Originally Posted by JFM-jr
I leave in 3 weeks! I am a Vacation Club Member and have been many times it does'nt seem to ever get old lots of great memories there. I will say if the budget allows for it stay inside Disney it's a much different experience from the minute your luggage is taken from your hometown airport (if your flying).
I did a lot of research on the Disney Resort Hotels. (my preference would have been to stay inside Disney if it was not cost prohibitive). For my DW and 2 daughters the preference was for a 2 bedroom hotel room. (prefer the girls having their own private room for sleeping). I had a hard time finding any 2 bedroom Disney Resort Hotel rooms - the few I did find were over $350.00 per night compared to where we stayed.
Our 2nd consideration for considering the Disney resort would have been the meal plan, however once again the price for the meal plan seemed quite a bit on the high side compared to our option of staying at a hotel equipped with a kitchen (fridge, stove, dishwasher, pots, pans, dishes and cutlery provided). Shopped at a 24 hour Walmart Superstore the first night we were there and stocked up our kitchen for the whole week.
We did splurge on a "Character Dining Experience" with the Disney Princesses at the Royal Banquet Hall in Epcot, however for the rest of the time we packed our own snacks/food to take into Disney. The park meal prices were quite high (ie: $4.00 for a small popcorn - as opposed to us bringing a tube of pringles for 99 cents). Disney allows you to bring your own food in and dine at any of the outdoor table areas no problem.
One of the advantages of staying at a Disney resort was the free transportation to the parks. We decided to rent a car for $200.00 to give us some flexibility on the times we arrived & left the parks. Overall that worked pretty good - with parking fees of $15.00 per day and gas of $50.00 the transportation cost us about $350.00
Overall though the savings realized by staying just outside of Disney were too much to overlook. The World Quest Resort where we stayed was 1rst class. (1200 square feet of living space - 2 separate bedrooms & 2 separate bathrooms for both us and the kids, jacuzzi tub, swimming pool, continental breakfast....and other ammenities for $100.00 per night.
I calculate that we saved $1,500 by staying at the World Quest an managing our own dining.
Location of the World Quest is excellent as well. Just outside the Disney Resort area - 10 minute drive to Animal Kingdom, Epcot and Magic Kingdom.
Just my 2 cents from our experience.