DisneyWorld - Florida

Updated on May 23, 2012
K.D. asks from Flower Mound, TX
15 answers

I am in the process of booking Disney for my family. We are going the first week in August. Ive had some lucky breaks being able to get alot of Military discounts on passes and hotel. Like 4 day hopper passes for $138 each. Sorry had to brag that price really excited me.

Back to my question. I cant decide if we should stay onsite or offsite. The advantages to onsite are extended hours. Both hotels have a free shuttle. l am not going to do the dinning plan as my 3 kids eat like birds and its not a money saver for us. All 3 can share one kids meal at a resturant on a normal basis.

I found a hotel 3 miles from Disney. So my real question is if we go to the park from open to close 9-10 do we really need the extended hours. During the time we will be there the extra hours are 10pm - till 1am the next morning I'm thinking we are going to be really tired by 10:00.And with having 4 days are they really necessary? The offsite hotel will save us $500. So are those few extra hours worth the additional $500.00

All advice will be great, I been twice but I was a kid so my memories are faded, I'm a little overwhelmed, Our budget is only so big so I'm trying to spend as little on the hotel so we can do the little extras in side the park. FYI, My kids have never been, I have 3 girls ages 17, 11 and 7. We are also taking my mom with us. Shes never been.

2 moms found this helpful

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Thanks so much for the advice. I posted this originally wrong, We are going to FLorida, Not California. The offsite Hotel I found was Joe Floridays. 2bd room suite with full kitchen. $140 a night. This includes the taxes. They also have a free shuttle to Disney. I think I will book this Hotel. Thanks so much for the advice. I totally agree that just the regular park hours will be plenty for my youngest. The picture card was awesome advice. Thanks.

Please keep the advice comming. We are planning 2 days magic kingdom, one day Epot and I'm looking for advice on the 3rd park. No Water parks as we have season passes to the local water park where we live.

More Answers



answers from Sacramento on

Your seven-year-old will be wiped out by 10pm. I wouldn't think 10pm to 1 am is any advantage. Early park admission, that's another story.

I would save your money and go to the hotel that's not onsite. Check to see, too, if it's along the shuttle line. There's a really inexpensive shuttle running to a bunch of hotels around Disneyland and it's really convenient. It will save you the hassle of the parking lot.

And congrats on the ticket deal! That is fantastic, especially in light of word that prices are going up this year.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Your talking about DisneyLAND, CA right?

I don't know about this extended evening hours thing- I've never heard of that. I do believe they let the Hotel guests in an hour early in the morning to get the park to themselves, but as far as I know the park closes when it closes. There is no way they can get rid of all the "regular" park-goers and let only the Hotel guests stay inside... it's just not logistically possible. Unless there is some deal I don't know about and never noticed? I am pretty sure they have one closing time and thats IT.

But 10 pm is plenty late enough to stay, especially if you are doing this 4 days in a row.

I would stay 3 miles away as long as you have a way to get there- will you have a rental car? Parking is $15 a day, just so you can figure that in.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I used to live less than 2 miles from Disneyland. No, the extended hours are not necessary. You will be there 4 days and you will have plenty of time to see everything. I doubt you will be there every day from open til close, that's a lot for kids (and you!). Just my opinion. Sounds like fun! Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I guess it depends on what hours you really want to keep. If you keep your 7 yo out from open to close plus extended hours for 4 days, you are going to have one cranky kid! But you could always pay for the extra hours and actually skip the heat of the day and do more less heat of the day things from sunset on (which is what I would do. I hate direct beating down on me sun and my kids are night owls like me!).



answers from Los Angeles on

I go almost everyweekend with my 4 kids, I don't think the extended hours are necessary at all, in august by 10pm you guys will be SOOOOO done b/c the heat will be brutal! Plus the 4 days that you guys will be there I think will be plenty of time to visit both parks throughly. I would stay at the offsite hotel and just use the shuttle, there are some shuttles that drop you off super close to the gate. Just a lil tip....when you guys walk into the park, there will be disney photographers...they take AWESOME pics! they will offer to take your pics and they will put it on a plastic credit card type thing which you later use to purchase a cd with all of your pics...everytime you take a pic with a character or at a special spot hand that card to the photographer and it will add your new pics,well my tip is...keep that card until your last day at the parks....most people think that they're only good for that first day but you can actually keep using them for 30 days and keep adding pics....the cd runs about $50......but you will have the best pics ever!!



answers from San Francisco on

We just went two weeks ago and had a blast. We didn't close the park, it was exhausting enough staying until 10 or 11. In the past we have stayed across the street at the Fairfield Inn (Marriott) and have always had great experiences! This last time we stayed 2 miles away (got a great price due to sister in law working for the hotel chain) and drove and parked the first couple days then took the shuttle the last day. My preference? Parking. They have so many doggone shuttles going to and from the parking garage that it is pretty easy. When you go to catch the shuttle walk past all the crowded lines all the way to the furthest stop and you will find much shorter lines!!! However if you do stay across the street at say the Fairfield or Carousel then the walk is about the same as it would have been catching a shuttle to parking and then walking to your car plus you save the $15 for the garage! We have never stayed at a Disney hotel since I have yet to meet someone that told me it was worth it. Oh, and if you get a chance, go to Goofy's Kitchen in the Disneyland Hotel for a meal (make a reservation!) It is a great place for pictures with the characters since they come to your table throughout the dining experience and it is a buffet so everyone is pleased. To us it was worth the money just to watch the characters come up and talk or play with the kids! Have a fantastic time!



answers from New York on

It really depends of your lifestyle, are you early morning people or late night people or a combo. Will you be using the kitchen?

The one thing I would be careful of is to check the shuttle times for the hotels offsite. Many of them only run a few times a day.

If your planning days at specific parks, then why purchase the park hopper? Your 17 year old will be bored the 2nd day at Magic Kingdom. I would choose Animal Kingdom over MGM, although be sure to check the hours as Animal Kingdom tends to close early.


answers from Dallas on

I will tell you that August is a Peak season time so there will be long lines during the "regular hours" and it is going to be hot and humid. Staying on property would be a great option for you if you can swing it. The "magic hours" are such a great value. We stayed at the Pop Century (it's a Budget Resort). It was great to be able to come and go to the hotel room during the day as we needed a rest. Just hop a shuttle bus to the hotel room and then hop a shuttle bus back to the parks. We also were able to take advantage of the meal program. WOW! That also saved us a bunch of money on our trip. Staying on property was also great because we didn't have to worry about carrying souvenirs around the park. Every shop we went to offered to deliver them to our resort for us.

We went for 7 days the week before Thanksgiving. For a family of 3 with airfare to and from DFW it cost us a little over $3k. That was RT airfare, Resort, Meal Plan, and the Park Hopper for Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios,and Epcot and $1k spending money.

Yes, we had to plan. Yes, we had to budget. We began planning our trip with our travel agent in July of that year. This allowed us to be on a payment plan. By the time we took our trip it was PAID FOR. No credit card bills waiting for us when we got home.



answers from Houston on

I think the Extra Magic Hours are worth it, especially the morning ones. Also, regarding the hotel having a shuttle, make sure of the hours. I stayed off-site once in a hotel that offered a shuttle, but it was once in the morning and once in the evening. Staying onsite you can return to the hotel whenever you want to during the day. Also, remember the advantage of Disney's Magic Express as part of the advantage of staying onsite.

I don't work for Disney...I'm just a fan! While I'm there I want the magic to last as long as possible, and staying onsite makes the magic last 24 hours of every day!



answers from New York on

If money is an issue, then definitely stay off site. Before you commit, I know
you said they have a shuttle, see what time the last shuttle comes back
to hotel. Sometimes it is very early. We always stayed at the value hotels,
i.e. Pop Century, Movies, etc. Very affordable and comfortable and you
could always take a pool break during the day. I would do one day at
each park. You do not want to miss anything.



answers from Eugene on

There are some reasonable hotels within walking distance to Disneyland. Last time we stayed at the Alpine Inn, about 15 minutes by foot. Around $100/night.

Parking is expensive and a pain. Once you park, walking to the shuttle and taking it to the entrance takes time. So if you can find a hotel within walking distande, it allows you to go back for a nap, for a quiet lunch in your room away from the crowds (find one with a mini-fridge), you can to Disney early morning, get away during the hot crowded midday hours and return at night without paying twice for parking.

Tripadvisor.com has reviews and often the reviewers will tell you which hotels were an easy walk to the park. Try searching for hotels near Disneyland to get a list.



answers from Los Angeles on

Did you check out military only shades of green as a resort??? not many people know about it because it is kind of non-public. It is military only. I am not military so I have never been which is fine but I thought you'd like to know.


answers from Dover on

You're correct about the extended hours: some parks open early in the morning, some stay open later in the evening & just a smidge of research will show you which is which for the week you'll be there.

In my own personal experience, the extra hours aren't worth it, especially the nighttime ones. We're actually avoiding those parks with extended hours for those days altogether as they've proven to be the busiest park on the extended hour days. You've got to think that 11-hour long days are really long, even for adults, let alone kids. Who actually needs MORE time than that for 4 days? Probably nobody.

We're going in July (and are also rockin' the $138 Hopper tickets, gotta love it!!) & have rented a 3 bedroom condo about 10 minutes outside of the main Disney World gate for the whopping price of $495 for the entire week! No amount of extra hours/free transportation could make up that difference in $$ we're saving to us. Because I've saved so much there & also on the park tickets themselves, we're also purchasing 2-day Universal tickets & our trip in full is costing a whopping $2,600 for 2 actual adults & 2 kids who cost as much as adults for everything from tickets, food, condo, gas getting there & back, souveniers, EVERYTHING for a full week. Pretty good if I do say so myself!



answers from Dallas on

I've got 3 girls, too, and very similar ages (17, 13 and 5). We've been to Disneyworld and Disneyland with our kids -- just did Disneyland last year (first Disney trip for our youngest) -- and have never stayed on-site because of the cost. We definitely travel on a budget and we just get more for our money by staying off-site. Go to the Disneyworld website for a list of Disney partner hotels in the area, because they usually offer shuttle service to the parks. And request the free vacation planning DVD -- I also found this very helpful. Also check with a travel agent. Are you a AAA member? If so, check with their travel services (which is free because it's part of your membership) -- I used them to book our Disneyland trip and they were awesome, plus there were some freebies and discount coupons thrown in (including early hours pass, which we never used because they regular hours were more than enough), and I saved myself the hassle of having to book everything -- they did it for me.

As for which parks to go to -- Animal Kingdom is OK, we've done it once and personally I wouldn't care if I never went there again. The best thing they offer is the safari ride. Epcot is fun and a good place to see the characters -- we had more luck there then at Magic Kingdom (your youngest will probably appreciate this!). For the third park I would recommend Hollywood Studios because it will offer more for your older girls.

Have fun!



answers from Kansas City on

I'm with the group, don't spend more just to get those extended hours. You can get the "red bus" shuttle (I don't know what it's really called but they have red trolley buses). Also, the hotel you choose may have their own shuttle busses.

Have a great time. We'll be visiting "the Mouse" in October and are really looking forward to seeing the new Cars Land.


For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions