Our trip to Florida included a stay at the Caribe Royale – a hotel about two miles from the entrance to Disney. There are pros and cons to staying offsite…which I’ll go through briefly in a minute.
The hotel we stayed at was nice – had restaurants on site; the suite we stayed in had a living room and then a bedroom, a small fridge and microwave; a pool with a cool waterslide and due to the time of year, it wasn’t crowded – and we were set! Oh, did I mention it was $220 cheaper per NIGHT than staying on site at Disney? Yep.
A poolside parrot! (Who freaked everyone out everytime he squawked!)
And on the weekend nights they showed a kid’s movie poolside with free popcorn. One of the highlights of the trip for the kids.
Although it was a large conference hotel – it wasn’t too packed and we didn’t have trouble with noise, other than the very first night when some very very loud people had a little party going on down below our window. Other than that, it was fine.
Pros on staying off site:
-We had a rental car and could get around easily.
-Because we had a car, we could eat at other than Disney restaurants. Translation: Cheaper food.
-When you have a spouse who can handle only so much of the Magic, it’s better to give him (or her!) a break from having to be around it 24/7.
Cons to staying off site:
-I will give it to Disney, their on-site places are super nice and super Magical. We stayed at one years ago due to the generosity of a friend.There are on-site restaurants, fabulous pools (the one we stayed at had real sand as the bottom of the pool), on-site groceries and drugstore, so you could get everything you needed. But not many Disney resorts have room for more than four people to a room (bummer), so when you have a family of five or more, you have to get a two bedroom suite – mucho $$$. (There is one resort that you can fit five into one room, I believe it’s the All Star Music Resort. )
-When staying on-site, transportation is well-run and available. You also get one hour extra time at a park each day.
-The Magic is non-stop!