Being a huge fan of the Disney Parks, we have traveled to Walt Disney World and visited many resorts across Disney property. However, since we have not yet won the lottery, (come on, Powerball!), we have also stayed in our fair share of off-site resorts, hotels, and some otherwise very interesting situations. We have learned where to go, where to avoid, perks of staying off-site, discount opportunities, and more. We’re giving you the down and dirty – the good, the bad, the amazing, and the ugly of staying off-site for your Disney World vacation.
Keep reading to see how you can stay close to Disney World for only $31 per night!
(No, that’s not a typo or click bait. Seriously. Only $31/night. Keep reading.)
Off-Property vs. On-Property
Walt Disney World is filled with more than 25 different resorts in 3 different categories: value, moderate, and deluxe. That’s a staggering 36,000 different hotel rooms across Disney World property! You probably are aware of a lot of the perks of staying on-site, like free transportation to the parks and extra magic hours. But let’s be honest – Disney resorts are expensive. The All-Star Resorts are Disney World’s cheapest value resorts and All-Star Music Resort varied between $123 – $247. Trust us when we say you can get an AMAZING resort suite for way cheaper than that off site.
Deluxe Non-Disney Resorts
A lot of people don’t realize that you can stay directly in the “Disney Bubble”, getting all of the perks of Deluxe Disney resorts, but pay only a fraction! The Disney World Swan and Dolphin and the Disney Swan Reserve actually aren’t Disney Resorts. They are owned by Marriott, and yes that means you can use your Marriott Rewards Points to stay at these hotels!
As mentioned previously, you get the perks of a Disney Deluxe Resort! There is free transportation to the parks, even walking distance to EPCOT and Hollywood Studios, and extra after hours on select nights.
The Swan and Dolphin resorts are not very “Disney-like” in appearance if you are comparing it to the over-the-top theming of the Art of Animation Resort or Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort, but if the theme is not important to you, the price will win you over. We have seen rooms sell for as little as $88! Though we have also seen rooms go for as much as $500 per night. But it is important to remember that this is counted as Deluxe level and Disney Deluxe Resort rooms start around $600 per night!
Disney Good Neighbor Hotels
If you’re looking to save a little cash and have some Disney perks, then Disney Good Neighbor Hotels might be a right choice for you. Hotels can apply to Disney to be considered a “Disney Good Neighbor Hotel” and then Disney will list it on their Good Neighbor Website. If you are completely unfamiliar with Florida, then this list of options is a great place to start.
See the full list here https://www.wdwgoodneighborhotels.com/.
All Disney Good Neighbor Hotels must offer transportation to the parks and have a separate ticket counter for guests to purchase Disney park tickets and/or ask questions about their Disney visit. Each hotel’s transportation to the parks vary, so if that is a feature you would like to utilize, be sure to call ahead to check the schedule. The hotels are only required to offer transportation to the park one time there and one time back, though some hotels go above and beyond and run buses once per hour.
We used to rely on the Good Neighbor Hotel list put out by Disney because we were under the assumption that if it had the Disney name attached to it at all that there must be high standards. That is not the case. Read reviews. Trip advisor is not your friend. The Disney Good Neighbor Hotel List is a great starting point to find a place to stay, but it doesn’t mean the hotel will be nice.
Personal Experience: Let’s just say that the worst hotel we have ever stayed in in Florida was a Disney Good Neighbor Hotel. It was dirty, dingy, broken, and horrible customer service. The Disney Good Neighbor stamp just ensures transportation and a Disney Parks customer service representative.
Timeshare Resorts by Disney World
The areas around Walt Disney World are loaded with timeshare resorts like Diamond Resorts, Westgate Resorts, Wyndham Resorts, etc. I know what you’re thinking… “Timeshare? Run away!” But that is not the case here. These resorts don’t sell every unit, which means that there are villas available all the time for non-owners to book.
Villas are basically vacation apartments. They include bedrooms, a living room, and a much appreciated kitchen for your home away from home. Often these villas are overlooked because people expect them to be so expensive, but we found tons of villas cheaper than most resort rooms on Disney property.
Personal Experience: Our most recent trip involved renting a villa from a Kissimmee timeshare resort, and we will have a hard time going back to a traditional hotel room. Don’t get me wrong, they do try to upsell you at check-in and try to convince you to buy a timeshare. Be strong and persistent. The minor annoyance was totally worth it. We had what felt like a small house to ourselves, plus pools, slides, and all the amenities that you expect on vacation. Shockingly, we had all that at only $129 per night for a 2 bedroom villa.
If you are in a real money saving crunch, or just love a deal, you can often call timeshare resorts to get a 4 day / 3 night deal for around $99 – $199 total. Yes, that would be the total for all 3 nights, but there is a catch. A really obnoxious catch. To get those great timeshare deals you have to sit through a timeshare sales pitch. They are often quoted saying that it will only take 2-3 hours, but check reviews! Most guests report “being held hostage” for 5 or more hours! On top of that, there is no meals or child care provided, so that sounds fun, right? If you can get through that meeting, you cannot beat the price!
Disney Springs Area Hotels
Another great area to consider when staying off-property are hotels in the Disney Springs area. When searching, type “Lake Buena Vista” as the search area to start in the right direction. You can find all budgets and ratings in this area, and it’s perfect for those who enjoy night life! Some people like to crash into their beds after a full park day and others like a night cap. Stay in a resort near Disney Springs so you can go enjoy a late meal, get a drink, see some entertainment, or even go bowling!
Discount sites like Hotwire, Kayak, Priceline, etc. have been saving people money on hotels for years. Also having customer reviews on each hotel helps immensely, as well. But did you know that sometimes there are even Disney Resort hotels on these sites? It’s true!
But they’re hidden…
Disney will often sell unused rooms, but they could never get away with charging future customers insane prices if they knew that the same room might be sold for a fraction of the price other times. Sites like Hotwire have “hot deals” where the site will show you a price, category, and rating of a hotel room, but won’t actually show you the name of the hotel. It’s a gamble for sure, but you could actually land Disney hotels like Coronado Springs, Disney’s Boardwalk, or Art of Animation. Try searching “Bonnet Creek” as your search area to increase your chances of a discounted Disney room. Here’s the catch, once you book the room, it is non-refundable. Good luck.
Budget Friendly Disney World Hotel Options
If you’re like me, the price tag is the first thing I look at when researching hotels. Before room pictures, pools, and amenities, it’s about price! With so many hotels in the Orlando area, it’s easy to find inexpensive options, but how cheap is too cheap? You want to feel safe on vacation. While we have covered all of the other hotel types in broad strokes so you can make the best decision for you and your family, we feel that this category should be more specific.
Personal Experience: We have stayed at the Ramada by Wyndam Kissimmee Gateway on 7470 W Irlo Bronson Memorial HWY in Kissimmee 4 times now. Each time we stayed we paid between $31 – $42 per night. No joke.
Now, the first time we booked at this low price it was purely to see if it was real and bad it would be. We were shocked to find that it was great! The rooms are bare bones, but very clean, and the resort is next to a Starbucks.
PRO-TIP: We recommend when booking this resort to request the courtyard, pool view. This courtyard is filled with tropical trees and plant life so that you completely forget that you are in a cheap hotel on the highway!
This is not a paid ad, nor have I received any credit from Ramada for this recommendation. Readers – like many of you, I do not live in Florida, but I want to spend as much time in Disney as I can. Having a cheap place to lay my head at night makes it possible. If you’re looking for the cheapest, cleanest, and safest hotel in the Disney World area, be sure to check out this hotel.
Would you stay at a $31/night hotel?
I am a mother of three that has refused to grow up. Adulting is for the birds, so I go to Disney World every chance I get for that magical escape from reality. I believe that Haunted Mansion is the best ride in all of the Disney Parks, and I am fervently in team Happily Ever After for fireworks spectaculars, (sorry, not sorry, Enchanted). Finally, I hope I never grow tired of skipping down Main Street, USA, and my dream come true would be “friends with” the Fairy Godmother in my old age.