Thursday, April 12, 2018

Let's talk about the hotels at Disney Springs

You all know about Disney Springs, right?  It's the shopping, dining, entertainment complex located near Disney World in Orlando.  There are 7 hotels in the Disney Springs area and I've been curious as to how it would benefit me, if at all, to stay here versus a Disney resort.  I've read a handful of positive reviews by bloggers (who were comped rooms) but "resort fees" and "parking fees" jumped out at me.  I decided to take a closer look at these hotels for myself.

Here are the 7 Disney Springs area hotels:
  • B Resort and Spa
  • Best Western
  • DoubleTree Suites
  • Hilton Buena Vista Palace
  • Hilton Lake Buena Vista
  • Holiday Inn
  • Wyndham Garden

For purposes of the following comparison of cost, let's assume that we're a family of 4 booking a room for 7 nights in early November 2018.  Here's a breakdown of cost per hotel, including taxes and fees.

Best Western = $1,008.  Does not include self-parking fee of $8 per night.

Wyndham Garden = $1,117.  Does not include self-parking fee of $15 per night.

Holiday Inn = $1,202.  Does not include self-parking fee of $18 per night.

DoubleTree Suites = $1,205.  Does not include self-parking fee of $22 per night.  NO RESORT FEE at this hotel.

B Resort and Spa = $1,961.  Does not include self-parking fee of $22 per night.

Hilton Buena Vista Palace = $2,418.  Does not include self-parking fee of $10 per night.  

Hilton Lake Buena Vista = $2,418.  Does not include self-parking fee of $18 per night.

Now let's run some numbers for Disney World resorts for the same time frame.

All-Star Music = $960.  Does not include self-parking fee of $13 per night.

Pop Century = $1,087.  Does not include self-parking fee of $13 per night.

Caribbean Beach = $1,700.  Does not include self-parking fee of $19 per night.  (Under construction during this time.)

Art of Animation = $2,858.  Does not include self-parking fee of $13 per night.

Items to Note

Airport Transportation - If you're staying at a Disney World resort, you are able to take advantage of Disney's Magical Express, which will provide you with free transportation to and from the airport.  The hotels at Disney Springs do not have this benefit so for a true cost analysis, one would have to factor in the cost of traveling to and from the airport.  For our family, I would be inclined to rent a car.  Well, a minivan because we are a large family.  So now I'd have to increase my cost by several hundred dollars plus the parking fee.

Park Transportation - Disney Springs hotels do offer shuttles to and from the Disney parks.  How are those shuttles in terms of time and crowds?  I don't have an answer to that.  It appears that most leave every 30 minutes.  But because I now have a rental car, I would most likely opt to just drive myself to the parks.  So now I'd have to pay to park at Disney, which would be another $22 per day.

Disney Perks - For 2018, those staying at Disney Springs hotels are able to take advantage of Disney Extra Magic Hours and other benefits offered to guests of Disney World resorts.  You can book FastPass+ 60 days in advance and make dining reservations at the 180 day mark.

Character Meals - Both Hilton hotels offer a character meal on Sunday mornings.  The Wyndham has a character breakfast on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings.

Would I consider staying at a hotel in the Disney Springs area?

I definitely would consider staying at one of these hotels in the future.  For our most recent Disney vacations, we've used a travel agent offering a magical deal.  Basically, we've received a significant discount off of the rack rate at deluxe resorts.  Staying at Disney Springs would be a different type of vacation, but not one I'm opposed to.

As a family of 5, it can be difficult to find hotel rooms allowing more than 4 guests.  Many of Disney's resorts have rooms for 5 people.  I'm happy to report that 4 of the Disney Springs area resorts allow more than 5 guests per room:  Best Western, DoubleTree Suites, and both Hiltons.  The suites at the Hilton Buena Vista Palace are $$$ pricey though and, in my opinion, become comparable to a room at a moderate resort at Disney World.

As you can see from the cost analysis above, it is possible to stay at a Disney World value resort for less.  In addition, costs may vary depending on what type of deal you are able to book.  For example, Disney has not yet released special offers for the fall season.  Likewise, you may be able to pick up a Disney Springs hotel room with a reduced rate, which would make your savings even greater.  There are so many factors (hotel cost, transportation, resort theming, hotel amenities) that need to be looked at and thought about, it really comes down to personal preference and the type of vacation that you want.


JEN said...

last time we went to Disney, we rented a house less than a 10 min drive nearby. It was wonderful. Big kitchen, pool (although too cold to use) and separate bedrooms. The kids could go to bed early and we could hang out. It was wonderful. The parking shuttle from the parking lots to the parks was surprisingly fast and easy. It was the best.

A. said...

I’m a fan of the inclusion of the DS hotels. We were able to use Hilton points to stay at the DT DS, making the stay free. Most of the other DS hotels appear to allow direct booking (not via an agent) using cash or points with the same perks...60 day FP+, etc...