As you may have sensed by now from my endless preaching, staying on property for a Disney World vacation is HIGHLY ADVISED. Well… when I was offered a free hotel stay off property, I knew it would be stupid of me to say no. Any trip to Disney is worth it, even off property.
I tagged along with my father who was attending a conference. Since it was his work paying for the room, I wasn’t going to complain about staying off property. I also was excited to experience it so I would finally have a comparison. As much as I like Marriott hotels and the experience we had, I still 1000000% believe in staying on property!! Here is a quick review of the hotel and an explanation of why I won’t stay off property again (unless free hotel because… duh).
The Resort | The property is located on World Center Drive in Orlando, which basically borders Walt Disney World. When working for the mouse, my bus drove past this property all the time! The resort and hotel itself are huge, like one of the biggest Marriott properties I have ever been to. The reason? It is a massive convention center that is one of the most popular options in the Orlando area. It has a golf course, the hotel, the convention center, a huge pool with major water slides, and quite the nightlife.
Transportation | This is where things get tricky. There is no transportation to and from the airport, so be sure to arrange your own transportation. There is parking available if you rent a car, I believe it is included in the resort fee.
Transportation to Disney is.. well.. complicated. As a guest paying a resort fee, you are able to use the transportation service. It must be booked the night before you use it at the concierge desk. They print of a ticket that you provide to the driver on your way and a second copy to use getting back. You must pick a time for pick up at the hotel, you can’t take whatever one you prefer. Getting back to the hotel, you can simply get on any bus at the times listed. When we used it, there was one bus that went to all 4 parks for drop off. I believe this is variable, depending on how many people are reserved to be on the shuttle. Because of very little flexibility with transportation to the parks, I only rode the shuttle once. I used Uber for every other trip to the park.
The Room | This is a standard Marriott property, but you can see its wear and tear from major visitation. We had a room in the West Tower, 6th floor looking over the pool area. We could see the Epcot park icon from our room, which was unique. The room was standard, what I would equate to a moderate Disney Resort.
Food and Amenities | The resort has lots of options for food, so you will not lack options. There is a marketplace that you can buy snacks and food from, a Starbucks, a few bars and restaurants, and room service. You can also find a spa, a gym, a huge pool, and a golf course. You will not find yourself bored here!
Thoughts | While our stay was wonderful and the hotel is high quality, it would not be my choice to stay at for a Disney Trip. There is very little flexibility in coming and going to your room from the parks. You also do not have any of the usual perks that come with a Disney resort. If you are visiting Orlando area, consider this as an option. But if you are on a Disney Vacation, I highly recommend staying on property.