to heaven, it was breath taking and hearing the cast members saying 'welcome home' and walking straight into to Disney bubble from practically landing made the trip even more better for me. On that trip 2 nights were spent at Animal Kingdom lodge, 3 nights at Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary and 2 nights at Coronado Springs and I loved them all, all for different reasons of course but all 3 were equally brilliant and for me it definitely added to the magical feeling of being at Disney by staying onsite and my biggest fear was confirmed, staying offsite wouldn't be an option again.

It was during the trip in 2012 that I realised a new aim for my bucket list, I want to or at least attempt to stay at every Disney World resort, now this is going to take some doing and will likely mean split stays on most trips but I think it will be so great to try and achieve. I've since been back twice and have ticked another 2 resorts off this list and will be ticking another one, possibly two next year.

I'm not saying that staying onsite is the only way to do Disney, I completely get why people stay offsite and in many ways it makes so much more sense but now I've tried a Disney hotel I just struggle at the thought of anything different, I feel safe in my bubble, I feel surrounded by Disney which for me is the reason for visiting Orlando and it just makes me happy having that magic and happiness 24/7. I love being able to pop on a bus to any park at anytime and knowing it's not too far, being able to pop back to the hotel for a break when I need and best of all, charging everything in the parks back to my hotel room so I don't have to face how much I'm really spending lol!

I've now experienced all 3 different levels of Disney hotels, Deluxe, Moderate and Value. While I didn't have any real issues with a value and would happily stay in one again, in fact I will be next year I did miss some of the added extras of a deluxe like room service, larger rooms and indoor corridors but if you do want to try onsite and don't want to overspend then I'd highly recommend a value, they are more nosier due to more children from my experience and the food courts are much more hectic and busy but the magic, service and Disney bubble is no less.

I'm going to be doing some posts over the next few months about each Disney hotel I've been fortunate to stay at so look out for those if you're trying to decide on one.

Have you stayed onsite before? if not, would you or are you completely happy offsite and even on the complete opposite scale, have you tried both and actually prefer offsite? would love to hear your views too.


  1. I've never stayed off site at any of my Disney trips but I know that I definitely wouldn't want to- I like being in that Disney bubble! You also do end up getting more for your money I think because they throw in so many extras, like extra magic hours and dining plans etc., so I'd definitely recommend staying on site!

    I've just found your blog and I already know I'm going to love it!

    Sian xx Cakey Dreamer

    1. Being right in the Disney bubble just seems to make the trip even better doesn't it? I think it would have to take an awful lot to get me to stay off site again now.

      Aww thank you, appreciate it :)

  2. I'm hoping next time we go (hoping for July 18) to stay on site for half and off site for other half. Haven't stayed in a disney hotel since 04! Went for a walk around AOA tho and I did really miss the disney bubble. But we couldn't justify paying disney prices when we could stay in a massive villa that sleeps 14, 6 bathrooms, has private pool and jacuzzi and games room for less than £15 a night per person! We always go as such a big group it makes hotel prices so high and have to go peak season xXx


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