Breaking Down Disney Vacation Planning – Step Three: Where to Stay

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Step Three of Breaking Down Disney Vacation Planning into Five Easy Steps:  Where to Stay?

Over my last two blogs I have explained my first two steps to making a Disney Vacation easier to plan.  From researching Disney to determining the goal of your trip, these two steps were laid out to help make your planning a little easier.  My third step actually gets you into the actual planning of the trip; in this step, we will look at choosing which resort to stay at while visiting Disney World.


It is important to know the goal of your trip before determining which resort to stay at while visiting Disney World.  Knowing if you are going from sun up to sun down, taking breaks in the afternoon or even visiting other places in Florida will all help narrow your resort choices.  Once you have determined the goal of your trip from step two, you can move on to considering where you want to stay.

The major question to ask yourself when looking at resorts is if you would like to stay on-property (a Disney resort) vs off-property (non-Disney resort).  I have personally stayed both on and off site during different vacations and I had great experiences at both types of resorts, but that was because our goal of the trip matched with our resort choice.

For example, on our honeymoon, my husband and I went to Universal as well as Disney, so staying at a Disney resort didn’t make sense for us.  When we went to Disney when my daughter was 18 months old we knew we wouldn’t be at the parks very often so off property was fine.  When we returned when she was four and our son was two our trip was a Disney focused week so staying on property was the right choice.  Again, when my husband and I returned for our ten year anniversary, we wanted to be able to come and go from the parks without the hassle of us driving, so again a Disney resort was perfect.



Make sure to look at the pros and cons of both staying on and off Disney property.  In general, staying on-site gives you the close proximity to the parks so coming and going midday is easier.  On-site gives you Disney 100% of the time.

On the other hand, staying off property will probably be cheaper overall and give you the freedom of your own car, however, that means parking fees and traffic.   In general, it is harder to come and go midday while staying off property, but if your goal is to go all day that isn’t a concern.

Again when choosing to stay on or off Disney property make sure you take into consideration your goals of your trip.  Once you have determined if you want to stay on property or off property, you then can break down your resort hunting even more.




After determining on or off property, you still have decisions to make.  This is where I go back to step one of research and a handy spreadsheet.  On my spreadsheet I list the important factors to me.  Costs, location, amenities, pools and theme all go on my spreadsheet.

First you need to determine how much you are willing to spend.  Disney breaks their resorts into value, moderate and deluxe each going up in price and up in services.  Off property you will be able to find your chain hotels all the way to luxury condos.  Either way you need to look at your budget.  WhereToStay2

Next look at your necessities.  Do you need a fridge, kitchen, laundry?   How many beds?  Close location to a specific park?  Decide what the necessities are for your travel party and use that on your spreadsheet.

Finally, determine what fun you want at your resort.  Pools? Specific theme?  Food options?  All of Disney’s resorts have themes from animals and beaches to romance and wilderness.  What would appeal to your travel party?

Once you do a little research on these resorts,  look at which one provides you the best way to achieve the goal of your trip while providing you with the needs and fun you want as well.  There are so many choices out there that it can be extremely overwhelming.   Make sure to break it down and focus on your research and goal from steps one and two of planning as that will help you when determining where to stay while visiting Disney.


Now that you know where to stay, look for my fourth step of planning a Disney vacation planning:  food!

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