Thursday, July 12, 2012

Value Resorts: 2 Rooms or a Family Suite, Which is the Better Deal??

So you want to go to Disney World but you are on a budget and want the best value for your family. The first thing to decide on is where you will stay. If you are family of 5 - 6  you have a few options: (1) Reserve 2 Value Resort rooms, (2) stay in a family suite at Disney's All-Star Music Resort or (3) the brand-new Art of Animation Resort.

   I priced the three resorts for my family (on to help demonstrate. There are four of us plus my mother, making five. I have two teenage sons so we don't spend much time in the room, except for sleeping and showering (and sometimes breakfast). The travel dates I'm using in my examples are December 1 - 8, 2012. I am including 7 days base tickets (no hoppers or water parks) and no dining plan. One son is 18 so will be listed as an adult in the examples shown below.

We'll begin with Disney's Pop Century Resort. I will need 2 rooms to house my family for the week.

Room #1 (Standard Room)
December 1 - 8, 2012
MYW Package
7 Days Base Tickets
2 Adults + 1 Child
Price: $1748.53

Room #2 (Standard Room)
December 1 - 8, 2012
MYW Package
7 Days Base Tickets
2 Adults
Price: $1440.66

Total price for both reservations = $3189.19

Here is a look at the room floor plans:

   We usually request that both rooms have the double beds (bottom picture) giving us 4 beds total. That way everyone has their own bed w/the exception of me & hubby. We also request that the rooms either have an adjoining door or are at least next to each other. You can make this request in advance by calling in 407-W-DISNEY after you have made both reservations.

   Each room is 260 square feet and includes: a TV, 2 chairs, a small table, vanity area, bathroom, tub, dresser, nightstand and wall safe.

   Now, given the amount of time we will be staying in the room, this is the perfect set up for us. There are 2 full bathrooms and 4 beds.

Next, we'll take a look at Disney's All-Star Music Resort. We'll book one Family Suite at this location. These rooms can sleep up to 6 guests.

Family Suite:
December 1 - 8, 2012
MYW Package
7 Days Base Tickets
4 Adults + 1 Child
Price: $3307.83

   Now this room is $118.64 more than the 2 rooms at Pop Century and has fewer beds. Take a look at the floor plan below:

   As you can see illustrated above, this room has a Queen bed and a pull-out sofa. There is also a chair/ottoman that converts to a twin-size bed. (I don't know which one of us would be willing to spend a week sleeping in it though.) The family suite is 520 square feet (equal to the 2 rooms at Pop) and also has 2 full baths, 2 TVs, 2 chairs, a table, a desk (in bedroom), nightstands and 2 safes. It differs from Pop in that it also has a mini-kitchen equipped with a microwave and compact fridge.

   Given the increase in price, the age of my sons, the bedding situation and the fact that we eat all of our meals at the parks or resorts, this is not the best deal for us.


Finally, let's look at Disney's Art of Animation Resort. This is the newest resort on property and has been designed specifically to appeal to families traveling to Disney. The Family Suites fully immerse guests into themed rooms from some of Disney's best animated films.

Family Suite (sleeps up to 6 guests):
December 1 - 8, 2012
MYW Package
7 Days Base Tickets
4 Adults + 1 Child
Price: $3693.71

   This package is $385.88 more than the family suite at All-Star Music and $504.52 more than the 2 rooms at Pop. Definitely not the better value for us. Here is a look at the floor plan:

   As you can see, this family suite has a master bedroom with a Queen-size bed, a pull-out sofa and a dining table that converts into a third bed. There are 2 baths, a mini-kitchen, chair, 2 dressers, 2 TVs and a wall safe. It is 565 square feet, making it slightly larger than the family suite offered at All-Star Music.

   Now the main feature of this resort is the whimsically decorated rooms and themed buildings, it's like walking into a Disney movie. But once again, given the age of my children and the amount of time we spend at our resort it can't justify the $500+ increase over 2 rooms at Pop.


Now that you've had a look at the three options, let's ask some questions.

1. How many children will you be traveling with and what are their ages?

This is important for the sleeping arrangements. If you have smaller children then you may fit perfectly fine in one of these family suite floor plans. They may not have a problem sleeping in a convertible sofa or chair for the week. Heck, they may even enjoy it. "It's a Transformer bed, Mom!"

2. How much time will you actually spend in your resort room?

If you have younger children then you may need to come back to your resort for afternoon naps or just to take a little break from the parks. During our first trip, the boys were smaller and it would get extremely hot between 1 and 3 p.m. so we'd return to our resort. But even then we weren't in our room, we were taking a dip in the pool. And now that they're older, we pretty much stay at the parks from open to close.

3. Will you have access to a car?

If you do, then you may want to stay at a family suite and bring your own groceries in. You can store sandwich fixings in the mini-fridge or microwave bowls of oatmeal for breakfast before heading out to a park for the day.

4. Are you on the Disney Dining Plan?

If yes, then you probably won't be needing the mini-kitchen at all since you will be entitled to meals in the parks and resorts.

5. Are you on a budget?

Then you will probably want to go with the most economical choice. As cute as the rooms are at Disney's Art of Animation, can you think of other experiences you can put the extra $500 towards on your vacation? Like going to a character meal or dinner show. Or a princess makeover for your daughter at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. If visiting during the holiday season, you could go to Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party or Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. Or simply split the money up and give each member of your family $100 to spend on souvenirs. And here's my favorite option: put the money away in a "Mickey Jar" and start saving for your next trip. ;)

So now that you've reviewed your choices and asked your questions take some time and price all of your options on Select the one that's best for your family. I hope that this post has somehow helped you in your vacation planning.

Have a Magical Trip!

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