Hey dad, We are going to Disney World in June and staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. We are have a 12 hour drive coming from Kentucky and was going to leave early the day before we check in and drive within an hour of Disney and stop and get a room so we are somewhat rested when we get to Disney World. Any suggestions on where to stay?
Choosing a hotel close to Disney World is an interesting proposition. There are over 300 hotels in the Orlando area. No, I haven't stayed in all of them. I have stayed in a few but none that knock my socks off.
Like I said, almost the same question and a year later, my answer is still pretty much the same. Even if you are driving in from Kentucky or even farther, I think you'll be more rested and it will be more fun to wake up inside "the World" than if you stay at some "Motel 6" along the way. Yes, you might save $50 or so, but you won't get the same experience.
If you were to stay an hour away from Walt Disney World that would put you around Sanford Florida. (The town just north of Orlando.) Sanford only has a few hotels and none of them are anything special. Check out reviews of Sanford hotels at TripAdvisor.
Just stay in the car for a bit longer and before you know it you'll be in heaven, oops, I mean Walt Disney World. You know what you are getting with a Disney Hotel. Your room will be clean. It will be interesting. It will be fun.
Yes, I recommend a Disney Value Resort. My favorite is the Pop Century, but the All Star Resorts are nice and the Art of Animation will be open by then. Check these out. They do have some drawbacks depending on your family size, but they are wonderful hotels and compare very favorably to any hotel you'll find along the way.
Yes, Dad's a Disney nut, but there are good reasons to think about staying at a Disney Hotel to start your vacation. Yes, they cost a bit more, but staying in the "Magic" and knowing what you are getting is worth a lot.