As Family Vacation Planners, we are often asked if staying on Disney property is really worth it. For most people they truly understand the benefits and convenience Disney World Resorts offer for their vacation. Everyone is always looking for the “best deal”. I know how important it is to save as much as possible when taking the whole gang on a trip. Can you save money by renting a condo or townhouse off Disney property? YES. I won’t try to cover up the truth. I will however share with you my recent experience, where I myself, was looking to keep some of our hard earned vacation money in the bank. Maybe this story sounds familiar to you.
First off..let me say that I LOVE staying onsite at Disney. The convenience, decor and staying within the magic is what our family is looking for when spending time at Disney World. Seeing that this past trip was not a planned trip for us, more like a last minute, “I am missing the magic.” kind of trip, I had to convince my husband that it wouldn’t cost too much. I weighed the pros and cons of onsite and offsite, just like most of you do. I found a gated community, Windsor Hills, which had great reviews and just minutes from the gates of Disney World. Our family of 4 was excited to get a different experience for this trip. For just under $100 a night we rented a 2 bedroom/2 bath Condo at Windsor Hills. The photos looked so nice and the kids bedroom was even done over in a pirate theme.
Move up to the day we arrived in Orlando. Our flight got in to Orlando in the evening. The plan was to head to the condo, unpack, put the kids to bed and have Hubby head to Walmart to get some essentials we would need for our stay. (We rented a car. Wait till you hear my thoughts on having a car at Disney World. Another post for another day). It was a long day of travel and I was so ready to just finally get to our destination.
From the moment we stepped into the condo, I knew we made a BIG mistake. You could easily see stains on the carpeting. Before bringing in our luggage, we did our normal walk through to make sure all was well. Boy or boy, was I regretting this decision. Not only were the carpets stained, but there was other cleanliness issues throughout. At this point I just knew I couldn’t spend the next 4 nights here. So after crying and getting myself together, I put a phone call into Disney. Mind you this was already after 8pm. I booked us at Pop Century for 4 nights. So not only did I pay for the condo rental, which I was very excited to have those savings, I had to pay additional for our stay at Pop. I emailed the condo owner about our concerns and off we went to Pop Century.
When we pulled up to the resort, we were welcomed before we even got out of the car. My husband dropped the kids and myself off at the front so I could check us in. Bell service helped me get the kids out of the car, took our luggage and Hubby went to grab some stuff at the store. As I was checking in, the amazing Bell Service Cast Member, came to check on me and told me once I was done checking in, he would take me and the kids (with our luggage) to our room. What service!
We got settled into our room, tucked the kids into bed and spent an hour talking about how we will never rent a condo again. I just can’t take that chance. You just never know what is behind those doors. Pictures can only say so much. What I do know is the cleanliness, top notch service and complete convenience I get when I stay at one of the Walt Disney World Resorts. Even if I am paying more for my accommodations, to never go through what we went through again is COMPLETELY worth it for me.
Does this always happen to people when they rent condos? No. But do you want to take that chance?
FYI – Due to the rental agreement we signed with the condo owner, we were unable to get any refund for our stay at the condo, even though we didn’t stay there. According to the condo owner, there was nothing wrong with the unit. Live and learn right?