I am going to be bluntly honest — I am a part of the .2 percent of folks who really don’t care about what hotel they stay in when vacationing on Disney property. In fact, with the exception of Old Key West, I have always stayed in a value resort and have never encountered a problem with this. The reason is very simple — I drop off my stuff and I’m out the door and I don’t come back until it’s time to shower and sleep. Basically, the hotel is just where I park my luggage for a couple of days. Some of you reading this may be gasping in surprise thinking that there is so much I am missing out on, but the fact of the matter is, Disney World is friggin’ expensive.
Yes, I know, way to spell it out, Captain Obvious.
When I first came to Disney, my parents and I stayed off property. Even though we were only minutes away, the inconvenience of it annoyed me greatly. The trams to the parking lot, looking for a spot, the drive home — all too time consuming. When I returned with a friend, his parents were DVC members and we stayed at Old Key West. It’s a beautiful resort and I’ve stayed in a one bedroom villa all the way to a three-bedroom grand villa. It was spacious and convenient (we had our own means of doing laundry) and we even had a hot tub! I never went in it though and that brings me back to my original point — I’m never in the hotel long enough to take much notice of the extras.
Some folks like to go back and take a swim in the pool, take breaks from the hectic parks, and while I am all for taking your time in Disney, I usually take my breaks in the parks. When I’m tired, I just plop myself on a bench and do what most New Yorkers in Central Park like to do — I people watch. I rest my feet, grab a Mickey shaped ice cream and look at all the screaming kids and exasperated parents pass me by.
Now getting back to all of you who still have your mouths open in shock — I know there is a whole world of hotels out there for me to discover. Folks who save their pennies for a Disney vacation like me, will understand that a bed, a shower, and a sink is really all I need. You also still get the bus service to and from the airport and parks as well as the exceptional customer service that Disney is known for. Last time I was there, my boyfriend, JP, and I stayed at the All-Star Movies and we “splurged” on the preferred rooms which cost us roughly about $15 dollars more a night.
We stayed in the 101 Dalmatians building and had to climb inside a fire hydrant staircase to get to our room. In the morning, on the way to the bus stop, we took a closer look at the huge Pongo and Perdita statues that were at the entrance. We didn’t explore any further than that though and on the subsequent days of that trip, I got sick. (FYI: Experiencing the Magic Kingdom Extra Magic Hours on NYQuil is NOT fun.) Would we have wandered around the resort had I not been confined to my bed? Probably not. To tell you the truth, we probably would not have spent all the time we did at the hotel had I been up and active.
Let’s look at the pros of staying at a Value Resort. I think some of you may have guessed it- – MONEY. On the off-peak season, a room at All-Star Movies will run you about $82 a night. (That’s cheaper than some NY hotels, let me tell ya.) Even during the busy season, like the holidays or the summer, the most you will pay per night is about $169. (This is 2011 prices). Each value hotel caters to individual interests such as movies, music, sports and even decades of time for those nostalgic guests. Each have a cafeteria and their own themed pool (or several rather) so if you do want a day at the hotel, you have enough to keep you occupied.
But seriously, you’re in Disney World. How long are you really going to stay in your room?
Some argue that their distaste for the value resorts stem from the fact that most budget conscious families stay there and it can get pretty loud with the kids. All I have to say to that is — you’re in Disney World (as if you haven’t noticed yet). Kids are kinda part of the package and loud guests can be anywhere really. There are certain spots you can request that will be in quieter sections (like a room that’s nowhere near the pool).
Now with the new Art of Animation hotel almost done with construction, there are new themes that can attract even the most reluctant of guest. I, however, am not one of them — reluctant that is. Always planning, I am already picturing myself standing in the lovely Little Mermaid room surrounded by colorful coral and maybe a portrait of handsome Prince Eric.
But only until I drop my stuff off and grab my purse. I’ve got parks to see, you know.