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Disney resort villas question

(34 Posts)
mrscardigan Mon 26-Aug-13 18:08:35


Anyone any experience of Old Key West and Saratoga Springs?

We are travelling to Florida end of July next year. Flights booked and now the planning begins. I am looking at accommodation (me, DH, mother and DD 7 and DS10).

I have looked at the Old Key West and Saratoga Springs and both look good. Is there free transportation to the parks? Not sure about a private villa because of the driving involved to and from the parks and want it to be special for the children.

A week at one of those, booking though Disney, is coming up as £2499 for villa for 7 days plus park tickets £1370 (doing 21 days tickets as plan to return at end of the holiday for a few nights) - also get a free dining plan with that. So grand total of £3,869. And that's meant to be with a 35% discount!

I realize I would have to buy park tickets wherever I stay so I might as well get them and get the free dining plan.

There are no other hotels available to book yet with Disney apart from OKW and SSR. So my question is will other hotels (moderate) offer free dining plans when they do become available if I wait a few months?

I did look at DVC but that was the same price as Disney but without the free dining plan so am totally confused! Was expecting it to be less. Has anybody and experience with DVC? I have worked out the points I would need and multiplied it by $14 (Dave's website) and it worked out the same as Disney! Can that be right?

So confused!

Groovee Tue 27-Aug-13 08:56:43

I wonder if the other hotels are sold out as free dining was released earlier in the year and a lot of people were snapping up bargains with Port Orleans while others were snapping up Saratoga Springs for 2014 right up to Christmas next year.

Which dining plan are you getting Quick Service or Table service?

Groovee Tue 27-Aug-13 08:57:40

And yes there is free transportation to all disney parks from any disney resort.

We stayed in a villa in Davenport this year and the driving was fine. I love driving in Florida. Its so much easier than Edinburgh.

mrscardigan Tue 27-Aug-13 11:20:07

We're being offered 1 quick service, 1 table meal and 1 snack. TBH not sure my youngest would eat very much at all, so prob not worth it for her!

Then I'm thinking that a table service meal would involve sitting down for 1 - 1.5 hours a day which could eat (no pun intended) into your Disney time? Perhaps just quick meals would suit us more then?

MOSagain Tue 27-Aug-13 14:34:58

OMG! Is that really £2499 just for the villa for a week? shock

A friend of mine recently stayed at a Disney Resort (Carribean beach) and although she had a great time and the transport was convenient they spent a long time waiting for buses.
She also had some sort of meal plan as when we met a few days before she left they still had vouchers left for around 30 meals (4 of them there for 14 nights) Seems her husband ended paying a lot of cash for meals as he got fed up with a lot of the restrictions involved in the DDP. He said it was often a case of you could have this and not that etc etc. I've no personal experience of it myself but would suggest you looking carefully at exactly what is included.

Groovee Tue 27-Aug-13 14:50:52

You wouldn't get free dining but what about a family suite at Art of Animation or the All stars ones. Disney hotels are expensive but I've always felt worth the cost. You get the extra magic hours which was a huge bonus for us and we liked being able to jump to parks when we felt like it.

I've never done DDP and we've never fancied it as we always liked heading to the parks by bus then popping back to the hotel for the car and eating at Lake Buena Vista or International Drive. The 192 was great for food this time round as it was closer to our villa.

At the end of the day you have to decide a price you are happy to pay without then thinking, heck we've paid alot.

Fluffy1234 Tue 27-Aug-13 18:13:32

I think it's just the Caribbean hotel and more expensive ones that offer the dining plan. They are all available to book now for next summer. I guess the price sounds high as it's for a family of 5 with 3 adults.

MOSagain Tue 27-Aug-13 18:20:53

Groovee hope you don't mind me asking you a quick question? You've obviously stayed in villas a few times. Can I ask, how much security deposit you get charged and how soon after your departure it is refunded? TIA

mummymeister Tue 27-Aug-13 18:26:16

We stayed in a couple of villas - one about 10 minutes and one about 20 minutes away. they were nowhere near this price and had your own pool, south facing, Jacuzzi loads of room etc. if you are going with small ones the dining plans are being really panned by travel experts. this is disneys way of making money without putting up park prices. we had huge breakfasts before we left. we took in substantial sandwich "snacks" for the kids to eat, we had an icecream or afternoon treat and then ate at home or out more cheaply. tbh the choice of food in Disney parks is beyond monotonous and you will be really fed up of Caesar salads within a week. You don't get the choice of whats on the menu - you get told what you can have and you will really not get vfm this way at all. The villas we stayed in are owned by brits and work out at £600 - £800 per week. PM if you want details.

MOSagain Tue 27-Aug-13 18:31:00

mummymeister that is actually pretty expensive. You could get a 4 bed with private pool and games room 10 mins from Disney from around £475 pw depending on season (£575 peak) £800 is really expensive.

LOL at caesar salads comment. I usually love them and am sick of them. Longing for proper food at the beach tomorrow

Groovee Tue 27-Aug-13 18:56:53

Our last one was $300 once in resort. I used my credit card for it but nothing was charged to it at all. I know other owners who take a £250 cash deposit and pay it back within 4 days.

Groovee Tue 27-Aug-13 18:59:22

I love sweet tomatoes. I am trying to talk dh in to letting me open one next to Krispy Kreme here. He's not for it... yet!

MOSagain Tue 27-Aug-13 19:18:16

Thanks Groovee, thats interesting. We charge £200 and refund within a few days of departure, just wondered what the going rate was. Used to charge only £100 and found myself considerably out of pocket once when someone caused hundreds of $ of damage. A friend of mine once paid £800 which I think is way too high.

sweet tomatoes? have I missed something? Not heard of that.

Groovee Wed 28-Aug-13 08:15:31

Sweet Tomatoes Loved it, I tried all 7 soups much to dd's horror. Loved the baked potatoes and ds loved the pizza breads and pasta.

mrscardigan Wed 28-Aug-13 09:03:39

This has been so useful. Thank you.

MOSagain - I will look carefully into what you've said, crunch the numbers and see if it would be cost effective for my family.

Got me thinking of a private villa/apartment now. In my mind I see horrendous daily commute to get to Disney and then queues to get in. Tell me I'm wrong? it will be August after all. Then from what some people have said it can take a while to get anywhere staying in a resort hotel!

Another thing about driving....If you pay to park in one of the car parks at Disney ($14 I think) do you have to pay again if you leave and go back that evening? Which are the closest villas/apartments?

couch25cakes Wed 28-Aug-13 12:12:24

We got a one bed villa at SSR for next August including two weeks park tickets and the dining plan for £2499 a couple of months ago-does your quote not include tickets? We're doing a week onsite then ten days in a villa. It's our first time onsite so I'm really looking forward to it ( have already planned all our table service meals blush)

Taz1212 Wed 28-Aug-13 13:32:16

I own DVC (Wilderness Lodge Villas) so I can explain a bit about how the villas work. DVC is Disney timeshare. Disney retains ownership of a certain percentage of each location and they have quite a bit of surplus ownership of Saratoga Springs and Old Key West which is why you will see them on offer with free dining. None of the other DVC resorts (Bay Lake Tower, Kidani, Boardwalk Villas etc) ever go on offer with free dining and they are very very expensive if rented directly through Disney.

David's has no relationship with Disney- he just acts as a middle man between DVC owners and people wanting to rent DVC accommodation. Because it's a free market, the price is determined by demand which is currently (for David, there are other less expensive ways to rent) $14pp. DVC owners never get free dining, although we can purchase the plan.

So if it's OKW or SSR that you're interested in, you're best going through WDW while they are on offer. If it's any of the other DVC resorts that you want (and don't mind paying for your food) you're best renting points from someone.

MOSagain Wed 28-Aug-13 13:45:26

mrscardigan our friends who were at Carribean Beach said it took anything from 10 - 40 minutes to get to the parks. A lot depended on the time of day and how many passengers there were waiting. Where their rooms were on the resort it was a 10 minute walk to the bus stop.

If you are thinking of villas, I'd highly recommend Loyalty Homes. It is a company owned by an english lady who moved out here around 14 years ago. She only manages luxury homes within 4 miles of Disney most of which have private pools and many of which have a gamesroom which is a good place for the kids to hang out and give the adults peace and quiet wink You can get a 4 bed from around $100 per night and special deals are sometimes available.

This is one of the houses they manage This house and all the other Loyalty Ones are literally 4 miles from World Drive (Disney) - the time to each park will depend on which one. Nearest ones are only 10 mins door to door, furthest maybe 15 depending on traffic lights. Driving is really easy here, I went for 5 years once without driving when we lived in the Middle East but happily drive here.

With regards to parking, it varies between about $12 and $16 per day but if you go to another Disney park the same day you don't have to pay to park again.

It will be busy in August but if you go at the very end it is quieter as all the locals have gone back to school and a lot of the UK tourists will have returned home. We went to Universal/IOA last week and was relatively busy (30 - 45 min queues) but when we went 2 days ago the longest we waited was 10 minutes, the rest of the rides were pretty much walk on.

With Disney, I've always found it best to get to the parks around 30 mins before they open to allow for time to get from car park, get tickets etc (although most buy in advance for better deals)

cerealandtoast Wed 28-Aug-13 15:49:35

Blimey there's a lot of rubbish being spouted about staying on resort at Disney.

It is undoubtedly more expensive staying at a Disney resort than a villa. Same as staying at any hotel would be more expensive than staying in a villa (especially taking into account luxury levels etc). Same in the uk - we can find a holiday let/serviced apartment for our family far cheaper than the equivalent rooms in a hotel.

However, the DDP is not particularly restrictive - what you see is what you get. the standard DDP (one counter service, one table service, one snack, plus refillable drinks cup good for the duration of your stay at resort refill stations) is pretty easy to work out.

you get all of the above per person, per night of your stay, usually loaded onto your room keycard. you do not have to use to use one of each credit each day, so could for eg do 3 table service meals one day, followed by 2 counter service and one snack the next. the credits are valid from checkin until midnight on the day you check out.

the food at Disney is anything but monotonous. yes, there are several burger/fries places, but there is anything and everything else available too. I have done several Disney holidays, and have only ever eaten a burger when I wanted to (not very often, tbh, although the ones I have had were delicious!). The children's menus (children are age 9 and under) are quite restrictive, imo, but there are ways around this. If using counter service, then there is no difference between a child credit and an adult credit, so you can order anything rather than being restricted to the children's menu. At table service, you can book buffet restaurants, so obviously the children could choose anything available, or family style, where the food is brought out on a huge platter, sharing-style. Or, there is always the option of sharing from your plate, as the meals can be quite large.

I really don't see how anyone would end up buying meals rather than use credits due to restrictions - there aren't really that many restrictions, and extras can always be added (rather than buying a whole separate meal).

One bonus we found of the DDP (we haven't always done the DDP, but are doing it next time, and would always do it if offered for free) was booking character meals - it saves waiting in lines in the parks to meet favourite characters, and a break from the heat and sun, especially with little children, can be really refreshing. We've found that taking a break to have a meal can mean we end up spending longer int eh parks, as we feel refreshed enough for another few hours.

Look around carefully for deals when trying to book on resort. We are going in a couple of months, and got a good deal, imo. We paid £7k for a family of 5, for flights, 2 weeks at OKW (2 bedroom villa, which is huuuuuge), DDP, and car hire. other than tips at table service meals, we technically do not have to spend a single penny, as it is all included, and the DDP is more than enough food to spread over the week(although we will, of course, end up with extras and souvenirs).

I'm not sure I would want to rely on Disney transport for the hwole holidy. we have always used a car by preference (although you end up parking a loooong way from the entrance, rather than being dropped off right next to it), as that suits us better.

cerealandtoast Wed 28-Aug-13 15:54:24

oh, and good stealth advertising again, MOS hmm

Groovee Wed 28-Aug-13 17:13:52

We were in Orlando over July 4th and the traffic was no where near as bad as I expected it to be. I actually found it quiet. The Sunday after 4th July was hideous to get out of Orlando for those driving back up to Jacksonville etc.

mrscardigan Wed 28-Aug-13 17:59:49

couch25cakes - that is an excellent price. Yes, £2499 is without the park tickets. I guess it must be because we need a 2 bedroom villa that it is over £1k more?

cerealandtoast - if you don't mind me asking who did you book with?

cerealandtoast Wed 28-Aug-13 18:26:03

I booked with Virgin (sorry, should have said!). We booked last November-ish.

Forgot to mention we also got $200 gift card.

MOSagain Thu 29-Aug-13 02:16:46

cerealandtoast what is your problem? I have recommended, as I often do, a company that offers a huge range of villas from 2 - 6 bedrooms to suit all budgets that are within a few miles of Disney which is something the OP said she may be interested in considering once she weighed up your options. I often recommend Loyalty as many Mumsnetters who are British like to deal with British owned companies. I have no financial interest in Loyalty homes and do not get any form of commission from them so I fail to see what your issue is.

The OP, and possibly other MNers are often considering whether to stay in hotels or Disney and it is nice for them to have the available information to make a decision on what is best for them.

You seem very set on Disney, singing its praises. Do you perhaps work for them? Stealth advertising on your behalf perhaps?

I have it on very good authority from friends who left a Disney hotel/resort less than a week ago that the food is VERY monotonous and they were not able to use all their meal tickets as a number of dining establishments would not accept them for certain meals.

OP if you decide against a package and book independently I'd suggest looking at flights (BA) into Tampa instead of Orlando. Its only about an extra 20 - 25 mins drive but you can save hundreds. Last summer we saved £1,200 (6 of us) flying into Tampa and this time we saved £800(4 of us). Also, get quote for Fridays or Monday which tend to be cheaper than Saturday and Sunday.

Hope you find what you are looking for.

cerealandtoast Thu 29-Aug-13 06:28:57

No problem with recommending and single company. But that isn't what you did. You recommended your own villa. MN charges a fee for advertising. You shouldn't be stealth advertising your own villa, without even mentioning it is yours, and then denying you would make anything out of t (yes, I can read, and I understand you didn't deny making any money at all. The principle remains the same).

OP, I would recommend looking that The Dibb website (there are other available, and I have no affiliation whatsoever with The Dibb wink) and reading up on your options. They have vast amounts of info on all aspects of a Disney holiday, whether staying in a villa, hotel or on resort (and have. Section for villa owners to advertise too - maybe you'll find MOS' villa there!)

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