It is true you can get “space” while staying on property at Walt Disney World, but space comes with a price tag. “Space” at a resort hotel starts around 227 square feet and can go up to 2,349 square feet (remember that a majority are closer to the 227 number). Over the course of all of our Disney trips, our average room was 314 square feet and contained: one king bed or two doubles (many have been upgraded to two queens) and a small refrigerator. The biggest room we ever had was at Boardwalk where we had a one bedroom/one bath that was about 712 square feet with a small, but full kitchen. We put one kid in the living room, one kid in a closet, and we had the bedroom to ourselves.
Last year we stayed off property at five different resorts or timeshares and rented a townhouse. Off property was always substantially cheaper (we’ll get some specific numbers in another article). Our smallest stay was a two bedroom, two bathroom condo with a full kitchen and in-unit washer/dryer at 1,050 square feet. Our largest was a three bedroom, three bathroom condo with a full kitchen and in-unit washer/dryer at 1,547 square feet (the townhouse was huge!). Again, we’ll talk price later, but I will say they were all much cheaper than a studio or standard room on property.
Benefits of staying off property at WDW
So let’s start with just the simple space. With a larger condo or a house you have room to spread out a little. You can often get at least a two bedroom so that you can have one room and the kiddos can share the second room. Lord knows that after a day at the parks a little quiet adult time is needed. Additionally, by not all sleeping in the same room, the adults and older kids can stay up a little later without keeping the younger children up. While we’re talking about kids, nap times are a lot easier when everyone isn’t in the same room. As a bonus, if you have someone in your group that really needs “people-free” time, a one or two bedroom condo can provide that.
Another benefit, beyond space, is that most condos and timeshares have full kitchens and an in-unit washer and dryer. This makes it even easier to save a couple more dollars on the trip and adds a little comfort as well. While it requires a quick run to the closest Publix, you are able to stock up on food for the week. You can eat full breakfasts in the condo before leaving, take lunch into the parks, and cook your own meals at dinner. You don’t necessarily need to do all three every day, but you have the option to. Even just breakfasts in-room and taking most lunches saves quite a bit of money on a trip. Plus, having a full kitchen in the evening (not in the same room everyone is sleeping in) gives you a little flexibility to, let’s say, make that late night frozen pizza after Illuminations! The in-unit washer and dryer means that you don’t need to lug your dirty clothes down to the laundry room – you can do them in the room without quarters.
The last big “space” benefit is bathrooms. Most two bedroom condos or timeshares have two bathrooms as well. If you have extra adults or teenagers in your group, you can never have too many bathrooms. We found it convenient even with just our two young children.
So, without getting into the nitty gritty pricing details, you can see some of the benefits of having extra space by staying off property at WDW. That is, staying off property for at least the same price as staying on property (or maybe less). In our next article we’ll take a look at the transportation factor.
On or Off Property?!?! Check out Jonathan’s full article series covering this great debate:
Staying Off Property at WDW with More Space