Friday, August 10, 2012

A Walk Around the World With Ridge -- On or Off Property

I'm sure that I have in some way covered this topic several times in the past but it was asked of me today at work. I'm the "Disney Guy" as I'm sure many of you have the moniker in your own circles. So the question asked of me is can they save money by staying off property?  It is a couple with a 4 year old son and they'd like to visit at Thanksgiving. The crux of the whole thing is money. We all want to save a dollar when we travel, and especially with gas prices so high it becomes a real issue. Anywho I quickly rattled off the two things I myself do when looking to book on cash.

·         Check the internet for prices (Priceline,, Kayak, Orbitz, etc.)

·         Call an Authorized Disney Travel Agent

Starting with Priceline and other web services:  I've used Priceline pretty often and can usually get what I would feel like is a good deal.  However something to remember with online shopping, no matter which service you use, are the hotel fees that are not included in the price of the room. You'll be paying those when you get there. Some hotels have parking fees and room amenity fees; it can be a mess but not too bad a hassle. There are several little tips for using services like Priceline that can help you work around some of the features that limit how many times you can bid in a day. Just by changing a couple of your criteria you can keep trying for rooms. I think that WDW Today has done a great job of talking about booking and I suggest giving them a listen. Try Episode 1066 - Priceline. Another thing to remember about staying off property is parking ON property. Some of the hotels off property will run a shuttle over to the Ticket and Transportation Center (TTC) but if you drive yourself it is 14 dollars a day.

Personally having stayed both on and off property, I very much prefer on, but I have an Annual Pass that gives me free parking and room discounts. The Value Resorts for Disney tend to be only slightly higher than those outside property but if there is a deal or a special running you can get a package that will bring everything back inline price wise. This is where an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner comes in. I wish I had the time to become one myself.  You discuss your plans, goals, dreams or what have you and they do all the leg work to accomplish it for you for the best price they can. Also it costs you nothing to use their services. I personally have used friends of the site Travel With the Magic when I have booked stays on cash rather than with DVC points.  I can go on about my day and someone else gets to run around and book stays, ADRs and any other services that are available.

Having a little one changes up the situation just a little. I myself not having anything but my Boston Terrier, Lily, know next to nothing about travel with children. From being around my sister with two little ones and having already made several goes at it at Disney with them. I can say that research is going to be key. Use the internet and telephone and call up some of the hotels that you might find on some of the barging hunting sites. Find out what is standard and what comes at a price. I feel like as far as some of the accommodations and kid friendliness, Disney is going to win that hands down. When in the parks stick to a schedule as much as possible for eating and napping. It's going to be hard because everyone is out of their usual comfort zone and excited to be at Disney. However try as you might you can't do it all everyday or else someone is going to be very cranky. As I people watch I see it most often being the adults that lose their cool first.

So the moral of the story is research. To learn about Disney there are lots of informational sites and as I have said many times before my favorite general information site is Hotels, restaurants, services, you name it something probably exists about it on that site. For park planning I prefer and the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World. There is so much information available that it is silly not to know what you are getting into before you go. Everyone will have good and bad trips and almost everyone knows someone that has been. Reach out to those friends as well, listen to the good and the bad, read up on it and make the best decisions you can.

For more, please visit Around the World with Ridge


  1. Amy I can't think of anyone I'd rather see become an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner than you. After your younguns get growed up you ought to think about it.

  2. Why, thank you very much! I may just do that once things settle down a bit. I'd want to be sure I had plenty of time for my clients. ~Amy

  3. Great article, Ridge! I completely agree! ;)


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