Hello Dad, I really love your website, it is the most comprehensive guide I've come across so far. Me and my daughter are dying to visit Disney world but I am a bit nervous as I have never been to America.
To save on the cost of the holiday I have been looking at hotels outside of the Disney World. I have seen a really good deal with a hotel called Ramada Gateway Hotel and Inn near Kissimmee. Have you heard of this hotel and do you know if it is in reasonable walking distance to Disney World. Thank you for your time.
You won't find any hotels like this outside Disney World (the Pop Century) - Photo by Tom Bricker
Dad’s Save Your Pennies Answer
A trip to Walt Disney World is a magical experience – especially for a family coming to Orlando for the first time from a country far away. It can be very overwhelming, but the best advice I can give to you is that when you’re spending so much time and money to travel there, it’s better to do it right and not risk being disappointed, even if that means that you need to save your pennies a little while longer.
I have good news and bad news for you, so let’s start with the bad. Nothing is walking distance in Walt Disney World – sometimes even the resort hotels aren’t comfortable walking distance from one end to the other! The closest you’ll get is a 15 minute walk between the Magic Kingdom and the Contemporary Resort, or a 5-20 minute walk from Epcot to the Epcot-area resorts. Walt Disney World is twice the size of Manhattan, so walking from one point to another isn’t practical.
Let's take the Ramada Inn Gateway for example, it's about 9 miles from the hotel to the Magic Kingdom. Even getting to Downtown Disney it's about 7 miles. The closest Disney property to that hotel is Animal Kingdom at 2.7 miles. That's a bit far to walk.
Also, no matter how good the price is, don’t forget to factor in that you’ll need to pay for parking each day that you visit Walt Disney World, and you’ll have to rent a car and pay for gas. If you’re already nervous about visiting America, driving on the busy roads at Walt Disney World might not be such a calming experience.
Looking at a random week in 2013 (October 5-12), you’d pay around $43 per night at the hotel plus $14 per day for parking plus $30-70 per day for a rental car (let’s call it $50 when you figure in taxes). That’s about $107 per day to stay off-site, and spend at least an hour driving to and from the parks and parking each day. That’s about $749 just for hotel and transportation.
Looking at that same week in October, the price for your hotel stay at the All-Star Sports would be $826 or $118 per night, which doesn’t include any of the discounts that Disney frequently offers. For only $11 more per night you can let Disney do the driving and concentrate instead on having a relaxing time with your daughter.
I really would suggest you talk to a Disney Travel Agent who can help you make the best decisions. I recommend Pixie and Pirate Destinations. They will be able to help you chose the perfect hotel even if it's outside of Disney World.
Dad's Bottom Line
Laura, if it were up to me, I’d save your pennies for a little while longer and look for discounts on the Walt Disney world website so you can stay on Disney property at a Value Resort – the small increase in money will save you time and stress!