A hotel outside of Disney World

by Laura
(Plymouth, United Kingdom)

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.

The Jukebox at the Pop Century at night

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.

If you look at staying on property at Walt Disney World, you can select a value resort, and you’ll be able to use Disney Magical Express to get to and from the airport along with Disney Resort transportation to get to and from the parks (all for free!). Plus, you’ll get access to Extra Magic Hours which will ensure you have lots of time in the parks with minimal crowds.

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 Destinations to Travel. They will be able to help you chose the perfect hotel even if it’s outside of Disney World.

Destinations to Travel

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!

Comments for

Mar 24, 2013 Save the money and do it the right way
by: Aaron

As Dad said, the price difference when you break it all down really isn’t that great. I am the type of person who will spend 9 hours on the internet to save $5 on a hotel room so I was very reluctant to pay to stay on property because it seemed so much more expensive. I have been to WDW three times. The first two were done in a manner similar to what you described and the most recent one was on property. I will NEVER do it any other way again.

There is a value to staying on site that cannot be given a dollar amount. Letting Disney handle all of the transportation details allows you to truly start the Disney experience as soon as you arrive to the airport. You will already be tired after your long flight from England and not having to worry about all of the administrative details upon arrival is well worth the few extra dollars you will spend.

Save the money and do it 100% Disney style. You won’t regret it.

Mar 24, 2013 Think About a Shorter Stay
by: Catherine

Hi Dad,

Perhaps a shorter stay (only 1 day) might be the answer. Using your numbers, that would be less than a 7 night stay off site. Try to arrive as early as possible and get the last flight home that you can. Staying on site will allow you to participate in Extra Magic Hours and be closer to the Magic in general. This can help you maximize your time in the World even with 1 less night.

Just a thought!


Mar 21, 2013 staying near to WDW
by: barbara

yes your correct no way is there anyway of walking to MK or any of the parks, you must use the transportation center to get around, my advice is to save a little longer to stay in one of the value resorts I have stayed there many times and they are really good and transport to the parks is exccelent. this year we stayed at the WYNDAM just 5 mins walk from Downtown Disney we got a good deal here and transport to the parks is good, this is the nearest non Disney Hotel to Disney

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