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HELP! WDW Rookie--on property or off???

Illinois
Level Contributor
10 posts
75 reviews
HELP! WDW Rookie--on property or off???

We're taking our first WDW trip in mid-Oct with our 9,7 and 5 yr old kids (boy-girl-boy). My wife and I never went as kids, so we are probably as excited as them. We are slightly overwhelmed with the options, books, info and abundance of opinions re: the Mouse's House.

We're planning on 6 days/7 nights and want counsel on The Wilderness Lodge (2 rooms AAA rate) vs. Sheraton Vistana (2BR villa). We plan 7 day park hopper passes and sticking with just the four parks this trip.

Thanks in advance for your counsel. Feel free to make any recommendations you like.

Walt Disney World...
Level Contributor
943 posts
1. Re: HELP! WDW Rookie--on property or off???

I have stayed at the Wilderness Lodge before and its great, plus you get all of the benefits of staying on property. Including shuttles, ferries, monorail etc. And overall its just easier than staying off property. You dont say if you are getting a car, but if you are staying on property and only plan to do "disney" save your money as you dont need one. It will just sit in the hotel parking lot

By booking the Wilderness Lodge even through AAA you can get included for free Disneys Airport to Hotel Magical Express shuttle.

Since you are staying for a week, and if you haven't already done so add on the water park Option. Weather is still really nice and warm during the day and you will want some amusement park breaks at some point. Kids of all ages really seem to enjoy Typhoon Lagoon water park, your kids will have a blast there. WDW can be really overwhelming and tiring as you seem to walk about 10 miles per day. It is that big. Take a break and get wet.

Your kids will absolutely love the Magic Kingdom! At some point they will probably be bored by some parts of the World Showcase in Epcot. Epcot is the most "Adult" oriented of the parks. But You and your spouse should not miss it, you will love it. Make sure to see the Illuminations night show there. Not to be missed!

Epcot to kids can seem kind of educational. so be prepared if they want to go somewhere else. Animal Kingdom has some really cool rides. Dinosaur and the safari and Expedition Everest are must sees here. But Dinosaur it is really intense so if your kids don't like scary rides dont take them on this one. I thought I my newphew was gong to have a heart attack on this ride. Same thing with Expedition Everest. He was 6 at the time and had never been scared so I thought he was ok. I think these rides also have height requirements. If you go to www.waltdisneyworld.com, that info is listed there. But if you and your wife want to do the Kid swap just tell the attendant when you get to the front of the line.

Kids also really like Disney Quest. Its basically an arcade done Disney style.

Orlando, Florida
Level Contributor
1,952 posts
3 reviews
2. Re: HELP! WDW Rookie--on property or off???

We've stayed both on and off property and if you're looking for a relaxing time with your family I highly recommend staying on property if you can. We've probably enjoyed our trips staying on property twice as much as those when we didn't. Of course our idea of a good vacation is being shut off from the worries of the world and not having to deal with the mundane issues of everyday life. That's not everyone's idea of a good time.

Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
1,155 posts
267 reviews
3. Re: HELP! WDW Rookie--on property or off???

We much prefer staying on property. The Wilderness Lodge is really nice. We stayed there years ago and my family loved it.

Chickamauga, Georgia
Destination Expert
for Orlando, Walt Disney World
Level Contributor
44,100 posts
96 reviews
4. Re: HELP! WDW Rookie--on property or off???

The Wilderness Lodge is one of the nicest resorts at Disney and one of the most beautiful, right on the shores of the lake. Most everyone would love to stay there. However, two rooms, even with AAA rates, is going to be expensive at W.L. since it's a deluxe resort.

Have you considered Port Orleans Riverside? If you get an Alligator Bayou room at this resort, you'll have beds for five in one room. There's a pull-out trundle bed under one of the beds in the room, a good-sized room, two sinks, and lots of storage.

Riverside is a beautiful resort as well, with a great pool area, a fishing hole, a playground, a butterfly garden, a boat that travels to Downtown Disney, horse-drawn carriage rides around the entire Port Orleans property, a good-sized video arcade, and wildlife all over the place (ducks, rabbits, and an occasional deer).

Just something to consider to help out the budget. Good luck planning....it can be as fun as actually going (builds the anxiety up really high).

pa
Level Contributor
55,250 posts
5. Re: HELP! WDW Rookie--on property or off???

Another vote for staying on Property. We have stayed at WL and loved it. Very peaceful after a long day at the Parks. I also recomend the Water Parks Option. I would get a 5 day with water park/disney quest etc. options on it. Animal Kingdom can be done by early afternoon, so you can fit in DTD where Disney Quest is. Another day you can go to 1 of the Water parks in the morning and then over to MGM late afternoon/evening. A day at MK and a day at Epcot and you will have the 5th day to revisit your favorite. You can add days to your Pass at any time before the last day has been used up. Hope that helps a bit

pa
Level Contributor
55,250 posts
6. Re: HELP! WDW Rookie--on property or off???

I was going to mention POR but I knew Kat would be right there for that info. Most of the people on this Forum agree POR is swell. If you can afford the WL, I would still go for that, it is wonderful. Have you looked into The Villas at the WL ? Just a thought

UK
Destination Expert
for Florida
Level Contributor
50,150 posts
22 reviews
7. Re: HELP! WDW Rookie--on property or off???

I myself prefer to stay off property. But if you stay on, do as Kat said and look at the resorts that have rooms that sleep five. It will save you hundreds if not more than a thousand depending on which resort you choose.

A

Destination Expert
for Orlando, Walt Disney World
Level Contributor
24,760 posts
20 reviews
8. Re: HELP! WDW Rookie--on property or off???

I think staying off property is the better option,especially with 3 kids. There are plenty of 2 bedrooms places around Disney,the Vistana gets mixed reviews but it's pretty good from my limited experience. It is great to have kitchen facilities and I think the Disney resorts are overpriced for what you get. We only stay on property when we have really little ones with us that will need a nap. You might also consider the Doubletree Guest Suites(check www.mousesavers.com) which is at DTD and sleeps six.Also check out the Staybridge Suites LBV-they are great and have reasonable 2 bedrooms.

Suntree, Florida
Level Contributor
458 posts
60 reviews
9. Re: HELP! WDW Rookie--on property or off???

I have stayed at both properties. You cannot compare the two.

Wilderness lodge is leaps and bounds better than the Vistana. The Vistana was built many years ago. I remember staying there when I was a teen. It is a timeshare type of hotel. We stayed at the Vistana Villages this past fall and it is far better the older Vistana. You will receive calls in your room pushing the tour of the resort.

This is not to say the Vistana is bad, because it isn't. But compared to the Lodge it's far inferior.

One thing I didn't like about the lodge, it was quite dark in our room and the space is much smaller than the Vistana. At the Vistana you will have a kitchen area, porch, etc. It isn't just a hotel room.

My kids are 5 and 11. Every time we stay off the property they find a million things they want to do. Ripleys Believe it or not, Wonderworks, off site amusement parks, etc. After spending all the money on passes, the last thing you want is your kids to pout because they can't go into the upside house, or whatever attraction catches their eyes. When you stay on the property, you don't have those types of distractions.

Staying on the property allows for afternoon breaks from the parks, great pools, kids activities, etc. It is so very handy to have the access to Disney transportation. They also have the magic hours where the park remains open late or opens early for resort guests.

UK
Destination Expert
for Florida
Level Contributor
50,150 posts
22 reviews
10. Re: HELP! WDW Rookie--on property or off???

I myself cannot stand to not have distractions.

I love the Mouse, but can suffer from Moustraphobia after too much exposure to the mouse.

I have not stayed at Vistana anything. I have stayed at cypress pointe, which is a time share resort as well. I'd never ever buy one, but like staying there on a paying basis occasionally. At 99/night it's cheaper than buying. You can register yourself as a 'no call' at the tour desk, and they can't call you. If they do, you can promise to make a complaint and they will stop. Or just tell them that you own somewhere else.

Look at the cheaper Disney resort rooms that sleep 5, or check out cypress pointe, Windosor Hills, or the suite hotels in LBV such as Doubletree that are walking distance to DTD. You'll save so much money over buying 2 resort rooms it will pay for the park tickets.

with kids that age, I'd say they will get the whole mouselife experience. But save the cash and stay in one room if you do.